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📡 Is SpaceX helping Ukraine?
SpaceX deploys Starlink... Tesla gets a new battery… Elon Musk is in the clear.
SpaceX deploys Starlink... Tesla gets a new battery… Elon Musk is in the clear. It’s the free edition of Musk Reads #287.
And for our premium subscribers — last week, you heard from author Jimmy Soni about what Musk's earliest success reveals about his management style. This week, you will hear from Jeroen Cappaert, Spire chief technology officer and co-founder, to find out more about how the company is helping to clear up space debris.
Musk quote of the week:
“Hollywood refuses to write even one story about an actual company startup where the CEO isn’t a dweeb and/or evil” — Elon Musk tweeted on February 25, forgetting about Boss Baby and the fact that he made a cameo in Iron Man 2.
SpaceX: Sharing Starlink
It’s unclear whether Elon Musk’s resistance to being a “dweeb and/or evil” CEO had anything to do with SpaceX’s outreach in Tonga, but the private space company was able to provide rural homes in Tonga with Starlink internet connection last week.
Though Elon Musk says that Starlink connection in Tonga is currently “a little patchy,” it will “improve dramatically as laser inter-satellite links activate.” The same day as Musk made that statement, SpaceX launched 50 Starlink satellites from blue-skies California.
It’s a good thing that SpaceX is continuing to push on Starlink deployments and providing countries in need with free service. Now, moving through its hellish last few days, Ukraine is also in need of robust internet connection.
“While you try to colonize Mars — Russia try to occupy Ukraine!” said Ukraine’s Vice Prime Minister Mykhailo Fedorov on Twitter. “We ask you to provide Ukraine with Starlink stations and to address sane Russians to stand.”
In response, Musk wrote that “Starlink service is now active in Ukraine. More terminals en route.” Musk has not confirmed if Starlink will be free to Ukrainians, how the satellites will be delivered and installed in besieged areas, or how many Ukraine households are now able to use Starlink, if any.
Tesla: Battery refresh
A February 28 report from Reuters shares that Panasonic Corp will “begin mass production of a new lithium-ion battery for Tesla Inc (TSLA.O) before the end of March 2024 at a plant in Japan.”
“Unveiled by the Japanese company in October, the 4680 format (46 millimeters wide and 80 millimeters tall) battery is around five times bigger than those currently supplied to Tesla, meaning the U.S. electric vehicle (EV) maker will be able to lower production costs,” Reuters wrote. The 4680 format is also expected to charge faster and add 16 percent to the car’s total range. Read more on Inverse.
Back in Europe, Tesla is now enabling EV owners in Trzebownisko, Poland, Košice, Slovakia, and Miskolc and Debrecen, Hungary to use Tesla Superchargers for free, reports Electrek. According to a Tesla email obtained by the publication, starting today, February 28, Tesla is “temporarily enabling free Supercharging for both Tesla and Non-Tesla vehicles at sites in areas impacted by the recent situation in Ukraine.”
“We hope that this helps give you the peace of mind to get to a safe location,” the company writes.
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10. SpaceX is no longer implicated in a $20 million wrongful death lawsuit; though a driver was killed by an 18-wheeler blocking a public Texas highway to deliver supplies to SpaceX, a U.S. District Judge dismissed the case. It was the 18-wheeler’s fault, not SpaceX, the judge said.
8. Axios posted a rundown of all the accessories currently available to purchase for Tesla’s Cybertruck, which does not yet exist. Wish you could turn your nonexistent Cybertruck into a boat? I have great news.
7. NASA’s Curiosity Mars rover snapped a picture of a little sand blob that kind of looks like a flower or brain-sucking organism. It’s not — it’s a tiny mineral cluster.
6. To save it from megadrought, California is testing out 4,000 miles of solar panel-covered canals. “Covering these canals with solar panels would reduce evaporation of precious water,” writes engineer Roger Bales.
5. California spaceflight company, Rocket Lab, recently finished building its second launch pad at its private New Zealand launch site. The company wasted no time in using the pad, breaking it out for its “The Owl’s Night Continues” mission (not to be confused with “The Owl’s Night Begins”) on February 28. The entire mission is available to watch on YouTube. The Owl is on YouTube.
3. Due to sanctions placed on Roscosmos by the European Union, the Russian space organization is ceasing to launch from French Guiana. It’s pulling personnel from the area, too.
2. On Twitter, NASA Spaceflight International Space Station editor Pete Harding imagined what the ISS would look like “without the Russian Segment attached.” In a very detailed Twitter thread, Harding suggests “a Dragon could be docked to provide reboost capability and attitude control.” What do you think?
1. And a piece of Musk history: Remember when Elon Musk won a defamation case against Vernon Unsworth, a cave diver who helped save 13 people trapped in a Thailand cave, in 2019? And remember how Musk was the one that actually triggered the defamation case by calling Unsworth “pedo guy” on Twitter because Unsworth had criticized his idea of saving the people with a SpaceX submarine? That was pretty bad.
The ultra-fine print
This has been Musk Reads #287, the weekly rundown of essential reading about futurist and entrepreneur Elon Musk. I’m Ashley Bardhan, newsletter writer at Inverse.
Follow Inverse on Twitter at @inversedotcom.
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