SpaceX, mu Space to help Thai govt rescue trapped boys

Representative photo courtesy of Bruno van der Kraan.

UPDATE 11 July AM: Read about the aftermath in a new article here.

UPDATE 10 July PM: The entire crew (12 boys and the coach) has been safely rescued from the cave by divers, without the use of SpaceX equipment, which may be used for terrestrial or extra-terrestrial purposes in the future.

UPDATE 10 July AM: Eight boys have been rescued without assistance from the space companies, though Musk has built and tested a “mini-sub”, which is on standby if needed. The rescue operation for the remaining four boys and the coach continues.

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Space companies are joining forces to solve a very terrestrial problem.

Engineers from SpaceX and The Boring Company – both founded by Elon Musk – will be heading to Thailand to potentially help the Thai government with rescue efforts in cooperation with Thai NewSpace startup mu Space Corp, according to a Twitter exchange between Musk and the CEO of mu Space Corp, James Yenbamroong.

mu Space was contacted by SpaceX to help connect with the Thai Government, according to Yenbamroong. mu Space has provided feedback to the SpaceX team, and “we look forward to talking plans with them personally,” said Philip Nalangan, Director of Communications and Media for mu Space in response to an enquiry. “It’s very important to get the plan executed right on the first attempt of the rescue to get the kids out of the cave fast and safe,” he added.

The plan will most likely involve the drilling, ground-penetrating Radar and water-pumping expertise of The Boring Company. “There are probably many complexities that are hard to appreciate without being there in person,” said Musk in his tweet, necessitating the trip. Musk theorised that it could be possible to pump air through nylon tubes to create an artificial pocket of air against the roof of the flooded tunnels.

12 boys and their coach have been trapped in one of the caves in the Tham Luang complex in northern Thailand for 13 days now. A previous rescue effort has already claimed the life of a former Thai Navy SEAL. The rescue efforts have been thwarted by flooding in the area, making access to the trapped crew impossible.

Here is a link to the entire exchange on Twitter.


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