The Future of Sending Human Beings Into Space

Amazing The future of sending human beings into Space With commercial organizations playing a More prominent role in sending humans Into space Governments regulators and even Companies themselves are not quite sure What these Herald for the new space age To come This panel will help us understand the Future of sending humans into space And the respective role that government And Commercial companies will play Introducing our moderator to discuss That and much more Aaron Stein Chief Content officer from metamorphic media And our phenomenal panelists Jared Isaacman astronaut and Commander Inspiration 4 and Polaris program Laura Crabtree co-founder and CEO of Epsilon 3. And David coursemeier Ames acting Deputy Center director for NASA Thank you very much All right thank you everybody for coming It's a pleasure to be out here in San Francisco and it's a pleasure to be up Here with all of these panelists Uh and the way that we're going to do This is we're just going to go straight Down the row with a few opening Questions and start off our discussion Here

Um Laura maybe I'll start with you Um because you know I know you've been Involved in the on the commercial side For a long time Um and you were one of the engineers That helped put the us back into crude Space flight you know into the crude Space business and he did so at a time When there was a real need for it right And Can you take us back to that moment you Know when you started and discussed what It was like and the need for commercial Industry to assist with space launch and Space flight yeah I mean going back to The five or six years before that we had Gotten Dragon to a repeatable process Where we could launch every couple of Months and get to station bring cargo to The space station and we were writing a Proposal to take humans to the space Station next and I saw this as a huge Opportunity to do something that only Countries had ever done before and I Thought this would be very very Meaningful for the U.S to be able to Have that capability again and over the Next five or six years getting that Capability ready training for that Mission which I know Jared is very Familiar with it was a lot of time Commitment from the huge team at SpaceX And when we saw finally the launch of

Doug and Bob to space station it was a Huge weight lifted because we knew that We had accomplished something once they Were in space confirmed separation from Falcon 9. it was a moment that you can't Ever prepare yourself for so I I will Say that at that moment I did have a Little bit of a break in my composure I Started crying a little bit and I think You know realizing how much the future Was going to change on human space light And where we could go with commercial Companies I thought that was really Pivotal Yeah we were talking backstage a little Bit we all have children about how our Children You want to take that thank you About how our children watch space Flights and almost take it for granted Right in the way that maybe we don't and Jared I think you're a perfect Compliment to Laura right in that as Your bio said at the beginning you were The commander of inspiration for and you Were using Dragon uh to go into space And you have plans for more space Flights we were talking about that Backstage as well so Tell us about how you view the future of Space flight particularly commercial Space flight what you've encountered Because I know you've been at the Forefront of this and some of the

Challenges and opportunities you've Identified yeah sure Um well first very very appreciative Laura her team you know the thousands of People at SpaceX and NASA as well that Even made it possible to have a Commercial uh mission to orbit if you Think about it prior to inspiration for The only I mean organic ability to send Humans into space live with World Superpowers United States Russia and China so it says a lot about what Reusable rocket technology has done in Order to open up space now where you Have this possibility of commercial Missions and you have other Sovereign Nations sending people to space too that Otherwise wouldn't have had access to it So this is really cool but to answer Your question of like you know what are Some of the biggest challenges coming Back it's still the question of why like Why why do we need to do this at all it Seems there's a very you know binary View on this which is like let's hit the Pause button on everything and just Solve every problem that exists here on Earth first or the other side of that Whole argument is it's like let's give Up like we've already destroyed this one Time to populate Mars is if that's like A really great option to to move to it's And the answer is like it's it's a Little bit of both in fact like the vast

Majority of resources should be here but We know so little about what's out there And and you can like look to like you Know the whole human DNA thing of like We're we are explorers and we want to go Out and seek answers to questions There's plenty of just good like National security reasons too it is The High Ground and who knows what we're Going to find out there that completely Alter our course here on Earth whether That's like 3D printing organs or like Finding a new source of energy so to me Coming back it's still a big question of Why that's a very debated topic but There are so many reasons why we should Continue to take care of our home planet Here and see what we can find out there So Well Dave I guess you'll come up here on The initial round because you know as Your bio said you come from the NASA Side of things you know and you're also Involved in crude in crude space flight Albeit again from that NASA side of Things less so from the commercial Um and so how has NASA's role changed in This industry like over the time Um with particularly the new entrance From the commercial Market Um alongside you know government Programs as well to continue group space Flight NASA has always Looks like I need the mic

