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Messages - Sigmetnow

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The rest / Re: SpaceX
« on: Today at 03:03:55 AM »
—- Or not
Gavin Cornwell (@SpaceXFleet) 2/28/21, 8:25 PM
Troublesome rocket is finally ready to fly for 8th time
Although the rocket was said to be “healthy,” SpaceX did mention the camera on the first stage was not operating.

—- Starship wen hop
Mary (@BocaChicaGal) 2/28/21, 7:52 PM
I have just received an update that Starship SN10 will not fly until Wednesday March 3.
Tomorrow’s attempt has been cancelled. No hop tomorrow.

—- SpaceX has fans of SpaceX fans!
Mary (@BocaChicaGal) 2/28/21, 11:41 AM
Raptor SN47 delivered with a special message “Wen Hop? Much Wow.” You gotta love these guys!
⬇️ Photo below.  Not subtle with the number label this time, either. ;D

Gavin Cornwell:
Peak meme has been achieved

The rest / Re: SpaceX
« on: Today at 02:43:58 AM »

Eric Berger (@SciGuySpace) 2/28/21, 8:38 PM
Launch scrubbed at T-1 minute, 24 seconds. Next launch attempt could come Monday night, at 8:15pm ET

William Harwood:
F9/Starlink 20 (V1-L17): SpaceX originally planned to launch this rocket in late January, but undisclosed technical issues combined for multiple delays; the main engines were test fired twice, most recently last Wednesday morning to clear the way for this evening's attempt

The rest / Re: SpaceX
« on: Today at 01:49:23 AM »
—- Starlink launch in just under an hour.
Look out seagulls, here we come!
William Harwood (@cbs_spacenews)2/28/21, 7:44 PM
F9/Starlink 20 (V1-L17): The rocket's first stage, making its 8th flight, will attempt to land on the "Of Course I Still Love You” droneship; if successful, it will mark SpaceX’s 75th booster recovery; the most recent landing try 2/15 was unsuccessful


The NSF team:
LIVE: SpaceX launches 60 Starlink satellites on Falcon 9 - YouTube

Policy and solutions / Re: Ships and boats
« on: February 28, 2021, 11:29:38 PM »
AGW solutions are complicated like not burning to much oil or coal. Not shooting around rockets you do not need might also help.

But what if one rocket supply flight eliminates pollution from multiple ships, boats and planes? 

I invite you to learn more about rocket pollution from the video at this link, which examines the question in detail but without hysterics. There is also a link there to an article version of the video.,2582.msg302063.html#msg302063

(Bottom line: there are points of concern, but, compared to the thousands of aviation flights polluting the skies all day every day, rocket pollution is as yet insignificant.)

The rest / Re: SpaceX
« on: February 28, 2021, 11:21:31 PM »
How much do rockets pollute? | Everyday Astronaut

Published on Mar 20, 2020
00:00 - Intro
51:35 - SUMMARY

Article version:

CO2 emissions from all commercial aviation in 2018 totaled 918,000,000 tonnes of CO2. Compare that to the 22,780 tonnes from the aerospace industry in that same year, and we realize that you would have to fly 40,300 times more rockets per year to equal the output of airliners.

Policy and solutions / Re: Ships and boats
« on: February 28, 2021, 08:46:38 PM »
... they are neither ships or boats.

As others mentioned above, mid-ocean seaports with new technology could help ships and boats transition to fossil-fuel-free sailing.  Just because you don’t like rockets doesn’t mean they can’t have a place in AGW solutions.

Policy and solutions / Re: Electric cars
« on: February 28, 2021, 08:36:04 PM »
CleanTechnica, Feb 25
Attracting & Retaining Residents With EV Charging At Apartments, Condos, Etc. — Check Out The Webinar Recording

Whole Mars Catalog (@WholeMarsBlog) 2/26/21, 6:42 AM
“Average emissions from new cars in Britain fell 13% from 2011 through 2016, then increased 6% through 2019, the National Audit Office said in a report Friday” — Bloomberg

“Registrations of battery-electric cars in the UK soared 186% last year, while plug-in hybrids surged 91%. The two segments combined made up about a 10th of deliveries, up from a 30th in 2019” — Bloomberg

WMC: the mustang mach e seems more successful in terms of customer adoption than any other EV that’s gone to market in America
< It’s the first non-Tesla EV that’s even remotely cool. Taycan doesn’t count because you look like an idiot driving one because of how bad of a value it is.
WMC: True

General Motors says worst of global chip shortage may be behind it
The forecasts factored in the potential impact of the chip shortage, including a hit of $1.5 billion to $2.5 billion to its free cash flow. That impact remains as GM combats the situation and even partially builds some high-demand vehicles.

“We feel confident that we’re working through this issue and that we’ll be able to return to normal as soon as the back half of this year ... and a high degree of confidence that this isn’t going to be an issue for us going forward,” Jacobson said.

Due to the shortage, GM temporarily closed car and crossover plants in Kansas, Canada and Mexico through mid-March. The automaker has said it is prioritizing production of its “most in-demand products – including full-size trucks and SUVs and Corvettes,” which also happen to be its most-profitable vehicles as well. …

Ford's European Production Halt to Have a Large Impact
How concerned should investors be about the five-week production shutdown in Saarlouis, Germany?
If you've been keeping an eye on the global automotive industry, you're no stranger to the ripple effects caused by a shortage in semiconductors. The need for these chips has boomed in recent years, coinciding with an explosion in automotive technology, driveline components, and interior infotainment systems. The chip shortage is about to hit Ford Motor Company's (NYSE:F) European operations in a big way.

More specifically, the chip shortage will force Ford's factory in Saarlouis, Germany to halt production for five weeks. That factory builds Ford's Focus compact car, which is a serious part of the company's business operations in Europe. In fact, through the first three quarters of 2020 the Focus was the automaker's top-selling vehicle in Europe and accounted for 18% of its total Euro 20 sales.

The bad news isn't limited to Ford's Saarlouis, Germany plant, either. The chip shortage caused minor disruption to Ford's Cologne, Germany plant, which produces another highly important vehicle, the Fiesta. Ford's Kuga (Escape) crossover, Mondeo (Fusion), and Galaxy minivan also felt some production impacts. Overall, the chip shortage will cause downtime and lost production; Stuart Rowley, Ford's regional boss, told Automotive News Europe "That is a huge impact on our operations".

Analysts expect the global production shortfall across the automotive industry during the first half of the year could reach 1 million units. On the bright side, while this will certainly negatively impact many automakers' results during the first quarter, the issue should subside before or early in the second quarter. Most of the lost production should be recovered during the second half of the year.

Policy and solutions / Re: Ships and boats
« on: February 28, 2021, 07:45:14 PM »
If you have a floating platform in a sea it would probably be a whole lot easier to add solar and some hydrogen producing factory.

Today, that would probably be right!  But how much solar would be needed, and how do you keep a big field of solar panels from being destroyed in heavy seas?

Whereas, IF Starship flights are as easy and quickly turned-around as SpaceX envisions, we’re looking at a payload capacity of over 1,000 cubic meters (future versions will be larger) per flight.

Using targets (it’s what I found in a 2-second search) of:
      1.5 kWh/kg system (4.5 wt.% hydrogen)
      1.0 kWh/L system (0.030 kg hydrogen/L)
      $10/kWh ($333/kg stored hydrogen capacity).

I get a single Starship shipment value of:
     1,000,000 liters H2  = 30,000 kg or 30 metric tonnes
    $333/kg x 30,000 kg = $9,990,000

And given that the space industry routinely cryo-compresses hydrogen to liquid form (and, the hop to the platform would only take minutes), a Starship might hold much more than that.  (Expectation is eventual Starship capability of 150 Tons to Low Earth Orbit — but a suborbital flight to a platform would be much shorter and easier.)

Musk has said the cost per easily reusable Starship flight will be little more than the cost of fuel, ~$900,000, but let’s say $2 million (and say that covers the short return hop as well).  That would only add about 20% to the base cost of the H2.

Of course, this is just a thought experiment; my numbers may be way off.  And I hate the idea of hydrogen as a fuel for land or water transport, anyway. ;)  But we’re most comfortable imagining physical fuel being transported.

Maybe for fun, somebody could do the math for what the energy density would have to be if the 1,100 cubic meters payload was one giant battery, and it simply transported a charge to the platform.  Like the mobile charging trucks Tesla has deployed in the past to supplement Tesla Superchargers at the busiest stations during big holidays....

