SpaceX Is Taking Commercial Space Beyond Tourism
9:31

SpaceX Is Taking Commercial Space Beyond Tourism

Tech
Speaker 1: In the past few years, commercial space flight has gone from a far off dream to something within reach, at least for the super wealthy, like when Jeff Bezos invited star treks William Shatner to blast into space aboard the blue origin, new shepherd spacecraft. And it's only scratching the service. The space industry saw record breaking growth in 2020, as investors poured almost 9 billion into private companies during the height of the COVID 19 pandemic, some of these companies provide parts and services to government agencies like NASA, but others [00:00:30] have bigger plans for 2022 in the years ahead, venturing into space with their own crew and rockets, Virgin galactic headed by billionaire Richard Branson plans to launch the first mass commercial space flight in 2022 tech mogul. Elon Musk is also hard at work on Starship, an interplanetary rocket that might be the first spacecraft to take humans to Mars. And Jeff bases has also thrown his hat into the space industry ring. Literally Speaker 2: [00:01:00] There has been interest in the last decade or, or two of trying to find more commercial applications for space in, in the space station. But what's really new, I think, in, in the last five years or so is this rise of completely private enterprises to, um, provide trips to orbit or close to orbit, uh, which would be done for other than research or scientific purposes, necessarily Speaker 1: The commercialization of space. Isn't just sending the elite on extraterrestrial [00:01:30] ventures. It's transitioning the space industry from the government to the private sector, investing in reusable rockets and new equipment and experimentation in space. Speaker 3: So historically space in general has been kind of a government playground. Uh, there's a lot of reasons for this. One of them is cost as we've seen kind of space commercialized, uh, that has absolutely changed. We've seen public agencies like NASA, uh, start to utilize commercial technologies [00:02:00] and leverage those to get to space. One thing you might see right, is that the commercial crew program, uh, we now have, uh, private companies taking, uh, astronauts, uh, to the international space station, Speaker 1: Governments, monopolized space exploration in its early days because of the colossal financial investment and high risk involved at the time space travel was reserved exclusively for trained astronauts and unmanned spacecraft. Speaker 2: So you had the, the [00:02:30] us and the Soviet union at the time, engaged in a space race, essentially one upsmanship throughout the sixties, uh, that period more or less came to an end with the lunar landings. Um, then you had the era of, uh, transition from Apollo to the space shuttle era, and it was focused on primarily supporting research activities than the building of the international space station. And, and that has been the bulk of human activity in space. Very much research focused, very much government focus. Speaker 1: However, [00:03:00] space travel still requires immense funding for research and development, innovation and supplies. NASA's budget is also subject to budgetary cuts at the government's discretion over time companies in the private sector, mostly commercial billionaires with deep pockets were willing to subsidize future travels to space. Speaker 3: The public sector sometimes has funding constraints, right? They need to make sure that their, their types of space exploration is funded. And sometimes even with the best planning, those, those [00:03:30] don't pan out. But if you are a private company, what you need is kind of the ability and the investment on the private side to kind of drive those innovations. So I am not constrained in any way by a, a federal budget. I am, I can say, this is my priority as a company. So I'm going to pursue this space, innovation, this exploration mission, because this is, this is what I choose to do for my business Speaker 1: As NASA pursues, riskier, and increasingly difficult deep space missions, like the Artis lunar [00:04:00] program and the perseverance Rover and ingenuity helicopter's mission on Mars. It turned more established functions like low earth orbit, where the international space station orbits over to private enterprise in 2019 NASA unveiled a new low earth orbit commercialization strategy to increase private sector use of the international space station. The initiative changes its policy to make a docking port available for commercial modules. Speaker 3: So we've seen a ton of interest in space across the board, uh, not just from private [00:04:30] industries. I think that part of the reason why they're excited is because space is just an inherently exciting place, right? It's the final frontier. Speaker 1: No one is accelerating the private industry's involvement in space flight, more than Elon Musk and as aerospace company SpaceX