Ilan, Moscow, Mike discussed on Acquired



Griffin. Been Raymond. We'll come back to my griffin later in the episode Mike Griffin listeners. In my notes I won't tell you where or what his title was. But Wow it's the same Mike Griffin been talking before the show and I was like there's going to be a thing like does we just wait listeners. There's GonNa be a thing about Mike wait. So what makes role this so he comes over to just be part of this? What's the right word like emissary entourage maybe to kind of make introductions and meet with people? We'll see how one would go about buying an ICBM from Russia. We could call it an ICBM. You could call it a rocket to get the space which is what the intention here is so Mike. He worked at NASA earlier in his career. And then he'd run inky tell which is the it is part of the government is that it's kind of venture arm for investing in Commercial Ventures. That are going to be helpful to the government so you know who knows why. Mike was coming with them. You know he's coming from the government is coming from inky tell. Maybe he's keeping tabs on everything that's going on here So he comes along and basically goes as you would expect listeners. They meet with much Russians Cantrell and maybe maybe Mike Set. Set up some beatings and kind of go like Seo. Vance describes a bunch of them in the book. You Walk in. They sit down. There's a Lotta. The first thing that happens of course is vodka shots and talks about one meeting where a everybody in the room does vodka shots and the Russians are toasting to America and that that probably should set some some red flags off the get go there and then you know the chap for a while. They're not really talking about anything. Related to buying a missile lunches served a couple of hours. Go by and then finally they get around to lake so the purpose of your visit For anyone who's ever met with any of Ilan's companies let alone. Ilan himself like this is not how you get to have a meeting. With someone at SPACEX. It's quick it's to the point. It's how fast give me really good reasons for everything and let's move on and like Alan is the personification of that type of meeting Yup so he starts getting really frustrated by all these meetings and finally you know by the end. He's he's had enough of this kind of Russian way of doing things and he just starts coming out like right after the vodka shots like I want to buy. I want to buy rockets. You know. Here's my offer. And he's he's calculated he's willing to offer the meaning with one group. This is the last group me with. I think as either two or three brackets. He offers them eight million for For the two of them. How about eight million each they Needless to say they don't come to a deal so everybody leaves meeting by the way they're there in the middle of Moscow and Russian winter which is awful pretty interesting. I've been in Moscow in February and it is like it is like freeze your face off cold so it is. It is literally February. Two thousand two when this is happening. Wow Yeah let's let's recap dollars real quick just as a 'cause 'cause dollars are going to be an important thread through this through this whole story. Not just because this is an expensive endeavor but because the the scale of dollars to other dollars is important to think about. How would you go about solving this problem? So eons basically got hundred and seventy million from pay pal post tax dollars once the acquisition happens which is now for another and yet so he's got twenty million total now but you know he'll he'll eventually have one hundred and seventy million and so the that number that I quoted buying a A A rocket like this from a US company that manufacturers? It's like sixty five million dollars so you know he's trying to buy for eight million for for for two of them in Russia so that keep those sort of relative dollar amounts in your head. Of course the deal blows up. He doesn't actually end up buying them but that would have been what it cost him and he couldn't you know you if you're willing to put all his money into this. He couldn't do the sixty five million dollars launch. Because that's the launch. Then you gotta like get the stuff there you've got to build the robot you gotta set up all the stuff like I'm sorry. Is that sixty five million that I'm quoting. You is literally to buy a rocket from. Oh interesting yes. I didn't realize that you couldn't even. I guess you couldn't at that point in time. Just walk up and like reserve a wants spot on Iraq actually. Yeah who who? Who can you just go and say? Hey I wanNA yeah imagine if there are a company that did that and I take that back. I think such a concept did exist but I think it would have cost you one hundred fifty million to five hundred million quoting my numbers we're GonNa bust out later and our future cost comparisons. Well well okay so back to February. Two thousand two in Moscow. The leave the meeting this This motley crue. They get on the airplane and they head back to to the US on the plane and Cantrell talks about this. He says Whenever you get on a plane in Moscow particularly and in February hitting back for the for the states he says you always feel particularly good when the wheels lift off in Moscow. It's like Oh my God I made it so. He incriminated their veterans here. The over the drink and they start celebrating getting out. Meanwhile Ilan sitting in front of him and he's just like furiously typing away on laptops silent and they can't figure out what's going on and I felt halfway through the lady turns them any says. Hey guys I think we can build this rocket ourselves. And then he hands them the laptop and they look at it and they're like dumbfounded. Ilan has this spreadsheet on his laptop. This is supposed to be an excel. A Google seats in existence pointed out. This Excel Doc. And it's like hyper detailed SPEC sheet with costs and all the materials needed to build a rocket not necessarily rocket that would get them to Mars. But it's like you know it's real and and so they're they're stunned and they say. How did you build this well? It turns out alone had been reading a lot of Soviet rocket manuals and he had also met as part of this kind of group of advisors. He'd been putting together. He met this guy named Tom. Muller and Tom had worked at Hugh's aviation he. Of course being Howard Hughes back in the day setting of of billionaires he started rocket companies indeed. And then we've done to TRW SPACE. And he was kind of known in the industry as a real savant about engines like probably the best Most impressive rocket engine engineer in the world and Musk had had gotten in touch with him and And met him and started asking him all these questions about how rocket engines work and what needs to go into building a rocket and he'd helped him put together a spreadsheet so it was it was pretty damn good so they get back to the US and then basically halting of events gets kicked off that ends up in space x and tomorrow on American company launching people into space. Yeah another just to keep the dollars thread going. I think it was. I can't remember exactly which the sources it is. We David and I have twenty or thirty different sources that are in the show notes where you can go and read. Read more about this. I want to say this was originally from a SPACEX engineer but Pointed out if you calculate the cost of goods sold for Aerospace Grade. Aluminum allies plus some titanium copper and carbon on the open commodities market. It's about two percent of what rockets cost and I want to plant that seed because the question in your mind.

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