Elon Musk says SpaceX is constructing a ‘kid-sized submarine’ to rescue trapped soccer group

Simply days after engineers from SpaceX and the Boring Firm traveled to Thailand to help with the rescue of a soccer group trapped within the Tham Luang cave complicated, CEO Elon Musk says that they’re engaged on a “tiny, kid-size submarine” constructed out of elements from a Falcon 9 rocket. Nonetheless, it doesn’t seem that the machine might be used to rescue the group, because the Thai authorities launched rescue operations early this morning.

Earlier this week, Musk famous that they have been contemplating a few choices, from drilling holes into the cave, to setting up an inflatable tube, to some type of Kevlar escape pod. Since then, he says that their “major path” is a submarine constructed out of a liquid oxygen switch tube as a hull, which might be sufficiently small to suit into the cave, but in addition mild sufficient to be carried to the trapped kids by divers.

Musk replied to questions from Twitter customers, saying that the car is “fitted for a child or small grownup to attenuate open air,” with compartments so as to add weights to account for buoyancy. He additionally famous that the pod has handles on the entrance and rear, in addition to tank connectors to connect as much as 4 tanks. In followup tweets this afternoon, Musk defined that the SpaceX group is at present engaged on the car, and that he anticipates that it will be full in eight hours, earlier than being flown to Thailand. A spokesperson from SpaceX declined to touch upon the document, however a Boring Firm spokesman confirmed that engineers from SpaceX, Tesla, and the Boring Firm have been working to design, construct, and check pods at SpaceX, whereas different engineers have been in Thailand or have been on their approach, the place they’ll proceed to coordinate with the Thai authorities to greatest work out tips on how to proceed.

On Sunday, Musk posted a brief video and pictures of the car:

The 12 boys and their coach have been found alive by rescue divers final week after they have been trapped by floodwaters within the caves in late June. Whereas the members of the group are at present secure, they’re in a harmful state of affairs. Oxygen within the cave has since change into depleted, and Navy divers should make a deadly, six-hour dive to succeed in chamber the place they’re trapped. Already, one diver, Petty Officer Saman Gunan of the Royal Thai Navy, died on Thursday. There had been hope that the group may be capable of wait out the floodwaters, however the coming wet season has additionally result in discussions that the kids, not all of whom can swim, must be introduced out one after the other by divers.

Musk’s car appears to bypass that potentially-hazardous plan by hauling every little one out in a pod, doubtlessly eliminating the necessity to give the soccer gamers a crash course in diving. However final evening, Thai authorities determined to maneuver ahead with rescue operations, sending divers in to extract the kids one after the other earlier than floodwaters rose any greater. So far, 4 group members have reportedly been saved. As such, Musk indicated on Twitter that they’ll proceed to construct and check their car, which he indicated may very well be helpful sooner or later. On Sunday afternoon, he famous that they have been nonetheless planning to ship the capsule to Thailand.

Up to date July eighth 9:30 AM ET: Up to date to incorporate statements from Boring Firm, in addition to updates on the rescue and Musk’s plans.

Up to date July eighth four:20 AM ET: Up to date to incorporate Musk’s footage of the car throughout testing.

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