How to watch Technoking Elon Musk on SNL

Tesla and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk is hosting Saturday Night Live this week. He’s coming in fresh from Wednesday’s successful Starship prototype landing but also on the heels of recent customer complaints about Tesla’s Solar Roof costs and last month’s deadly Tesla crash. If you have the desire to spend part of your Saturday finding out if the self-proclaimed Technoking makes a good comedy show host, here are the details.

How do I watch?

SNL airs on NBC, and it’s available to watch on the NBC website if you have a cable login. It will also be available on other live TV streaming services like Sling TV, Hulu with Live TV, YouTube TV, and Fubo TV.

If you don’t catch it live, SNL episodes are available on Hulu and Peacock the next day.

When does it start?

It starts at 11:30PM ET on May 8th, which is — you guessed it — Saturday night.

What will happen?

Miley Cyrus will be performing. Beyond that, who knows! Perhaps Musk will make a bunch of references to Dogecoin, do a skit where he re-creates the faces he pulled while smoking weed, or joke about rockets catching fire. Maybe his Twitter charisma won’t quite carry over, or maybe he’ll shock us with a surprisingly good delivery of a witty monologue. It remains to be seen, but either way, I’m sure we’ll hear all about it on Twitter.


Elon Musk on Saturday Night Live, explained

Who is Elon Musk?

Oh, come on.


Fine. He’s the CEO of Tesla and SpaceX, the founder of The Boring Company and Neuralink, a certified member of the PayPal Mafia, and a well-known internet troll.

He sounds rich.

He is. Depending on where the market closes on Friday, he’s either the first or the second richest person in the world. The other contender is Jeff Bezos. A substantial part of both men’s net worth is tied up in their company stock.

Okay. What is Saturday Night Live?

Saturday Night Live is an American television show that has been on the air since 1975. It is in a sketch comedy format. There is usually at least one good sketch in each 90-minute episode, and it is often the digital short.

SNL features a guest host, usually an actor with a movie to promote, and a musical guest, usually promoting a recently released album. After the “cold open,” a topical sketch about current events, the host gives a monologue.

What is Elon Musk doing on SNL, though?

Selling Teslas and getting richer.

Musk’s sales acumen is a running theme in Ashlee Vance’s biography of him and in the lore Musk loves to promote about himself: arbitraging Easter eggs with his cousins, running a nightclub out of his frat house, writing a computer program at age 12 and sending it to PC Magazine for $500. A major component of sales, of course, is advertising, and the most powerful form of advertising is “earned media,” or mentions you don’t have to pay for. You know, like the kind you get by guest-hosting Saturday Night Live.

Tesla famously doesn’t do paid advertisements. It doesn’t need to. Appearing on PewDiePie’s Meme Review is free. So is getting papped in a Cybertruck at Nobu. So is squiring musician Grimes to the Met Gala. Parties for people who own Teslas, Boring Company Flamethrowers, or who are just big fans have been part of his promotional efforts for years. He has a spicy Twitter account — spicy enough to earn Jack Dorsey’s endorsement and piss off the Securities and Exchange Commission — and his tweets often make headlines. This is to say nothing of the infamous Joe Rogan blunt-smoking episode.

This isn’t Musk’s first foray into Hollywood, either. He was an executive producer of Thank You for Smoking. He’s also appeared in Rick and Morty, Big Bang Theory, South Park, The Simpsons, and Iron Man 2.

Most CEOs don’t do this. Tesla gets compared to Apple a lot, and I would like you, for lols, to just visualize Tim Cook appearing on Joe Rogan’s show at all. Okay. Can you even see him drinking whiskey? He’s certainly not gonna pass that dutch. Steve Jobs appeared in only one movie, a 1988 documentary about Bruce Springsteen.

SNL promises to be an hour and a half of Elon-friendly writing, with goofs that burnish his reputation and let him laugh at himself. Plus, he gets to remind everyone Tesla exists and basically re-created the electric car market at a time when a lot of his competitors have jumped into EVs. My only real unanswered question about this is: Why isn’t the musical guest Grimes, tho?

Do you think he’ll pump Dogecoin?

I mean, yes, probably? One hedge fund made very good returns on the GameStonk debacle by selling immediately after Elon Musk pumped GameStop, so that’s something to consider.

Is Tesla involved in Dogecoin?

Not as far as I know, and I love reading their financial documents. Tesla is involved, however, in bitcoin. You can even buy a Tesla with bitcoin.

Why has Elon gotten involved in Dogecoin and GameStonk?

They’re popular online, and he, famously, loves memes — even if he often arrives at them late.

