SpaceX launched 60 of its Starlink satellites Wednesday night, bringing a string of lights into the Austin sky that some mistook for UFOs.
The satellites trailed after each other through the night sky and were visible to the naked eye, leading many to speculate that the mysterious lights were supernatural.
The "freaky lights in the sky", which could be seen as far north as Denton, are the latest of SpaceX's satellite launches.
Did anyone else just see the giant mother ship over Denton? #ufo excuse my voice and how dark the sky is, but you see the long strip of lights disappear into the space pic.twitter.com/vSMIPmuvw6
— justin (@Justin_K_Taylor) April 8, 2021
SpaceX's satellites orbit at a lower altitude than most others so that they can fall to Earth and be recycled in a few years instead of becoming "space junk." The satellites are about the size of a table and are part of a project to launch up to 12,000 satellites to form a "megaconstellation" and work toward constant global service.
SpaceX CEO Elon Musk said the company is hoping to "rebuild the internet in space." The project has sent 1,238 satellites into orbit so far, creating the largest satellite constellation in the world. It's enough to provide basic global service, but Musk and the company look to extend their reach even further in the future.
Some called out the billionaire Austinite directly after they saw the newest pack of satellites join their lookalikes in Earth's orbit.
@elonmusk Hey, is this one of yours? If it is just give us a heads up next time. We aren't used to having a mad scientist as a neighbor yet! #atxufo #austinufo #Austin #ATX #ufo #Starlink #SpaceX pic.twitter.com/lbBY5S3WGg
— Ken Lundberg (@KenLundberg) April 8, 2021
While no UFO was spotted this time, many more unexplained phenomenons have been spotted in the Austin sky in the past.
According to reports on the National UFO Reporting Center's website, six UFO sightings have already been reported in the greater Austin area in 2021. Cleveland Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield and his wife, Emily, most recently spotted something they were "almost 100%" certain was a UFO over Lake Travis in March, giving the notoriously "weird" city of Austin the spotlight for its latest possible alien encounter.
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Austin's biggest theater is reopening, and it comes with a $3 million dollar upgrade.
Bass Concert Hall will come back better than ever after an extensive privately-funded renovation by Texas Performing Arts at the University of Texas at Austin.
The hall can seat nearly 3,000 people and saw almost 300,000 guests in 2019.
Upgrades to the venue will include:
- Recycling and replacing the theater's 1,241 balcony seats
- Curving balcony seats toward the stage for better viewing
- Revamping audio and video systems
- More lobby space
- New carpet and lighting in aisles
Executive Director of Texas Performing Arts Bob Bursey said the Hall is looking forward to a brighter future as the pandemic improves.
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Like a true Austinite, billionaire Texas transplant Elon Musk has called for the "urgent" need for more housing in Austin.
On Easter Sunday, Musk tweeted "Urgent need to build more housing in greater Austin area!" to his 50 million followers. Shortly before the tweet, the ever-mysterious Musk wrote another, more simple message, "Austin++", leading some to believe that he was planning on making moves in the area.
Urgent need to build more housing in greater Austin area!
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) April 4, 2021
Some speculated that Austin++ would be the new label for Austin after Musk tweaks the city into his own sci-fi paradise.
While Austin++ may not be on the horizon, hopefully more Austin residences are. Austin's housing market has continued to heat up and break records in recent years, but rising prices and stiff competition has made the market scarce and unaffordable for many.
Maybe all it takes is a tweet to spur on more houses in the city. Musk has shifted the stock market before, sending companies like Etsy and Signal skyrocketing in January. He's also caused his own company, Tesla, to rise and plummet in the stock market with bouts of impulsive tweeting.
Perhaps Musk can change the market with a single sentence, as he's done before. Either way, it's good to know Austin's wealthiest resident is conscious about his new city's biggest issues.
Everything's bigger in Texas, and that is doubly so at Tesla's forthcoming Austin Gigafactory.
CEO Elon Musk announced the $1.1 billion manufacturing plant, which is under construction in southeast Travis County and due to open late this year, will hire more than 10,000 people through 2022 in a tweet Wednesday afternoon.
Tesla promised to create at least 5,000 jobs, hire Travis County residents for at least half of them and pay a minimum hourly wage of $15 in exchange for tens of millions of dollars in property tax breaks.
Musk quoted a tweet from Tesla Owners Austin, which highlighted job opportunities for people without college degrees and linked to the electric automaker's careers page, where there are nearly 300 job postings for the Austin area. The bulk of these are in manufacturing or otherwise related to the Gigafactory, such as through construction.
Over 10,000 people are needed for Giga Texas just through 2022!
- 5 mins from airport
-15 mins from downtown
- Right on Colorado river https://t.co/w454iXedxB
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) March 31, 2021
When Musk announced last July that Tesla would build its next Gigafactory in Austin, local taxing districts had already promised significant tax breaks to sweeten the deal. But Rohan Patel, senior global director for policy and business development, said Austin's most alluring asset was its workforce during an Austin Chamber event in December. "One of the major reasons we chose this site is because of the availability of talent among all levels," he said.
To support its hiring needs, Tesla is working closely with Del Valle ISD, Austin Community College, Huston-Tillotson University, the University of Texas at Austin and the Texas Workforce Commission to establish pipelines, according to a recent report from the Austin Business Journal.
The prospect of job creation was alluring for local elected officials in the midst of a pandemic and related economic downturn. Former Travis County Commissioner Gerald Daugherty, who voted in favor of a tax incentive deal for Tesla, told Austonia last June that job opportunities for skilled workers without college degrees were critical. "Let's face it: today in America manufacturing is really one of the more difficult areas to bring to your community," he said. "That's a pretty enticing deal for us."
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