On Saturday morning, Elon Musk summoned the SpaceX, Boring Company and Tesla engineer team to design and build a viable solution immediately for rescuing a soccer team trapped in a flooded cave in Thailand. He ordered to build a “tiny, kid-sized submarine using the liquid oxygen transfer tube from a Falcon 9 rocket” by end of the day.

The new vehicle is characterized by lightweight which is enough to be carried by 2 divers and tiny enough to pass through narrow holes. Meanwhile, another team of the company’s engineers is deployed on-site to coordinate with local government and figure out the best execution plan.

Everything Started With A Twitter Request

The order to create a submarine came after a Twitter user approached Musk, on July 4, to aid the Thai cave rescue efforts. In detail, 12 boys and their coach are stranded in a cave in Thailand for a fortnight. In light of owning advanced ground penetrating radar, Elon Musk’s team reached out to the Thai government to lend assistance the very next day.

During the Twitter banter over the weekend, the billionaire tech entrepreneur discussed two viable options on a stretch. One was to build a double-layer Kevlar pressure pod with Teflon coating and the other approach was to design a long inflatable air sock. Given the severity of the situation, hundreds of Twitter users also started pouring into the practical design solutions.

SpaceX Kid-Sized Submarine Specifications

Post this, Elon Musk updated the world with a series of tweets about the development of the new vehicle, “kid-sized submarine”. He even anticipated the timeline of designing, building, testing and delivering the vehicle to Thailand on the micro-blogging site.

The Boring Company owner vowed to construct the kid-sized submarine within eight hours of the announcement, to be followed by a testing process. Then he added 17 hours of traveling time to transport the submarine to the destination point from Los Angeles.

Subsequently, he answered a query regarding the specifications of the kid-sized submarine. There are four handles/hitch points at the front & four fixed at the rear end of the vehicle. The final design integrates two air tank connections on front & two on rear, enabling one to four more tanks simultaneously connected.  The entire structure is recessed for impact protection with secondary cap seal, in case, if a leak develops.

“Fitted for a kid or small adult to minimize open air. Segmented compartments to place rocks or dive weights & adjust buoyancy,” Musk replied to another curious Twitter user.

Elon Musk’s Sunday Tweets

On Sunday morning, Elon Musk started posting pictures and videos of the robust vehicle being tested in an LA-based high school swimming pool on the Twitter.

He posted, “Design based on dive team feedback (primarily Stanton): 4 air/oxygen ports front & rear, front ports protected by nosecone. Dual O-ring seal on an acrylic rear plate with a clear view of occupant's head. Leak/buckling proof to 10X cave water pressure.”
To rescue the trapped people safely, the SpaceX kid-sized submarine has also covered the vehicle with an aluminum shell as it has high thermal conductivity. This will keep the occupant temperature maintained during traveling through the cave. And if the cave environment is cold, a thin layer of neoprene insulation around interior will keep the occupant warm.

With the passage of time, the engineering mastermind Musk realized that with few modifications, the submarine could also be utilized as an escape pod in the space.

Updates on Thai Cave Rescue Operation

According to the recent information, the Thai official rescue team has saved four boys after the rescue efforts began late on July 7, Saturday night. Sadly, a diver lost his life while transporting the supplies to the stranded team in the cave.

Meanwhile, Musk latest tweet informed that the SpaceX kid-sized submarine has boarded the plane some eight-hour back from now and it is now on the way for the final execution. And another similar vehicle but 30 cm shorter is also almost on the completion stage. Let us hope the submarine named Wild Boar after kids' soccer team make it to Thailand on time to serve the purpose.