It also seems like he really wants to be liked. Musk has spent a lot of time courting an online fan base — some of his media appearances, like on Rick and Morty and Meme Review, seem designed to appeal to that fan base. While those fans may or may not convert into actual Tesla purchases, they help keep Musk relevant and are useful in hassling his critics online.

Okay, but what matters more to Musk, money or popularity?

Ahahahaha you are asking me to read Elon Musk’s mind? Fine, great, hold on, let me concentrate. I see… an army of angry squirrels.

No, seriously, though — Musk has been consistent about his admiration for humorists. He considered buying The Onion’s parent company in 2014 but ultimately didn’t put in a bid. Later, he funded a humor effort called Thud, which he briefly suggested would be part of his “intergalactic media empire.” Thud crashed and burned shortly after it launched.

Judging by his past beef with the SEC and his history with Thud, which was never meant to make money, I would argue the thing that matters most to Musk is neither money nor popularity. It’s his ability to do whatever he damn pleases. Arguably, that’s part of what makes him popular — popular enough to host SNL, even. Now the question is, will he send the ratings to the Moon?


SpaceX successfully landed a Starship prototype for the first time

SpaceX launched a high-altitude Starship prototype rocket and successfully landed it for the first time on Wednesday, overcoming a key technical challenge in Elon Musk’s whirlwind test campaign to build a fully reusable Mars rocket. Musk has said the SN15 rocket contained “hundreds of design improvements” over past high-altitude prototypes, which were all destroyed during explosive landing attempts.

Starship SN15 lifted off at 6:24PM ET from SpaceX’s remote Boca Chica, Texas facilities, soaring over 6 miles in the sky to test a number of in-flight maneuvers. As it neared peak altitude, SN15’s three Raptor engines gradually shut down to begin a horizontal free-fall back toward the ground before reigniting two of its engines to execute a complex “landing flip maneuver,” where it shifts itself vertical for a slow touchdown.

The rocket deployed a set of tiny legs and landed firmly on a concrete pad not far from its launchpad, becoming the first Starship prototype to survive its high-altitude flight. A small fire appeared near the base of the rocket after landing — “not unusual with the methane fuel that we’re carrying,” SpaceX engineer and livestream announcer John Insprucker said — but was extinguished a few minutes later.

“Starship landing nominal!” Musk tweeted about seven minutes after SN15’s touchdown, declaring success.

Starship landing nominal!

— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) May 5, 2021

SN15’s successful landing marks a major milestone in SpaceX’s Starship test campaign. All four high-altitude prototypes that came before it suffered an explosive fate upon attempting to land — either on, shortly before, or moments after the touchdown.

SpaceX’s Starship system is designed as a fully-reusable rocket system made for sending humans and up to 100 tons of cargo to the Moon and Mars. The 16-story-tall high-altitude prototypes like SN15 represent just the top half of Starship. The bottom half will be a towering “super-heavy” booster that will help launch Starship’s top half off Earth before returning back to land.



SpaceX Crew Dragon Resilience safely returns four astronauts to Earth

Four astronauts returned from the International Space Station early Sunday morning aboard SpaceX’s Crew Dragon capsule, splashing down in the Gulf of Mexico nearly six months after arriving at the orbital laboratory in November last year as the first operational, long-duration crew under NASA’s Commercial Crew Program.

NASA astronauts Michael Hopkins, Victor Glover, and Shannon Walker, and Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) Soichi Noguchi boarded Crew Dragon and undocked from the space station at 8:35PM ET Saturday to begin their roughly six-hour trek home. The crew splashed down off the coast of Panama City, Florida at 2:56am ET on Sunday, NASA said in a news release.

The crew’s return was initially set for Wednesday, April 28th, but was delayed due to high winds in the splashdown zone.

The astronaut quartet tallied 167 days aboard the space station, a science laboratory orbiting Earth 250 miles above ground that has continuously housed international crews of astronauts for over two decades.

This particular Crew Dragon spacecraft, dubbed Resilience by its crew, was the second SpaceX capsule to fly humans, coming after SpaceX’s first crewed mission, Demo-2, in May 2020. Resilience broke the record for the longest-serving US spacecraft to be docked on the ISS, surpassing the 84 days tallied by the 1974 Skylab 4 crew.

Crew Dragon Resilience’s return marked the first nighttime splashdown of a crewed US spacecraft since December 1968, when Apollo 8 splashed down in the Pacific Ocean, NASA said.

The first splashdown of a SpaceX Crew Dragon capsule took place in August 2020 for the Demo-2 mission, returning NASA astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley from space after a two-month test mission.

