Musk predicts mid-December return to flight

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In a cable news interview today, Elon Musk reiterated recent reports that SpaceX expects to resume launches by the middle of December.

That the head of Inmarsat, one of SpaceX’s satellite customers, has confirmed this plan and appears to have no problem with it, suggests to me that SpaceX is on solid ground and that they have pinpointed a solution to the launchpad explosion that will not require any major re-engineering.



  • Frank

    Its already been happening for sometime Cotour. Its why the fit, finish and reliability of your car is high. Why Amazon is taking over retail sales. Why fast food outlets are automating front end jobs and why your cell phone is small yet powerful.

    The good news is these robots and the products they make still require engineers and programmers to develop. Those of us who grew up with manufacturing in the US have had to learn to adapt and embrace new technology so that the machines still work for us.

    Get out in front and don’t be a victim. Own the sword.

  • Cotour


    I appreciate your direction and am usually very optimistic, and remain optimistic, but there is an element of this where many will become drones and parasites / dependents of the state as a function of necessity. Not everyone is going to become an engineer or programmer servicing these new technologies.

    There is a component of this that is unnatural to the human being and the human condition.

  • Wodun

    What is likely to happen is that we will find uses for robots that using humans never made sense for. Some jobs might disappear but others will appear. With agriculture, the freedom to allow workers to specialize didnt lead to less jobs, it lead to more. This is the same thing that has been going on since the dawn of humanity.

  • LocalFluff

    Kasparov, the chess master who in the 1990s lost to IBM’s deep blue computer, said wisely that a machine can beat a human. But a human with a machine will always beat a machine without a human.

    Automation does not remove jobs, it creates jobs. For example, in the old days floors were scrubbed with soap and a brush. It took alot of time and wasn’t affordable, the cleaners were out of work because they were so improductive. Today a guy drives a cleaning machine and cleans an entire mall in a few hours. That is affordable and a job is created for the cleaner using the productive machine.

    Automation creates jobs for the unskilled labor. 100 years ago it took a lifetime to learn how to manufacture a pair of shoes. Choosing the material, preparing it, cutting it, forming it and whatever all it took. Imagine yourself manufacturing a pair of shoes with your bare hands, a peace of cow skin and a dozen nails. Today anyone can operate a machine in a shoemaking factory, without any other training than: “When that red light turns on, pull that lever and fill up the glue.” And thousands of shoes per day are manufactured.

  • Cotour

    You all make excellent points, I remain cautiously re instructed. However you have all omitted one new conceptual element, the government providing every citizen a basic income. This is not purely about people finding new work vehicles.

    Your all making very well established points about what has happened related to the advance of technology and the new opportunities that it created, but not with this new element included.

    This new element from my perspective tends to create that open ended no feed back machine that must in the end blow up!

    I remain cautiously optimistic.

  • wodun

    When it comes to thinking about a basic income provided by the government, it comes down to alternatives.

    What is the chance that the government would pay no benefits for anything? Ideally, maybe it would be better for all involved if the government didn’t create perverse incentives through welfare but if there will be welfare no matter what, then what is the best way to distribute that welfare?

    I could get behind a basic income provided by the government if that was all of the welfare spending. Give people money and let them choose how to spend it. One of the major problems with our existing system is that money passess through so many hands before it gets to the people it is intended to help. A basic income provided by the government would cut out all of the middlemen taking their piece of the action.

    This is still a redistributive policy but the money would go straight from the tax collectors to the people rather than filter through dozens of government agencies before citizens ever see a penny.

    Here is what Milton Friedman has to say on it,

  • Cotour

    Even Freidman and Buckley can not agree when they lay out the complexity and the incentive / disincentive aspects of this kind of system. And they are speaking of a welfare system, it appears to me that Musk and others are talking about a basic payment that would go to all citizens upon their birth as a kind of birth right. Something very different. A negative income tax / welfare payment system is not what is being proposed here.

    To say nothing of where all of this money actually comes from (remember, the government has no money of its own, they confiscate it from the people). I think when you now look at where all of this money comes from you understand that it will come from industry / corporate America and once that tap root is established we are off on Fascist express where corporate America owns us all and a good portion of the population has had their incentive destroyed.

    Human beings must have something that makes them feel worth while and work in our modern world is that something. Intellectually reasoning that away and destroying that does not make it go away.

  • Ron

    Any information as to what caused the explosion?

