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    • Tesla, SolarCity, and SpaceX have long been operating under a unifying economic vision to make things cheaper. He's now delivering rockets, electric cars, and solar panels at a fraction of the cost they once were a decade ago. His innovations reduce costs, not change what's possible. Take the Falcon 9. Its reusable first stage booster allows for cheaper space flights, but is hasn't changed our perspective.

      The most exciting thing about Elon Musk is the Starship. It's the core of his mission to make humans a multi-planet species among the stars. This vehicle is not about economics. Unlike a Model X or a Falcon 9, this one is going to take humanity somewhere new. And his company is prioritizing reaching Mars above profit.

      His update from Southern Texas this week shows that Starship will change everything, soon. In a matter of years, humans won't be confined by Earth's gravity. Since 2016, we knew Starship would be a fully reusable orbital-class rocket. But it's no longer a pipe dream. It's a standing prototype vehicle with some astounding specs. This update showed that the 3-year design evolution is coming to an end, and an orbital flight on a production vehicle is on the horizon, hopefully in the next year.

      I'm stoked and inspired! I want to see this thing fly. What do you think? Could Starship be Elon's greatest achievement?

    • As the kid whose father designed part of the life science package on the Ranger and Mariner probes, this is wickedly exciting. Now we don't have to send robots, we can explore for ourselves! Exciting and awe inspiring!

    • I'm so so excited to see what comes.

      I watched this interview with Elon after the event, and I was shocked in many ways. It sounds like a talk with a friend, not an interview with a billionaire who has a space company. I find this guy so inspiring. He reveals the real secret to fast Starship progress is the empowerment of his team. And he really is the Chief Engineer, which is fundamental to avoiding things at the business level like the sunk cost fallacy. That's why they switched to stainless steel -- the carbon layups were taking too long. What other airspace company has ditched carbon fiber for steel?!

    • Now imagine what kind of an alien Musk must look like to Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman and other 'traditional' aerospace companies... :) In the time SpaceX went from ideas to actual flying hardware they would probably still be woking on choosing the proper font for the documentation design papers. And already be three times over budget. :-)

    • Yeah, it's mind-blowing they will have developed and built a fully reusable rocket the size of the Saturn V, in a fraction of the time it took Boeing to build a 787 Dreamliner.

      It took Lockheed longer to take the F35 from idea to deployment than the 17 years Elon Musk has been doing SpaceX. And the F35 will cost 8% of US 2019 GDP by the end of its program. 🤯

    • I love what Elon has been able to accomplish in so many things. But there's a difference between Musk's Space X and all the other examples cited. It's the US Government. And, they unfortunately often make the wheels of progress turn much more slowly than they could/should.

      After spending 30 years in the defense biz, I have some insight into the issues. You wouldn't believe how much more time and money was spent trying to deal/comply with regulations that had little to no value and sometimes even negative value.

      A good example is the Lockheed SR-71 Blackbird aircraft. That incredible, bleeding edge mach 3 fast, tiny radar cross section, missile avoiding machine was built in a very, very short period of time. The contract for its development was signed on 11 February 1960. The first pre-production example flew on 25 April 1962. This without a single computer, while using drafting tables and slide rules. And the big difference between this machine and the later machines of its kind? Government oversight.

      Lockheed's Chief Designer Kelly Johnson hated significant government oversight and actually refused to build the bird once. Ultimately the government relented and Johnson nd his team delivered the undeliverable in record time.

      It's an unfortunate reality of today. I'm not saying that the government should mind its own business, I'm just saying the government should let the experts do what they know how to do best and with the least interference possible.

    • Speaking of government minding its own business, NASA administrator is bitter of SpaceX slipping deadlines:

      However, NASA is arguably slowing them down by strict requirements and slow regulation.

      I didn't know the SR-71 was so quickly developed. It's also crazy to think that the Apollo program got a human on the moon in less than a decade!

    • Wow, that's a pretty asinine statement. It does indeed seem pretty bitter.

      But in a way I understand. Space X can pretty much freewheel with its money and is not constrained by politicians controlling their budgets. Nor do politicians make scapegoats out of them when something goes wrong or change their mission when its politically expedient.

      It's almost like Bridenstine is the poor kid outside peeping through a window at a rich kid's birthday party.

      Oh yeah, one more thing. How many classified government payloads did Space X launch faster and cheaper than NASA? Just sayin'.