That splashdown, in the Gulf of Mexico, attracted a swarm of Florida boaters coming dangerously close to Crew Dragon. NASA and the US Coast Guard beefed up protections for Crew-1’s splashdown to make sure no one comes close. (The concern: Crew Dragon might leak highly flammable fuels that, if ignited, would endanger anyone coming too close. The crew inside would be safe.)


NASA suspends SpaceX’s $2.9 billion moon lander contract after rivals protest

NASA has suspended work on SpaceX’s new $2.9 billion lunar lander contract while a federal watchdog agency adjudicates two protests over the award, the agency said Friday.

Putting the Human Landing System (or HLS) work on hold until the GAO makes a decision on the two protests means SpaceX won’t immediately receive its first chunk of the $2.9 billion award, nor will it commence the initial talks with NASA that would normally take place at the onset of a major contract.

Elon Musk’s SpaceX was picked by NASA on April 16th to build the agency’s first human lunar lander since the Apollo program, as the agency opted to rely on just one company for a high-profile contract that many in the space industry expected to go to two companies.

As a result, two companies that were in the running for the contract, Blue Origin and Dynetics, protested NASA’s decision to the Government Accountability Office, which adjudicates bidding disputes. Blue Origin alleges the agency unfairly “moved the goalposts at the last minute” and endangered NASA’s speedy 2024 timeline by only picking SpaceX.

“Pursuant to the GAO protests, NASA instructed SpaceX that progress on the HLS contract has been suspended until GAO resolves all outstanding litigation related to this procurement,” NASA spokeswoman Monica Witt said in a statement.

Starship, SpaceX’s fully reusable rocket system under development to eventually ferry humans and cargo to the Moon and Mars, won NASA’s award mainly for its massive cargo capability and its proposed bid of $2.9 billion — far cheaper than Blue Origin’s and Dynetics’, according to a NASA source selection document.

Starship’s development to this point has been driven primarily by Musk, SpaceX’s billionaire founder and chief executive. The company has launched several Starship prototypes in short- and high-altitude test flights at its Boca Chica, Texas, launch facilities. Landing the prototypes after soaring over six miles in the air has proved to be a formidable challenge — all of SpaceX’s high-altitude prototype rockets have been destroyed in landing-phase explosions.

SpaceX’s private Starship development will likely continue. The company’s most recent test of a Starship prototype, SN15, is slated to launch within the next few days after clinching license approval from the Federal Aviation Administration this week.

NASA has said picking one company was the best decision it could make at the time with the funds made available from Congress. Last year, Congress gave the agency $850 million of the $3.3 billion it requested to procure two lunar landers.

SpaceX’s award was a key “first step” in a broader program to secure transportation to the Moon, NASA’s human spaceflight chief Kathy Lueders said at the time, promising that new contract opportunities will open up in the near future.


SpaceX wins approval for lower Starlink orbits, overcoming rival objections

The Federal Communications Commission on Tuesday granted SpaceX approval to operate 2,814 Starlink satellites in lower orbits than originally planned, handing a win to Elon Musk’s satellite internet project. The decision delivered a partial defeat over its competitors, like Amazon and OneWeb, which sought to thwart the tweak over concerns it would create harmful frequency interference and ramp up risks of satellite collisions.

The FCC found that allowing lower orbits for Starlink satellites “does not create significant interference problems.” Lowering the orbits, it said, allows SpaceX to make “safety-focused” changes to the constellation, like being able to more quickly discard any dead or broken satellites by steering them toward a fiery end in Earth’s atmosphere.

The approval came with some conditions: SpaceX must coordinate with other operators to ensure signals from Starlink satellites don’t interfere with others. The company will need to provide semiannual reports to the FCC on Starlink failures. Those reports will also list any “conjunction events” or any maneuvers or close calls with other satellites.

SpaceX’s Starlink network so far has over 1,300 satellites in orbit. The company plans to launch thousands more to provide global broadband internet to rural parts of the world, for governments and consumers alike. Amazon and OneWeb are also developing their own satellite internet networks. OneWeb has launched 182 of its planned 648 satellites. Amazon’s Kuiper network hasn’t launched any yet, but it won FCC approval in 2020 to launch 3,236 satellites, half of which must be in space by 2026.

SpaceX won approval to operate its first group of 1,584 satellites in a lower-than-planned orbit in 2019. Almost all of those satellites are already in space, making the FCC’s decision on Tuesday timely for SpaceX’s next tranche of satellites.

The FCC’s approval means that SpaceX can lower the altitude of its next 2,814 satellites from a previously planned altitude of around 1,150 km to around 550 km, the same orbital neighborhood as Amazon’s proposed constellation. The FCC said SpaceX’s modification application attracted “nearly 200 pleadings” from other organizations and “a significant number” presentations and additional letters, most of which pushed back SpaceX’s change.