NASA has always used commercial industry And Commercial Partners right we were Founded in 1958 and uh you know we came Out of the box strong with the Mercury Gemini Apollo missions but we used Industry at that time too it was just More of a build to print we designed it They built it as things evolved and Technology got improved and improved Finally in the 90s it looked like Industry was going to mature enough have Enough technical wherewithal of their Own manufacturing industry to be able to Pull it off and SpaceX came along and Don't forget the government helped SpaceX initially with the initial grants The initial funding were the the funder Of first choice for a lot of commercial Space activities but it's a great Benefit to us to have a thriving Industry that kind of can live and Survive someone on its own is to the Benefit of the US government it's to the Benefit of NASA that we get to do this And With all due respect you know NASA Doesn't just do low earth orbit stuff We're going we're out at the Moon we're Out at you know Saturn and Jupiter we're Looking with the James Webb Telescope We're also looking back at our Earth for Climate change for you know changes in Our environment so having a very viable Low earth industry uh capability housed

In the U.S housed in Europe housed in China and India all around the world This is excellent this is this is why we Were created as a Agency for the U.S Federal government Right to find out how to use space and Aerospace technology for the benefit of All mankind it actually says that in the Law that established NASA that's our job So starting up and seeing industry Basically flourish it's exactly where we Want it to be So speaking of flaring it we'll stay With you for a second uh Dave is you Know industry it does appear to be Flourishing as we were saying this is Becoming more commonplace You know but I do think that they're Still regulatory challenges again we Were talking about some of those Regulatory talents backstage you know What has that been like you know if you Were talking about say the 1990s up Until 2023 we have about 30 years here Right and we still haven't quite figured It out so you know where is it going What are the things that need to improve Particularly from the government side Well like you said there's a lot of um NASA has been a bit of a monopoly for Doing space stuff for the US federal Government and so now that's spreading Out Noah has always the national Oceanographic Administration has always

Been looking back at the Earth but now The FAA is a regulatory agency you know They managed aircraft flying around the Country now they manage the actual in And out of orbit capability for Commercial industry and we're learning The new rules that need to play out and We're learning the new ways to make it Happen And for example we're also buying Commercial crew Services eventually to The lunar surface again working with now SpaceX and blue origin as two Contractors We're making it up as we go I mean That's the polite way to say it we don't Know what we're doing because it's the First time we're trying it this way Um and Industry is taking a great Technical lead to do it but the Government is trying to figure out how To regulate this and we're not the only Actor out there anymore right India Chandrayaan 3 just landed on the South Pole the moon congrats to them but There's other Sovereign agencies other Sovereign countries China India right Israel's going out there Japan's going Out there right Russia's going out there Again everybody wants to play in this Space and how to coordinate that that's Where we've got this thing NASA is Trying to encourage other countries to Sign called the Artemis Accords which is

Just like a best practices document hey When we go there we should tell you We're going there and when we're not Going there we should say hey we're not Going there and we're going to be in This orbit this long and we're going to Stay here this long and go away That's simply the best practices of Sharing it's like Maritime shipping you Don't want all the boats coming into Dock at the same time you just take your Turn and coordinate and that's what We're still trying to figure out for Space Well Jared maybe I'll come back to you And I'm playing off the making it up as You go along because I like that Um I know that you have a good story From 2008 you know at that time from uh When I think you're out in Kazakhstan What the soyuz launched you know as You've been involved in commercial space Flight not necessarily from the Beginning but really as it started to Take off here you know what's it's been Trajectory since that first trip in 2008 To where you're about ready to lead more Missions into space Uh yeah I guess first just to be like Super clear like I have been uh an Admirer and observer from a distance Like that I mean I'm super lucky to be Able to really watch uh the history That's unfolding around me that

