Former SpaceX rocket engineers plan to build and sell a $300,000 electric speedboat that can reach 40 miles per hour and run for 5 hours per charge

Rendering of Arc One boat
Rendering of Arc One boat.

  • Former SpaceX engineers are building a commercial electric speedboat called the Arc One.
  • The boats, designed to reach speeds of 40 miles per hour, will sell for $300,000, the company said.
  • All of Arc’s employees other than its CEO previously worked at SpaceX.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

A team of former SpaceX engineers is building $300,000 commercial electric speedboats.

California startup called Arc said has raised $4.25 million in seed funding to build a 475-horsepower electric speedboat, Bloomberg first reported on Thursday.

Arc plans to sell its first model, Arc One, by the end of the year, the company confirmed to Insider. The 24-foot boat is designed to reach top speeds of 40 miles per hour and its 200 kWh battery should last between three and five hours between charges, Arc said on its website.

You can reserve one of Arc’s electric boats by putting down a fully refundable $1,000 deposit, according to Arc’s website.

Rendering of Arc One boat
Rendering of the interior of Arc One boat

Arc CEO Mitch Lee, who is the only Arc employee to not work for SpaceX, told Bloomberg that “the amount of carryover between rocket-building and boat-building is actually surprisingly high.”

Lee founded the startup with college friend Ryan Cook, he told Bloomberg.

After leaving his job at Boeing in 2013, Cook spent seven years working for Elon Musk’s rocket company, SpaceX, as an engineer, according to his LinkedIn profile.

Drawing of Arc Boat's new speedboat
Drawing of Arc Boat’s new electric speedboat

Kevin Wollscheid, Arc’s lead manufacturing engineer, previously worked at SpaceX for six years, per his LinkedIn profile.

Audrey Gaither, a mechanical engineer at Arc, and Robert Binkowski, Arc’s vehicle engineer, both worked at SpaceX as engineers before moving to the electric boat startup, according to their LinkedIn profiles.

Arc is facing competition from Swedish startup X Shore, which started selling electric boats in March for $329,000. Another Swedish company, Candela, also makes all-electric speedboats that can fly above the water.

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Coinbase gears up to hire hundreds of engineers in India, with a sweetener of $1,000 in crypto for new starters

Indian flag held by a woman
Indian flag held by a woman

  • Coinbase will recruit hundreds of “world-class” engineers for its new Indian tech hub, it said Friday.
  • New starters will get $1,000 in digital currency, in hopes they’ll use it to learn about crypto.
  • The crypto exchange is also exploring acquisition of start-ups in India as part of the push.
  • Sign up here for our daily newsletter, 10 Things Before the Opening Bell.

Coinbase plans to hire hundreds of engineers and other staff for its tech hub in India, who will each be given $1,000 in cryptocurrency when they start, the crypto exchange company said in a blog post Friday.

A “boom in cryptonative talent” prompted the recruitment spree, Pankaj Gupta, Coinbase’s site lead in India wrote in the post.

The Indian hub, announced in March, will house engineering, software development, IT services and customer support. Employees will work remotely, at first, given pandemic concerns, but Coinbase expects to open its first physical office of many in Hyderabad.

“We have ambitious plans for this hub in the near future – we want to hire hundreds of world class engineers in the near term,” Gupta wrote.

The $1,000 in crypto handed to new employees under the CIkka program – short for “Coinbase India Sikka” – is meant to inspire them to come up with ideas to develop the crypto exchange’s range of services.

“Our expectation is that they’ll leverage this offering to learn about crypto, and will use this knowledge to help us build the next generation of products,” Gupta said.

Coinbase plans to set up locally-led teams in India across all the major areas it works in, from crypto to cloud, to machine learning to platform. While, they will be involved in both global and local projects, crypto investing in India also grew from $923 million until April 2020 to nearly $6.6 billion in May, Bloomberg reported.

“There’s never been a more exciting time for builders working in crypto,” Gupta said.