Those organizations included rivals Amazon and OneWeb, which sought to convince the FCC that SpaceX’s proposed altitude change would create signal interference with nearby satellites and increase risks of orbital collisions — especially as SpaceX’s autonomous collision avoidance system doesn’t tell other orbital operators which way a Starlink satellite will move to avoid a crash. Rivals also claimed the several proposed modifications to SpaceX’s original license, granted in 2018, should be treated as an entirely new constellation with a more rigorous approval process, an idea the FCC rejected in Tuesday’s ruling.

In a statement, Amazon cast the FCC decision as a win, pointing to one of the FCC conditions of the modification that says SpaceX must “accept” any interference from Amazon’s Kuiper constellation in the future. The condition suggests SpaceX’s 2,814 satellites must work around Amazon’s constellation, instead of Amazon having to adjust its network to SpaceX’s modification — a prospect the company fought against.

“This is a positive outcome that places clear conditions on SpaceX, including requirements that it remain below 580 km and accept additional interference resulting from its redesign,” a company spokesman said. “These conditions address our primary concerns regarding space safety and interference, and we appreciate the Commission’s work to maintain a safe and competitive environment in low earth orbit.”

Amazon’s fight against the SpaceX modification tumbled out of the obscure FCC meetings and into the open in January, when Musk accused Bezos’ company of trying to “hamstring Starlink today for an Amazon satellite system that is at best several years away from operation.” Amazon shot back in a company statement, saying “it is SpaceX’s proposed changes that would hamstring competition among satellite systems” and that Musk’s company is trying “to smother competition in the cradle if they can.”

On SpaceX’s autonomous collision avoidance system, which the company temporarily disabled this month to coordinate a collision-avoidance maneuver with a OneWeb satellite, the FCC said none of the companies “raise specific or particularized concerns that warrant additional inquiry at this time.” Questions about SpaceX’s automated system, the FCC said, “could be addressed through good faith coordination among the operators”.

Moving Starlink satellites to lower altitudes is a plus for astronomers, who for years have complained that SpaceX’s satellites reflect sunlight during ground-based nighttime observations and stain images of the cosmos with obtrusive streaks of light as they pass by in orbit. Lowering the satellites’ altitude puts them further into Earth’s shadow from the Sun. And combined with other efforts to reduce their reflectivity, operating the satellites in lower altitudes helps mitigate their impacts on visual astronomy, the American Astronomical Society was cited as saying in the FCC filing.


Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin protests NASA’s $2.9 billion SpaceX contract

Jeff Bezos’ space company Blue Origin is protesting NASA’s decision to award SpaceX $2.9 billion for a pair of missions to land on the Moon by 2024. NASA’s Human Landing System program, which funded development of three rival lunar lander prototypes (including Blue Origin’s), was expected to pick two of those landers in April. But NASA opted for just one — SpaceX’s Starship — because of short funding from Congress.

The 175-page Blue Origin protest was filed with the Government Accountability Office less than two weeks after NASA’s selection of SpaceX. Blue Origin has been developing its Blue Moon lunar lander with a “National Team” of established space and defense contractors: Northrop Grumman, Lockheed Martin, and Draper.

“NASA has executed a flawed acquisition for the Human Landing System program and moved the goalposts at the last minute,” Blue Origin said in a statement released on Monday. “In NASA’s own words, it has made a ‘high risk’ selection. Their decision eliminates opportunities for competition, significantly narrows the supply base, and not only delays, but also endangers America’s return to the Moon. Because of that, we’ve filed a protest with the GAO.”



Elon Musk is hosting Saturday Night Live and no this is not a joke

Elon Musk, CEO of Tesla and SpaceX, will be hosting Saturday Night Live on May 8th, the official SNL account tweeted Saturday. The musical guest will be Miley Cyrus. Musk is known for his— how shall we put this — quirky sense of humor on Twitter, his preferred method of social media communication, but it’s not totally clear whether he’s actually funny enough to sustain a 90-minute hosting gig on the late-night comedy show.

Musk has made many notable media appearances over the years— there was that time he smoked weed on Joe Rogan’s podcast, and he had a cameo in Iron Man 2 (he even had a line for his debut in the Marvel Cinematic Universe). He also played himself on an episode of The Simpsons, titled “The Musk Who Fell to Earth,” and on the now-retired show The Big Bang Theory, and its spinoff Young Sheldon. When he appeared on the Stephen Colbert show, the host likened him to Lex Luthor (which, all things considered, he probably enjoyed).

So he’s not totally without some show biz chops. How willing he’ll be to parody his — unique— public persona, well, we’ll have to wait a few weeks to find out.


