🚀 Watch SpaceX’s historic Crew-1 return

Musk Reads #245

SpaceX astronauts return; Musk voices support for a carbon tax; Starlink expands even further. It’s the free edition of Musk Reads #245 — subscribe now to receive two more editions later this week!

Last week, Musk Reads+ subscribers received a full transcript of Tesla’s latest earnings call, a comprehensive summary of what you need to know, and exclusive comment from analyst Sam Abuelsamid about what it means for Tesla’s self-driving plans. This week, subscribers will hear from cheese farmer Robin Betts on how he’s using Tesla to fight climate change.

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Musk quote of the week

“Renewable energy will be solved. It is being solved. But it matters how fast we solve it. And if we solve it faster, that's better for the world.”

  • Read more about Musk’s support for a carbon tax.


SpaceX

Touchdown! SpaceX successfully landed a Crew Dragon capsule in the Gulf of Mexico on May 2. The landing marked the first pre-dawn splashdown of an American spacecraft since 1968, when Apollo 8 returned to Earth. Astronauts Shannon Walker, Victor Glover, Michael Hopkins, and Soichi Noguchi returned to Houston after 168 days in space. The mission marked the first time two crewed Crew Dragon capsules were docked at the International Space Station (ISS) at the same time. Read more.

Crew Dragon has hosted three crewed missions since the first in May 2020. While currently used by NASA to ferry astronauts to and from the ISS, it’s set to host the first all-civilian spaceflight by the end of September. The mission, dubbed Inspiration4, will send four lucky civilians to low-Earth orbit. Read more.

SpaceX isn’t waiting around. On Monday, the firm announced plans to launch the next batch of satellites for its Starlink internet service constellation on Tuesday, May 4 — a special day for Star Wars fans. The launch comes just five days after SpaceX’s previous Starlink launch, which launched the 25th batch of satellites. Starlink aims to offer high-speed, low latency internet almost anywhere with a view of the sky.


Tesla

Tesla delivered its first-quarter 2021 earnings report last week, and it provided useful insight into where the company is headed. Inverse has compiled an exclusive transcript of the earnings call for Musk Reads subscribers here.

Here are some of the highlights from the call:

  • A carbon tax, Musk claimed, is “just common sense … we should tax energy that we think is probably bad and support energy you think is probably good.” Read more.

  • Why did Tesla buy bitcoin? “Elon and I were looking for a place to store cash that wasn't being immediately used, try to get some level of return on this but also preserve liquidity,” Zachary Kirkhorn, chief financial officer, said. Read more.

  • Musk outlined his “extremely profound” idea for a virtual power station. Read more.

  • Why is the Tesla Solar Roof suddenly so expensive? Musk admitted the company made “significant mistakes” when assessing how hard it would be to install on certain roofs. Read more.


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In other Musk news…

  • NASA has told SpaceX to halt further work on the lunar Starship contract. The agency awarded SpaceX the contract earlier this month, but a challenge by competitors Blue Origin and Dynetics led to the delay. The Government Accountability Office is expected to make a decision on the situation by August 4.

  • Max Hodak, who co-founded human-brain linkup firm Neuralink with Musk, posted on Twitter May 1 that he is “no longer at Neuralink [...] I learned a ton there and remain a huge cheerleader for the company!”

  • Tesla’s Giga Berlin won’t start production until the end of January 2022, sources told Automobilwoche, due to delays in getting battery production ready.

  • Tesla is stepping up its engagement with regulators in China, Reuters reported Monday, amid safety and customer satisfaction concerns.

  • Get up to speed with SpaceX’s Starship SN15 launch. Read more.

  • How four tech companies are leading the way to the future of self-driving cars. Read more.

  • Ahead of Musk’s appearance on Saturday Night Live May 8, Musk has turned to Twitter for tips on skit ideas.

  • May the 4th be with you!


The ultra-fine print

This has been Musk Reads #245, the weekly rundown of essential reading about futurist and entrepreneur Elon Musk. I’m Mike Brown, an innovation journalist for Inverse.

Why subscribe to Musk Reads+? You’ll be supporting in-depth, high-quality journalism about the world’s most ambitious change-maker, Elon Musk. Tesla investors, SpaceX critics, and anyone with an interest will find something they love in our offerings. Independent journalism is important now more than ever, and your contributions will help us continue in our mission to deliver interviews and analysis you won’t find anywhere else.

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 the 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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