As part of the expansion in India, Coinbase is looking into possible start-up acquisitions and “acquihires” – where a company is bought to secure its talent – Gupta said.

Crypto adoption has grown worldwide, driven by increased popularity for decentralized finance, smart contracts and non-fungible tokens, which like bitcoin and ether are built on blockchains.

The hiring spree covers senior and junior roles across product management, user experience, design and program management. There will also be a HR and recruitment team.

India marked the next step in the company’s global mission as it has already opened hubs in the US, the UK, Ireland, Japan, Singapore, Canada and the Philippines.

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The Ingenuity Mars helicopter’s blades are spinning ahead of its first flight – making the NASA team ‘nervous and excited’

mars ingenuity helicopter rotor blades spin
The Perseverance rover photographed the Ingenuity helicopter before (left) and after (right) it spun its rotor blades.

NASA’s Ingenuity helicopter is charging up and spinning its blades in preparation to fly above the Martian surface.

The 4-pound drone is set to lift off early on Monday, rise 10 feet above the dusty red ground of Mars’ Jezero Crater, then gently touch back down. The entire flight should last about 40 seconds, but it could forever change the way NASA explores other planets.

Future Mars helicopters could scout out canyons and mountains that rovers can’t access, fly in and out of craters, or even do reconnaissance for astronauts.

mimi aung ingenuity helicopter mars perseverance
Ingenuity project manager MiMi Aung speaks at a press conference on February 16, 2021.

As for Ingenuity, if its first flight goes well, the rotorcraft will attempt up to four increasingly difficult sojourns into the thin Martian air after that.

“Each world gets only one first flight,” MiMi Aung, the project manager for Ingenuity, said in a briefing on Friday. “The Wright brothers achieved the first flight on Earth. Ingenuity is poised to go for being the first on Mars.”

The $85 million chopper has completed most of its system checkouts, and its solar panels are absorbing enough energy to power its flight. It spun its blades for the first time on Thursday, though that spin was much slower than it will need to be for flight – 50 rotations per minute instead of 2,400.

“So far so good, knock on wood,” Aung said.

Late on Friday, the helicopter is set to test out a full-speed spin.

Meanwhile, the Perseverance rover, which carried Ingenuity to the red planet, has driven to an outlook about 210 feet away. From its perch, the rover is ready to watch and record footage as its helicopter stowaway takes flight.

But nobody is sure Ingenuity will succeed. So as flight day approaches, the engineers behind the helicopter are anticipating the moment of truth when they’ll find out. Ingenuity will conduct its entire flight autonomously, and it takes at least 8 minutes for a signal from Mars to travel to Earth, and vice versa. So once the process begins, the Ingenuity team can only bite their nails and wait for the signal of success.

NASA Perseverance
Perseverance took a selfie with Ingenuity on April 6, 2021.

“I’m feeling a lot of emotions,” Josh Ravich, who leads Ingenuity’s mechanics teams, told Insider. “A lot of the team, myself included, are very hesitant to celebrate prematurely. So even as we’re making really exciting milestones, getting prepared for first flight, we’re still holding our enthusiasm until that flight happens.”

The feeling extends to NASA’s leaders, too.

“We’re all kind of a little bit nervous and excited at the same time,” Thomas Zurbuchen, the agency’s associate administrator for science, told Insider. “We’re all ready, but we’ll all feel better when it’s done – and successful.”

Flying through air thinner than on the top of Mount Everest

mars helicopter ingenuity nasa gif

If the full-speed spin test goes well, NASA expects Ingenuity to fly around 3:30 a.m. ET on Monday. That will be about 12:30 p.m. on Mars’ Jezero Crater, when the sun is bright. NASA expects winds to be helicopter-friendly at that time, too.

Even if conditions are perfect, though, flying on Mars is tough. The air there has just 1% the density of Earth’s atmosphere, making Ingenuity’s task the equivalent of flying three times higher than the peak of Mount Everest. To catch enough lift with so few molecules to push against, the helicopter’s two pairs of blades will have to spin in opposite directions at a speed roughly eight times faster than a passenger helicopter on Earth.

