Elon Musk Lauds ‘Smart Move by China’

The billionaire entrepreneur is involved in the conquest of space through SpaceX.

Elon Musk, like Jeff Bezos, is one of the leading private actors in the new quest to conquer space.

States and their space agencies have learned to deal with Musk and his rocket company, SpaceX. With the space-tech company he aims for the same success he’s had with the electric-vehicle-market leader, Tesla  (TSLA) – Get Tesla Inc. Report

Indeed, the richest man in the world has transformed the automotive sector from hyperpolluting gasoline and diesel vehicles to little- or zero-emission electric vehicles. 

He also has prompted the legacy carmakers toward a kind of Copernican revolution, which promises to produce millions of electric vehicles each per year by the end of the current decade. 

The Disruptor-in-Chief

It’s important to remember that until three years ago, Tesla was mocked by rivals and financiers, who predicted that the automotive disruptor would almost certainly collapse. 

The group then struggling to manage an increase in the production rates of the Model 3, the entry-level sedan with which the company wanted to reach the huge market of average car buyers. 

Musk often reminds people that Tesla had verged on bankruptcy between mid-2017 to mid-2019.

“Closest we got was about a month. The Model 3 ramp was extreme stress & pain for a long time — from mid 2017 to mid 2019. Production & logistics hell,” Tesla’s CEO said on Nov. 3, 2020. 

Three years later, Tesla has become the world’s sixth-largest company by market capitalization, with a market value of $846.4 billion at last check. It has opened a gap with its two main American rivals — Ford  (F) – Get Ford Motor Company Report with a $52 billion market cap and General Motors  (GM) – Get General Motors Company Report at $51 billion — that seems almost insurmountable

For many experts and observers Tesla’s rise stems from the genius of Musk, who is considered one of the world’s visionaries and seems determined to disrupt any industry to which he turns his attention and energy.

“Tesla is to protect life on Earth, SpaceX to extend life beyond,” Musk tweeted on July 15. 

Within this framework Musk wants to bring about changes in the space sector. 

He has thus just praised China’s efforts to adopt reusable launch systems, rockets that can be used multiple times to carry people, satellites and other payloads to space. 

‘Smart Move by China’

The billionaire commented on an article from Spacenews.com, according to which China could shift to fully reusable super heavy launchers.

“China’s launch vehicle makers appear to be designing a fully reusable version of the Long March 9 super heavy-lift rocket needed for future megaprojects,” Spacenews.com writes. 

“The emergence of plans for new reusable methane-liquid oxygen launch vehicles to be ready for 2035 suggests that China is looking to make significant changes to its space transportation plans.”

A new reusable launcher was recently presented publicly by Long Lehao, a senior Chinese official, who frequently announced updates on China’s space activities. 

The new launcher could be ready by 2035. It could carry 150 tons of payload to low-Earth orbit, 65 tons to geosynchronous transfer orbit, or 50 tons to trans-lunar injection.

“Interesting,” Musk said. “Smart move by China. Expendable rockets have no future.”

Delivering payloads into space is an expensive proposition, and the debate between reusable rockets and expendable rockets has been a central one for the industry. 

Single-use or expendable launch vehicles are the most common today. They are discarded after they complete their flights.

SpaceX (Falcon 9) and Bezos’s Blue Origin (New Shepard) are the pioneers of reusable rockets, which envision rocket systems that can be used multiple times.

These rockets can be launched, deliver payloads to space, land safely back on Earth and be available for reuse.

Proponents of this technology say it could significantly lower the price of rocket systems and unleash new opportunities like space tourism.

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