Category Archives: SpaceX

SpaceX success boosts TSLA sentiment

Says who? Nobody. It’s just a gut feeling. If you own TSLA, you’re banking that Model III will not falter. It will fly, and re-fly. It won’t blow up. And the machine that makes the machine won’t falter either. You’re betting on a massive achievement in engineering.

So it helps when your subconscious mind whispers in your ear about the massive achievements in engineering across town at SpaceX. Building the Model III at scale seems extremely complex, true? So complex, in fact, that the term “rocket science” might enter the discussion between you and yourself. Once that happens, the SpaceX/Tesla connection becomes a thing of great beauty.

As noted here before, car companies have long sought a connection — any connection — with rocket science. Tesla doesn’t have to try awfully hard. Here’s a re-post from December 22, 2015, about this subject:


 

Spacex Falcon 9 TeslaMondo

TeslaMondo is a family-friendly site, so payload is not shown.

SpaceX’s immaculate reception last night gives Tesla Motors (and Tesla Energy) a brand boost that Big Auto would love to have, but never will. They’ve tried for decades to associate their cars with rockets and aircraft, especially during the space-happy 1950s and 60s. Space-age design, space-age materials, jet-inspired fins, turbine taillights, cockpit ergonomics.

Well, now we have a car company that actually does share engineering DNA with flying things, since the CEO is a real-life rocketeer who is taking us where no man has gone before. In this case, into repeat orbital rocketry, the first step to a Mars mission.

Where no man has gone before, eh? Sounds familiar. Along that theme, last night’s landing deserved a tweet from Bill Shatner or Leonard Nimoy. Instead, we heard from a Klingon, Jeff Bezos, whose “welcome to the club” tweet makes him and his phallic rocket resemble a possum’s pecker and a possum’s pecker, respectively. He is now dangling meat for social media piranha in his favorite South American river.

Meanwhile, in a New Jersey garage, FedEx trucks are likely dropping off rocket components addressed to Wile E. Geohot, and contracwile etors are probably installing a power-opening skylight.

Is the human ego the real rocket fuel that will propel mankind to a better place? Seems so. Musk seems to thrive on spats with other alpha engineers, journalists and car company chiefs. If toxic tweets end up improving our cars and getting us to Mars, so be they!

Anyway, back to the car/rocket overlap. Here are some erstwhile space-age cars, not including the Batmobile or Jetsons car. TeslaMondo avoids the obvious.

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Come on, let’s go Space Truckin’

Today’s Mars colonization keynote made for some memorable viewing. It’s always inspiring to see the “other” Elon do this thing at SpaceX. We’re reminded of a few things:

  1. Musk is an engineer of such high caliber that you could find yourself wanting a Tesla even if you don’t need a Tesla.
  2. The most remote planet in our solar system is France.
  3. Model X isn’t the most complicated vehicle on the planet after all.
  4. With rocket gas stations strategically-located “up there,” we could extend our reach and truly go Space Truckin’ as in the Deep Purple song.
  5. Reusable rockets could one day be used for earthbound package deliveries, when it absolutely, positively has to be there overnight. Actually, make that 10 minutes.

But once the Q&A session began, it became instantly clear that something was very wrong. The questions ranged from unintelligent to dumb. And some “questions” were really just self-indulgent ramblings from people basking in their 15 seconds of fame.

Well, TeslaMondo has learned that a prankster messed around with the event schedule, so Elon inadvertently delivered his Mars presentation to a Hempfest crowd. Meanwhile, one block away at the Hempfest presentation, the scientific community did pick up some interesting growing tips that are somewhat applicable to Mars colonization, so it worked out fine for all.

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Last week, best launch. This week, best landing.

Conrad and Musk final TeslaMondo

“Go ahead. I dare you.”

