Lots of similarity between Telsa and SpaceX technology development - as we should expect with Elon in charge of both. Tesla, the newer company, has a product development portfolio which is briefly described as: -- The Roadster - a commercial proof of concept for its electric drivetrain with a large onboard electricity source. A similar story to the Falcon 1 and its Merlin engine. -- Model S - an EV from the ground up, leading the luxury/mid-price segment, that is also used for continuous development - particularly in regard to autopilot and safety features. Falcon 9 equivalent. -- Model X - larger vehicle that adds depth to the Model S range with some features (windscreen extends back to the B-pillar, Falcon wing doors, HEPA filter). Falcon Heavy equivalent. -- Model 3 - smaller vehicle in the mid-price segment that will build on Tesla core technologies - drivetrain and autopilot. Model X novelties, except perhaps the windscreen, are unlikely to survive in base model. The world waits to see what the package will look like. It also waits to see what the new SpaceX Rapter powered rocket will look like - an announcement is promised early in 2016. -- Tesla is building "refuelling" stations for its worldwide customers. -- Reusing the batteries and recycling the whole car are Telsa objectives. SpaceX, the older company, has a product development portfolio looking like this: -- Falcon 1 - Technology demonstrator for Merlin engined, kerosene (RP-1/) and oxygen fuelled, rocket - flown from the Kwajalein Atoll. Same fuel used for both first and second stages. -- Falcon 9 - the commercial rocket capable of launching most satellites and resupplying the space station at a fraction of the cost of Space Shuttle and at a fraction of the cost per seat for a ride in the Soyuz spacecraft. Development and production costs kept low by use of nine small rockets on first stage. Continuous development, particularly of engines and avionics, has allowed reuse of the first stage by flying it back to launch field. Can lift 13.15 tonnes to low earth orbit - an increase of 60% on the first version of Falcon 9. -- Falcon Heavy - will use three Falcon 9 cores in first stage to lift 53 tonnes to orbit (3 cores gives 4 times the capacity for various reasons). It will also have a reusable first stage whose 3 cores will separately fly back. Comparable to the Model X in that it uses same technology in a bigger vehicle. -- Reusability is a key goal for environmental and cost reasons - achieved for first stage with 21 Dec 2015 Orbcomm launch (11 satellites with one launch). Reusable second stage and satellite payload launcher not feasible at present due to re-entry heat. -- Dragon spacecraft developed after winning separate NASA commercial crew and pressurised cargo to ISS contracts. Reusable spaceship that can carry 7 astronauts and cargo, or do all cargo flights as at present. -- Due to high launch-success rate and low prices, SpaceX has so far won $7b in contracts from NASA and commercial businesses for 60 launches (20 completed, 40 to go). -- SpaceX is building its 4th launch site, in south Texas, to serve more customers and cut costs. In years to come, it could attract Cape Canaveral-like crowds to its launches. The site is so close the border that Mexico will be a great viewing point. -- Falcon X (100 tonnes to LEO class), Falcon XX (200 tonnes to LEO class) - The primary aim of developing these vehicles is to transport humans to the Moon and Mars. Model 3 will necessarily have new technology and so will Falcon X. It will use a methane-oxygen engine, called Raptor, with the fuel and oxidizer stored in liquid form (Oxygen below -183 deg C, Methane below -162 deg C). The slightly warmer liquid methane can use liquid oxygen technology. Methane-Oxygen engines are more energetic and cleaner burning and need less maintenance than RP-1/Oxygen engines. In space, 3% of liquid hydrogen will boil off if it is not used or chilled - a major problem for long duration flights. While Elon would like to send thousands of people to Mars, in our life time it will be more like crewing the ISS. Flights will be relatively few until someone builds a hotel in Low Earth orbit with its fantastic views. The first Raptor will have 3 times the lift capacity of the Merlin. As they will need to prove its reliability, it is likely to take over Falcon Heavy lift tasks. One core with 9 Raptor engines will surely be cheaper and less complex than 3 cores with 27 Merlin engines. They could even use the Raptor engines on a Falcon 9 replacement. Methane is much easier to keep chilled on long duration spaceflights than hydrogen. Thus, SpaceX may switch totally to methane-oxygen rockets for first and second stages to low Earth orbit and onward into the solar system. Blue Origin is also developing a methane-oxygen rocket. The big US (and world) history of hydrogen-oxygen, kerosene-oxygen and 'solid' fuelled space rockets may be ending due to cheaper SpaceX solutions. As an interim measure, NASA could allow SpaceX to produce a version of the Space Launch System (SLS) converted to methane-oxygen and using the Raptor engine which will have a similar thrust to the SLS RS-25s. NASA already intends that its Moon and Mars landers be methane-oxygen powered. The SLS would have less lift capacity when methane powered, but will be cheaper to operate. By the time the US is ready to send people back to the Moon and on to Mars, SpaceX will have its SLS class rocket ready for the task - surely at a much cheaper price. We will drive our Teslas out to the launch site to watch. Google became a SpaceX shareholder in early 2015. Alphabet (name of Google parent company) would go a long way towards filling the alphabet if it managed to buy Solar City, Tesla and SpaceX - such has been Elon's success.