January 29, 2013 3:20 pm
The Boeing 787 hasn’t exactly had a good run. A series of malfunctions has grounded all fifty of the active planes. Many of those malfunctions involve the plane’s battery. Now, Elon Musk and his company SpaceX wants to help out. Reuters writes:
In a Jan. 26 message on Twitter, Musk said he was in talks with the chief engineer of Boeing’s 787 Dreamliner plane, which regulators have grounded indefinitely after a string of malfunctions ranging from fuel leaks to battery meltdowns.
“Desire to help Boeing is real & am corresponding w 787 chief engineer,” Musk wrote on the social media website.
It’s unclear whether Boeing is actually interested in working with SpaceX, as they’ve declined to comment on the offer, but the hand has certainly been extended. Musk has been critical of Boeing in the past, says PopSci:
How generous of him, especially after he poked fun at Boeing in a magazine profile a few months ago. SpaceX and Tesla use lithium ion packs for its Falcon 9 rocket and Dragon spacecraft, and the Tesla Model S–the first all-electric car to be knighted Car of the Year–does too. They are lighter and more powerful than other battery types, but can pose safety hazards in some cases, as Boeing learned to its great and lasting chagrin this month.
Musk, a serial entrepreneur who gained fame after selling his Internet payment company PayPal to eBay Inc in 2002, has been quick to criticize the cultures of major car makers like General Motors Co and Ford Motor Co.
In a magazine interview with Esquire late last year, Musk was similarly critical of Boeing. He was quoted as saying, “You know the joke about Boeing: It puts the zero in being.”
It’s not exactly the type of behavior that makes a gigantic corporation want to accept an offer of help. Nor is it clear that Musk actually can help: Just because he wants to and is talking to an engineer doesn’t mean he has a magic fix.
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