It’s times like these that Musk’s hyperbolic tendencies should be forgiven. And it’s times like these that the squawking about Tesla’s taxpayer subsidies should receive a moment of silence. The U.S. of A. looks better every year because these companies deliver the goods, to the ISS and to our driveways. And now Musk’s crew lands a rocket on a Chiclet that’s undulating on the ocean. Welcome to the club, SpaceX. Membership: one. Does anyone remember this joint Tesla/SpaceX expo in 2011? Maybe it’s time for another.

Now back to TeslaMondo’s bread n’ butter blogging.

Looks like the long, lonely intermission between the first and second acts of Model ☰ Mania, a gripping show so far, will at least have some good refreshments available the lobby, with the emphasis on the “refresh” part. Rumor points to an imminent Model S refresh and lineup shift — the refresh to include new seats and eyes-only face, and the lineup shift to include a new flagship version.

Will the new hierarchy have more personality, akin to BMW’s “M” series, Mercedes’ “AMG” series or Lexus’ “F” series? Hope so. Will the new Model S stop masquerading as an air-gulping, gas-slurping car and lose the nose cone? Hope so.

Tesla's new corporate face TeslaMondo

Eyes without a face? It can work for people. Why not cars?

If this refresh rumor is right, it means the Model S went about four years without a styling massage. That’s longish nowadays, but then again, the car is still an exotic novelty to most of the world, and the OTA updates give it an unfairly long shelf life. Internally, the car has very little in common with the debut version of 2012. Also, the brand represents the future, where everything is fresh by definition — even if it’s four years old. It also has a connection to space exploration. That’s something automakers have tried for decades to imply about their cars. Rocketry never goes stale. Actually, on second thought, it was indeed going stale. Until recently.

PS: Anyone under 40 will not understand that photo at the top of this post. Watch here for some clarity.

“If Elon Musk can _____, then I can ______.”

TeslaMondo will close out the year not with myopic chatter about delivery numbers, but with an invitation to step back and think a bit harder. Did Tesla or SpaceX inspire you to try something new this year? Did you reject naysayers, even the naysayer in your own head, and press forth with something you hadn’t dared before? What about 2016? What’s on tap for you, self-improvement-wise?

In TeslaMondo circles, Tesla inspired someone to take up guitar in 2015. “If Elon Musk can run two companies, I can learn how to play a guitar.” Tesla inspired someone to better organize his house in 2016. “I really thought about how much time I waste by struggling with messes. I have to get things sorted out and working efficiently.”

Industries of all stripes feel the Musk effect. Today we read about a washing machine engineer who has long-wrestled a very old problem. Washers use about 30 lbs of concrete at the base, to stabilize them during the rigorous spin cycle. A startup company is trying to skip the concrete as part of a new-think approach. “If Elon Musk can land rockets backwards,* then we have a way to stabilize a washing machine without concrete.” So says Glenn Reid, the head of Marathon Laundry, which is trying to break into an impenetrable industry resigned to permanent lockdown by a few immovable brands. Sound familiar?

It’s been a year and a half since Tesla went open-source. To date, nobody has openly borrowed the patents. Or at least nobody has told the press about it. It seems no company wants to humble itself by borrowing from Uncle Elon. And yet we’ve read copious articles about Big Auto having Big Epiphanies to spend Big Money on a Big Shift toward zero emissions transport. So Tesla’s mission to accelerate the advent of sustainable transport certainly bore fruit in the form of these new year’s resolutions, if you will, from auto execs.

When you factor in SpaceX, Elon’s companies doubly inspired a lot of people do try a lot of things. Tesla and SpaceX assaulted some hardened concepts — such as the way cars are made and sold, and the way rockets work, and even the insurmountability of space itself — and softened them just enough to make us wonder why we’ve accepted so many limitations in our own lives. Everything seems a little more reachable.

It seems likely that many new year’s resolutions for 2016 will sound like this: “If Elon Musk can _____, then I can _____.”

*Update: Musk has just tweeted that Falcon 9 has zero damage from its groundbreaking landing and is “ready to fire again.” A re-launch with the same rocket? A first, if it happens, and arguably just as important as the landing. When it’s on the pad for re-launch, perhaps the countdown announcer will use economy of language and simply say, “Ditto.”