SpaceX capsule with four astronauts on board docks with the International Space Station

A SpaceX Crew Dragon spacecraft with four astronauts aboard successfully docked with the International Space Station early Saturday to start its six-month mission, NASA announced. Crew-2, as it’s been dubbed, is SpaceX’s third astronaut mission under NASA’s Commercial Crew Program. It brings NASA’s Shane Kimbrough and Megan McArthur, Akihiko Hoshide of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) and Thomas Pesquet, a French aerospace engineer from the European Space Agency (ESA) to the ISS, which travels at more than 17,000 miles per hour in orbit roughly 250 miles above Earth.

A Falcon 9 rocket which was used for SpaceX’s Crew-1 mission in 2020, launched early Friday for its 24-hour trip to the ISS. The Falcon 9 carried Endeavour, the same Crew Dragon capsule that launched SpaceX’s debut astronaut mission last year.

The four astronauts were welcomed aboard the ISS shortly before 8AM ET by the Expedition 65 crew of Shannon Walker, Michael Hopkins, Victor Glover, and Mark Vande Hei of NASA, as well as Soichi Noguchi of JAXA and Roscosmos cosmonauts Oleg Novitskiy and Pyotr Dubrov.

Kimbrough, McArthur, Hoshide, and Pesquet will now spend six months in space conducting science experiments, including a focus on “tissue chips,” which NASA describes as “small models of human organs containing multiple cell types that behave much the same as they do in the body.” The chips may help identify drugs or vaccines more quickly than the current processes.

The mission marks the first time SpaceX has reused a craft for a crewed mission. SpaceX has launched and reused several Falcon 9 rockets and uncrewed Dragon capsules as part of an initiative to save time and money on space exploration.

SpaceX launches its third astronaut crew, the first on a used Crew Dragon capsule

SpaceX launched its third crew of astronauts to the International Space Station early Friday morning, reusing a Crew Dragon space capsule to fly humans for the first time. The mission, dubbed Crew-2, is the latest flight under NASA’s Commercial Crew Program, and will add four more astronauts to the orbital space station.

A used Falcon 9 rocket, last flown for SpaceX’s Crew-1 mission last year, lifted off at 5:49AM ET from Cape Canaveral, Florida carrying Endeavor, the same Crew Dragon capsule that first launched SpaceX’s debut astronaut mission nearly one year ago. For this flight, the Endeavor capsule carried four astronauts from three different countries — SpaceX’s most diverse NASA-managed crew yet.

“Off the Earth, for the Earth, Endeavor is ready to go,” NASA astronaut Shane Kimbrough, the mission’s spacecraft commander, told SpaceX mission control in Hawthorne, California minutes before lifting off.

Kimbrough and fellow NASA astronaut Megan McArthur, serving as the pilot, accompanied mission specialists Akihiko Hoshide of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) and Thomas Pesquet, a French aerospace engineer from the European Space Agency (ESA). The crew will spend roughly 23 hours in transit as Endeavor autonomously raises its orbit toward the ISS ahead of a 5:10AM ET docking tomorrow, April 24th.

Sunlight beamed into the windows of Crew Dragon Endeavor as it separated from its Falcon 9 second stage booster roughly 12 minutes after its pre-dawn liftoff, prompting cheers and applause from engineers on a video feed in SpaceX’s mission control. “Thanks for flying our first flight-proven, crewed Falcon 9,” mission control said to Endeavor.

“We’re great, it’s good to be back in space for all of us, and we’ll send our regards to Crew-1 when we get there,” Kimbrough replied from Endeavor. The capsule’s separation occurred just as Falcon 9’s first stage booster returned back to Earth for landing on SpaceX’s “Of Course I Still Love You” drone-ship in the Atlantic Ocean.

Kimbrough, McArthur, Hoshide and Pesquet will spend six months in space and join seven astronauts already aboard the space station, an orbital science laboratory flying more than 17,000 miles per hour in orbit roughly 250 miles above Earth. Two days after the crew’s arrival, four other astronauts from SpaceX’s Crew-1 mission, which launched to the ISS November 15 last year, will board a separate Crew Dragon capsule and return to Earth to cap their own six-month stay.

Crew-2 marks SpaceX’s third astronaut mission under NASA’s Commercial Crew Program, the agency’s public-private initiative to revive its human spaceflight capabilities after a nearly 10-year dependence on Russian rockets. It’s the second of six operational missions SpaceX is contracted to fly under that program, which awarded the company $2.6 billion in 2014 to develop and fly Crew Dragon. SpaceX’s first crewed mission in May 2020, carrying Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley, counted as a test flight.