Absolutely SpaceX is doing a large part And standing on the shoulder of giants From from NASA and everybody who Contributed before that point Um I guess uh my observations and just Kind of were like you know we're at a Techie conference here he's like wasn't Always easy right I mean uh you know Talk about disruption you know um right Now you know SpaceX I think you know is Pretty much you know single-handedly Bringing up a large portion of the mass To orbit every single year with with you Know close competitors like like China Behind and you know it's a capability we Should be super thankful for in a number Of respects I mean they had they had to Sue their way there I mean they had to Fight a lot of different government Agencies to have the opportunity I think That's a good point for reflection as as We have startups all over this Conference right now thinking about you Know know you want disruption enablement For a number of reasons including the Competitiveness of our nation it's not Always easy right it's a tough battle to Get there but I think it's pretty Extraordinary to see it today I mean Especially you know the ability to you Know land a booster recover it um and Pretty you know rapidly reuse it you Know again just speaking at a Tech Conference uh I mean how many times when

You see a you know a competitor you know Enter the market you know like some Groundbreaking step forward from a Technology perspective that you don't See a second place competitor like six Months behind you know you've got an IPhone out there and then you know you Got the Android six months later right You know they started Landing rockets on Ships in 2015. they've done it well over I think 150 times no one else has really Done it once yet Whatever that formula is for Success Somebody's got to crack the code on it And spread it everywhere because it's Needed not just in in Aerospace but Across like the defense sector and all Across technology it's it's pretty Extraordinary so I'd say you know just Watching distance from 08 I mean not Easy at all and I think that's the Reality of any any disrupter in it you Know Tech any Tech startup disruptor out There it's an uphill battle Um you know but you wind up getting a Good formula for success and all the Right ingredients you have some pretty Eye-watering things that are taking Place Laura will come back to you it's you Know talking about maybe the software Maybe maybe one pass the mic Um the software involved in this because Again I know I think you started in 2009

Working on this you know 2010 and you Continue to be involved in this space You know I think what we see in the Aerospace industry more broadly and you Know correct if I'm wrong is um you know Software becoming the main driver rather Than the actual mechanics of how things Work so when you talk about Landing a Rocket back on a ship you know the all The Precision that goes into that you Know what was your role in that and then You know where do you see the future as You plug in and continue to work on the Software aspect of this yeah I think What what we've seen is the hardware you Can see and touch Hardware but you have To have the software backbone to drive Hardware development to have Traceability and to really move quickly Especially with all the startups and Such small teams you have to have really Good software to enable small teams to Do more with less and so that's why you Know I think part of the future of space Flight is in the software it's in the Flight software it's in the ground Software it's in automation it's in you Know enabling people to do more with Less just Kind of inherently Um and then going back to something Jared said which is Um you know taking risk how do you Calculate what risks are acceptable to

Take and especially with human space Flight you know there there is a very Hard line on what risks you can and Can't take and Through the development of you know sort Of that first mission we had to figure Out where that line was and going back To what Dave said which is you know you Make it up as you go where is that line And how do we Define that and it is Really really tough to do but you have To be okay taking some calculated risk To be able to move quickly Well let me stay with you Laura because The question I had about risk I think Comes up particularly If you think about the early days of Space flight there are lots of accidents Okay and I think there are more Accidents now you know that continue to Go on but these accidents or things that Are indicative of the challenge of the Entire Enterprise this is difficult Right to send humans into space to send Robots into space to send anything into Space so talking about particularly Coming from a commercial side when You're trying to judge that risk how Does that work when you're perhaps main Funder may not necessarily be the Government at the outset Well I think you have to have enough Risk in the early so you have to take Risks early on in your life cycle to