Policy and solutions / Re: Tesla glory/failure
« on: February 28, 2021, 07:01:22 PM »
VW as competition
Whole Mars Catalog:
Tesla called their mobile app “Tesla”.
It is central to the product experience. It shares the same name as the company, because that is the company.
When Volkswagen finally got around to copying Tesla, they named the app “Car-Net”.
Yeah, really. Car-Net.
Whole Mars Catalog:  it’s always the little things that really say it all

<  VW didn't finish the [software] in time. First cars were delivered with buggy sw. Customers even had to sign a form. they released sw v2.0 (not OTA), with less bugs. V2.1(not via OTA) is called "final version", which is odd since the car will be updated in the future. Is it really final?
<<  I don’t think it matters what each company is familiar with. I think it has more to do with the structure of the company, their management, and risk tolerance. Older companies tend to struggle more with change due to entrenched inflexible management.
< That's a factor as well. There was a very good article by the former head of r&d mercedes. He said that the main issue is that the managers don't know how to code. They are petrol heads, not SW engineers. Which often leads to very complex/not possible Tasks for the programmers

> Tesla and VW exist for very different reasons. One exists to make money. The other exists to change the world.

“In a couple ways the ID.4’s engineering design betrays if not immaturity, prematurity, a rush to market” — Dan Neil, [Wall Street Journal]

“When I say the ID.4 is 5 years behind the comparable Tesla, it’s not because I’m an Elon fanboy, a VW hater, or that I have anything to gain or lose personally. That is my best guess, based on my weeklong test drive of VW’s hot-from-oven, slightly underbaked strudel” — Dan Neil
Text image below.

Policy and solutions / Re: Ships and boats
« on: February 28, 2021, 01:12:38 AM »
@Tor - Floating Renewable Charging Islands

Possible, but in deepwater would need extensive moorings or Dynamic Positioning (Thrusters to maintain position)

Unless there is a place where predominant wind exactly counters tidal flow?

Plus the island would be v. expensive real estate to site PV/Wind turbines, PV would be better located on the vessel  ...

Idea: If you are building a floating platform, make it a SpaceX Spaceport, and have Starships deliver loads of hydrogen.  Like tanker trucks that deliver fuel to depots.... The platform would not have to maintain an exact position; ships and Starships could navigate to it anywhere within a reasonable distance.

—- SpaceX Spaceports at sea
< How long until you think the Deimos and Phobos rigs will be operational?
Elon Musk (@elonmusk) 2/24/21, 2:24 AM
One of them may be in limited operation by end of year

<< How will Starships be transported to the floating platform? Will these launch platforms be stationed permanently in the gulf?
Elon Musk:
They will fly there from our launch site.
Stationed around the world.

Surprise! Elon Musk Says SpaceX's Floating Oil Rig Platforms May Be Operational This Year

Policy and solutions / Re: Batteries: Today's Energy Solution
« on: February 28, 2021, 12:46:50 AM »
Tesla Picked As “Victoria Big Battery” Supplier
Fossil fuel interests are unhappy with the project
This week, Neoen announced that Tesla will supply the batteries for the new 300 MW/450 MWh Victoria Big Battery and that Australia’s Clean Energy Finance Corporation has agreed to supply $160 million in funding for the project. Louis de Sambucy, managing partner for Neoen Australia, told the press, “We are delighted to announce that the Victorian Big Battery has reached this important financial milestone. I would like to thank the CEFC for their renewed trust and commitment towards supporting innovative storage solutions. We are on track to deliver this project before the next Australian summer and are looking forward to playing our part in helping Victoria reach its ambitious target of 50% renewable energy by 2030.” ...

Policy and solutions / Re: Renewable Energy
« on: February 28, 2021, 12:37:56 AM »
North Dakota Officials Block Wind Power In Effort To Save Coal
North Dakota has lots of coal. It also has strong and consistent winds. It might be the perfect spot to showcase the long-awaited "energy transition" from climate-warming fossil fuels to climate-saving renewables.

Yet that transition has hit a snag. Two counties in the state have enacted drastic restrictions on new wind projects in an attempt to save coal mining jobs, despite protests from landowners who'd like to rent their land to wind energy companies. It's a sign of how difficult that transition can be for communities that depend on coal for jobs and tax revenue. The economic benefits of wind power, even though substantial, often flow to different people. ...

The rest / Re: SpaceX
« on: February 28, 2021, 12:19:00 AM »
—- Starship
Jack Beyer (@thejackbeyer) 2/26/21, 2:03 PM
A Raptor Engine labeled “Under Doge” (serial number unknown) was delivered to the Starship build site in Boca Chica just now, and Raptor SN56 (green nozzle) took its place on the Raptor van, presumably headed back to Hawthorne or Mcgregor.
Photos at the link.

⬇️ Status of Starship and Superheavy Prototypes— infographic below
Click to embiggen.

—- SpaceX Sea Fleet
Gavin Cornwell(@SpaceXFleet)2/27/21, 6:13 PM
SpaceX recovery fleet status as of Feb 27th!
OCISLY droneship has arrived at the landing zone for the Starlink mission.
GO Searcher/Navigator are still en-route for fairing recovery. ...
Locator map at the link.  Weather looks good for the upcoming launch.

—- Crew-1 aboard the ISS — interview
.@VP Harris: What was your first spacewalk like?

NASA astronaut @AstroVicGlover: "The first time that I did just sit back and look down at the Earth, I just wanted to do that for the rest of the seven hours that I was outside – it was pretty amazing."
Vid at the link: Victor Glover: as the first, I work to make sure I am not the last.

—- HLS
So, at least two, but not all three.
NASA says maintaining competition a priority for lunar lander procurement
Jeff Foust February 25, 2021

—- Boeing's safety culture
Christian Davenport (@wapodavenport) 2/26/21, 1:08 PM
NASA says that the assessment of Boeing's safety culture, ordered in the wake of the flawed OFT-1 mission, has been postponed until after OFT-2 because of Covid. That’s a delay of more than a year. The agency says it will complete the review before Boeing’s crewed flight test. 1/  …

—- SLS Green Run delay — the second prevalve issue
Eric Berger:
From this article it sounds like NASA is not yet sure how extensive the repair work will be for a second prevalve issue on the SLS core stage. Test fire possible by mid-March, but could be weeks later.

Second prevalve issue delays completion of SLS Core Stage Green Run campaign
written by Philip Sloss February 26, 2021
Fixing the problem with this second balky prevalve will take some time because engineers needed to get “under the hood” access to the vehicle, which was already closed out for the Hot-Fire test when the new problem was discovered. In order to get hands on the prevalve, work access needed to be re-established. …

The rest / Re: SpaceX
« on: February 26, 2021, 07:46:30 PM »
—- Wen hop
Static fire!  New Brownsville TFRs issued for Mon, Tues, Wed, March 1-3.
Chris B - NSF (@NASASpaceflight) 2/25/21, 5:58 PM
STATIC FIRE! Starship SN10 fires up her three engines after a record Raptor swap turnaround.
The big question is if it was a good test. If so, the launch could be just days away.
Mary (@BocaChicaGal) and the bots views:… 
15 sec clip of the SF at the link.

—- Next Starlink launch
Gavin Cornwell (@SpaceXFleet) 2/25/21, 12:38 PM
Ms. Tree is missing two arms!
That would explain why the Dragon recovery ships have been reconfigured for fairing recovery.
I wonder if they are planning some upgrades or other work?
[Photo at the link.]

~ With the fairing catchers now semi-armless, GO Searcher and GO Navigator are learning how to recover fairings.
colin (@c_fletcher22) 2/25/21, 3:47 PM
SpaceX practicing scooping fairings from the water on @NASASpaceflight Fleetcam! …
[ 19 sec Twit-Vid is 2x timelapse ]

Gavin Cornwell:

With the Dragon recovery ships now temporarily fairing recovery ships that means SpaceX needs a new temporary Dragon recovery ship.
Hello, GO America! That's a very nice Dragon mock-up you have. Welcome to the recovery fleet!
Via Fleetcam:
Photo at the link.

GO Searcher and GO Navigator are outbound from Port Canaveral to conduct fairing recovery for the upcoming Starlink mission. …
Photos at the link.

—— ”Wow. Blue Origin delays maiden flight of New Glenn [heavy lift rocket] until no earlier than Q4 of 2022.”
Just A. Tinker:
Let me get this straight, @blueorigin is putting off #NewGlenn's maiden flight because they didn't get a government contract they wanted?  I think we drop them out the 'New Space' category then!  Hey, @JeffBezos, if you REALLY want to settle Cislunar space, get your butt in gear!
Ken Kirtland IV:
Yup. The entire appeal of Blue Origin was that funding and economics were not much of an equation due to Bezos cash. It's pretty clear they just want to be a traditional launch provider / defense contractor.

Dave F:
Anybody know how many NGs they're currently constructing? If this one, eventually, files, but goes kaboom, do they have another to play with?
OK I'm willing to be corrected, but with the limited images & what some have said, they appear to be designing a 'flight ready' rocket. As you say, it's complicated yet they haven't even tested the first stage landing. Even NS's test program is best described as 'patchy'.
Why spend money/time designing everything to the nth degree if it's likely to RUD. There's definitely something to be said for SpaceX's quick iteration of sending 'aerosol cans' 40k ft into the air.

