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Tesla CEO Elon Musk Planning for Electric Planes in Next 5 Years

Musk has long been talking about all modes of transport going electric at some point – except for rockets

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Elon Musk
Elon Musk, CEO of SpaceX and Tesla. Wikimedia Commons

Tech mogul Elon Musk has started discussing the possibility and potential of battery-powered electric airplanes and believes they could be viable in about five years.

This weekend, Musk updated his expected timeline for the energy density to improve enough to enable battery-powered airplanes, Electrek reported on Monday.

When a user questioned Musk, “Is it possible for planes to fly off of a battery? Or is there not a powerful enough battery yet?” the Tesla and SpaceX CEO replied, “Yes, but still a bit too limited on a range. That will change in coming years as battery energy density improves.”

Musk explained that jet fuel beats batteries when it comes to energy density, but the efficiency gains mean that so much energy potential is not needed, the report said.

“Jet (kerosene) has much higher energy density than Lithium-ion (Li-ion), but electric motors weigh much less and convert stored energy to motion better than combustion engines,” he wrote.

tesla
Visitors inspect Tesla electric cars at Brussels Motor Show, Belgium, Jan. 18, 2019. VOA

Musk estimated that Li-Ion batteries would need to achieve a 400 Wh/kg energy density in order for batteries to beat kerosene and his electric aircraft to be viable.

Today, battery cells with high cycles are achieving about 300 Wh/kg of energy density.

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Musk has long been talking about all modes of transport going electric at some point – except for rockets.

Years ago, the CEO of Tesla and SpaceX even said that he had a design for electric vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) aircraft – though he never elaborated on plans to bring the aircraft to production, the report added. (IANS)

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SpaceX Run By Elon Musk Aims To Raise $250mn in New Funding For Hitting $36bn Valuation

SpaceX is preparing its Crew Dragon spacecraft to fly NASA astronauts Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken to and from the space station in the first flight. The uncrewed Demo-1 mission flew in March last year

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SpaceX
The fundraising comes as SpaceX continues development on three important programmes: Crew Dragon, Starlink and Starship, reports CNBC. Wikimedia Commons

Elon Musk-run SpaceX is aiming to raise around $250 million in new funding that would bring the rocket launch company’s valuation to $36 billion.

The fundraising comes as SpaceX continues development on three important programmes: Crew Dragon, Starlink and Starship, reports CNBC.

The company raised $1.33 billion during 2019 and has raised more than $3 billion in funding to date.

The new round of funding could close sometime in the middle of next month.

SpaceX has received a $3.1 billion contract award as part of NASA commercial crew programme. It charges its customers nearly $60 million per launch of one of its Falcon 9 rockets and had 13 such launches in 2019.

Ahead of its launch of astronauts to the International Space Station (ISS) aboard its Crew Dragon capsule which is tentatively scheduled for May 7, SpaceX has hired a top former human spaceflight expert.

In his new role, William Gerstenmaier, the former leader of NASA’s human spaceflight programme, is reporting to SpaceX Vice President of mission assurance Hans Koenigsmann.

Elon Musk
Elon Musk-run SpaceX is aiming to raise around $250 million in new funding that would bring the rocket launch company’s valuation to $36 billion. Wikimedia Commons

SpaceX is preparing its Crew Dragon spacecraft to fly NASA astronauts Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken to and from the space station in the first flight. The uncrewed Demo-1 mission flew in March last year.

“We’re highly confident that the hardware will be ready in Q1, most likely at the end of February but no later than March. And we think it appears probable that the first crewed launch would occur in the second quarter,” said Musk after the successful uncrewed test of its Crew Dragon capsule’s in-flight launch escape capabilities last month.

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Musk said that if all goes well, the first crewed flight on the Crew Dragon could take place in the second quarter of this year. (IANS)