Accompanied by two Russian cosmonauts and NASA’s Mark Vande Hei, who all launched on a Russian Soyuz rocket on April 9th, Crew-2’s stay aboard the ISS will make for an 7-person crew in space for the next several months. During their stay, the crew will conduct an array of microgravity science experiments. The Crew-2 astronauts’ science efforts will center on a cassette-sized device containing human cells to study how those cells respond to various drugs and health conditions in microgravity.

The increased crew size means other science experiments, including a few projects tracking how plants grow and behave in space, will also see some progress. “It’s like a party up there,” said Annmarie Eldering, a project scientist at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory working on Orbiting Carbon Observatory-3, a device astronauts will use to measure carbon dioxide in Earth’s atmosphere. “When you get all those measurements from space, in the same time, same place, it’s really powerful for science,” Eldering said Friday morning in a live NASA broadcast.



How to watch SpaceX’s third crewed mission to the ISS

SpaceX is slated to launch its third crew to the International Space Station early Friday morning, ferrying two astronauts from NASA, one from the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency, and the first European Space Agency astronaut to fly a private US spacecraft to orbit. The four-person crew will launch atop SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket at 5:49AM ET on Friday.

The mission, dubbed Crew-2, marks the second operational mission under the Commercial Crew Program, NASA’s public-private initiative to revive its human spaceflight capabilities after a 10-year dependence on Russian rockets. It will mark the first time NASA astronauts fly a reused crew capsule — Crew-2’s ride first flew in May 2020 as SpaceX’s first astronaut mission, carrying Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley.

The crew includes NASA astronauts Shane Kimbrough, the mission’s spacecraft commander, and Megan McArthur, serving as the pilot. JAXA astronaut Akihiko Hoshide and ESA astronaut Thomas Pesquet, a French aerospace engineer, will serve as mission specialists. All the astronauts are in Florida ahead of the launch, and they’ll wake up at 11:09PM ET Thursday to prepare for flight.

NASA’s live coverage of the mission will begin hours before liftoff, at 1:30AM ET Friday. Liftoff is at 5:49AM ET. The trek to the International Space Station will take a little less than a day — the crew is scheduled to dock with the space station at around 5:10AM ET Saturday, April 24th. They’ll spend six months on the station.


SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket will take off on Friday, April 23rd, from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida.

Scheduled launch time: New York: 5:49AM / San Francisco: 2:49AM / London: 10:49AM / Berlin: 11:49AM / Moscow: 12:49PM / New Delhi: 3:19 PM / Beijing: 5:49PM / Tokyo: 6:49PM / Melbourne: 7:49PM


Live stream: NASA’s live stream coverage can be found on YouTube and on the agency’s website.


Elon Musk says Starlink internet service should be ‘fully mobile’ by the end of this year

SpaceX’s new Starlink satellite internet service is in a very limited beta testing period right now, but the company is already thinking ahead: as first noted by CNBC, SpaceX has filed an application with the FCC for Starlink components that would allow the service to work on moving vehicles. Big moving vehicles, that is — Elon Musk tweeted that the existing Starlink terminals are too big for Tesla’s vehicles, and the idea is targeted at planes, RVs, trucks, and ships.

Not connecting Tesla cars to Starlink, as our terminal is much too big. This is for aircraft, ships, large trucks & RVs.

— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) March 8, 2021

This would be a big change for Starlink, which right now does not even allow customers to move the existing hardware from address to address — if you can get in the beta, the signup forms are clear that the service is limited to the location you enter at checkout. That’s because the Starlink satellite constellation isn’t fully built out yet, so it’s not a permanent limitation, but it’s still a limitation today, and one that Elon once again clarified today in a tweet:

Yeah, should be fully mobile later this year, so you can move it anywhere or use it on an RV or truck in motion. We need a few more satellite launches to achieve compete coverage & some key software upgrades.

— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) April 15, 2021

I actually have a Starlink system that I’ll be reviewing for The Verge’s upcoming Infrastructure Week — the promise of fast, reliable satellite internet that can compete with America’s various broadband monopolies is very enticing, but early testers have reported mixed results. (Which, again, Elon says will improve.) Let me know if you have questions in the comments below!


Elon Musk’s SpaceX will reportedly build NASA’s lunar lander

NASA picked Elon Musk’s SpaceX to receive $2.9 billion to build a lunar lander, as part of the Artemis mission to send humans to the Moon by 2024, The Washington Post reported. It’s a major vote of confidence in SpaceX from NASA — as no other company received money.