< So more than likely Starship would be first methalox to orbit.
< Musk already said, that same like SN1-10 prototypes, Super heavy prototypes will start with fewer engines as they plan overall. If first Starship with booster will be some scaled down version they can beat Vulcan to orbit. But not with massive 34 Raptors version.

The entire Starship program according to Musk is going to cost 2-3 Billion. BO spend 1/3 of that on the launch pad alone

    New Glenn’s Progress Towards Maiden Flight
News Feb 25, 2021
As major progress is being made on the New Glenn launch vehicle and its Cape Canaveral facilities, the schedule has been refined to match the demand of Blue Origin’s commercial customers. The current target for New Glenn’s maiden flight is Q4 2022. The Blue Origin team has been in contact with all of our customers to ensure this baseline meets their launch needs.

This updated maiden flight target follows the recent Space Force decision to not select New Glenn for the National Security Space Launch (NSSL) Phase 2 Launch Services Procurement (LSP).

New Glenn - Wikipedia
In February 2019, Blue Origin indicated that no plans to build a reusable second stage are even on the company's roadmap.
By December 2020, Blue Origin indicated that the engine delivery to ULA would slip to summer 2021, and ULA disclosed that the first launch of the New Glenn competitor ULA Vulcan would now be no earlier than 4Q2021.

—- Virgin Galactic SpaceShip
Eric Berger:
Wow. This is a serious and unexpected delay.

Jeff Foust (@jeff_foust) 2/25/21, 4:10 PM
Virgin Galactic, in its earning release just posted, says it’s now targeting May (!) for its next rocket-powered SpaceShipTwo test flight. (Remember this was going to be earlier this month.)… [ ]

The company says in the presentation for that upcoming call that it will roll out the next SpaceShipTwo, “SpaceShip III”, on March 30. Flight tests begin in the summer.… [ ]

—- Reusable Upper Stage?
Washington-based startup raises $9.1 million. Stoke Space Technologies—the Renton, Washington-based company founded by veterans of Jeff Bezos' Blue Origin space venture—has attracted $9.1 million in seed investments for extending rocket reusability to new frontiers, GeekWire reports. The first goal will be to develop a new kind of reusable upper stage, Stoke co-founder and CEO Andy Lapsa told the publication.

High-powered advisers ... "That's the last domino to fall in the industry before reusability is commonplace," Lapsa said. "Even right now, I think space launch is in a production-limited paradigm." Retired Air Force Lt. Gen. Steven Kwast, an adviser to Stoke, goes so far as to say that the team reminds him of the Wright brothers. "Stoke has the right idea about ultra-low-cost access to space, and similar to the first manned flight, will change the world of transportation and national security forever," he said.
—- SLS Green Run update
SLS launch delayed until 2022. During a recent call with reporters about the SLS core stage Green Run test, NASA's Tom Whitmeyer discussed the schedule for the Artemis I flight. In an ideal world in which nothing went wrong, he said, the mission could launch in October 2021. That was unlikely to happen, he acknowledged. And since then, things have already gone wrong, such as with the prevalve issue....

Never tweet while drunk ... Sources have told Ars that the realistic "no earlier than" date for Artemis I inside NASA is now February 2022, and this presumes a successful Green Run hot fire test in early March. We're getting perilously close to the now somewhat infamous prediction I made in 2017 on Twitter—that the rocket would first launch in 2023.
— Eric Berger

Jeff Foust:
The update is... they’re still working on the valve problem, and won’t set a new date for the test until troubleshooting is done. [But that new date is likely to be no earlier than the middle of March.]

NASA_SLS (@NASA_SLS) 2/26/21, 11:48 AM
Green Run Update: @NASA and Boeing, the core stage prime contractor, continue to examine a liquid oxygen valve inside the #Artemis I core stage’s engine section in order to identify repairs needed before a second Green Run hot fire test. 

Green Run Update: NASA Inspecting Valve, Continuing Hot Fire Preparations

The rest / Re: Astronomical news
« on: February 26, 2021, 05:38:35 PM »
Mars Navigation
Jay L. DeShetler (@jdeshetler) 2/26/21, 10:35 AM
Mars Perseverance Rover's Down-Look Camera, 100 seconds of descent overlapped with the HiRISE's imaging map using the green dot as target landing site. The 2nd clip is speed up by 8x.
2-minute vid at the link.

The Visible Mars
A full rotation of the planet Mars (Hubble Captures By NASA) 

Not sure who-all can view this new video program.  It’s the How and Why about the Perseverance rover.
PBS: Nova episode:  Looking for life on Mars

Policy and solutions / Re: Tesla glory/failure
« on: February 25, 2021, 10:52:04 PM »
Whole Mars Catalog (@WholeMarsBlog) 2/25/21, 4:40 PM
Here’s @elonmusk’s email on what was going on at Fremont.
Says factory went back up yesterday, which explains the packed lots we saw going there last night.
Looking to recruit to accelerate S&X

Elon Musk (@elonmusk) 2/25/21, 4:34 PM
This is not about winning anyone over. We are production-limited. The reason we are making our own cells is to *supplement* max production of suppliers. Even moving at full speed, they cannot build enough cells.

< Any news on Fremont shut down?
Elon Musk (@elonmusk) 2/25/21, 4:36 PM
Fremont shut down for two days (parts shortages) & restarted yesterday

The rest / Re: SpaceX
« on: February 25, 2021, 07:07:52 PM »
—- Engine swap after dark
Elon Musk (@elonmusk) 2/25/21, 12:15 AM
Out on launch pad, engine swap underway
⬇️ Photo below. Click to embiggen.
Musk explained in the Joe Rogan webcast that they are still testing the best way to attach the black heat tiles to Starship, and the spacing required to deal with cryo-temperatures (and eventual reentry temps) as the steel expands and contracts.  However, unlike Space Shuttle tiles, most Starship tiles will be identical.

The rest / Re: SpaceX
« on: February 25, 2021, 06:21:34 PM »
—- Starship
TFRs now for Fri, Sat, Sunday!
Brownsville (TX) SpaceX high-altitude flight TFR:
From February 28, 2021 at 1400 UTC To March 01, 2021 at 0030 UTC
Altitude: From the surface to space

—- SpaceX Spaceports at sea
< How long until you think the Deimos and Phobos rigs will be operational?
Elon Musk (@elonmusk) 2/24/21, 2:24 AM
One of them may be in limited operation by end of year

<< How will Starships be transported to the floating platform? Will these launch platforms be stationed permanently in the gulf?
Elon Musk:
They will fly there from our launch site.
Stationed around the world.

Surprise! Elon Musk Says SpaceX's Floating Oil Rig Platforms May Be Operational This Year

—- Next Starlink launch
KSC TFRs listed for Sunday and Monday night,
SpaceX: Static fire test complete – targeting Sunday, February 28 at 8:37 p.m. EST for launch of Starlink from LC-39A
0137 GMT on 1st (8:37 p.m. EST on 28th)

Gavin Cornwell (@SpaceXFleet)n2/25/21, 9:05 AM
SpaceX is set to reuse a fairing half for the FOURTH time on the upcoming Starlink mission.
They might not catch it every time (or even need too!) but the fairing recovery programme has been a major success.

< Recovery & re-use is an amazing goal. But is it at the point where it can be considered successful already? Those ships and crew must be $$$.
Gavin Cornwell:
Each fairing costs $3 million dollars to manufacture. Ignoring the cost of refurbishment, ships and crew they saved $9 million by reusing this half four times.

—- Starlink testing
Elon Musk (@elonmusk)2/24/21, 8:25 PM
You might see much higher download speeds on Starlink at times. Testing system upgrades.

Elon Musk says SpaceX ‘will double’ Starlink satellite internet speeds later this year
   “Speed will double to ~300Mb/s & latency will drop to ~20ms later this year,” Musk said in a tweet on Monday.
   Musk added that Starlink will reach customers around “most” of the Earth by the end of 2021, and is expecting to have complete global coverage “by next year.”

—- NASA Commercial Crew, Feb 24
The @SpaceX Crew Dragon has officially been in space for more than 100 days!

The Crew-1 mission launched on Nov. 15, 2020 & arrived at the @Space_Station on Nov. 16, carrying Shannon Walker, @AstroVicGlover, @Astro_illini & @Astro_Soichi. They will return in late April/early May.

The rest / Re: SpaceX
« on: February 25, 2021, 05:37:19 PM »
A longish think piece on private astronaut flights, the democratization of space and what that means for the future of NASA.

“We at NASA should always be doing the next thing, the thing where the profit motive is not as evident and where the barriers to entry are still too high for the private sector to really make a compelling business case.”  — Phil McAlister, NASA’s director of commercial spaceflight.

“A necessity, it will allow NASA to work as a specialist entity and allow for more innovation and modernisation of future flight hardware as well as an ability to work without diplomatic influences pulling and prying missions to breaking point.” — David Alan Rodgers

As private companies erode government’s hold on space travel, NASA looks to open a new frontier
Christian Davenport
Feb. 25, 2021
The four astronauts who will fly aboard a SpaceX mission by the end of the year will be a bunch of private citizens with no space experience. One’s a billionaire funding the mission; another a health care provider. The third will be selected at random through a sweepstakes, and the last seat will go to the winner of a competition.

