“No, I don’t ever give up. I’d have to be dead or completely incapacitated.”
This is one of Elon Musk’s most powerful quotes. Everything he does seems to live up to these words. With all he’s accomplished so far, every year brings new exciting possibilities and a promise of more incredible accomplishments. 2018 seems to be even more promising.
Musk’s name, though quite unusual, has long since become unforgettable. It’s seems like forever ago when Elon co-founded and sold PayPal and Zip2, the world’s leading internet payment system and one for the first internet maps and directions service. Remarkable as that definitely is, it has been eclipsed by Tesla and SpaceX.
In 2008, SpaceX’s Falcon 1 became the first privately developed liquid-fuel launch vehicle to orbit the Earth. Consequently, NASA started giving SpaceX contracts to carry cargo and crew to the International Space Station (ISS). And ten years later, in 2018, the world’s most powerful rocket “Falcon Heavy” is scheduled to launch; a rocket Musk has tweeted that he loved so much.
“Falcon Heavy launching from same @NASA pad as the Saturn V Apollo 11 moon rocket. It was 50% higher thrust with five F-1 engines at 7.5M lb-F. I love that rocket so much.”
When it lifts off, it will be the most powerful operational rocket in the world by a factor of two. Falcon Heavy can lift more than twice the payload of the next closest operational vehicle, the Delta IV Heavy, at one-third the cost, being able to lift a mass equivalent to a 737 jetliner loaded with passengers, crew, luggage and fuel. Musk posted a picture of Falcon Heavy on Instagram on January 5th, vertical on the former Apollo 11 moon rocket Launchpad. The rocket’s hold-down test fire is scheduled for the next week and the Launch is going to be at the end of January.
For people whose interests are Earthbound, Musk’s Earthly means of transportation may still seem out of this world. Elon Musk has been working on a revolutionary new train system, Hyperloop, that he described as a vacuum tube system in a building used to move documents from place to place. It is said to be able to travel from London to Edinburgh or LA to San Francisco in under 30 minutes. Basically a Vactrain; the Hyperloop consists of a sealed tube or system of tubes through which a pod may travel free of air resistance or friction conveying people or freight at high speed. Musk calls “a cross between a Concorde, a railgun, and an air hockey table”. SpaceX is organizing a competition in the summer of 2018 called “Hyperloop Pod Competition”. This competition challenges university teams to design and build the best transport Pod, in order to accelerate the development of functional prototypes for Hyperloop.
While that’s still an unfinished project, Tesla’s plans for 2018 are more set and steady. They start with the production of the standard battery, the all-Wheel Drive production begins in the Spring and International deliveries of left-hand drive vehicles should start in the second half of the year. A practical plan for Tesla this year. But it’s when Tesla and SpaceX get together that the magic truly happens.
The Falcon Heavy, extraordinarily impressive on its own, carried another magnificent baby of Musk’s on its test flight: a red Tesla Roadster. Musk called it a red car for the red planet and chose it as payload on the Falcon Heavy instead of the concrete or steel blocks usually used for rocket test flights. That, of course, was too boring for Musk who posted an amazing picture on Instagram of the new version Roadster getting ready to go to Mars on the Falcon heavy saying:
“Test flights of new rockets usually contain mass simulators in the form of concrete or steel blocks. That seemed extremely boring. Of course, anything boring is terrible, especially companies, so we decided to send something unusual, something that made us feel. The payload will be an original Tesla Roadster, playing Space Oddity, on a billion year elliptic Mars orbit.”
Preorders for the 2020 version of the Roadster started in November, 2017 after the car was shown as a surprise at the end of the Tesla Semi event, even though Tesla said it won’t be sold until 2020. The Roadster’s estimated speed will exceed 400 km/hr, with the acceleration of 0 to 97 km/h in 1.9 seconds and from 0 to 161 km/h in 4.2 seconds.
If the Roadster manages to beat the Koenigsegg Agera RS, which currently holds the record for the world’s fastest car with the average speed of 446.97 km/hr, then Elon Musk has kicked off 2018 by sending the world’s fastest car on the world’s most powerful rocket to Mars!