There were three major contenders for the project. SpaceX beat out Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin, working with a selection of other aerospace companies, and Dynetics, a defense contractor. NASA had previously rewarded all three contenders with a combined $967 million to develop lunar lander concepts.

NASA was expected to pick two companies to receive contracts today on the first Moon landing mission since the Apollo program. So giving the contract to SpaceX alone is a slap in the face to Blue Origin in particular — and its team, which included Lockheed Martin and Northrop Grumman. In the commercial crew program, for instance, both Boeing and SpaceX received contracts. The redundancy gave NASA options in case one of the companies didn’t deliver.



Dogecoin is on a run, has escaped the yard, and is headed to the moon

Oh, super, Dogecoin is spiking. The joke currency, which as recently as January 27th was worth less than a cent, hit 47 cents this morning, according to Robinhood’s tracker. As I type this, the market cap is more than $51 billion.

The currency is based on an au-courant-as-of-2013 meme of a Shiba Inu, and was intended to satirize bitcoin. Well, kids, the joke’s over. It’s now a top-10 cryptocurrency.

Weird year for finance, honestly. There was the Gamestonk thing which made GameStop stock so valuable, a member of the board of directors had to step down so that he could sell shares without restrictions. (Noted investor David Einhorn accused Elon Musk of pouring “jet fuel” on the January rally; a hedge fund called the top of the January rally based on the Musk tweet and raked in the dough.) Keith “Roaring Kitty” Gill stands to make millions, which he will presumably use to buy fancier headbands. NFT mania seized the world, after artist Beeple — aka Mike Winkelmann — sold an NFT of Everydays: The First 5,000 Days for $69 million. Coinbase went public earlier this week, and closed its first day of trading worth more than the company behind the Nasdaq, the exchange it trades on.

Last night, Musk — a shitposter with a hobby of being CEO of Tesla and SpaceX — tweeted “Doge Barking at the Moon.” For those of you fortunate enough to have avoided internet-related brainworms: a bunch of people probably thought this was a reference to a phrase used by internet traders, “to the moon.” Musk, who is known for coming to memes late, has called dogecoin his favorite cryptocurrency. In February, he called it “The People’s Crypto.”

Look, it’s not my fault that the interest rate is zero percent — that was always gonna make shit weird, because there’s almost nowhere safe to park your money without losing some of it to inflation. That means a lot more money is sloshing around than usual, which is fueling everything from SPACs to Gamestonk. What worries me is that we could be locked into zero interest rate policy world for as long as five years, which is an awfully long time for memes to mess with actual money. As long as there’s this much money sloshing around, anything goes. Anyway, if you are a hedge fund that called the top on Dogecoin based on an Elon Musk tweet, let me know — I’d love to interview you and find out how that call went.


iPhone 12 Pro Space Collection featuring Elon Musk

Caviar launches 5 Limited Edition models of the iPhone 12 Pro (Max) dedicated to space conquerors. Each features a real fragment of a famous spacecraft.

Today it is exactly 60 years ago that the first manned space flight took place. This memorable day has been renamed the Day of the Cosmonauts. In honor of this special event, the Russian accessory company Caviar has introduced a range of smartphones within the “Space Conquerors” Collection. It are five iPhone 12 Pro (Max) models, each dedicated to a famous personality within the space industry.

These exclusive and luxurious smartphones are certainly not for everyone’s budget. This is partly because Caviar has provided every phone model within the Space Conquerors Collection with a real fragment of the hulls of famous spaceships. That makes these models very unique, but also expensive.

iPhone 12 Pro Collection: Elon Musk edition

The first model is dedicated to a modern aerospace pioneer; Elon Musk. The Tesla founder has a dream to conquer Mars, with his SpaceX development program. The iPhone 12 Pro (Max) Musk edition is made of ultra-strong titanium with a PVD coating. The device is adorned with the recognizable silhouette of Elon Musk, which is depicted against the red-gilded background of the planet Mars.

A gilded line around the red planet symbolizes the upcoming flight – the dream of the legendary visionary. The flight path is crowned with a real space particle, which has been on board of the CRS-14 Falcon 9 and the CRS-17 Dragon – both spacecraft are made by SpaceX.

The date engraved on the gold line is the date SpaceX was founded. In 2021, the company will be celebrating its 19 anniversary, therefore Caviar has decided to manufacture only 19 copies of the iPhone 12 Pro Space Conqueror Musk Edition.

The price of the iPhone 12 Pro Musk Limited Edition is set at $ 6,610 USD (128GB). In addition, there is a choice of 256GB and 512GB. The same design is also available with the iPhone 12 Pro Max as a base, for this Limited Edition smartphone the starting price is set at $ 7,150 USD.