In the new Space Age, you can buy a ticket to orbit — no need to have been a fighter pilot in the military or to compete against thousands of other overachievers for a coveted spot in NASA’s astronaut corps.

In fact, for this mission, the first comprised entirely of private citizens, NASA is little more than a bystander. It does not own or operate the rocket that will blast the astronauts into space or the capsule they will live in for the few days they are scheduled to circle the Earth every 90 minutes. NASA has no say in selecting the astronauts, and it will not train or outfit them — that will all be done by Elon Musk’s SpaceX.

The money to pay for the flight also will not come from NASA — or any other government account. The cost of the project is being born by a billionaire, Jared Isaacman, who has set it up as a fundraiser for St. Jude’s Research Hospital and a promotional device for his business, Shift4Shop, which helps businesses set up websites and process payments.

This is the new look of human space exploration as government’s long-held monopoly on space travel continues to erode, redefining not only who owns the vehicles that carry people to space, but also the very nature of what an astronaut is and who gets to be one.

And it comes as NASA confronts some of the largest changes it has faced since it was founded in 1958 when the United States’ world standing was challenged by the Soviet Union’s surprise launch of the first Sputnik into orbit. Now it is NASA’s unrivaled primacy in human spaceflight that is under challenge.

Thanks to NASA’s investments and guidance, the private space sector has grown tremendously — no entity more than SpaceX, which according to CNBC is now worth $74 billion. The commercial space industry is taking on ever more roles and responsibilities — flying not just cargo and supplies to the International Space Station, but even NASA’s astronauts there. The private sector will launch some of the major components of the space station NASA wants to build in orbit around the moon, and private companies are developing the spacecraft that will fly astronauts to and from the lunar surface.

Space enthusiasts, including NASA, see enormous benefit in the shift — a new era of space exploration that will usher in a more capable and efficient space industry. But the changing dynamic also has left NASA, which for decades has set the pace for the American space project, with an uncertain role, a development NASA’s Safety Aerospace Safety Advisory Panel warns could have consequences for years to come.

The growth of companies like SpaceX has "tremendous upside potential — and are accompanied by equally tremendous challenges for managing the risk of human space exploration,” it said in its annual report, released last month. “NASA leadership in human space exploration is still preeminent, but the agency’s role is evolving with critical implications for how risk and safety will be managed.”

Policy and solutions / Re: Electric cars
« on: February 25, 2021, 02:24:23 PM »
The auto industry was set back due to chip manufacturers switching to other products, e.g. computers, desperately needed during the pandemic.
Then the recent Big Freeze in Texas knocked out a big chunk of the US chip manufacturing base.
Really bad news for automakers.

List of semiconductor fabrication plants - Wikipedia

Whole Mars Catalog (@WholeMarsBlog) 2/25/21, 7:52 AM
“Some types of chips can take a month or more to move through the various fabrication steps, and unplanned power outages can cause entire production lines of products to be discarded, resulting in significant losses”
< That is correct. A disruption in process can cause temperature changes in the silicon that renders the whole thing unusable. Maybe they’ll start buying power packs from Tesla?
Whole Mars Catalog:
Hear a lot of people saying “Samsung should have had battery backup”
Samsung is the single biggest electricity user on the Austin Energy power grid.
They use so much electricity, batteries can keep them running for like 3 seconds [ ;) ]

Policy and solutions / Re: Tesla glory/failure
« on: February 25, 2021, 01:47:13 PM »
This is not unexpected and will be minimal.  There are three or four Model 3 lines in Fremont.

FEBRUARY 25, 2021 4:50 AM
Tesla temporarily halts production at Model 3 line in California
(Reuters) - Tesla Inc has told workers it will temporarily halt some production at its car assembly plant in California, Bloomberg News reported on Thursday, citing a person familiar with the matter.
Workers on a Model 3 production line in Fremont were told their line would be down from Feb. 22 until March 7, according to the report. (
The report did not clarify the reason for the halt and Tesla could not be immediately reached for comment.
It was also unclear how much volume or revenue Tesla would lose due to the production halt. The Fremont plant has an annual production capacity of 500,000 Model 3s and Model Ys combined.
Tesla said last month that it might face a temporary impact from a global semiconductor shortage.
Several automakers, including General Motors Co, Volkswagen AG, and Ford Motor Co, are hit by the shortage of chips, forcing them to scale down production.

Whole Mars Catalog (@WholeMarsBlog)2/25/21, 2:09 AM
Tesla Fremont parking lot appears to be just as full of cars as it always is at 11 PM.
Lights are on, people are entering and exiting the factory.
Seems normal
[4 photos at the link]
Gary Black:
Apparently just the Model 3 line is impacted.  …  Seems related to weather-driven shutdown of Samsung fab in Austin. Clearly temporary.

The rest / Re: SpaceX
« on: February 25, 2021, 01:59:55 AM »
—- Starship
SLS:  Engine valve problem.  Several weeks delay.
Starship: Engine is suspect after static fire. Swapped for a new one, next day.   
   Brady Kenniston (@TheFavoritist) 2/24/21, 12:43 AM
   SpaceX ignites Starship SN10's Raptor engines for the first time! It is unknown if the test was successful.
   Mary received a notice that testing may occur on Feb. 24th as well.
   Video from Mary (@BocaChicaGal) and the NSF Robotic Camera Team

Elon Musk @elonmusk) 2/24/21, 2:12 AM
One of the engines is suspect, so we’re swapping it out
Mary (@BocaChicaGal)2/24/21, 11:44 AM
 Raptor SN? is headed to the launch site.
⬇️ 5 sec trundle down the road at the link. Screencap below.

~ Interesting that there was no visible SN# on the nozzle.
~ There’s nothing better than passing a Raptor on the highway at Boca Chica.

< I *LOVE* how @SpaceX carries this around so unceremoniously. If this was @NASA there'd be road closures, police bikes, a full escort, an airtight container, a documentary about the logistics, etc...  ;D

Zeus out for a stroll around the new landing pad.  1 min vid.
Dayton Costlow (@DaytonCostlow) 2/24/21, 3:26 PM
The full video. 

—- Human Landing System
Marcia Smith (@SpcPlcyOnline) 2/24/21, 10:51 AM
At Spaceport Summit, NASA's Mark Kirasich says NASA is "down to the wire" in downselecting the HLS contractors. Will be "in next few weeks." Tough choice because three "incredible" proposals.
Eric Berger:
During an interview last week Steve Jurcyzk said the decisions likely would be made in mid-late April.

> Waiting for #Starship to stick a landing maybe? ;)
< What’s the odds that those who are not selected continue their designs for their own purposes?
Eric Berger:
The odds of SpaceX continuing are 100 percent. The other companies are much lower.
<< I agree re SpaceX. After all NASA already awarded them a Lunar *Cargo* contract. Only difference been Lunar HLS Starship and Lunar Cargo Starship would be the inclusion of life support system for humans in the former.
<<  But, IIRC, since the Moon, not Mars, is the off-Earth body that interests Jeff Bezos the most, isn’t it a possibility that he (Bezos) would contract the others in the “National Team” to continue assisting BO in developing the HLS anyway?

Policy and solutions / Re: Electric cars
« on: February 25, 2021, 01:37:41 AM »
Hyundai’s IONIQ 5 unveiling
Hyundai says it will begin availability in “selected regions in the first half of 2021.”
A  V2L function can be used as a converter to charge high-power electric equipment, supplying up to 3.6 kW of power.

“Excess inventory — whether it's sitting on the dealers' books or sitting on our books — in the enterprise, it's waste. You've got to have the right car, right place, right time. The closer we can match demand and supply & eliminate that waste, that's a competitive advantage” -GM
< GM explains why they'll be dead soon.

Ed Ludlow (@EdLudlow)2/23/21, 11:06 AM
INTV: @LucidMotors CEO Peter Rawlinson explains the delay in production, the deal with $CCIV, the need for bridge financing and competition with $TSLA.
Watch here:…  [ ]
~ Lucid has delayed start of production from "the spring" until the second half of 2021 but wont commit to a date for start of production. $CCIV

< from the interview sounds like Lucid has build issues and doesn't want to come to market yet.
<<  Tesla's differentiating factor was never build quality, just like it isn't for most other brands either. Lucid on the other hand, is almost entirely reliant on build quality and ultra luxury as the differentiating factor. They better get everything right with the very first car.
> so basically, reading between the lines, the Lucid investors got in the car and said hey this car sucks, the quality is trash, you need to delay it.
Ross Gerber (@GerberKawasaki)2/22/21, 8:19 PM
If lucid is worth $24 bil and never delivered a EV. Then tesla is worth ______ $tsla $cciv

Fisker and Foxconn Set to Collaborate on Electric Vehicle Project
LOS ANGELES & TAIPEI, Taiwan--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Fisker Inc. (NYSE: FSR) (Fisker) – designer and manufacturer of the world’s most emotion-stirring, eco-friendly electric vehicles, and advanced mobility solutions – today announced it has entered into a MOU with Hon Hai Technology Group (TWSE:2317) (Foxconn) supporting a project to develop a breakthrough electric vehicle. Highlights of the proposed collaboration, codenamed ‘Project PEAR’ (Personal Electric Automotive Revolution):

- Fisker and Foxconn to jointly develop a breakthrough new segment vehicle.
- Foxconn to manufacture the vehicle at projected annual volumes of more than 250,000.
- Global market scope – including North America, Europe, China, and India.
- Projected start of production is Q4 2023; this will be the second vehicle introduced by the Fisker brand, following the launch of the Ocean SUV in Q4 2022.

