A highlight from Episode 259: Why SpaceXs Starship Will Change Everything

Newt's World


I saw to say thank you for joining us. Thanks for inviting me. You're a science teacher for seven years before becoming an engineer. The of a bachelor's in math a master's in nuclear engineering and other masters in aeronautics astronautics and a phd in nuclear engineering. So you clearly have more than enough academic credentials. This but i'm curious. What got you involved with mars's. Well what actually. I got me involved with space. No one's sputnik. I was but nick flew and it's actually the first you know major world event that i can remember in terms of my personal experience and while it was terrifying too many the adults to me as a little kid who was just grand us what it meant. Was that these stories. I was reading science fiction. That i was reading about the space for future. We're going to be true. And i wanted to be part of it so i just learned all the signs could one rockets farther the government telescope nine when kennedy made speech committing us to go to the moon. I was seventeen landed on the moon during the sixties. We're moving out. But then the early seventies it all came to a screeching hall was in college and i was first generation of my family to go to college and so grad school didn't even occur to me to me got into college. Got to trade you out so okay well. I know a lot of science science. And i did that for seven years or so but then you know i started to hear drum as it were This isn't what i signed up for. And by then. I had heard a graduate school and i went back and astronautical engineer and got hired by. Martin marietta which is now one martin. Were there for time in decided to go out on my own. I think you're most famous for both your book. The case for mars and for having founded the society which is committed to getting us to mars. Did you expect to be involved in this kind of long-term education all political structure. Well i mean to be frank new. I was hoping we could do this faster than it has turned out because you know to me growing up during apollo eubanks mars which by the way by the nineties was a less of a technical challenge. The going to the moon was in the sixties. Why can't we just do this. And it's taking longer. I think one advantage they have in the sixties was i think the clinical class had grown up tested in world war. Two in cold war. You know they knew how to work together to get things done. I think there's been an entropy there and nasa the anastas very maryland. Bold old took a new force has emerged on the scene to really get us moving in. That's entrepreneurial space. And i'm proud to say the mars society helped recruit to the cause of moore's but his accomplishments are his own and nothing could stop an idea as time cometh. The idea has messengers that can help it. Recruit to its banners. The force necessary for its victory. Help do that now. He's doing it. And know what he and spacex managed to proves that it's possible for a well in entrepreneurial team do things that were previously thought to require the efforts to the governors of superpowers. And not only that do it. In one third the time less than one tenth the cost and even do things they had deemed impossible altogether including reusable launch vehicles. That could come back and land at the launch site instead of in crashed with the ocean. And this of courses key to cheap spaceflight cheap enough to make possible the settling space because air travel. Throw your airliners after each flight. Clearly air travel would only be in for billionaire. Musk has had a very methodical approach to this going. Relatively small rocket testing out the ability. To land and reuse. It and i think he has at least one rocket. Now that has been reused more than ten times. You're correct on that but his method has been incredibly bold methodical to sure but he's not afraid of failure. They failed five times in attempting to land the rocket before they succeeded. They just kept going and all of us have now who those care about space have watched the degree to which the falcon nine has. Dramatically reduced costs increase the ability to do things but part of that also is and i. Frankly don't fully understand this. Even though i loved your article but starship is apparently of different kinds of beasts. This big jump over. Falcon as falcon was over non-reusable traditional rockets. And i think this is really what musk has been. Aiming at the whole time is to be able to acquire the knowledge and the capacity to build an enormous number of star ships. But could you explain the difference in size in capability between the starship and the falcon nine. Sure starship is going to have about five times. The payload capability south nine and yet actually be cheaper to launch. The falcon nine is mostly usable. The starship is fully reusable. Falcon nine has a first stage with nine engines. That part is we used. The upper stage with one engine is expended. Starship is much bigger vehicle than and falcon nine at payload capacity of twenty tonnes which is quite respectable. That's as much as his facial. But starship is more payload capability approaching that of the saturn. Five moon rock. And it's quite the league if you were flying a small aircraft dc three and expanded with each flight that would still be more expensive than flying seven forty seven which is reusable. And so. that's really the jumping here now. It's quite the leap. But you can see how they're pushing this forward that their launch and they got through most of the flight envelope and they crashed and they did the same thing again and then they actually landed was a hard landing and forty five minutes after it landed. It exploded okay in. They try five times before they got it right. But you know musk's philosophy is i mean. I visited him down there a year ago and boca. Chica aren't building ship. They're building a ship yard and they're turning these things out. He said he was going to be turning at a rate of one a month and he actually is turning manner and could afford afford to launch crash final. Wrong try again. Congressman bob walker and i in the late eighties. Actually got money appropriated to nasa to build a reusable rocket. And i think it was about a four hundred million dollar contract ultimately i think it was lockheed the got the contract but they try to design. That just didn't work and so they know off okay. So that was the x. Thirty three's recall during the nines and well first of all i think back contract should not

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