Elon Musk’s ‘Boring Company’ to build Vegas ‘people mover’

The billionaire behind Tesla and SpaceX put the spotlight on the a 1.8 … years ago as a self-financed, side-endeavor to his work at Tesla and SpaceX.
SpaceX founder Elon Musk reacts at a post-launch news conference after the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket on March 2, 2019. His tunnel-making startup has been tapped to build an underground ‘people mover’ in Las Vegas. Mike Blake, Reuters

SAN FRANCISCO — The Las Vegas visitors authority on Tuesday picked Elon Musk’s tunnel-making startup “The Boring Company” to build an underground “people mover” as part of a massive convention center expansion.

The Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority (LVCVA) board of directors touted its choice as a “monumental decision that will revolutionize Southern Nevada’s transportation.”

The Boring Company will design, construct and operate a convention center transport system consisting of a loop of express-route tunnels capable of carrying passengers in autonomous electric vehicles at high speeds, according to LVCVA.

“Looking forward to building a Boring Company tunnel in Vegas,” Musk said in a message fired off on Twitter.

“Assuming to be operational by end of year!”

A final contract for the project was to be negotiated and presented for approval at a meeting in June.

The cost was expected to range from $35 million to $55 million, depending on the route and number and size of stations.

The convention center transport system will have the potential to be expanded to connect with downtown, the airport and other parts of the city, according to the LVCVA.

The Las Vegas Convention Center will cover some 200 81 hectares when the expansion is completed.

A walk from one end to the other would stretch approximately 3.2 kilometers, creating a need for “an on-property guest transportation solution,” according to the visitors authority.

“It’s exciting to have the Las Vegas Convention Center campus at the forefront of this historic development in our destination and we look forward to this new mass-transit solution with The Boring Company,” said LVCVA board chairman Larry Brown.

Musk late last year took a break from futuristic electric cars and private space travel to unveil a low-cost tunnel he sees as a godsend for city traffic.

The billionaire behind Tesla and SpaceX put the spotlight on the a 1.8 kilometer tunnel created by his Boring Company in Southern California for about $10 million.

The sample tunnel is part of Musk’s vision to have an underground network that cars, preferably Teslas, can be lowered to by lifts, then slotted into tracks and propelled along at speeds up to 241 kph.

Musk founded the Boring company slightly more than two years ago as a self-financed, side-endeavor to his work at Tesla and SpaceX.

The broad vision is that electric vehicles on city streets would be able to easily drop into tunnels or rise out using elevator platforms built into streets, or ramps where space allows.

© Agence France-Presse

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SpaceX Moon Mission Launch Could Happen Sooner Than We Think

SpaceX CEO Elon Musk’s moon mission could be launched sooner than people think. The Starship rocket is already being geared with the powerful …

SpaceX CEO Elon Musk’s moon mission could be launched sooner than people think. The Starship rocket is already being geared with the powerful Raptor engine needed for the lunar journey. If all goes to plan, SpaceX could be sending the first “tourists” to the moon as early as 2023.

A photo shared on a NASASpaceFlight.com discussion forum showed a structure believed to be the next-gen Raptor engine being built inside SpaceX’s Boca Chica Village launch site. The photo was shared by Mary of Texas who goes by the name bocachicagal in the forum.

The Texas launch site is currently home to the stainless steel Starship prototype so the presence of the Raptor could mean that the space agency might be in the advanced stages of completing SpaceX’s rocket to the moon. The sighting of the Raptor coincides with Musk teasing the arrival of the engine and that it will be put into place this week.

“Raptor on way to Hopper. Will be mounted to vehicle next week,” the SpaceX CEO said in a tweet on March 9.

According to a report, once the engine is attached to the rocket, which will be used for takeoff and landing, tests such as ground systems testing, static fire tests, propellant loading and low-altitude hover demonstrations will be performed. The rocket will be tethered during these tests which won’t be announced to the public.

Musk has big plans for the Raptor engine as it will play a big role in the Starship rocket meant to take the first “moon tourists” to space. It will also be significant to the company’s longterm goal of starting a lunar base and maybe a colony on the planet Mars. The stainless steal Starship will launch via the Super Heavy Rocket that is still being developed.

Super Heavy will require around 31 Raptor engines to operate while the Starship can carry about seven. During the testing stage, only a few Raptor engines will be used just in case it “blows up.”

Musk has been working very hard to start his company’s space exploration. It was only last year that he announced that SpaceX is aiming to bring private individuals to space via a two-way flight to the moon using the Starship rocket.

Recently, SpaceX successfully launched and returned the Crew Dragon to the International Space Station (ISS). The space capsule, which went into orbit via the Falcon 9 rocket, is expected to bring NASA astronauts to the ISS in the near future.