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A rocket/car connection at last

Spacex Falcon 9 TeslaMondo

TeslaMondo is a family-friendly site, so payload is not shown.

SpaceX’s immaculate reception last night gives Tesla Motors (and Tesla Energy) a brand boost that Big Auto would love to have, but never will. They’ve tried for decades to associate their cars with rockets and aircraft, especially during the space-happy 1950s and 60s. Space-age design, space-age materials, jet-inspired fins, turbine taillights, cockpit ergonomics.

Well, now we have a car company that actually does share engineering DNA with flying things, since the CEO is a real-life rocketeer who is taking us where no man has gone before. In this case, into repeat orbital rocketry, the first step to a Mars mission.

Where no man has gone before, eh? Sounds familiar. Along that theme, last night’s landing deserved a tweet from Bill Shatner or Leonard Nimoy. Instead, we heard from a Klingon, Jeff Bezos, whose “welcome to the club” tweet makes him and his phallic rocket resemble a possum’s pecker and a possum’s pecker, respectively. He is now dangling meat for social media piranha in his favorite South American river.

Meanwhile, in a New Jersey garage, FedEx trucks are likely dropping off rocket components addressed to Wile E. Geohot, and contracwile etors are probably installing a power-opening skylight.

Is the human ego the real rocket fuel that will propel mankind to a better place? Seems so. Musk seems to thrive on spats with other alpha engineers, journalists and car company chiefs. If toxic tweets end up improving our cars and getting us to Mars, so be they!

Anyway, back to the car/rocket overlap. Here are some erstwhile space-age cars, not including the Batmobile or Jetsons car. TeslaMondo avoids the obvious.

 

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Why SpaceX should never go public

SpaceX pie in the sky

Mars as seen by the average investor.

Wrong mission. SpaceX launches satellites and serves as Space Station courier merely to pay the bills. It re-invests everything in the real mission, which is habitating that orangey dot up there. If SpaceX were public, the board of directors and shareholders wouldn’t abide a Mars master plan. That’s pie-in-the-sky stuff.

Wrong pace. If a fast-growing, media-heavy company like Tesla can still go through news lulls (like now) that send us into withdrawal, imagine the news flow from a space exploration company with Mars on the brain. We’d get long periods of absolutely nothing, punctuated with dramatic rocket blastoffs that happen once in a blue moon (gag). No steady fix for shareholders, ever. The highs would make us feel like Richard Dreyfuss boarding the mothership in Close Encounters. The lows would make us feel like Richard Dreyfuss losing his shark cage in Jaws. You think TSLA is volatile? How about a SpaceX launch scheduled after the closing bell? Over the course of five years, SpaceX’s stock chart would show as much vertical movement as a reusable rocket, lending a new meaning to “vertical integration.”

Wrong legal system. Every SpaceX stock freefall would trip the Boo Hoo Alert System, so we’d see constant litigation.

Wrong subject matter: Accurate SpaceX news would come to us via, um, nobody except SpaceX. Journalists can barely grasp the Model S. They talk of the Model S “engine fires,” speculate that Tesla batteries hurt tulips in China, and dub engine noises into Model S footage. You think they can cover rocket science? No, they would consult rocket experts from the 1950s, or NASA or Air Force sources who know just enough about reusable rocketry to pollute the story with dipshittery. Rocketry is over our heads. Mars is way over our heads. That’s not an attractive investment. We should stick with cars and leave Mars for Musk.

Wrong CEO. Musk wants to personally visit Mars*, a place where iPhones can muster only one or two bars and AAA roadside assistance is patchy at best. When the day comes that Musk announces plans to go, it would likely cause a selloff that would only get steeper if he succeeded. SpaceX stock would explode for the better only when Musk lands back on Earth unharmed.

* This would oust Felix Baumgartner from the top of the Iron Balls rankings. One hopes Musk would shun any marketing attempt by Red Bull to associate itself with the red planet.

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