Fully and Rapidly Replicable Factories

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.

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<. He said that the factory is the product.

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.

I have a video and article that describes that fully and rapidly replicable factories would be the critical point when humanity could transition to much faster exponential growth.

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.

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

Ars Technica provided quotes from SpaceX HLS manager.

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.

18 thoughts on “Fully and Rapidly Replicable Factories”

  1. Seed factory research really needs to get promoted more. Tesla may want to get to high tech partial clanking replicator levels, but they are still dependent on high level chips, which currently can only be manufactured at a handful of semiconductor fabs on earth.

  2. I want to be the first Tesla owner on Mars. As an added benefit, I can be the first Tesla owner on Mars to complain about the slow dealer repair.

  3. Need to get the politicians out of the way. And by that, I mean Democrats. They want to destroy him along with our dream of new space.
    They have no control there.

  4. Sooooo much easier in Space. "Is the surface of a planet the right place" to do any of this? The faster you go, the sooner you will run out of planet room, and wish you were with those of us who understand O'Neill, in orbit, in the g we want, in the sunlight we want, in the temp we want, doing the micr0g stuff those on planets CANNOT do. Is the lunar base to be ON the Moon, or in lunar orbit, able to do useful stuff? A big nasty question for power addicts who cannot stand free Space. How can you enslave pregnant females if you cannot keep them from leaving?

  5. I think you’re correct about it being very difficult to get the last 1% but in this case cheating is OK and the effort identifies the critical skills likely as you say to be implicit knowledge. Replicating technological civilization is the standard that needs to be met for self sufficiency.

  6. Thinking in terms of Musk's goal of a self sufficient life boat colony, which requires 100% Martian capability. Agreed that 95% of the way there would tremendously ease things, and be sustainable so long as Earth was around to fill the holes.

    I suppose trying to do it will identify the holes that need filling.

  7. Is SpaceX also planning building large 100k(even 1000 will be impressive) colony on the Moon? We should do it first, or both. Why not both at the same time? I know there are different conditions like gravity and many more, but we can learn how to live on both(Moon and Mars) at the same time.

  8. My case is complete if it is fully and rapidly replicable for SpaceX and Tesla factories and their supply chain. Also, we have the case of Super Heavy Starship. It is a progression from Falcon 9 first stage and faring reuse. The fleets of Starships will still be flying between Earth and Mars. Getting to 95% complete and then 99% complete will be a multiplier of what can be made on Mars.

  9. Achieving a complete industrial infrastructure with just 100K people seems unachievable to me, if we're using anything like conventional technology. There are too many specialties out there to have them all redundantly represented in a population that small. At least if you're using human labor. Maybe if everybody is a specialist, and all the actual physical labor is automated it might be possible. But it wouldn't happen by accident, you'd have to know all of the specialties needed.

    A secondary problem is that a ridiculous amount of information and technique necessary to keep our industry functioning is not written down. It's proprietary techniques and knowledge that's maintained in the brains of specialists and passed on from one person to another verbally. I used to design thermoplastic extrusion dies, for instance, and while there's software to aid in that, and general guidelines, there's also a lot of 'black art' that's gained only by practice in the field. Designing tooling to manufacture something like a door lip seal requires experience. Years of it.

    Likewise for the other areas of engineering I've worked in, such as stamping tooling. I've been designing stamping tooling for better than 20 years now, and I still see parts out there some of our competitors make, and know that I'd have to mount a serious R&D effort to replicate some of them.

    It's not going to be easy to achieve that last 5% of closure in automating factories.

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