Starship steps forward and Starlink tests show fast internet speeds. How much will an intra-Earth Starship flight cost? It’s Musk Reads: SpaceX Edition #201.
Musk quote of the week
“SN8 Starship with flaps & nosecone should be done in about a week. Then static fire, checkouts, static fire, fly to 60,000 ft & back.”
- Read more about Musk’s planned next steps.
Liftoff! SpaceX successfully launched its Starship “SN6” prototype this month, reaching a height of around 500 feet. The launch followed on from the previous month’s jump, when the “SN5” prototype reached a similar height. Musk referenced the ship’s weird shape, lacking a nose cone and flaps, with a “turns out you can make anything fly” comment on Twitter. Read more.
From here, SpaceX is aiming for more ambitious tests. Over the weekend, Musk outlined plans to reach a height of 60,000 feet with an upcoming “SN8” prototype. The CEO has previously claimed the firm would turn its attention to an orbital test after completing a flight of that height. Musk has also suggested the company will aim to complete a hop test of its Super Heavy booster. It seems the final concept images of the giant ship may not be far from realization. Read more.
What’s next for SpaceX: SpaceX is set to launch the 13th batch of Starlink satellites some time in September. The mission is set to lift off from Space Launch Complex 40 at the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida.
In other Musk news…
The “SN6” launch wasn’t SpaceX’s only recent success. Last week, at 8:46 a.m. Eastern time from Launch Complex 39A, the firm launched the 12th batch of Starlink satellites. The company claims the early constellation has been able to offer consumers super low latencies and download speeds of more than 100 megabits per second. This is thanks to its comparatively low altitude and high number of craft in the sky.
The company’s Twitter account shared: “In initial tests of Starlink, the team has been collecting latency data and performing standard speed tests of the system. Results from these tests have shown super low latency and download speeds greater than 100 mbps – fast enough to stream multiple HD movies at once and still have bandwidth to spare.” Read more.
What do neuroscientists make of Neuralink? The human-brain linkup firm unveiled its latest advancements last month, with three pigs showing the chips in action. Speaking to Inverse, expert reaction was mixed. While there was praise for Musk’s ability to draw interest to a new area of research, there were also concerns about how people may overlook other effective and more mature medical solutions. One thing seems clear, though: It’s going to be a long, long time before a generally available Neuralink chip hits the market. Read more.
Looking for a book recommendation? On his Twitter account this week, Musk recommended the 11-volume Story of Civilization. The series offers an overview of Western history. Musk described volume two on Greece as “incredible.”
Musk Reads mailroom
Jacob Garbuz writes:
Clever, lovable Elon is developing those huge rockets to be launched from seaport to seaport to actually develop a Spaceline to compete with Airlines. I bet he figures if he could eventually lift 150 people from say New York to Shanghai for say $10K within 1 hour or less he would have a sizable niche market. The Mars business is just a clever cover story. Bit we have to hand it to him: He’s simply great. Truly one of the greatest entrepreneur geniuses of our time.
It looks like the figures could be even more favorable. Musk has outlined a goal to send 1,000 people across the planet in a much more compact configuration. Because the flight is less than an hour, amenities like a cabin will not be necessary. SpaceX President Gwynne Shotwell suggested in October 2019 that the flight could cost a little more than economy class. At $1,500 per ticket, SpaceX would be taking $1.5 million per flight. Coupled with satellite launching capabilities and its full reusability, the “city on Mars” could turn out to be a smaller part of the overall Starship story than expected.
Mary Ross writes:
Is there a way to be one of the people to get the Neralink implanted as a test subject? I have essential tremors and I think this could also help with that. I would like to volunteer to have it placed on my brain but don’t know how to get on as a test subject. Any ideas where to apply.
It might be a while before Neuralink starts testing its product on humans. At the July 2019 event, Musk suggested the first human trials could come by 2020. While the August 2020 event was an interesting display of the company’s latest improvements, Musk did not mention a date for human testing or repeat his previous timeline. You can be sure to read more about Neuralink’s advancements here, or subscribe to receive updates from the company’s website. For now, though, it seems the best way to get involved with Neuralink is to respond to one of the firm’s job listings.
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Photo of the week
Raptor’s giant vacuum engine gets pictured.
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The ultra-fine print
This has been Musk Reads: SpaceX Edition #201, the weekly rundown of essential reading about futurist and entrepreneur Elon Musk. I’m Mike Brown, an innovation journalist for Inverse.
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