Know that when you finally get to launch You will succeed and so we took a lot More risks early on in the development Most both in hardware and software and And I was mostly involved in the Training side of things and making sure Our crew knew what to do when certain Things went wrong and what they needed To do in their entirety in the entirety Of their mission but I think the risks When you fully calculate all the risks That need to line up for Success you Basically need to stack all of that Early development with all of the risks So that you have more chance of success At the end Jared I saw you nodding your Head did you want to add something to That or or if you don't or if you want To expand a little bit Given that you have been into space you Have accepted risk in ways that I think People on the ground have not and I know In some of our personal conversations That you identified things or trainings Or or you know approaches and they make It up as you go that you have to then Figure out to lessen that risk Particularly for crude space flight As You move forward so what are your Thoughts on this Uh so I mean at least what Um well I mean look gravity is a pain in The ass so I mean you got to have a Controlled explosion to you know

Accelerate an object to escape it and Get into low earth orbit and that's um I Mean look that's a lot more challenging Than a 737 taking off from a Runway Where you know you've got your risk risk Threshold down to a pretty low low Point What I'd say is uh you know well first Starting just with SpaceX Um that I've never seen a better like Mission-driven organization I mean you Got 10 000 people who show up to work Every day that really believe that you Know they can't make a bigger difference In the world than they're there and it's About a very Grand Vision of making life Multi-planetary they're very smart They're very aware that any any setback Could derail the path to that Vision uh Very very quickly so they think they're Cognizant of that second I mean they've Had such close cooperation with NASA for You know a long time gets 60 years of Lessons Learned you know when they Approached a commercial launch like uh Inspiration four I mean the same process And structure that goes through a NASA Astronaut mission to go to orbit was a Was applied as well and again I think It's it's not that this isn't an Organization that is afraid of risk I Mean geez they're teaching us all a lot About you know failing fast and you know Iterative design cycle but they're they Separate the organization very

Effectively and that was like our day One orientation is there is a part of This organization that's going to jump Up and down and cheer when a rocket Explodes and that's what's happening Down in in South Texas and we're going To learn quick because we believe this Is the best best path to really open up Space for everyone and then there's Another side of the business that Launches from Kennedy Space Center and That's one where like we'll never stop Listening to data we'll never stop Looking for small incremental Improvements but we don't take needless Risk here and one very much enables the Other Um so um yeah I totally agree you have To take some risks the environment alone Necessitates it it's not easy to get Into low earth orbit or Beyond but you Can have good I think philosophies and Approaches to exit execution that that Minimize you know the risk you're Accepting Dave did you want to jump in here or Anything else yeah sure I mean I very Much agree with what uh my two Colleagues also stated here it's it's a Lot about Not whether or not there's going to be Risk in doing something always Especially in the space environment uh Deeply risky environment but it's all

About knowing your risks and managing Your risks and learning from your risks Right and that's what SpaceX is a Company a good example many of the Startups these days are doing They fail and they don't hang their head And you know go away and live in a cave They fail and they learn and that's the Necessary thing to do it so it's it's When you're doing us a new thing when You're starting up something for the First time ever You're going to have risk and you need To figure out what those are you need to Track them out and then as you start Doing things you're going to find new Risk and you need to write those down And track those as well and then Sometimes you figured out no I solved That that's no longer a big risk right I'm not going to have the astronauts run Out of air I figured out how to keep Enough air in the ship so we're good but Now maybe splashdowns is a big deal okay So I'm going to track that risk and I'm Going to make sure we test for it and Track it and make sure things happen and If there's a failure in a test you'll Learn from it and it's all about Learning from the risks the behaviors And iterating on it and that's a Practice that you know NASA had to kind Of carve out from the original you know World War II era Cold War era and an

Industry has picked it up beautifully And is doing a phenomenal job of doing This and actually is now leading in some Areas which is what they should be doing But it's all about when you do something First when you do something that is Never been done before do it with Deliberation and when you fail because You will fail somewhere along the line Hopefully incrementally hopefully not Putting people at risk but when you fail You must learn from it and iterate so That you won't fail again So let me ask you a follow-up about the The iteration aspect of this you know if We think about maybe we you think about The Apollo program or something that Comes along those lines it's a build to Build to print is that you create the Contract and then the the rackets are Built Now it's almost opposite right and that People are coming to you and looking for This how does then you know the agency Or NASA look at this in terms of its own Willingness to accept risk you Understand what I'm saying there in Terms of you know how it would Facilitate and how it would accept Accept new entrants into the market and Then you know you know be part of the uh The the apparatus that sanctions recruit Space flight well you know that's the Beauty of um having commercial industry