“There were some people who doubted we could generate enough lift to fly in that thin Martian atmosphere,” Amiee Quon, who tested Ingenuity in a Mars-simulation chamber on Earth, said in the Friday briefing.

It worked in the test chamber, but flying on Mars is a different story.

“There are four possible outcomes. The first is for success. Second, partial success. Third could be insufficient or no data coming back, which means we’ll have to take more time to figure out what’s happened. Or it could be failure,” Aung said.

‘High-risk, high-reward’

perseverance rover landing mars nasa mission control celebrates
The Perseverance surface-operations team celebrates the rover’s landing from their mission-control room at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, February 18, 2021.

Because Ingenuity is a demonstration of technology that’s never been used on Mars before, it’s “high-risk, high-reward,” according to Zurbuchen.

“There’s a lot of a lot of things that could certainly go wrong, I guess, besides crashing or not working at all. You can imagine 1,000 ways that either of those things could happen,” Ravich said.

The worst-case scenario, he added, is that Ingenuity doesn’t get off the ground at all. Even if it flies a little bit and crashes, the team could potentially salvage data from the robot and learn lessons for future space helicopters.

If the rotorcraft does fly and land smoothly, even just for this first flight, Ingenuity could revolutionize the way NASA investigates other planets.

“Suppose that it does, in fact, work. What we will have proven is that we can add an aerial dimension to discovery and exploration on Mars,” Zurbuchen said. “That aerial dimension, of course, opens up aspects of science and overall exploration that, frankly, at this moment in time, are only our dreams.”

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4 lessons entrepreneurs can learn about problem-solving from the NASA engineers who landed Apollo 13

Apollo 13
Apollo 13 astronauts treading water as they await their recovery helicopter in 1970.

  • Entrepreneurs can grow their problem-solving skills by emulating the tactics used by the Apollo 13 NASA engineers.
  • Avoid panicking, and take a step back to assess and understand the situation or problem at hand.
  • Weigh each potential solution carefully, but once you’ve made a choice, commit and don’t second-guess your decision. 
  • Visit the Business section of Insider for more stories.

Entrepreneurs are inherently problem-solvers. After all, we start our businesses because we recognize a need that needs to be filled. Take me, for instance: Part of my previous job at an internet media company was to create tools for editors to build forms, surveys, and polls. The problem was that at the time, the form-building landscape offered few good options. I decided to change that, and my company, JotForm, was born. 

But in the course of solving big-picture problems, smaller ones are constantly springing up and threatening to derail us. Some days, it feels like there are hundreds of fires that need to be put out before I’ve even finished my coffee. 

On those days, I like to think of an anecdote from Jerry C. Bostick, the flight dynamics officer for the Apollo 13 mission. More than two decades after the spacecraft was safely brought back to Earth after near-disaster, screenwriters Al Reinert and Bill Broyles were interviewing Bostick for the script that would become the film “Apollo 13.” One of their questions was, “Weren’t there times when everybody, or at least a few people, just panicked?”  

Bostick’s answer? No. 

“When bad things happened we just calmly laid out all the options, and failure was not one of them,” he said. 

If ever there was a situation when panic would be warranted, the Apollo 13 mission was one of them. But panic wouldn’t have helped Mission Control then, and it won’t help you, either. 

Work the problem

One of NASA‘s most renowned problem solvers was flight director Gene Kranz, who oversaw both the Gemini and Apollo programs during his 34-year career. While trying to figure out how to rescue the three astronauts whose lives were on the line on Apollo 13, he said to his staff, “Let’s work the problem, people. Let’s not make things worse by guessing.” 

