Elon Musk's No Good, Very Bad, $13B-Loss Day

Perfect storm involving 3 of his firms leads to financial fallout for CEO
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 21, 2023 11:24 AM CDT
Elon Musk's No Good, Very Bad, $13B-Loss Day
Elon Musk is seen in San Francisco on Jan. 24.   (AP Photo/Benjamin Fanjoy, File)

It's been a challenging few days for Elon Musk: Tesla had a disappointing earnings call on Wednesday, his SpaceX rocket exploded minutes after takeoff on Thursday, and Twitter continues to ... go through some things. The CEO took a big financial hit amid these struggles from all of his three main companies, to the tune of nearly $13 billion in just 24 hours, reports Fortune. The $12.6 billion loss logged Thursday by the Bloomberg Billionaires Index left Musk with a net worth of $164 billion, almost $50 billion behind the index's No. 1 billionaire, LVMH chief Bernard Arnault.

Much of Musk's wealth is tied to his Tesla shares, which dipped 10% Thursday after the previous day's earnings report, per Fortune, which notes the drop lopped off $58 billion from Tesla's market cap. But Musk's emptier wallet isn't the only fallout of the week. The New York Times reports that as SpaceX's Starship took off from a launch pad in Boca Chica, Texas, on Thursday, a huge cloud of debris and dust got kicked up, resulting in "brown grime" falling back to earth for miles near the launch site. Some reported even larger debris, including LabPadre's Louis Balderas, who films SpaceX launches. "There were bowling ball-sized pieces of concrete that came flying out of the launch pad area," he says.

"Truly terrifying," Sharon Almaguer, a resident of Port Isabel, tells the paper. The rocket "exploded, and the ash started coming down," a rep from an elementary school in that town tells Insider. Locals posted photos to social media of the particulates that rained down on homes, cars, and patio furniture. Port Isabel spokeswoman Valerie Bates tells the Times that the "thick, granular, sand grain ... just landed on everything," adding that, at the moment, there's not an "immediate concern for people's health." A city statement noted that, per the Cameron County Emergency Management agency, the dust "was sand and soil from near the [SpaceX] launch site that was lofted into the air by the force of [liftoff]."

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An environmental compliance expert who has studied the company's launches tells the Times a chemical analysis is needed to determine if the dust truly is harmful or not. Whatever the status, Almaguer says locals are being "sacrificed" for SpaceX's needs. "[Musk] just wanted to get this thing up in the air," she says. "Everybody else sort of be damned." The Cameron County Emergency Management division advises those who want info on the dust to contact SpaceX's "debris hotline" at 1-866-623-0234. (Read more Elon Musk stories.)

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