Multiple organizations out there doing Things right the market somewhat decides Based on can you deliver The government NASA here is just another Market right for getting people into Space for getting cargo up in orbit Um there's a lot of you know You know dish and Direct TV and a t and Everybody wants things in orbit now uh Starlinks in orbit right Kuiper is going To go up people are launching things for You know Earth observation planets Looking down taking pictures so there's A whole Market outside of NASA That drives industry to certain Behaviors and to put up their best Capability and when they succeed the Market goes yes we like that do it again And the competitors see Ah that's the Way to succeed so I need to copy and Emulate that and make it better And repetition minimizes risk you learn Over and over again as you start riding A bicycle you become better right you Don't fall over as much you don't you Know run into the curb and it's through That practice and that repetition that We're benefiting right because instead Of you know paying for the second Bicycle ride it's already been ridden 15 Miles before we ask you to do it again And so now when we ask SpaceX or blue Origin or other companies in the future To do things they're going to have

Industrial experience greatly minimizing The risk making it a better purchase for The government meaning it's probably Going to be a cheaper cost it's going to Be more efficient more valuable so your 10 tax is going to you know better Productive activities and not paying for Very risky activities so it's it's a It's just a great environment now to Have kind of a thriving industry Focusing on getting into low earth orbit Jared maybe I'll come to you because you When do you I know there's a couple of Windows when do you plan to launch again Because that will ultimately be success In that sense in this next phase in the In the process of uh of commercial crude Human space flight you know and talking About that you know if you had to Define Where you want this to go you know where You want this entire Enterprise to go Where do you see it going Um so uh Polaris Dawn which is the first Of three Polaris missions uh should Launch in the first quarter of 2024 so We announced the Polaris program like a Year and a half ago it is a test and Development program so it's um you know It's a lot of things that either haven't Been done since you know the last time We walked on the moon or or haven't done It all and it's it's really all in you Know in support of the the broader SpaceX vision of of making life

Multi-planetary and that the vehicle That you know aims to achieve that is Starship and uh and that is the final uh Of the three players missions is the First first crude flight of Starship That could be uh you know the 737 of Human space flight I mean to give you a Sense of Starship thinks a lot of people Have seen the pictures of it the nose Cone of Starship has more habitable Volume in the entirety of the International Space Station and they've Two factories building lots and lots of Starships so it could be a you know a Real game changer but there's an awful Lot to accomplish between now and then Uh so for example you know of our we Have three mission objectives on the Polarisan mission the first uh will be You know the highest Earth orbit ever Flown you know the farthest we've been To the Earth since the last time we Walked on the moon so right under the The Van Allen radiation belts and that Has a lot of implications for like human Physiology uh vehicle design Vehicles Don't like lots of radiation uh we'll Come down from there we'll do a Spacewalk with a new spacesuit why does That matter I mean because if you Believe all of this is going to happen That we're going to get to the moon or Mars then you're going to want to get Outside the vehicle and whether you're

Exploring or building something you need To do it in a suit that doesn't cost Like lots and lots of dollars you need To have something that you can Mass Produce at reasonably low cost and there Hasn't been new spacesuits built in a Very very long time and then just how You're going to communicate so this is All like the whole players program which Is totally in support of spacex's you Know Vision like we're again playing a Very small part in it you know is it is If you believe there will be you know a Jetson world with like hundreds of Rockets going around there's a lot of Stuff we got to figure out suits is one And then the final objective uh is we're Going to communicate over the Starling Constellation using uh using laser Communication and and why does that Matter and it was an article very Recently about the deep space Network Out there is there's a lot of National Assets that are under you know a lot of Demand demand signal very very high Right now Um as you know commercial space and cost Of accessing orbit goes down a lot of People need to leverage ground stations And teach your satellites and such well We've already got thousands of starlink Satellites up there and if we can use Them to communicate it really it Alleviates some of the burden on the