Following the signing of the MOU, teams from Fisker and Foxconn will establish several workstreams focused on design, technology, engineering, and manufacturing. Due to the rapid development schedule, both companies expect to conclude discussions and enter into a formal partnership agreement during Q2 2021.

“Not unlike when Isaac Newton realized the powers of gravity, the inspiration for this project has come from some unconventional sources,” added Mr. Fisker. “The design sketch hints at the direction we are taking. However, with the level of innovation planned for this vehicle, I intend to keep the final design a surprise until the last possible moment!” …
⬇️ ??? Below

Policy and solutions / Re: Tesla glory/failure
« on: February 24, 2021, 10:14:41 PM »
Tesla Daily -Streamed live on Feb 23, 2021
➤ Alex Potter of Piper Sandler joins Rob Maurer LIVE to discuss his street-high $1,200 TSLA price target, Tesla’s investment in Bitcoin, investor sentiment, competitive landscape, and more.

Alex Potter & Rob Maurer Discuss TSLA

Here's the [100-page!] Piper Sandler report ($1,200 $TLSA price target).
[Referenced upthread on Feb 1.]… [ ]

Policy and solutions / Re: Renewable Energy
« on: February 24, 2021, 09:53:08 PM »
February 21, 2021
Tesla PG&E Megapack 182.5 MW Battery Storage Installation Makes Stunning Progress
In July 2020, Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) and Tesla began construction of a 182.5-megawatt (MW) lithium-ion battery energy storage system (BESS) at PG&E’s electric substation in Moss Landing in Monterey County [California]. The first Tesla Megapack was installed in early October, marking the start of construction on one of the world's largest lithium-ion energy storage systems. At the moment, the construction is going according to plan, and the installation of all Megapacks has already been completed.

The system is designed, built, and maintained by PG&E and Tesla, and will be owned by PG&E. PG&E aims to launch the system in Q1 2021 and fully operationalize it in Q2 2021. …

Policy and solutions / Re: Electric cars
« on: February 24, 2021, 09:43:59 PM »
Tech startup SparkCharge to roll out an on-demand EV charging service
   •   The service will be available in 12 US cities this month and reach a total of 25 cities by the end of the year.
   •   BoostEV is launched in partnership with AllState Roadside and HONK Technologies, among others.
SparkCharge, the creator of the portable electric vehicle charging system the Roadie, is partnering with Allstate Roadside, Spiffy, HONK Technologies, and Mark Cuban to launch BoostEV, an on-demand mobile EV charging network.
SparkCharge is launching the new service first in 12 cities including New York, Chicago, San Diego, Dallas, Boston, Los Angeles, and San Francisco. EV owners can order a charge to be delivered to their vehicles by using SparkCharge's BoostEV mobile app, SparkCharge said in an emailed statement.
The company plans to open up in a different city every month after February and roll out the service in 25 cities by the end of 2021.
SparkCharge was founded in 2017 with the goal to build the world's largest mobile electric vehicle charging network through hardware, software, and partnerships. It's Roadie Charging System is a portable modular charging solution that makes charging accessible regardless of infrastructure.
Allstate Roadside, a roadside assistance service provider, and HONK Technologies, the digital platform connecting drivers and towing professionals, and the other partners will bring the portable Roadie charging system to charge vehicles that need a charge, the company said. …

Sawyer Merritt:
NEWS: IHS Markit new analysis indicates that electric vehicle registrations in the U.S. in 2020 peaked a record market share of 1.8%; December marked the highest monthly share with 2.5% of the industry, more than tripling EV retail share three years ago.

Lordstown Motors CEO: We have pre-sold 100,000 electric pickup trucks
It has been a long road for Lordstown Motors founder and CEO Steve Burns to arrive at this point of being ready to produce his electric pickup truck, dubbed the Endurance. The good news is that he arrives at this critical juncture with a large number of orders.
"Our initial foray is into fleets, and we have pre-sold 100,000 of these vehicles to various fleets across America — really a big appetite," Burns told Yahoo Finance Live. "You've got a fleet using a 17-mile per gallon pickup truck for the last 30 years and we come out with one that gets the equivalent of 75 miles per gallon. There is a lot of demand and excitement about it." …

Eastbourne taxi driver ‘gobsmacked’ at response to buying an electric car
In the end, common sense did prevail.
Dean O’Hara, from Sovereign Harbour, has been a driver in Eastbourne for more than 10 years and works for Call A Cab.
When Dean’s estate car needed replacing, he invested in a £25,000 fully-electric MG5 EV. …


The Council said "his electric car couldn’t be licensed because it might ‘set a trend’. He said he was told if 20 Eastbourne taxi drivers went out to buy electric cars there wouldn’t be enough places to charge them." …

VW is canceling shifts for the Golf in March
Tesla Daily:  IHS Markit says 1 million fewer vehicles may be produced this year due to chip shortage.
Rob also suggests that growing automakers like Tesla probably have a closer relationship with their suppliers, making sure they will be able to ramp production as planned, compared to OEMs who have had steady supplies for months or years and just assume that will continue.

The rest / Re: Astronomical news
« on: February 24, 2021, 07:52:15 PM »
Perseverance on Mars
Prof. Paul Byrne (@ThePlanetaryGuy) 2/24/21, 10:34 AM


One of the very first images returned by @NASAPersevere shows what looks like a plume far from the rover, in the direction where the Descent Stage flew.

A final image to celebrate a hero.

Prof. Paul Byrne:
This image was acquired from the Right Rear HazCam almost immediately after the rover landed, to verify a safe landing. Most of the image is missing, and I modified it to account for the lens distortion.

h/t @doug_ellison for spotting it first!

SarcasticRover (@SarcasticRover) 2/18/21, 3:52 PM
You either land in a crater, or you make one.

That's the Martian way.

The rest / Re: SpaceX
« on: February 24, 2021, 06:24:24 PM »
... Third time lucky?

I think even the indefatigable crew of Tug Hawk might mutiny at six attempts. ;D

Japan advisers urge quick adoption of carbon pricing to hit emissions goal
TOKYO (Reuters) - Japan must introduce carbon pricing and fiscal incentives for green investment to achieve its goal of becoming carbon-neutral by 2050, private-sector members of a key government panel said on Wednesday.

Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga last December instructed his environment and industry ministries to work on a plan in 2021 to create a carbon pricing scheme, as part of efforts to meet his pledge to make Japan carbon-neutral by 2050.

But progress has been slow due to differences between the environment ministry, which is keen to adopt carbon pricing, and the industry ministry, which is wary of initiatives that increase costs for Japan’s manufacturers. ...

The rest / Re: Astronomical news
« on: February 24, 2021, 04:23:13 PM »
—- Moon exploration plans
ESA plans mission to explore lunar caves
In a first step towards uncovering the Moon's subterranean secrets, in 2019 we asked for your ideas to detect, map and explore lunar caves. Five ideas were selected to be studied in more detail, each addressing different phases of a potential mission.

Through these five Sysnova studies, three mission scenarios were developed – one to perform a preliminary scout of entry pits and underground caves from the Moon's surface, one to lower a probe into a pit and access the first part of a cave, and one to explore an underground lava tube using autonomous rovers. …

Andrew Jones (@AJ_FI) 2/22/21, 8:34 AM Xi Jinping met representatives of scientists/engineers involved in Chang'e-5 lunar sample return in Beijing Monday. Notably: Xi stressed pushing forward the 4th phase of lunar exploration (south pole CE-6, 7, 8, IRLS) & embarking on a new journey in planetary exploration. i:CCTV

Andrew Jones:
Xi apparently sees CE-5 seen as an important milestone and of great significance to the development of China's aerospace industry, as part of overall national development. An indication of the apparent awareness of the significance of space for China and level of backing.

< I think we still haven't seen photos of the returned [moon dust] samples yet... or am I wrong?
Fankang Meng (@FankangMeng)2/22/21, 8:36 AM
Image at link. 

The rest / Re: SpaceX
« on: February 24, 2021, 04:09:05 PM »
—- Wen hop
SpaceX now targeting no earlier than Thursday, February 25th, for a flight test of Starship prototype SN10, judging by current TFRs.

