Elon Musk talked many times about the importance of fully and rapidly reusable rockets. This has been coming closer and closer with several years of first stages being recovered and reused. About 80% of the value of the Falcon 9 is recovered with reused first stages and the payload farings. Fully and rapidly reusable will be completely realized in two to four years with the Super Heavy Starship and the Mechazilla catch and launch tower. Catching and relaunching will enable a reuse rate at one hour or less. Launching once an hour means 8700 launches per year from each launch tower with one booster and 24 to 96 Starships. More Starships are needed as they need to go through several orbits.
Non-SpaceX rockets get at most 40 launches per year. Those were launches for all of China. Non-China rocket launches are to 5-10 launches per year. SpaceX is getting to 60 launches in 2022. SpaceX with 4 launch sites with hourly launches would have about 35000 launches per year. SpaceX would be able to put 150 tons per reusable launch into orbit. This would be 5 million tons per year. This would be 10,000 times more than current launch capability.
China led Q3 in both the number and payload mass of orbital rocket launches, according to the latest @BryceSpaceTech report.
Kilograms of mass launched:
— Michael Sheetz (@thesheetztweetz) November 8, 2021
Compiling Past Elon Musk Statements on Factories, Manufacturing and How Reusable Rockets Like Replicable Factories
Fully and rapidly reusable rockets are ten thousand times more capable than non-reusable rockets. Fully and rapidly replicable factories are vastly more capable than non-replicable factories. Fully and rapidly replicable factories will enable exponential growth and 100,000 times more expansion of humanity over a century versus about ten times without it.
Elon has also said Tesla’s long-term competitive advantage will be manufacturing
Elon Musk has said that the acid test for Mars colonization is an entirely self-sufficient place and not dependent on links to Earth for its survival. He has roughly estimated this to be 100,000 people.
Earth currently can make chips, Gigafactories, Tesla cars and will make Teslabots and Super Heavy Starships. A completely self-sufficient Mars with 100,000 people and all equipment must also be able to replicate all mining, supply chains, products and factories. Mars would have to be able to replicate all products and factories. The Tesla products (batteries, solar panels, cars, rockets, chips, teslabots) are a small and easier subset of Earth products. Self-sufficient Mars would satisfy fully replicable.
It would then be a matter of speeding up the replicability.
We are currently doubling our global economy every 25 years. If factories can replicate every two years then in forty years, whatever is replicating and doubling is one million times more than what was at the start.
Elon has also said “the Optimus Robot Is Tesla’s Most Important Product Development, More Significant than Car Business Over Time.”
Elon Musk and Tesla optimists talk about Optimus Robot solving Real World AI. A subset (and fraction) or real-world AI capability is to assist and perform more and more tasks in factories and in the factory supply chain. Automating Tesla and SpaceX labor is a fraction of what is needed to help with overall labor.
The factory is the product
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) January 11, 2021
In an interview, Elon Musk talked about speeding up the factory.
If you optimized every cubic meter of the factory, then you could think of the factory-like a CPU. You can move things closer together and increase the clock speed to increase auto production throughput. These optimizations mean a minimum improvement of ten times and up to 100 times.
If a regular Gigafactory had output of 500,000 cars per year. Speeding up by ten times would be 5 million cars per year and speeding by one hundred times is 50 million cars per year.
SpaceX is also building Raptor engine, Starship and Super Heavy booster factories.
Elon Talked About the Machine that Builds the Machine
Machines building machines is another way of saying fully and rapidly replicable factories.
SpaceX Engineer Talking to NASA Mission Planners About Starship
Starship can land 100 tons on the lunar surface,” said Aarti Matthews, Starship Human Landing System program manager for SpaceX. “And it’s really hard to think about what that means in a tangible way. One hundred tons is four fire trucks. It’s 100 Moon rovers. My favorite way to explain this to my kids is that it’s the weight of more than 11 elephants.””We all need to be thinking bigger and better and really inspirationally about what we can do,” Matthews said.
NASA should plan for Starship’s “significant” capability.
“If you, as an engineer, are developing an in-situ resource utilization system, what does your system look like when you have no mass constraint?” she asked. “What about when you have no volume constraint? That would be the exciting thing that I would like to hear from NASA engineers, what they can do with this capability.”
A group of planetary scientists have started warming to the idea that Starship could open up the Solar System to a new era of exploration. When SpaceX sends its first test missions to Mars, these scientists say, NASA should have experimental payloads ready to take advantage of the mass and volume capabilities of the new vehicle.
However, Nextbigfuture says the planning and goal should be fully and rapidly replicable factories to enable exponential humanity with an over 1000X larger civilization by 2100.
Think and plan big. Really big.
Brian Wang is a Futurist Thought Leader and a popular Science blogger with 1 million readers per month. His blog Nextbigfuture.com is ranked #1 Science News Blog. It covers many disruptive technology and trends including Space, Robotics, Artificial Intelligence, Medicine, Anti-aging Biotechnology, and Nanotechnology.
Known for identifying cutting edge technologies, he is currently a Co-Founder of a startup and fundraiser for high potential early-stage companies. He is the Head of Research for Allocations for deep technology investments and an Angel Investor at Space Angels.
A frequent speaker at corporations, he has been a TEDx speaker, a Singularity University speaker and guest at numerous interviews for radio and podcasts. He is open to public speaking and advising engagements.