⭐️ Inspiration4 flight helps SpaceX with Musk’s “extremely hard” problem

Musk Reads #265

Inspiration4 touches down; SpaceX looks to Mars; Elon Musk says an unexpected “thank you.” It’s the free edition of Musk Reads #265subscribe now to receive two more emails later this week! 

Last week, Musk Reads+ learned more about how (and why) the flight’s accompanying Netflix docuseries was made. This week, subscribers will get a taste of Mars.

Musk quote of the week

“Congratulations @Inspiration4x!!!” — Elon Musk tweeted September 18, just a few minutes after the all-civilian Inspiration4 crew landed back on Earth after a three-day space journey. Although Musk wasn’t super involved in the sponsored SpaceX flight’s journey, he has now pledged $50 million to the flight’s accompanying St. Jude fundraiser. 

Inspiration4: How it made history

Our long-awaited moment has come and gone — Inspiration4 had a smooth take-off on September 15, leading up to a graceful September 18 splashdown

Here are some highlights of the Inspiration4 crew’s three days in space: 

All around, it was a successful mission. Crewmember Hayley Arceneaux called the flight the “most incredible experience of my life,” and former First Lady Michelle Obama said speaking to the Inspiration4 crew was “an honor.” Elon Musk, for his part, promised to equip Crew Dragon with a food warmer and WiFi “next time.” Read more on Inverse.

SpaceX: Beefing with Biden, not Mars

Musk did what Musk does, which is tweet a lot. This weekend, a few Musk fans were annoyed at President Joe Biden — and not just because of tax incentives. Fans wondered why Biden had not (and still hasn’t, as of writing) mentioned the Inspiration4 crew at all. A little snippy, Musk said, “[Biden] is still sleeping.”

While Biden slept, Musk also tweeted the difficulty of “making life multi-planetary,” which is somewhat alleviated by “essential” reusable rockets. 

He wants to bring down the cost of Starship’s Raptor engine by 10 times and possibly change the name. He would also like you to speak in favor of Starship’s position in Boca Chica, with which the Federal Aviation Administration has some pretty real environmental concerns. On the other hand, Musk fears losing “humanity’s future on the moon, Mars, and beyond.” 

Another great weekend on Musk’s Twitter. 

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More stories from Musk’s world...

T-minus the internet

A ranked list of everything Musk-related and online, handpicked weekly with bionic precision.  

10. God is online. Read more.

9. Grimes wants to die on Mars, and she and Elon Musk’s child calls her Claire. Help me with my diaper, Claire. 

8. In an unprecedented Twitter move, Elon Musk thanked Jeff Bezos. It’s so cute when they play nice.

7. GM is asking Chevrolet Bolt owners to quarantine their literally on-fire vehicles. Read more. 

6. Please don’t get in a car drunk, not even if you have great Autopilot software. This guy did. He shouldn’t have.

5. CNBC space reporter Michael Sheetz posted an informative Twitter thread detailing SpaceX’s “post-[Inspiration4 splashdown] briefing by phone.” Some interesting admissions include issues with Crew Dragon’s space toilet and the “obviously private” cost of the mission. Read more.

4. Meanwhile, Curiosity Mars Rover engineering camera team lead Doug Ellison urged space fans to consider how “more space doesn’t mean more space content,” he wrote in his own Twitter thread. “Ask yourself — what mission coverage are you owed?” Well? What do you think?

3. Climate change is on Mars, too. Read more.

2. Making strides within strides — Sian Proctor piloted the Inspiration 4 mission, making her the first Black woman to pilot a spacecraft. Read more.

1. And a piece of Musk history: On April 15, 2010, Musk gave our now-president Joe Biden’s then-president Barack Obama a tour of SpaceX. Both men are seen smiling in these photos shared by NASA while “[mantaining] U.S. leadership in human space flight.” Space! Leadership! 2010!

The ultra-fine print

This has been Musk Reads #263, the weekly rundown of essential reading about futurist and entrepreneur Elon Musk. I’m Ashley Bardhan, assistant to Musk Reads.

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Musk Reads+ is a fully independent operation. We are not Elon Musk, nor are we employed by him. Our job is to report the events we find newsworthy, giving you an inside look at the worlds of space rockets, electric cars, clean energy, and more. It means firsthand accounts of a SpaceX rocket launch, Tesla insights from third-party analysts, and more. 

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