SpaceX Falcon 9SpaceX is preparing to test the Raptor engine onboard the Starship rocket. Pictured: SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket with the company’s Crew Dragon spacecraft onboard is seen seconds after taking off during the Demo-1 mission, at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida on March 2, 2019.Photo: JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images

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Get ready, rocket fans: Another SpaceX launch is coming to Vandenberg

SpaceX has some good news for West Coast space junkies: The commercial space company is expected to launch its Falcon 9 rocket once again …

SpaceX has some good news for West Coast space junkies: The commercial space company is expected to launch its Falcon 9 rocket once again from Vandenberg Air Force Base near Lompoc in May.

According to Space Archive, a website that tracks West Coast rocket launches, the launch window for the rocket is May 16-22, though that is subject to change based on anticipated weather conditions.

A Vandenberg Air Force Base public relations representative said he could not confirm any information on a potential rocket launch from the base at this time. But the Canadian Space Agency (CSA) lists the new launch window on its website.

According to the CSA, the rocket is expected to carry three radar-based, earth-imaging satellites into orbit for the country’s RadarSat Constellation program. The satellites will be used for maritime surveillance, disaster management and ecosystem monitoring, according to the website.

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The mission was originally slated for sometime in February, and then again in March, but has since been delayed, according to the Space Archive.

Our coastline is the longest in the world, which is why we need to help monitor and protect it. Canada’s RADARSAT Constellation, scheduled to launch in May, will help monitor coastal erosion and assess impacts of climate change on our coastline. https://t.co/V4YvM2R1Ic

— CanadianSpaceAgency (@csa_asc) March 8, 2019

SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket was the first orbital class rocket capable of reflight, which means it can be reused for multiple missions, according to the SpaceX website. The rocket took the Crew Dragon spacecraft into orbit on March 2 as part of the commercial company’s bid to eventually send manned missions into space.

If it proceeds as planned, the May launch would be the third launch from the Central Coast base in 2019.

On Jan. 11, SpaceX launched a Falcon 9 from Vandenberg. The rocket carried 10 Iridium commercial satellites into orbit — the eighth and final set in a series of 75 SpaceX launched as part of its Iridium-8 mission.

Days later, on Jan. 19, the United Launch Alliance sent its Delta IV rocket rocket into space, carrying a top-secret payload for the National Reconnaissance Office. That dramatic launch was watched by hundreds of people lining the streets in nearby Lompoc.

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Elon Musk’s entrepreneurial race between technology and business troubles

One entrepreneur taking that advice, maybe to a fault, is Elon Musk. He’s attempting to dramatically shift the automotive industry, transportation system, …

One of the best pieces of advice that I have received as an entrepreneur is that you can’t worry about the change falling out of your pocket while you are racing to build your business. One entrepreneur taking that advice, maybe to a fault, is Elon Musk. He’s attempting to dramatically shift the automotive industry, transportation system, and even space travel.

However, Musk is also now fighting legal battles on several fronts. He may be held in contempt of court for his recent behavior, facing trouble from a recent inspector general investigation announcement, and security concerns have even crept into the narrative recently.

So, the question is this: Does he lose all of the change in his pockets before he gets to the finish line? We will see, but it is a race that I am watching closely.

In 2018, after Musk released tweets musing about taking Tesla private, he settled with the SEC and agreed to seek approval before posting anything else that would materially affect Tesla. Reason being, Musk’s seemingly innocuous Twitter claims were substantially affecting Tesla’s stock price. According to the SEC, such unsubstantiated assertions may, in fact, constitute fraud. Worse, the Tesla CEO has a history of making inflationary proclamations over Twitter. In July 2017, Musk stated that his company would likely be making 20,000 Model 3s per month by December. Tesla then was forced to reduce that estimation by 50 percent.

In the age of Twitter, and given Musk’s proclivity toward social media engagement, that SEC deal proved impossible for the Tesla CEO to keep. He broke the agreement this February with a tweet discussing Tesla’s delivery times. Now, Musk is being forced to plead his case to a judge. If he is held in contempt, then he could be forced to relinquish his title as the CEO of Tesla.

It is unclear what that would mean for Tesla. After all, Musk seems better at starting his businesses than keeping the day-to-day operations going. Still, losing his title would be a shot to Musk’s ego at a time when he believes he is the only one that can keep Tesla above water.

In addition to the contempt charge, the Pentagon’s inspector general recently opened up an investigation in SpaceX, Musk’s other business venture. The report doesn’t get very specific, but it appears like the inspector general is on the hunt for cronyism:

Our objective is to determine whether the U.S. Air Force complied with the Launch Services New Entrant Certification Guide when certifying the launch system design for the Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle-class SpaceX Falcon 9 and Falcon Heavy launch vehicles.

However, they could also be looking at quality control issues. SpaceX has lost three payloads in four years, whereas its competitor hasn’t had a single incident in 12 years over 124 launches.

If the IG is looking at cronyism, I think that Musk and his companies will make it through the investigation. I have written about the crony tactics that he uses before, but almost all companies of his size use them. Musk’s crony tactics seem to be more run of the mill hard-fought politics and negotiating instead of back-room bribes. On the other hand, if the IG is looking at the quality issues, then everything that Musk has worked for could be for naught.