  • Ron: Do a search on Behind the Black for either “SpaceX” or “Falcon 9” and read the recent posts that talk about the explosion and the investigation. They detail what is known very thoroughly.

  • pzatchok

    The industrial revolution has created befits for society that no one could imagine at the time.

    The simple printing press created first the means then the desire for a cheap education. This led to the idea that the community, local or national, could provide basic education to the young.
    Over the next few hundred years it came to include an ever higher level of education, all the way to the point now that its expected that people will be going back to a school of some kind for a continuing education over their lifetimes.
    All in someway paid for by the society.

    Medical care has pretty much followed the same evolutionary path through society.

    How this is all implemented and paid for by society is the new fight.

    Obama care failed this because it stepped off the evolutionary path.

    Universities will not like how the future looks. In order to make medical care affordable its education must be made affordable by price controls.

    This will also involve a lot of tort reform and a huge pile of crying lawyers.

    Society will evolve with robots helping all along the way. I have no fear that robots will evolve on their own and take over man.
    As robots take over lower level jobs man will educate himself to take over higher skilled jobs.

    As always those who refuse to re-educate themselves will be reduced to working the lowest level jobs that even robot cannot as of yet do.
    Society will be forced to provide various levels of services for those low educated citizens.

    It cannot be ignored, nor will away be found around it.

  • Edward

    pzatchok wrote: “I have no fear that robots will evolve on their own and take over man.

    I agree. That would require that the robots gain self awareness and the emotion of superiority. So far, our robots are more like active rocks than emotional creatures.

    LocalFluff wrote: “Automation does not remove jobs, it creates jobs.

    It’s notable that there is already a large amount of automation in our lives, but we do not consider it as such (hey, LocalFluff, I’m in agreement with you, this time!). Toasters, dishwashers, clothes washers, and in Mountain View, California, there are even automated automobiles driving around the streets.

    So far none of the automation that we have around us each day has shown the slightest indication of self awareness, emotion, or of wanting to take over. If they were smart, they would leave to the biological creatures all the blame for the problems of the world, rather than take on the blame themselves.

    As for the general discussion of jobs being lost and government paying us to not work, this has been going on for decades, and largely because government has interfered in the running of business.

    The minimum wage is supposed to prevent employers from taking advantage of employees (although we still have volunteerism and CEOs who work for $1 per year, so go figure), but the “unexpected consequence” has always been to limit the job opportunities for the unskilled workforce (since the consequence has been known for many decades, it is hardly fair to call it unexpected) — resulting in the government passing out “welfare,” or relief, to those who never found the job opportunities, and thus are not working.

    Government has been paying people to not work ever since the Great Depression. Government has been creating laws, regulations, and rules that have been making it more expensive to employ people and less expensive to buy automated tellers, automated grocery store clerks, and automated fast food service.

    There go the jobs and the personable personal service, and here come the soup kitchen lines.

    Oh, wait! Even the soup kitchen has been replaced by the EBT card, which is replenished every month by an automated machine. No wonder we don’t see any lines during this Great Recession.

    So much for us being productive and self sufficient. So much for the dignity, self respect, and self esteem that come with the jobs that government regulated out of existence.

    Wait, wasn’t government supposed to be here to help?

    It isn’t just the many hands and government agencies that filter out the money and reduce the benefits received by the welfare recipient. It is also the lost production that the welfare recipient could have been contributing to the rest of us. The layabout welfare recipient drags the economy rather than add to it, because money that the earner could have spent is taken from the productive earner to be given to the layabout.

    Although it is correct that the filters of government would be eliminated by a negative tax, I disagree with Freedman’s implication that anyone should be entitled to anyone else’s productivity. In this area, I agree with Freedman that government should be removed from the charity business, and privately funded charities should be doing this work, because they have far more incentive to get those who could be productive to become productive.

    The advantage of a non-governmental charity that is dependent upon the generosity of the producers, then those who are productive may directly control the relief spent on the nonproductive. When it is government who does this task, they merely raise taxes in order to cover the cost of the increasing layabout population.

    Subsidizing nonproductivity is bad, whether it is a negative tax or a government welfare dole-out.

    Hiding the soup lines behind the EBT card, and hiding the tax increase behind the ever-increasing national debt, helps to prevent the productive population — who are adding to their own wealth and to everyone’s prosperity — from complaining that they are suffering due to the loss of productivity from those receiving relief — who are not becoming wealthy and are becoming envious of those who work for a living for not giving enough relief for the act of laying about the house.