SpaceX's Falcon one rocket became the first privately funded liquid repellent rocket to reach orbit in 2008. After the mission success privately funded space travel became a viable option. More developments from SpaceX [00:05:00] quickly followed, including Falcon nine, dragon 2010, the first private spacecraft to successfully launch orbit and recover. And in 2017 space X demonstrated Falcon nine as the first reusable orbit rocket Starship, arguably space X's most ambitious development is a privately funded, fully reusable, super heavy lift launch system, capable of interplanetary space flight in 2021 NASA selected space X to assist in developing equipment for its Artemis program, which [00:05:30] aims to send astronauts back to the moon, including the first woman later this decade, Elon Musk also hopes Starship will take the first people to Mars to explore the red planet as a potential. Speaker 1: Next home for humans, Starship is awaiting environmental clearance and a launch license from the federal aviation administration for the mega rockets. First orbital test flight blue origin founded by former Amazon CEO. Jeff Bezos is one of several companies that provide services to NASA's flight opportunities program through suborbital vehicles, high [00:06:00] altitude balloons, and parabolic aircraft flights. These space flights demonstrate technologies at high altitudes or in reduced gravity that would not be possible. Otherwise short of going into orbit, the company has been flight testing, its suborbital rocket new shepherd since 2012, like space excess Falcon nine rocket new shepherd is a reusable rocket system designed to take astronauts and research payloads past the Carmen line. The internationally recognized boundary of space. New shepherd has made three successfully crude flights to low earth orbit [00:06:30] with civilian passengers on board, including Jeff Bezos, William Shatner, Michael Strahan, and Wally funk. A member of the mercury 13 group of women who underwent the same testing as NASA astronauts, but never went into space. Speaker 1: Blue origin is planning more crude space flights in 2022, but no announcements have been made Virgin galactic hails itself as the first commercial space line with the sole purpose of civilian space travel in 2021, the company unveiled its newest spaceship. The VSS imagine designed to take civilian passengers [00:07:00] and scientific experiments to and from sub-orbital space. And in July Richard Branson, along with three other non astronauts wrote aboard the VMs Eve on Virgin galactic and only crude space flight in 2022, Virgin galactic open space reservations to the general public with tickets costing $450,000 each a hefty price tag. Speaker 2: I don't think there's a single answer to what the fee covers. You can look at it in a few different ways. If you're going to actually go to orbit and spend time [00:07:30] in orbit, there's likely gonna be significant additional training, even for people who are purely civilians, if you will just going there as tourists, if you're gonna actually be an orbital tourist, there's probably gonna be a considerable amount of training that has to go into that even for a casual flyer. Um, in the past, these missions have, have usually taken a year or more of training Speaker 1: Virgin galactic space flights, won't circle earth, like the astronauts board, the international space station, but passengers will get to experience a few minutes of weightlessness and see the curve [00:08:00] of earth against the blackness of space. So it's the impact of all this increased space activity. Speaker 3: I think it is the economic activity we're seeing in space is trying to kind of meet a demand for things that are, are generated on earth. The demand is generated on earth for everything that happens in space. Uh, so I would expect that, you know, we'll continue to see this kind of investment, um, and the future impacts on the economy who's to say, but as there's more money going into these, [00:08:30] these different types of space companies, we should definitely keep our eyes on it. Speaker 1: In 2021, NASA announced that it was offering 45 million to about 350 small businesses and research institutions to develop new innovative technologies, such as a 3d printing system to make tools in space during the Artis lunar program. Other commercial companies have won contracts to carry NASA payloads to the moon. Speaker 2: In addition to the pure thrill of space tourism, what you see right now is a lot of investment. [00:09:00] That's also driven by the practical needs here on earth and with the vantage point of space, the altitude, the global coverage, and all it does provide a lot of advantages. Uh, it's not a panacea. It's not the only solution to any of these things, but for all of those reasons and the combination of the resources and, uh, the requirements or needs, I think you will see continued innovation and.

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