Musk Reads: Starship accelerates toward human spaceflight

Starship feels the pressure and Starlink gets sent up. Don't Doubt ur Vibe?

Starship feels the pressure and Starlink gets sent up. Don’t Doubt ur Vibe? It’s Musk Reads: SpaceX Edition #139.

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

Musk quote of the week

“Nothing medically dangerous, but 5G is getting a bit too greedy with their spectrum land grab.”

SpaceX Starship

SpaceX put the pressure on the Starship this week, the company’s rocket designed to send humans to Mars, to great success. The company’s test tank, designed to measure the ship’s resilience, reached 7.5 bar of pressure at room temperature. For comparison, the pressure of the atmosphere at sea level is just over one bar. It was a good improvement over the January 10 test, where pressure tests reached a reading of 7.1 bar. Read more.

Musk wasn’t done, though. Just a day later, he announced the company had reached 8.5 bar at cryogenic temperatures. This was an important milestone, as it crossed the approximate threshold set by Musk for a rocket that would be safe for human flight. The Starship took another big step toward its goals of hosting a trip around the Moon, sending humans to Mars, and much more. Read more.


In other SpaceX news

Liftoff! The fourth batch of 60 Starlink internet connectivity satellites launched on January 29 from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. Following the launch, the Falcon 9 successfully landed on the Of Course I Still Love You drone ship, and the Ms. Tree ship caught half a fairing. While this was the 49th successful booster landing, it was only the third time the company caught a fairing half.

How much will Starlink cost when it goes live, though? It’s one of the big questions that remains over the constellation’s setup. SpaceX officials have provided some clues, though, suggesting the price could compete with other satellite services. SpaceX is expected to start offering services in the northern United States and Canada later this year. Read more.

Meanwhile, Musk took some time out of his schedule this week to release his own song. The EDM-fueled “Don’t Doubt ur Vibe” features Musk on vocals, with Mars and the Tesla Cybertruck used as cover art. Read more.

What’s next for SpaceX: SpaceX is expected to launch its fifth batch of 60 Starlink satellites in the “Starlink 4” mission. It’s expected to lift off mid-February from Space Launch Complex 40 at the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida.

Musk Reads mailroom

Joao Carlos writes:

The ONLY thing required [to light the lava tubes] are tactically placed mirror relay systems to route real multi-spectral light in the tubes/caverns .. then it will be Suntan City .. :-)

Indeed, the assertion in Musk Reads #137 that you would “rarely see sunlight” if you lived in the moon’s hollowed-out underground tubes was perhaps a bit overdramatic.

Fred Valezano writes:

This idea [of building a moon base inside lava tubes] goes back at least as far as Robert Heinlein’s in “The Moon is a Harsh Mistress” (Mid–1960’s). I’d bet farther than that…

Hopefully, lunar explorers don’t take too much inspiration from Heinlein’s novel, where the Moon is depicted as a penal colony.

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Video of the week

The Falcon 9 booster from the “Starlink 3” mission arrives home on the Of Course I Still Love You drone ship.

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The ultra-fine print

This has been Musk Reads: SpaceX Edition #139, 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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