—  Starship Static fire yesterday!
Two clips:


Possibly another Static fire today, Feb 24:
Mary (@BocaChicaGal) 2/23/21, 7:15 PM I have received another “Alert” notice for tomorrow and a road closure has been scheduled. Possible static fire test tomorrow?

TFRs from surface to unlimited are posted for Feb 25, 26 — and 27, Saturday, which is unusual. 
Wed and Thurs TFRs are cancelled.

Of note is that the restricted area has changed somewhat. 
Different flight profile?
⬇️ See below: newer is on right.

Brady Kenniston (@TheFavoritist) 2/23/21, 7:57 PM
SpaceX receives Raptor engine SN52 from McGregor, TX and ships back Raptor SN43. Meanwhile Super Heavy BN1 waits for a new ring section in the High Bay.
Static Fire video coming later tonight!
Video & Photos from Mary (@BocaChicaGal)

—-Starship Seaports
< Any further details on the Rigs?
Elon Musk (@elonmusk) 2/23/21, 6:53 AM
I hope we don’t go bankrupt building them!

—- Next Starlink launch
SpaceX (@SpaceX) 2/24/21, 7:25 AM
Static fire test complete – targeting Sunday, February 28 at 8:37 p.m. EST for launch of Starlink from LC-39A

Emre Kelly (@EmreKelly) 2/23/21, 4:09 PM
Falcon 9 and its Starlink payload went vertical at 39A about an hour ago. ...
➡️ [30 sec time lapse. Raising the rocket ]
< Is there any reason for stopping movement around 60°?
Emre Kelly:
Yes, lunch break.
JK I have no idea, but it does happen every time.

Gavin Cornwell (@SpaceXFleet) 2/23/21, 1:59 PM
Starlink V1 L17 is tentatively set for NET Feb 28th at 8:37pm EST.
Of Course I Still Love You droneship should depart in the next 48 hours if the schedule holds.
This will be the the third time a droneship has been sent out for this mission. Third time lucky?

It looks like SpaceX has woken up the Roberts Road site at KSC. I am unsure if this is going to be a Starship related facility or general use.
There is no public access and no bus tours running so images like this are rare. It will be interesting to see how they use the space.

Leo (@TerminalCount) 2/24/21, 4:46 AM
SpaceX's Roberts Road facility is taking shape.
Not known exactly what this site is for, but possibly Starship production-related; either way, it's great for the Cape launch sites.
Image from spsam, but original author unknown.
⬇️ Photo below.

Eastern Range discusses drive toward “airport model” operations, eyes increased launch demand
written by Justin DavenportFebruary 23, 2021
A few years ago, the @45thSpaceWing set a goal of supporting 48 launches per year from Florida. As they aim to meet that this year, the Range now looks to adopt a more "airport-like" model over the next 9 years.

The entire Eastern Range is looking at a projected cadence of 60 launches per year in the near future, with that number increasing to upwards of 96 launches a year by 2030, if not more.

To this end, Mr. Cabana, Brig. Gen. Purdy, and Mr. Monteith discussed the “range of the future,” including a pivotal swing toward a more airport-like model of launch support that would routinely be capable of supporting one to two launches per day. …

—- China’s next heavy lift rocket
Larry Teds (@LarryTeds) 2/24/21, 7:24 AM
It is confirmed that Chinese government has officially approved Long March 9 super heavy launcher, which is going to power crewed lunar exploration, Mars sample return and crewed Mars exploration missions.
~ Maiden flight is scheduled by 2030. Next step is to make CZ-9 reusable.
~ LEO 140+ tons, LTO 50+ tons
Larry Teds:
Source: CCTV interview with Wu Yanhua, deputy director of CNSA: “Now the state has decided to develop Long March 9. Its main purpose is for (if any) crewed lunar landing or crewed Mars landing missions.”
[Clip at the link includes render of rocket launch.]
Larry Teds:
Xi was shown yesterday about CZ9. It is the most official render.
Photos at the link.

The rest / Re: Astronomical news
« on: February 24, 2021, 02:22:41 AM »
Sunset on Mars.
Amazing to be alive at this time to witness this.

Policy and solutions / Re: Ships and boats
« on: February 24, 2021, 01:29:43 AM »
Electric tanker ship to be powered by a 3.5 MWh battery pack
 February 22, 2021
Cargo ships, powered by heavy fuel oil with a high sulfur content, are some of the largest and most polluting vehicles on the planet, so electrifying them could be very cost-effective in terms of reducing air pollution.

Last year, a consortium of Japanese companies announced a collaboration to develop an all-electric oil tanker. Now Asahi Tanker has ordered two of the new electric tankers, and plans to put them into operation as soon as March 2022 and March 2023. The first of the electric tanker ships is now under construction, and it will be equipped with a massive 3.5 MWh battery pack.

Ironically, the all-electric vessels will be used to carry fuels for other vessels in coastal areas of Japan. ...

The rest / Re: SpaceX
« on: February 23, 2021, 03:35:16 PM »
—- Starship
FAA clears SpaceX Starship prototype for third launch and landing attempt
By Eric Ralph February 22, 2021
The US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has already cleared Starship serial number 10 (SN10) for flight, cutting short any potential licensing drama facing SpaceX’s latest high-altitude Starship launch efforts.

Less than three weeks ago, Starship serial number 9 (SN9) lifted off from SpaceX’s South Texas launch facilities after a tedious week or so of opaque licensing ‘issues’ only vaguely touched upon by the FAA. The regulatory body never actually offered an explanation for why it publicly dragged SpaceX through the coals in January and February for purported “launch license violations” during Starship SN8’s December 8th launch debut, nor why the FAA only brought up those claimed issues more than a month after the fact.

SpaceX has already filed temporary flight restrictions (TFRs) with the FAA for possible SN10 launch attempts on Tuesday, Wednesday, or Thursday, suggesting that the company hopes to turn Starship around for flight as few as 24-72 hours after a successful static fire. Stay tuned for updates as SpaceX works to conduct its third Starship launch before the month is out.

Temporary Flight Restrictions have been posted for Starship SN10's test flight. Opportunities are Feb. 23 through Feb. 25.
Surface to unlimited

An “Alert” notice has been delivered and a road closure has been scheduled for [today] February 23 from 9 a.m. - 6 p.m. Another static fire attempt….

Chris B - NSF:
Some resources to keep you occupied in the meantime!

The latest Starship/Super Heavy round-up by me.

And Mary's latest daily video from today:

—- Turtles all the way down ;)
nomadd (@nomadd13) 2/21/21, 10:53 PM
@elonmusk We returned about 1500 of the turtles that people, including SpaceX employees rescued from freezing temperatures. About 35 miles off shore, to nice warm 61F water. They survived thanks to a SpaceX supplied generator.
Photo at link: scads of turtles on the rescue center floor

—- SLS Green Run hot fire retest delayed
Eric Berger:
NASA confirms the rumor I posted earlier, that the SLS Green Run test hot fire will be delayed from February 25 due to a malfunctioning valve.

The last time there was a valve issue with the SLS it delayed the Green Run test by about six weeks. I don't know if there will be a similarly long delay this time.

?:  Now "NET February 4th, 2022" launch date?
Eric Berger:
There is no official information. I have also heard the earliest likely date is February, 2022, but NASA is not going to confirm anything until after the hot fire test.

Green Run Update: NASA Investigating Valve Performance Before Second Hot Fire
February 22, 2021
NASA’s is reviewing the performance of a valve on the core stage of the Space Launch System rocket before proceeding with a second hot fire test at the agency’s Stennis Space Center near Bay St. Louis, Mississippi.

During checkout preparations over the weekend, engineers determined that one of eight valves (a type of valve called a prevalve) was not working properly. This valve is part of the core stage main propulsion system that supplies liquid oxygen to an RS-25 engine. During the first hot fire, all four liquid oxygen valves performed as expected as did the four liquid hydrogen valves. NASA and the core stage lead contractor Boeing will identify a path forward in the days ahead and reschedule the hot fire test that was originally scheduled for Feb. 25. …

The rest / Re: SpaceX
« on: February 23, 2021, 03:14:36 PM »

The Definitive Guide To Starship: Starship vs Falcon 9, what's new and improved?
Everyday Astronaut

The rest / Re: Astronomical news
« on: February 23, 2021, 02:58:30 PM »
'Dare mighty things': hidden message found on Nasa Mars rover parachute
Social media users say message is encoded in red-and-white pattern on parachute

Policy and solutions / Re: Aviation
« on: February 23, 2021, 12:53:41 AM »
Jet engines blowing up is not an exceptional event.  But this is a new engine, and a new engine design.
Looks like some may be grounded.  Boeing 777. 
Dillon Thomas (@DillonMThomas) 2/20/21, 3:53 PM
BREAKING: large pieces of an aircraft are falling throughout the metro area near #Denver International Airport.
So far no word on what caused the plane to have issues.
….(PC: BPD)  ⬇️ Photo below.

