scorecardFormer SpaceX engineer says his pizza-making robot, located across the road from Elon Musk's HQ, sprayed cheese everywhere during testing
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Former SpaceX engineer says his pizza-making robot, located across the road from Elon Musk's HQ, sprayed cheese everywhere during testing

Kate Duffy   

Former SpaceX engineer says his pizza-making robot, located across the road from Elon Musk's HQ, sprayed cheese everywhere during testing
Tech1 min read
  • Ex-SpaceX engineer said his pizza-making robot sprayed cheese everywhere during initial testing.
  • CEO Benson Tsai, who worked at SpaceX for five years, said there was a bug in the robot's system.

A former SpaceX engineer said his new robot that makes a pizza every 45 seconds, sprayed cheese everywhere when it was first built.

Benson Tsai, who worked at Elon Musk's space company for five years, said in an interview with Insider that he faced a number of failures while launching his culinary startup, Stellar Pizza, with two other ex-SpaceX engineers.

One of the failures happened three years ago when the pizza-making robot "dumped melted cheese everywhere" during testing, Tsai said.

Stellar Pizza's robot was attempting to make a cheese pizza, but the robot's motors started spinning the wrong way, pulled the cheese off the pizza and onto the automated peel, which slides the pizza in and out of the machine.

The cheese went in all the wrong places, according to Tsai.

The company figured out that there was a bug in the robot's system, which caused the cheese explosion, Tsai said. "It's funny but it's all part of the design process."

"While we don't like wasting cheese, an event like this is a great learning opportunity for our team," Tsai said. "It was much cheaper than crashing a rocket to gain insight into our machine."

Stellar Pizza's pizza-making robot fits into the back of a truck, which is parked across the street from SpaceX headquarters in California, according to Tsai, who used to design advanced battery systems for the company's rockets and satellites.

Musk hasn't tried the pizza yet, as far as Tsai was aware, but he said a lot of his old coworkers at SpaceX have tried it.

Customers order the pizza solely through an app. It costs $7 for a 12 inch, and prices can go up to $10, Tsai said.

Stellar Pizza, which is hoping to open in spring this year, wants to roll out up to six pizza-making robots in trucks in the next year, Tsai added.

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