Space Conquerors Collection: Gagarin edition

On April 12, 1961, the first manned flight to space took place, on board of the Vostok 1 was astronaut Yuri Gagarin. In honor of this important event, jewelry brand Caviar has designed the iPhone 12 Pro (Max) Gagerin Edition. The case of the Gagarin model is made of hardened aeronautical titanium and composite stone, decorated with a three-dimensional image of the Vostok rocket, which put Gagarin in orbit.

The centerpiece of the design is a rare Navigator watch, engraved with the date of the first flight into space. On an identical watch, Yuri Gagarin counted his cosmic 108 minutes, which turned the world upside down and immortalized his name and achievement.

The most unique design element of the Gagarin model is a real fragment of the Vostok 1 spacecraft – which made the first flight around Earth. The Gagarin model has become one of the most exclusive models in Caviar’s history – only 12 smartphones will be produced, in honor of the memorable date of April 12.

This is the most expensive model of the Space Conquerors collection. The iPhone 12 Pro Gagarin edition is available for a starting price of $ 8,920 USD. For the iPhone 12 Pro Max, the price is set at $ 9,450 USD.

Space Conquerors: Korolev Limited Edition

Caviar has also created an iPhone dedicated to the Ukrainian Soviet physicist Sergei Pavlovich Korolev, also known as the father of the Soviet space program. This smartphone model is adorned with a three-dimensional gold-plated star, bears the name of the Soviet engineer and creator of the first artificial Earth satellite, Sputnik 1.

A striking design detail is the enormous star thrown into space by a human hand. It is a symbol of the global event. It is a metaphorical representation of how Korolev and the Soviet Union take the first steps towards cosmic infinity.

The body of the smartphone is made of hardened titanium with an artistic engraving of a monochrome space landscape. Double coating of 999 gold made in Double Electroplated technique, 7 microns was used in the decor. There is an engraving on the case, containing the date of the launch of the first satellite. It says: ‘The father of practical astronautics, 4 October 1957’.

Caviar will produce 99 copies of the Korolev edition. The iPhone 12 Pro Korolev edition is available for $ 6,760 USD (128GB). For the iPhone 12 Pro Max, prices start at $ 7,300 USD.

iPhone 12 Pro Limited Edition dedicated to Bezos

The fourth model in Caviar’s Space Conquerors collection is dedicated to American space pioneer Jeff Bezos and his space company Blue Origin. His mission is to bring people to the Moon. The Moon seems so close that you can reach out and touch, but the 384,467 kilometers that separate us is a serious test for experienced astronauts.

The body of the smartphone is adorned with an exquisite lightweight feather, which is the symbol of Blue Origin. It is depicted on all the spaceships born of the engineering thought of the best designers of Bezos. In the background, a deep blue composite stone has been incorporated, symbolizing the earth.

Our planet stands out in the endless space, which is designed in black PVD titanium with geometric relief patterns. The memorable date is engraved on the contour of the Earth: “Going to the Moon to stay, April 29, 2015” – referring to the date of the successful test of the reusable triple spacecraft New Shepard.

This smartphone appears in a limited edition of 99 pieces. The iPhone 12 Pro Bezos edition is available for $ 5,840 USD (128GB). Enthusiasts of the iPhone 12 Pro Max should expect a starting price of $ 6,380 USD.

Armstrong edition with real fragment of Apollo 11

Last but not least, Caviar has dedicated a phone model to the first man to set foot on the Moon: Neil Armstrong. The American astronaut and aeronautical engineer, along with colleagues Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins, reached the Moon in 1969 on board of the Apollo 11 spacecraft. During his descent on the ladder, Armstrong made the legendary statement: “That’s one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.”

This iPhone 12 Pro Limited Edition includes a relief image of titanium featuring astronaut Armstrong placing the American flag on the Moon. In the background you can see a cosmic landscape, consisting of stars and planet Earth.

What makes this model extra special, Caviar has incorporated a real fragment of Apollo 11 into the design – the spacecraft that brought the first human to the moon. A commemorative engraving has also been added that reads: “First moon landing. July 20, 1969”.

Symbolizing the designation “Apollo 11”, Caviar will produce only 11 copies of the Armstrong edition. This exclusive smartphone has a starting price of $ 6,450 USD, for which you will receive the iPhone 12 Pro (128GB). For $ 6,990 you will be the proud owner of the iPhone 12 Pro Max Armstrong edition (128GB).

It is not the first time that Caviar has designed an exclusive smartphone line-up dedicated to space. Last year, the iPhone 11 Pro Space Odyssey Collection was launched. Not long after, the company also released an iPhone 12 Pro Concept dedicated to Elon Musk and his SpaceX project.