ELON MUSK’S BUSY WEEK: FROM BATTLING WITH THE SEC TO AN HISTORIC ROCKET LAUNCH
It started with a legal threat from the US Government, and ended with an historic rocket launch. Elon Musk had an eventful week, even by Elon Musk standards. It kicked off Monday with another installment in Musk’s months-long battle with the Securities and Exchange Commission that again raised the possibility that regulators could bar Musk from running Tesla (TSLA).
The SEC claimed he violated a settlement deal when he posted an erroneous Tweet about how many cars Tesla will produce this year. Musk later corrected his post. But regulators began looking into whether it went afoul of their 2018 agreement that required Tesla to police his social media posts, especially if they impact Tesla’s stock price.
Musk was given until March 11 to explain himself. If a federal judge decides to hold him in contempt, Musk could face a range of punishments from another fine to an outright ban from the C-Suite.
Meanwhile, Musk said in a Tuesday tweet that the agency’s oversight is “broken.” He’s previously mocked the agency and said he doesn’t respect it.
Even with added scrutiny on Musk’s Twitter feed, the Tech billionaire decided to use the platform to tease a big Tesla announcement.
The company’s shares shot up about 5% on Wednesday after Musk posted a cryptic tweet saying he would make “some Tesla news” the next day.
Speculation ensued, but when the announcement came out Thursday afternoon, some were underwhelmed. Tesla unveiled that it was finally selling a $35,000 version of its Model 3 sedan, something the company has long promised.
Musk said it would be “excruciatingly difficult” to make the car at that price point, and to cut costs Tesla will close most of its stores and lay off workers. Customers had a lot of questions for Musk, and the Tech billionaire was tweeting responses late into Friday night. He only stopped fielding questions to say he needed “to get back to SpaceX launch control.”
His space exploration company on Saturday kicked off what is arguably its most important mission to date: The first test launch of the Crew Dragon spacecraft, which NASA hopes will end the United States’ years-long reliance on Russia for human spaceflight.
The uncrewed test launch took off Saturday around 3 am ET. Musk surprised journalists by showing up to a 5 am press conference where he fielded questions alongside NASA administrator Jim Bridenstine.
Musk said he was “emotionally exhausted” and called the demo mission “super stressful.” But it’s not over yet: The capsule will face a key test on Sunday when it attempts to dock directly with the ISS using a maneuver that’s new for SpaceX.