Kranz’s “work the problem” mantra is still used by the agency today. Astronaut Chris Hadfield explained the process in his book, “An Astronaut’s Guide To Life On Earth,” describing it as “NASA-speak for descending one decision tree after another, methodically looking for a solution until you run out of oxygen:”

“When we heard the alarm on the Station, instead of rushing to don masks and arm ourselves with extinguishers, one astronaut calmly got on the intercom to warn that a fire alarm was going off – maybe the Russians couldn’t hear it in their module – while another went to the computer to see which smoke detector was going off. No one was moving in a leisurely fashion, but the response was one of focused curiosity; as though we were dealing with an abstract puzzle rather than an imminent threat to our survival. To an observer it might have looked a little bizarre, actually: no agitation, no barked commands, no haste.”

University of Virginia Professor Thomas S. Bateman laid out “working the problem” in eight steps:

  1. Define the problem
  2. Determine goals/objectives
  3. Generate an array of alternative solutions
  4. Evaluate the possible consequences of each solution
  5. Use this analysis to choose one or more courses of action
  6. Plan the implementation
  7. Implement with full commitment
  8. Adapt as needed based on incoming data

This calm, rational approach to problem-solving works for astronauts and entrepreneurs alike. No matter what you’re dealing with, take a step back, understand the problem, and descend each decision tree until you find a solution. 

Be adaptable 

It might turn out that your original vision isn’t the one that ends up being realized. Or maybe you successfully launched one product, but changing technology forces you to reimagine it a few years down the line. That’s okay. Successful entrepreneurs know that change is inevitable, and if they want to survive in the long term, they’ll have to adapt. 

Nokia, for example, began as a paper company before following consumer demand and transitioning to rubber tires and galoshes. In the 1960s, it began making military equipment for Finland’s army, including gas masks and radio service phones, among other things. It eventually rose to prominence as the most successful cell phone manufacturer on Earth between 1998 and 2012. Even though it was eventually crushed by Apple after the release of the iPhone, Nokia lasted as long as it did thanks to its agility. 

Ask “why?”

Asking “why?” over and over again might make you feel less like a CEO and more like your toddler. But the truth is that there’s a lot we can gain from having an open, inquisitive mindset. Entrepreneur Michelle MacDonald suggests asking “Why?” five times to get to the root of any problem. 

“Many times when a problem arises, we jump to the first thought about why that problem is occurring, and then focus on a solution to fix that,” she said. “This is like putting an adhesive bandage over a hose and expecting it to hold.”

Say you find yourself drowning in work because you keep putting off tasks. Your five whys might go something like this: 

  1. Why am I constantly stressed? Because I have too much to do and not enough time to do it. 
  2. Why don’t I have enough time? Because I often procrastinate. 
  3. Why do I procrastinate? Because I don’t particularly enjoy some of the tasks I have to do. 
  4. Why don’t I enjoy them? Because they’re not a good use of my time, and someone else can easily do them. 
  5. Why isn’t someone else doing them? Because I haven’t delegated them out. 

Doing this will help you treat the actual problem, not just its symptoms, and keep you from trying to resolve the same thing over and over again. 

Positive thinking

Bostick’s answer about Mission Control’s refusal to panic spawned one of the most iconic lines of all time: “Failure is not an option.” Though that exact phrasing is an invention of the “Apollo 13” writers, the sentiment was accurate.

Negative thinking undermines the brain’s ability to think broadly and creatively, because fear and stress obscure options. Of course, you’re going to be stressed if, say, you lose a major client or there’s a freak explosion aboard your space craft. But those who cultivate positivity tend to be more resilient to such shocks, said Barbara Fredrickson, a professor of psychology at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill and author of “Positivity.” 

One report co-written by Fredrickson suggests that positive emotions create a sort of buffer that helps people overcome setbacks. In fact, positive emotions were shown to help businesspeople negotiate better, improve decision-making and drive high-performance behavior. 

“Positive emotions expand awareness and attention,” Fredrickson said – critical attributes for anyone trying to solve a problem. “When you’re able to take in more information, the peripheral vision field is expanded. You’re able to connect the dots to the bigger picture. Instead of remembering just the most central event, you remember that and the peripheral aspects, too.”

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