Flight 328 @united engine caught fire. my parents are on this flight 
everyone’s okay though!
At the link: ~25 sec vid of something you never want to see out your airplane window

Some Boeing 777 airplanes likely to be removed from service, FAA says

The rest / Re: Astronomical news
« on: February 22, 2021, 09:55:12 PM »
Al Chen: we missed our targeted landing pixel by only 5 meters.
Received:  30 GB of data, 23,000 images.
Perseverance, or “Percy” is being referred to as “she,” (being a ship of sorts).

Eric Berger:
If you could remove your helmet on Mars, this is what it would sound like. You'd also be dead. But still.
Sounds From Mars: Filters Out Rover Self-Noise by NASA

Here's a link to the Mars Perseverance landing video on NASA's YouTube page.
Perseverance rover’s descent and touchdown on Mars (official NASA video)

360-degree panorama image of Mars, taken on Saturday by Perseverance.

Raw images:
Images from the Mars Perseverance Rover - NASA Mars

Mission updates:

Eric Berger:
The production quality of faking landings on other worlds has come a long way since 1969. [;)]
⬇️ Image below.  From rover cam, looking up at the sky crane as it lowers the rover to the surface.  The rocket flames are invisible, due to the fuel used!

The rest / Re: Astronomical news
« on: February 22, 2021, 09:12:36 PM »
THE VIDEO.  At the link.
NASA JPL (@NASAJPL) 2/22/21, 2:14 PM
Grab the popcorn because the @NASAPersevere rover has sent us a one-of-kind video of her Mars landing. For the first time in history, we can see multiple angles of what it looks like to touch down on the Red Planet. #CountdownToMars

The rest / Re: Astronomical news
« on: February 22, 2021, 07:09:12 PM »
NASA will also be hosting a live Reddit “Ask Me Anything” two hours later.

NASA (@NASA) 2/22/21, 11:13 AM
Today, we'll release first-of-its-kind video from @NASAPersevere's Feb. 18 touchdown on Mars:

• 2pm ET (19:00 UTC): live news update unveiling video & images

• 4pm ET (21:00 UTC): @reddit AMA with mission experts

Ask questions using #CountdownToMars

Dr. Leah Stokes on Twitter: "This is absolutely exceptional climate communication. Bravo @KHayhoe!”

8 minute video: Prof. Katharine Hayhoe interviewed on CNN. Texas cold, and global weirding.

The rest / Re: SpaceX
« on: February 22, 2021, 03:33:29 PM »
—- Inspiration 4
Representing the mission pillar of Hope, #Inspiration4 has named its first crew member – a cancer survivor and physician assistant at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.

World’s First All-Civilian Mission to Space, Inspiration4, Names Second Crew Member
Hayley Arceneaux, physician assistant at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital and pediatric cancer survivor, to represent Hope on historic flight Two remaining seats on mission still available to the general public until February 28
February 22, 2021
MEMPHIS, Tenn.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Inspiration4, the world’s first all-civilian mission to space, has announced its second crew member, Hayley Arceneaux of Memphis, TN, a 29-year-old physician assistant at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital® who was treated as a child for bone cancer at St. Jude. Arceneaux joins Inspiration4 mission commander Jared Isaacman. She will occupy the mission seat representing Hope.

The mission name Inspiration4 recognizes the four-person crew’s purpose – to send a humanitarian message of possibility and inspire support for St. Jude – and represents the pillars of Leadership, Hope, Generosity and Prosperity.

The remaining two seats representing Generosity and Prosperity are available to the general public through February 28, with details available at the mission website, The Generosity crew seat can be secured by a member of the public who enters for an opportunity to join the flight to space. The Prosperity seat is available to any deserving entrepreneur who utilizes the new Shift4Shop eCommerce platform to submit their idea and be selected by a panel of distinguished judges. The Shift4Shop platform is designed to empower entrepreneurs to build and grow successful eCommerce businesses. …
Nice to see that we’re progressing from “only professional astronauts and the rich get to go to space” to “the rich buy seats for others to go to space.”  Like Yusaku Maezawa’s Dear Moon mission.  Inspiration 4 will fly on a SpaceX Crew Dragon; Dear Moon on a Starship.

The rest / Re: SpaceX
« on: February 22, 2021, 01:52:36 PM »
—- Starship
Mary reports road closure and Static fire “alert” notice received for Monday

All the concrete has been poured for the landing pad. Hopefully, Starship SN10 will fly as early as this week.
Photo at the link: the pad. Featuring: cement smoother guys!

Brady Kenniston (@TheFavoritist) 2/21/21, 8:11 PM
Crews pour concrete at the Landing Pad in preparation for Starship SN10's maiden flight. SpaceX is making the pad wider & thicker. SN10's flight could occur early as this coming week as crews test its aft flaps.
Video & Photos from Mary (@BocaChicaGal)

SpaceX Boca Chica: Starship SN10 Tests its Flaps for Flight - Concrete Poured at the Landing Pad - YouTube

<With rapid curing additives you can load concrete in a few hours.
This is commonly done with freeway repair etc.
Won't reach the maximum strength as slow cure would, but this isn't a bridge beam or anything, just a slab on grade, so you just make it a little thicker to compensate

An aft flap has been deployed on SN10.
Photo at the link.

Elon Musk (@elonmusk) 2/21/21, 4:25 PM
Good chance of flying this week!
Chris B - NSF:
Excellent! So that answers the landing pad concrete cure timeline!  8)
SPadre:  SNX
< Damnit. We should have been calling it that this whole time. Talk about a missed opportunity

Eric Berger:
Assuming a good static fire test early this week, and FAA clearance, it looks like SN10 flies before the end of February.

SpaceX Starship ready to find out if third time’s the charm later this week

—- Sandy Munro at SpaceX Boca Chica
Sawyer Merritt (@SawyerMerritt) 2/19/21, 1:01 PM
Sandy Munro on his Elon Interview: After our interview finished Elon said "we are having a design review if you wanna stick around." We spent 2 hours at the design review. I was blown away. I've seen dozens of CEO's. I've never seen a CEO ever that knew more about a product.
2-minute clip at the Twitter link; 9 minute excerpt here:
Visiting SpaceX & Meeting Elon Musk [Munro Clip]

The full video:
Mostly recounting their cross-country Tesla trip (their first in an EV). 
Then, talking about how they sat in on the SpaceX design meeting:
34:56 Visiting SpaceX & Meeting Elon
44:48 Returning Home. 
Published on Feb 19, 2021

Here’s the Boca Chica interview itself.  Sandy Munro visits Boca Chica Texas to chat with Elon Musk. They mostly talk about Tesla:  production, mega-castings, Model 3 Seats, structural battery packs, MBA’s, short-Sellers and more.  Published on Feb 2, 2021

Elon Musk Interview: 1-on-1 with Sandy Munro

The rest / Re: SpaceX
« on: February 22, 2021, 01:47:53 PM »
Put the Elon-hating aside, and it’s easy to see SpaceX’s success is forcing the entire industry to follow their lead:

If reusable rockets are not worth the trouble and have no significant benefits, then why are Russia, ESA, China, ULA, Blue Origin, Rocket Lab…, and many more, ALL spending millions developing new rockets to switch over to that model as quickly as they can?

Edit:  Using expendable rockets to go to space is like throwing each airplane away after only one flight.  Reusability is key.

Policy and solutions / Re: Tesla glory/failure
« on: February 21, 2021, 09:59:26 PM »
—- Giga Texas
Tesla Gigafactory Texas site surprises with cryptic Boring Company equipment
The Boring Company has started to establish its presence in the Lone Star State, with reports back in December noting that the tunneling startup has leased an industrial space with two buildings in Pflugerville, Travis County, Texas. The building, which is located about 23 miles away from Giga Texas, is built on 14 acres of land. The Boring Company has also initiated a hiring ramp for employees who will be based in Texas.  …

—- Fremont: make “Tent” permanent
NEWS: Tesla has filed an application with the City of Fremont to expand its vehicle production facility by 64,000 sq ft. The application describes plans to implement foundations & install below-ground utilities under General Assembly 4.5 (GA 4.5).
Tesla files to expand Fremont factory, make Model Y ‘tent’ permanent

—- China
EV license plate policy in Shanghai extended until 2024. “This is a big deal.”
Earlier a rumor was circulating among NEV buyers in Shanghai that the free license plate policy would come to an end in Feb. Now the new policy, effective on March 1 thru Dec 31, 2023, stipulates continuing to issue free NEV lic plates, no restriction to buy & drive NEVs. …
~ However, if used for commercial purpose, hybrids & range extenders are excluded from the program except FCEVs or BEVs. This is positive news for Tesla as Shanghai is one of its big markets in China.
~ FYI, the free license plate program for NEV is a big deal. It may cost as much as 100k CNY or 15k USD for ICE owners to get lic plates & they’re subject to additional restrictions.