Deep space Network Um so that's like you know it's an Answer of what we're contr you know kind Of contributing into it but really it's It's the end state is you know get that 737 of human space flight going and we Don't necessarily know what it's going To create it's more than certainly just The idea of populating another planet Until costs get down to such an extent It's really hard to predict you know What the future holds with uh with low Earth orbit and Beyond it's pretty Exciting Well Laura I we're coming to the end We've got about three minutes left here But you know I think a lot of people me Included want a glimpse into the future You know if you think about the original With Gemini Apollo and moving forward we Have this very standardized view of what It should look like and now obviously It's changing are we going to a Jetsons World where you can just book a ticket Uh on kayak or whatever Um and you can catch a ride into space Yeah I mean I think we all hope so That's why we're all here you know I Want to help enable that future and you Know why I spent so long at SpaceX and And why I'm doing what I'm doing now I Think Um I would book a ride I would go to Space especially on a SpaceX vehicle

Because I I fully trust it but I think You know what we're gonna see in the Next I don't know 10 20 years you know I Don't I don't know if we're going to get To Mars in 10 years but I'd love to see That in my lifetime I'd love to see you Know know more space stations in low Earth orbit more destinations for Research and development for actual you Know just going to visit and Experiencing it knowing that life on Earth is very precious like Jared said And we need to preserve that there's a Lot more that we can do and probably Will do in space as we see more and more Private companies but in order to to Have that development and have those Breakthroughs we do have to have a lot Of funding to do so and you know NASA Was a huge partner to getting SpaceX Over that hump of that first space Flight and they took a lot of risk on on Us and a lot on the SpaceX Mission and You know we need more Partners to kind Of continue to fund a lot of the Research and a lot of the the next Generation of what we'd like to see in Space Jared are we going to have a easy Launch in in 20 years that we can book An easy ticket our kids could go Uh I told I mean look I I was I was in My last time I was in Starbase which is Where they're building and testing Starships in Texas which was like a year

Ago I was going through you know a tour Of one of the hangers it was the the Nose cone production area and there were Six nose cones in there and if you're Just walking by and seeing these things As giant structures you don't Necessarily appreciate that that means There's six Starships this was a year Ago and since that time they built Another Factory so I certainly hope so Um but what I would say is there is Still so many problems to solve Beyond Just having that fully reusable launch Vehicle that I know a lot of people are Working on I mean just again for a Tech Conference think it through like you Know there's like there's no childbirth In space there's no surgery in space There's psychological things you have to Sort out when like you're on another Planet and Earth is just a tiny Speck And it takes maybe nine months to come Home from it and then what the whole Economy is of like why we even need to Be there in the first place other than Maybe not having all our eggs in one Basket so awesome that we're making so Much progress and SpaceX is making a lot Of progress and NASA and the whole Industry that's you know going into Really launch vehicles and structures There's a million other problems to Solve if we're going to live in that Jetsons world

Dave I think the final world is yours we Where do you see the future going Space in general space are we going to This Jetsons world you know Tech The beauty about spaces is always more Of it there's always more up and out so As we move as Humanity moves industry uh The economy into low earth orbit and Then we move into CIS lunar space which Is in between the Earth and Moon and Then eventually to the Moon That's only the you know just the first Steps out into the ocean You're not even out to the little Nearest Island which truly is Mars and Once you're there that's only the very Edge of a very very big ocean there is So much more to do and there's so much More to benefit both economically and Technically and scientifically by doing This and I believe socially and Culturally as well to expanding Humanity As a species out into space I mean There's a there there there's not just The vision of that but every time we go And do more things we learn more and as We learn more we benefit locally here on Earth and that's what we're trying to do Well with that I want to thank everybody For listening to thank our three Panelists and enjoy the next panel


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