Elon Musk Will Reopen New York Tesla Factory For Ventilator Production

With the coronavirus pandemic slowing down a multitude of industries all over the world, Elon Musk has been supporting efforts to combat the virus while also streamlining the sixth launch of his SpaceX Falcon 9 rockets, which took 60 more Starlink satellites into Earth’s orbit. 

Embed from Getty Images

Elon Musk is known as the billionaire tech entrepreneur who owns electric car company Tesla as well as SpaceX, an outer space satellite-internet providing business. Now, as the world faces one of the largest pandemic’s its ever seen, Musk is using his vast amount of resources to help advance COVID-19 treatments/provide supplies to various medical facilities, all while directing 60 Starlink satellites into Earth’s orbit as a part of his continued effort to beam cheap, high-speed internet from space. 

This past Wednesday, March 25th, Musk took to Twitter to announce that Tesla would be reopening its Gigafactory facility in New York so that the space can be used for the production of ventilators, as a response to the coronavirus pandemic. Last week, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio called on Musk specifically, asking for his help and resources to help produce more ventilators, de Blasio asked the Tesla CEO after Musk already made a public statement claiming that he would provide ventilators should there be a shortage. 

New York alone has been hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic, which isn’t surprising considering how closely everyone lives among one another.  There’s been over 33,000 confirmed positive cases, and over 300 deaths, which is the most reported number of cases in any state in the US. New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has already issued an order for the closings of all non-essential businesses to help slow the spread of the virus, and in an official statement from the White House, citizens of the US have been told to self-quarantine for 14 days if they’ve been in New York within the past month.

“We’re making good progress. We will do whatever is needed to help in these difficult times. Giga New York will reopen for ventilator production as soon as humanly possible. We will do anything in our power to help the citizens of New York,” Musk tweeted.

Tesla and SpaceX are now a part of a growing list of billion-dollar tech corporations finally doing their part to help combat this pandemic. Apple recently announced that they would be donating up to 10 million N95 standard protective face masks to healthcare facilities all throughout the US, and Facebook will also be following suit and donating over 700,000 masks. Additionally, tech firms such as Microsoft, Twitter, and Facebook are also utilizing their combined resources to host a massive ongoing hackathon, which is being held as a means to get a bunch of developers together to help create tech solutions for the COVID-19 pandemic. 

For some corporations, however, business isn’t completely shutting down in response to this worldwide health crisis; Musk’s SpaceX being included in that. SpaceX has launched over 300 Starlink satellites into Earth’s orbit as a part of Elon Musk’s greater mission of providing cheap, high-speed broadband internet from space, as previously stated. With the coronavirus pandemic slowing down a multitude of businesses and industries all over the world, Musk began streamlining the sixth launch of his SpaceX Falcon 9 rockets, which took 60 more Starlink satellites into Earth’s orbit.

Embed from Getty Images

“We have to make [Starlink] work, [as we know] previous efforts by other startups to build cheap satellite-based internet have ended in bankruptcy. SpaceX brings in revenue by launching satellites and cargo into space for NASA, the military and other commercial companies. But the company is also rapidly raising money to help cover the cost of deploying its constellation. SpaceX has launched Starlink satellites at an unprecedented pace. It’s already the single largest satellite constellation in existence,” Musk said at a satellite conference earlier this month.

Embed from Getty Images

SpaceX originally had 24 Starlink missions planned for this year, each mission was meant to be like the one that occurred this week, launching 60 Starlink satellites into orbit. Now, however, it’s unclear as to how much the space industry will be affected by the coronavirus pandemic and workplace closings/isolation orders dealt out by the federal government. Recently, NASA implemented a “stage 3” response to the pandemic, which requires all staff to work from home unless it’s completely necessary for them to be in office; for comparison a “stage 4” response would require all NASA facilities to close indefinitely. 

On the opposite end, the new US Space Force Defence Department supported SpaceX’s recent Starlink mission, and claimed that there “are currently no impacts to mission-essential activities due to COVID-19 concerns.”

Musk has claimed that the goal of SpaceX will include launching more than 40,000 satellites into Earth’s orbit to reach the maximum potential for fast, cheap internet from space. He’s claimed the company could make up to $30 billion in annual revenue and “transform the global telecommunications landscape,” hence the major hesitation to halt work. 

The launch was initially meant to happen last Sunday but was automatically halted at liftoff after mission control received some troubling data regarding the spacecraft’s engine power. SpaceX has been known in the past to reuse parts of its rockets to drive down costs, so these types of hiccups are not uncalled for. The mission went on as planned this week, March 25th, beginning the initial stages of what will definitely be an unpredictable year for the tech community, SpaceX, and Elon Musk.