Tag Archives: technical

Exclusive: Tesla halts most production at Shanghai plant on Tuesday – memo

SHANGHAI, May 10 (Reuters) – Tesla Inc (TSLA.O) has halted most of its production at its Shanghai plant due to problems securing parts for its electric vehicles, according to an internal memo seen by Reuters, the latest in a series of difficulties for the factory.

The plant plans to manufacture less than 200 vehicles on Tuesday, according to the memo, far less than the roughly 1,200 units it has been building each day since shortly after it reopened on April 19 following a 22-day closure.

Two sources familiar with the matter had earlier said supply issues had forced the factory to halt production on Monday.

Shanghai is in its sixth week of an intensifying COVID-19 lockdown that has tested the ability of manufacturers to operate amid hard restrictions on the movement of people and materials.

Tesla had planned as late as last week to increase output to pre-lockdown levels by next week. 

It was not immediately clear when the current supply issues can be resolved, said the people, who asked not to be identified because the production plans are private.

Tesla did not immediately respond to a query for comment.

China Passenger Car Association is scheduled to release April sales for Tesla, China’s second-largest EV maker behind BYD (002594.SZ), on Tuesday.

Another auto association said last week it estimated overall auto sales in China dropped 48% in April as zero-COVID lockdowns shut factories, limited traffic to showrooms and put the brakes on spending.

Aptiv (APTV.N), Tesla’s main supplier of wire harnesses, stopped shipping from a Shanghai plant that supplies Tesla and General Motors Co (GM.N) after COVID-19 infections were found among its workers, two people familiar with the matter told Reuters on Monday.

Tesla’s Shanghai plant, also known as the Gigafactory 3, produces the Model 3 sedan and Model Y crossover for the China market and for export.

Tesla partially resumed production at the Shanghai plant on April 19 following a 22-day closure caused by the city’s COVID-19 lockdown.

Tesla had been aiming to increase output at its Shanghai plant to 2,600 cars a day from May 16, Reuters reported previously. 

Shanghai authorities have tightened a city-wide lockdown imposed more than a month ago on the commercial hub with a population of 25 million, a move that could extend curbs on movement through the month

First private mission reaches International Space Station

The first fully private mission reached the International Space Station early on Saturday with a four-member crew from startup company Axiom Space.

The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (Nasa) has hailed the three-way partnership with Axiom and SpaceX as a key step towards commercializing the region of space known as “Low Earth Orbit,” leaving the agency to focus on more ambitious voyages deeper into the cosmos.

A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket with the Crew Dragon capsule Endeavor docked at 1229 GMT on Saturday and the crew entered the space station nearly two hours later, after launching from the Kennedy Space Centre in Florida on Friday.

Commanding the Axiom Mission 1 (Ax-1) is former Nasa astronaut Michael Lopez-Alegria, a dual citizen of the US and Spain, who flew to space four times over his 20-year-career, and last visited the International Space Station (ISS) in 2007.

He is joined by three paying crewmates: American real estate investor Larry Connor, Canadian investor, and philanthropist Mark Pathy and Israeli former fighter pilot, investor, and philanthropist Eytan Stibbe.

“We’re here to experience this but we understand there’s a responsibility,” Connor said in comments shown on Nasa’s live feed.

As the first civilian crew, he said, they “need to get it right.”

The widely reported price for tickets — which includes eight days on the outpost, before an eventual splashdown in the Atlantic — is $55 million.

While wealthy private citizens have visited the ISS before, Ax-1 is the first mission featuring an all-private crew flying a private spacecraft to the outpost.

Houston-based Axiom pays SpaceX for transportation, and Nasa also charges Axiom for use of the ISS.

Research projects

Onboard the ISS, which orbits 250 miles (400 kilometers) above sea level, the quartet will carry out 25 research projects, including an MIT technology demonstration of smart tiles that form a robotic swarm and self-assemble into space architecture.

Another experiment involves using cancer stem cells to grow mini tumors and then leveraging the accelerated aging environment of microgravity to identify biomarkers for early detection of cancers.

“Our guys aren’t going up there and floating around for eight days taking pictures and looking out of the cupola,” Derek Hassmann, operations director of Axiom Space, told reporters at a pre-launch briefing.

In addition, crewmember Stibbe plans to pay tribute to his late friend Ilan Ramon, Israel’s first astronaut, who died in the 2003 Space Shuttle Columbia disaster when the spaceship disintegrated upon reentry.

Surviving pages from Ramon’s space diary, as well as mementos from his children, will be brought to the station by Stibbe.

The Axiom crew will live and work alongside the station’s regular crew: currently three Americans and a German on the US side, and three Russians on the Russian side.

The company has partnered for a total of four missions with SpaceX, and Nasa has already approved in principle the second, Ax-2.

Axiom sees the voyages as the first steps of a grander goal: to build its own private space station. The first module is due to launch in 2024.

The plan is for the station to initially be attached to the ISS, before eventually flying autonomously when the latter retires and is deorbited sometime after 2030.