Watching a rocket land on a barge is like watching science fiction. But without the military contracts, the economics of space is almost impossible (right now). In the beginning, there are growing pains, and unfortunately in the space business, those growing pains are expensive!

At the end of the day, I want Musk to succeed. It is fun to watch someone transform an industry that everyone said couldn’t be changed. Musk is attempting to change three at the same time. But it looks like it’s going to be more of a race between his business troubles and his technology if he is going to succeed.

Charles Sauer (@CharlesSauer) is a contributor to the Washington Examiner’s Beltway Confidential blog. He is president of the Market Institute and previously worked on Capitol Hill, for a governor, and for an academic think tank.

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Futuristic entrepreneurs are helping us reach for the stars

The latest giant leap belongs to the intrepid Elon Musk and his SpaceX mission. The launch of its privately built Crew Dragon capsule earlier this …

Houston, there is no problem. America is back in the space race.

“We’re really at the forefront,” says US President Trump. “Nobody is doing what we’re doing.”

He’s right. But in a break with tradition, the US is now leaning on its entrepreneurs, rather than the Federal Reserve, to fund its interplanetary aspirations.

The latest giant leap belongs to the intrepid Elon Musk and his SpaceX mission. The launch of its privately built Crew Dragon capsule earlier this month opened “a new era in American excellence”, according to the head of Nasa.

And in February, SpaceX’s Falcon managed its first safe re-entry. In doing so, it went straight into the record books at warp-speed as the most powerful operational rocket in the world.

Hot on the tail of the SpaceX and Tesla founder are Amazon’s Jeff Bezos and his Blue Origin venture and Sir Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic, both seeking to take tourists to the edge of space.

The President’s response to the baton being handed over from public to private? It’s “better than us paying for them”. Not least, he said, because of the finances. “If the government did it, the same thing would have cost probably 40 or 50 times that amount of money.”

Again, he has a point. SpaceX lists the price of a Falcon 9 rocket launch as $62m, which is a phenomenal saving on the funds that past US governments ploughed into space exploration.

Remember it was President John F Kennedy who framed the dream of “landing a man on the moon”, and then commissioned Apollo with eye-watering amounts of public money.

According to John Logsdon, former director of the Space Policy Institute at George Washington University: “in 2010 dollars, the Apollo project cost $151bn; by comparison, the Manhattan Project cost $2bn and the Panama Canal, $8.1bn.”

Successive governments signed a lot of cheques to keep the US up in space, but the state could only go so far. Indeed, in recent years it seemed that the dream was dead – until entrepreneurs took up the torch.

And let’s come back down to earth. From the prospects of the 100-year life to cures for cancer and the search for singularity, enterprise is increasingly the driver of positive progress and uplifting change for more and more of us.

Yet, if you dip into science fiction, you’ll know that all too often the private sector is the proverbial bad guy. Check out the dystopian future of Blade Runner or Alien, and it’s an evil corporation that sits at the heart of inter-galactic havoc.

The state, in contrast, is more often than not portrayed as the benign force. Take the new Netflix revamp of Star Trek – a smorgasbord of public ownership wrapped up in a cuddly federation of planets.

But the truth needs to stand in the way of a good story. If you’re looking to those with the most optimistic vision of our future, you’ll probably find it in business.

That’s not to say that business doesn’t have its villains, but rather that every time a politician makes a grandiose statement about the future, it’s more than likely from here on in to be a game-changing entrepreneur that turns the rhetoric into reality.

The United Nations could therefore do well by driving the idea that the way to deliver the Sustainable Development Goals is to ally them to the future talents, passions and vision of our entrepreneurs.

Governments and activists should be celebrating the hope that, someday soon, a billion-dollar unicorn could be a purposeful and profitable solution to some of our greatest challenges.

If you believe that capitalism is a curse, this is isn’t the column for you. But you might want to park the prejudice.

In a world where the World Bank has estimated that 69 of the globe’s top economies are corporations, it’s in all of our interests that business delivers on its potential as a positive force for change.

From this vantage point, even space exploration could – in the long run – seem like one of the more limited breakthroughs that next generation capitalists could deliver.

Think instead of pressing problems closer to home that could have an innovative commercial answer – like the reversal of global warming through the replacement of carbon fuels, or the end to the blight of plastic through new degradable technologies.

Back to President Trump once more. “Rich guys, they love rocket ships,” he said. Just over a century ago, two young entrepreneurs, the Wright brothers, had the same seemingly privileged hobbies to do with the novelty of flight and the gumption to make a dream come true – which we have to thank for commercial air travel.

So, next time you buckle up in a 747 or a Dreamliner, rest easy that it was an entrepreneur’s dream that made it happen.

And don’t stop there, because it will be entrepreneurs, seeking to boldly go to infinity and beyond, who will be the reason why a great many more of us will soon be able to reach for the stars.

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