Michael Sheetz+ Your Authors @thesheetztweetz Space Reporter @CNBC | pitches [email protected] | DM for cell, WhatsApp, Signal, ProtonMail | formerly @DJNF @ESTribune | alumnus @TheKingsCollege Mar. 09, 2020 2 min read + Your Authors

SpaceX CEO Elon Musk takes the stage for his #SATShow keynote.


Musk: SpaceX's Crew Dragon underwent "a truly ridiculous amount of testing" during development.

Dragon "is really just a low Earth orbit transport vehicle," capable of taking "a few people at what is still a very high cost" to space.

Musk: The Space Shuttle "was something that was really stuck in a lucky maximum for a long time" and I don't want Crew Dragon to turn into that.

"Why does Soyuz still fly ... it was designed in the 50s"

Musk: There is really just one thing that matters, a fully reusable rocket that's reasonably big.

Musk: We want to aim for a capability of 3 flights per day for Starship.

Musk says software is an increasing part of any technology (references Tesla as "a laptop on wheels"), so it "matters enormously."

Musk on the long term vision for Starlink and its relation to 5G:

Starlink has a $30 billion a year revenue potential (or 5% of the market) but adds that "it's not like Starlink is some huge threat" to telecom companies, "I want to be clear that it is not."

Musk: Starlink's bandwidth "is a very complex question," but goal is so someone "could watch high def movies" without noticing speed.

Musk on Starlink's terminals: Ground equipment "looks like a a little UFO on a stick" and the early version of the terminals "will have actuators on them." But the key is that terminals must be plug-in-play.

Musk on astronomy impact of Starlink:

"I am confident that we will not cause any impact whatsoever in astronomical discoveries. Zero."

Musk says SpaceX is launching a "sun shade" on a Starlink satellite, in addition to testing darkening methods, to reduce the satellites' brightness to telescopes etc.

Musk says SpaceX is not thinking about spinning off or IPOing Starlink, saying "we're thinking about that zero."

We need to make Starlink work first, he says, pointing to how many satellite communications companies have gone bankrupt.

Musk: SpaceX would be happy to launch other satellite constellations, not just going to launch Starlink.

Musk says he was late because he was coming from SpaceX's facility in Boca Chica, Texas.

Musk: We'll probably start switching away from 301 stainless steel "in the next month or so" for Starship, moving to the company's own stainless steel alloy.

Musk: "If the schedule is long, the design is wrong."

My main question to those working on Starship is "how long will it take until this can fly?" If it takes too long then don't do it.

Musk says a smart engineer makes dumb mistakes by optimizing something that doesn't exist.

"Don't optimize something that doesn't exist."

Audience Q about the necessity of college education:

Musk: "You don't need college to learn stuff." The value of college is "seeing whether somebody can work hard at something."

"Colleges are basically for fun and to prove you can do your chores, but they're not for learning."

Musk: "I hope I'm not dead by the time people go to Mars" but "if we don't improve our pace of progress then I'm definitely going to be dead before we go to Mars."

That's the end of the Q&A, as the presenter says "we have a hard stop." (earlier conference organizers said the hard stop was at 5pm ET)

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