Tesla experience shop center attracts lots of people during Chinese New Year, which is not seen in other EV brand’s experience shop center (both photos are taken in the same shopping mall at the same time)
At the link: Two pics comparing store crowd sizes. ;D

—- California
Whole Mars Catalog (@WholeMarsBlog) 2/20/21, 6:26 AM
So this is interesting — Tesla is now using their Supercharger stations to sell cars.
You can go locations like Kettleman City, Traver, Visalia and Lemoore and scan a QR code on the windshield for an instant touchless test drive.
Don’t all rush over there at once…
[ Photos at the link.]
~ Once you scan the QR code you fill out a form and then Tesla sales hooks you up for the test drive remotely.
~ let’s see legacy auto do that with their third party charging networks they cobbled together

~ hey @elonmusk you know what would be amazing
hook the Model Y test drive car at Kettleman City up with FSD / Robotaxi software
Have it give people autonomous rides to In-N-Out [Burgers]
They’ll ride in it and subscribe to FSD or buy it right away.

Elon Musk walks the walk by consuming far less carbon than other billionaires

Policy and solutions / Re: Tesla glory/failure
« on: February 21, 2021, 09:53:25 PM »
—- Videos
Sandy Munro takes a cross-country trip in a Model 3 — their first in an EV — and sits down with Elon Musk at SpaceX
Sandy Munro on his Elon Interview: After our interview finished Elon said "we are having a design review if you wanna stick around." We spent 2 hours at the design review. I was blown away. I've seen dozens of CEO's. I've never seen a CEO ever that knew more about a product. 
Twitter clip

How Munro Met Musk: Road Trip Wrap-up Episode

Published on Feb 17, 2021
In this episode Cory Steuben & Sandy Munro recap their impromptu Road Trip across the U.S. in the 2021 Model 3. This video is full of plenty of good stories and insights, culminating with their final visit to SpaceX in Boca Chica to interview Elon Musk.
0:00 Intro & Genesis of Road Trip
5:15 Michigan to Nebraska
10:00 Nebraska to Denver
13:16 Refinements, Headlights, Autopilot
21:40 Colorado to Malibu
24:37 Zen, Faraday Future, & Aptera
26:36 Visiting Silicon Valley
28:38 Contacting Elon's Assistant
30:08 Arcimoto: Oregon to Reno
34:56 Visiting SpaceX & Meeting Elon
44:48 Returning Home

—- Joe Rogan’s latest Elon Musk interview
Jim Hall  (@jhall) 2/13/21, 5:01 PM
This is pretty wild if you haven’t listened to latest interview with @joerogan, @elonmusk describes how @Tesla can determine how airbags deploy based on seat sensors.
50 sec clip.

“The Joe Rogan Experience #1609 - Elon Musk”
The full video is 3.25 hours!  The original is on Spotify; copies keep being added to youtube, then taken down.  Tesla, SpaceX, AI, and more.

—- Giga Berlin
Tesla’s final permit for Giga Berlin won’t delay Model Y production: Minister
February 16, 2021
In a recent appearance at a podcast with German media outlet, Brandenburg Economy Minister Steinbach noted that Tesla’s final permits for Gigafactory Berlin would not jeopardize the electric car maker’s plans to start vehicle production around July this year.

For now, Tesla is still building Gigafactory Berlin using pre-approvals. The site’s progress has been notable, with machines used for vehicle production already being spotted on the complex. Amidst this flurry of activity that is now being dubbed as “Tesla Speed,” Gigafactory Berlin’s final permit has remained elusive. Nevertheless, Steinbach remained optimistic, noting that Tesla’s EV factory will benefit the state of Brandenburg. …

February 12, Tesla received its “pre-building permit #8.”
@GF4Tesla .build #GigaBerlin. (@Gf4Tesla) 2/12/21, 8:03 AM

Now Tesla can start building the painting units in 'Painting 'the 'Stamping' and among others the KUKA robots in 'Body in White'. And now let the work begin…


At this link: 2min Drone video of GF4 site

February 20/2021
24 sec pan along the Lonnnnng west side of GF4 next to highway.

Probably the first body presses arrived in the ' Stamping ' ( ST ).
and are ready for installation

“The first 4680 Model Y are expected to roll off the line in Berlin this July.
It’s already February.”

Policy and solutions / Re: Tesla glory/failure
« on: February 21, 2021, 09:43:55 PM »
—- Tesla to the rescue in Texas
Tesla owners are being saved from TX’s unusually cold weather and power outages
Elon Musk (@elonmusk) 2/18/21, 6:49 PM
SpaceX in south Texas & Tesla in central have been providing direct assistance where feasible (eg save cold turtles & help power the water treatment plant). Please let us know if we may be helpful in other ways.

Tesla registered 8 of every 10 EVs in the U.S. in 2020
Out of every 10 electric cars registered in the United States in 2020, nearly eight of them were built by Tesla.
New data from Automotive News shows that Tesla owned 79% of the total EVs registered in the U.S. in 2020, leaving only 21% for the other manufacturers to divide up between themselves. This overwhelming domination is also followed by somewhat obvious premonition: Tesla’s four currently-offered electric cars made up four of the top five spots. With the Chevy Bolt EV taking third, the Model 3, Model Y, Model X, and Model S took first, second, fourth, and fifth place, respectively. …

In the U.S. luxury car market, Tesla sales surpassed Audi in 2020, bested only by Mercedes-Benz, BMW, and Lexus.

The EQC was developed with American regulations in mind. But the US launch was delayed, then cancelled.
Mercedes-Benz won't sell the EQC in the United States after all

Tesla Keeps Cutting Car Prices. What It Means for the EV Industry.
The impact on lower EV pricing on the car industry is less controversial, however. It means traditional auto makers—who plan to launch dozens of new EV models in coming years—will have to drop costs as fast, or faster, than Tesla.

"Tesla, the EV leader, has nothing to worry about; Tesla will stay on its cutting edge, just as Apple did in mobile phones. Steve Jobs positioned Apple firmly up market, and it has remained there, capturing the lion’s share of smartphone profits."…  [ ]

< This FSD thing is really going to be big. It’s incredible, even at this early stage

Elon Musk (@elonmusk) 2/20/21, 4:16 AM
Most people have no idea, even though there are so many FSD progress videos posted. Munro understood right away.
There will be a gap before the next release, but then it will be a step change better.
Tesla is solving a major real-world AI problem.

Tesla isn’t just solving autonomy, they’re also solving unsupervised training using video data, not just images — and at massive scale. In the long run, Dojo might have a bigger impact than FSD itself
< I wonder what else the vision system they build can be used for
<< Their manufacturing processes?
< sure, that is fairly basic.  i’m thinking robots, medical, surgical, neuralink, etc

Whole Mars Catalog:
They asked @chamath: “Is Tesla a buy at an $800 billion market cap?”
2:20 vid
< Its all about energy, autobidder and yes they make really awesome cars. Brilliant to the point video!
<< Tesla is a multitrillion dollar car company.
It is also a multitrillion dollar energy company.
And a multitrillion dollar robotaxi company
Value of HVAC and Dojo AI Training Services could also be big.
Tesla is a buy at a $2T market cap. 

Tesla Daily (@TeslaPodcast) 2/16/21, 5:01 PM
$TSLA's 2020 GAAP net income was $6.3B more than Chevron's $CVX.
~ I find this to be an amusing reminder that GAAP accounting (or P/E ratios) is not some holy grail of business valuation and understanding the context is much more important. $TSLA

The rest / Re: Astronomical news
« on: February 21, 2021, 05:31:36 PM »
... the Jawas took it; they thought it was discarded scrap. They have a couple of droids to trade, though ...


But NASA is leaving itself wide open for viral fakery like this:

The viral Mars Perseverance rover video going around is fake

Policy and solutions / Re: Renewable Energy
« on: February 21, 2021, 05:07:04 PM »
Why wind turbines thrive in Antarctica and places way colder than Texas
Ice-coated blades are difficult and dangerous to spin. Solutions include water-repellent coatings, electrically heated blades or warm air circulation.   Interior gears and motors can also freeze up from ice in cold, humid air.  The energy needed to keep a wind turbine ice-free is a small fraction of its output.

El Paso, Texas winterized their power plants, and are part of the multi-state Western Interconnection grid, which pays them for any excess energy they generate.
El Paso Heeded the Warnings and Avoided a Winter Catastrophe
The West Texas city was spared the worst effects of this week’s storms, thanks to its preparations in the wake of a devastating 2011 deep freeze.

The rest / Re: SpaceX
« on: February 21, 2021, 03:23:28 PM »
SpaceX “Busted”?! Not disruptive?!  ::) ;D  Don’t tell the space industry!
SpaceX launches to orbit are much less expensive than most other launchers of comparable ability — even when fully expending the rocket — and SpaceX reusable rocket flights (74 so far) are cheaper still.
Not even two months into 2021, it has already launched five missions to orbit.

Elon-Musk-hater videos are so predictable.

Graphs below show 2020 data through October, from: and following.

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