Innovation

Musk Reads: SpaceX aims for 1,000 Starships

Private citizens are going to space and fans explain why they want Starlink. Neuralink for sewing machines?

Private citizens are going to space and fans explain why they want Starlink. Neuralink for sewing machines? It’s Musk Reads: SpaceX Edition #149.

A version of this article appeared in the “Musk Reads” newsletter. Sign up for free here.

Musk quote of the week

“Envelope expanded.”

SpaceX

SpaceX is aiming to build 1,000 Starships in order to colonize Mars, an Ars Technica interview with Musk revealed last week. At the company’s Boca Chica facility, the workforce has doubled to over 500 after three hiring sessions in two days. Starship production has been speeding up, from eight months to build the first prototype to one month to build the SN1 that blew up last week during a test. The interview reveals Musk’s annoyance about the explosion: When the engineers claimed they told a manager about the issue before the test, only to be ignored, Musk requested they email him directly next time. Musk also criticized the inverted cone used to mount the engines as “one of the dumbest things on the whole rocket” as it’s “heavy, expensive, and unreliable.” The ramp-up in production is aimed at reaching a production speed of just 72 hours in order to produce 1,000 Starships and build a city on Mars by 2050.

Liftoff! SpaceX completed the 20th Commercial Resupply Service mission Friday evening after a Falcon 9 lifted off from the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. It was the final flight for the first version of the Dragon capsule, as SpaceX continues to work on the human-carrying Crew Dragon. The booster successfully landed after launch, the 50th landing of a rocket booster. The capsule was captured by the International Space Station at 6:25 a.m. Eastern time on Monday.

In other SpaceX news…

Axiom Space is preparing to launch the first-ever private human spaceflight to the International Space Station. The mission is scheduled for the second half of 2021, will include three private astronauts, and will last eight days. It comes after Space Adventures announced plans to send humans into space with Crew Dragon next year.

Millions of Americans are struggling with slow internet speeds, and many of them are itching to try out SpaceX’s upcoming Starlink satellite internet service. Inverse spoke this week to the people that want Starlink most, including a couple who are moving to a rural area and a family who’ve raised cattle for over 100 years. Outside of well-connected cities, Americans struggling with poor internet are waiting for a solution. Read more.

What’s next for SpaceX: SpaceX is scheduled to launch its sixth batch of 60 Starlink satellites on March 14 at 9:35 a.m. Eastern time from Launch Complex 39A at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

Musk Reads mailroom

Rachel Royer writes: Sooo need a computer chip link to my sewing machine! If I had a Neuralink to my brain, I could tell my sewing machine what to do…omg that would be awesome! Sewing just isn’t for little old ladies anymore! Any ideas in the works? I’m raising three kids to be space engineers and inventors!

Musk promised the brain-computer chip could be enabled to control practically anything connected to the internet, so all that may be needed is an internet-connected sewing machine to complete the picture.

Jim Crowl writes:

So now it’s back to California to build the Starship? What happens to the Boca Chica location?

It seems the company is planning to build sections of the Starship at the new California location, moving them out to other facilities for completion. With the amount of work that’s gone into building up Boca Chica, SpaceX is unlikely to pull out anytime soon.

Got any comments or queries? Don’t forget to send them over to muskreads@inverse.com.

Photo of the week

An incredible photo of the Falcon 9 first and second stages interacting during the CRS–20 mission.

Got any photos or videos you’d like to share? Feel free to send them over to muskreads@inverse.com.

The ultra-fine print

This has been Musk Reads: SpaceX Edition #149, the weekly rundown of essential reading about futurist and entrepreneur Elon Musk. I’m Mike Brown, an innovation journalist for Inverse.

A version of this article appeared in the “Musk Reads” newsletter. Sign up for free here.

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