SpaceX’s civilian mission names its second passenger; Falcon 9 avoids birds; Tesla gets a price cut. It’s the free edition of Musk Reads #235 — subscribe now to receive two more editions later this week!
Last week, Musk Reads+ subscribers heard from Doug Alfaro, a former Tesla Supercharger manager, about why bi-directional charging could provide the missing piece for the future of clean energy. This week, subscribers will hear from Ben Allen, a California state senator, about his plan to prepare for the future of autonomous cars.
Musk quote of the week
“Final design is looking 👌 Was just in the studio”
Read more about Musk’s plans for the Tesla Cybertruck.
What happens with the Tesla Solar Roof when it snows? In a video shared by the company’s Twitter account Sunday, Jason Lassen shares his under-construction house in Wisconsin with a Tesla Solar Roof. The video shows how the roof retains very little snow, especially compared to other roofs in the area.
Another video, from “Tesla Owners Austin,” shows snow sliding off the roof.
Solar comparison website EnergySage notes that panels function more efficiently in colder weather. The angle of the panel can also help snow slide off on its own accord, but equipment can also be used to push snow off. Musk has expressed interest in using heating grids for the Solar Roof.
Tesla has made changes to its Model 3 and Model Y lineup in a three-day period that left some buyers confused. Reuters reported Thursday that the standard range Model 3 dropped from $37,990 to $36,990, while the standard range Model Y dropped from $41,990 to $39,990.
Electrek noted Sunday in updates described as “hard to follow” that the standard range Model Y had disappeared and the long range Model Y dropped from $49,990 to $48,990 — meaning the Model Y’s entry price rose despite the series of cuts.
New drone footage shows Tesla’s giant battery project taking shape. The Moss Landing, California, battery will offer 730 megawatt-hours of storage, far outranking the firm’s Australia project with 129 megawatt-hours. It features 256 Megapacks on 33 concrete slabs. Construction is set to complete early this year with full commercial operation set for the second quarter.
SpaceX launched its latest batch of 60 Starlink satellites on Monday, adding to the size of the internet connectivity constellation. The firm failed to save the Falcon 9 booster after the launch, missing the Of Course I Still Love You drone ship and landing in the sea. Eagle-eyed fans noted the booster avoided three birds perched on the drone ship. YouTuber Scott Manley suggested that rather than the booster sacrificing itself to avoid the birds, the Falcon 9 may have experienced an engine failure. Read more.
Starship, the company’s under-development ship designed to send humans to Mars and beyond, is gearing up for its next launch. The firm is expected to launch the “SN10” prototype on a high-altitude test, the third for Starship. Musk claimed this month that the chances of a successful landing are around 60 percent. Musk wrote on Twitter Sunday that there’s a “good chance” the ship will fly this week. Read more.
“Inspiration4,” the first all-civilian mission to space, has its second passenger. AP reports Hayley Arceneaux, a 29-year-old physician assistant at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital and bone cancer survivor, will be the youngest American in space when the mission launches this fall. The mission will also feature Jared Isaacman, CEO of Shift4 Payments, and two competition winners.
The ultra-fine print
This has been Musk Reads #235, the weekly rundown of essential reading about futurist and entrepreneur Elon Musk. I’m Mike Brown, an innovation journalist for Inverse.
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