    Potential productivity is wasted by paying those people to be unproductive. Prosperity is lost by all, especially those paying for the unproductive layabout, and the personal wealth that the unproductive layabout could have had is not produced. This is the trap of welfare relief. In order to receive the relief — even a negative income tax — the recipient must remain a poor layabout, thus “worthy” of relief. Why is the layabout more worthy of free stuff than the productive worker who both makes and pays for the free stuff?

    Give a man a fish, and he lays about all day — and demands another fish tomorrow. Get that man to fish, and you both eat well all your lives. You are both more prosperous because you are both productive.

    Meanwhile, perhaps I was not paying close enough attention before, but this is the first time I read that SpaceX is using liquid helium in its pressurant tanks. This explains the solidification of the LOX.

  • Cotour

    You bring out all good points, negative tax, welfare, but what is being proposed is drastically different, it goes way above those concepts, they propose a salary for all upon being born, for life.

    I have made the harsh observation before that anyone on welfare give up their right to reproduce while on it, this new thinking is leaving behind any logical feed back system or control and will tend to destroy human incentive and ambition IMO.

    Its a solution but at what cost?

  • Cotour

    Speaking about robots and work and incentive and lack of incentive, I believe that I have discovered one of the growing fundamental problems in the equation:

  • Edward

    Cotour wrote: “but what is being proposed is drastically different

    Not really. It is still paying people to be unproductive, and it encourages even more people to be unproductive, because they no longer have to be.

    At best, the difference is that productive people are included in this governmental generosity by being “gifted” some of their own money back. Taxable, of course.

    The government seems to be uninterested in productivity, even though the people and companies that are ruled by this idiotic government are interested in productivity and the wealth and prosperity brought by it. The idiot — er — congresscreature Nancy Pelosi even declared that, as a benefit, Obamacare would allow productive people to quit working in order to pursue their avocations, such as art or music. Reduced productivity as a benefit of Obamacare, what a concept.

    In addition, government workers do not produce goods or services. Generally, they enforce the rules, regulations, or laws that add to the cost of doing business. Plus, they require additional taxes in order to pay their unproductive salaries.

    When all you do is take from the economy, you are not adding to the economy. You have not produced a good or service that can be counted as economic activity. Economic activity is the sales of goods and services, and these can only be sold if they are produced. When fewer are produced, the economy is smaller than when more are produced. Unproductive people do not add to the economy.

    When idiot politicians tell you that welfare is good for the economy, that it has a multiplier factor of 1.5, they merely mean the number of times that a dollar moves through the economy. But when someone is productive, that same dollar has a multiplier factor of 2.5, because when the boss pays the employee the first dollar for the good or service provided by that employee, he has at least a dollar worth of good or service that he sells to a customer to generate that dollar that he gave the employee.

    If a commercial employer (e.g. taxable nongovernmental company) does not get more than a dollar’s worth of productivity from the employee for each dollar paid to the employee, that employer will soon become insolvent (the company still has other expenses, such as taxes). Plus, for each rule, regulation, or law that adds to the cost of doing business, the employer must get even more productivity from each employee in order to remain solvent.

    Over the decades, government added such onerous burdens on employers that their employees became unable to produce enough to be worth their salaries. That is what happened to manufacturing in America, and it is why America is adding more and more automation to its production of goods and services, such as automated tellers, automated grocery store clerks, and automated fast food service.

  • Cotour

    I thought we had established a high IQ sarcasm alert agreement here on BtoB?

    My point is that human beings are what their DNA says that they are and not even a jump in technology will be resetting that natural state. We will adapt in some unseen ways but when the people become more and more dependent on the government for their funds for survival and there is no gainful employment as a result of this new technology then there must be some kind of unforeseen disaster in the future of humanity.

    There will either be drastically less in number humans as proscribed by that government that controls us all or there will be a vast numbers of unfulfilled humans in the world with idle hands, and we all know where that leads. (they will have to be dealt with)

    Just my reaction to the concept.

  • Wayne & Lindsey somewhere in SE Oregon

    I’d like to weigh in on this “welfare” stuff, in depth, but it’s off-thread & I just can’t spend the time today. ( a fascinating & complex Topic nonetheless.)

    but…check out–
    (collectively known as the “Poor Acts,” and sorry for the wiki reference.)

    Parliament (British) tried to address the “problem of the poor,” with mixed results & with perverse incentives being put into play. (and this is all occurring prior to the industrial-revolution.)
    -They quickly discovered– if you subsidize “poverty,” you get more of it.

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