Is Private Companies Handling Space Travel a Good Thing? w/Garrett Reisman | Joe Rogan


4 years ago



Garrett Reisman

1 appearance

Garrett Reisman is a former NASA Astronaut. He is currently a Professor of Astronautical Engineering at USC and a Senior Advisor at SpaceX.


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What are your thoughts on this, what's happening now with space travel where it's transferring into the public sector, or the private sector rather, instead of being something that the government handles now as private companies? Is that a good thing? It's a great thing. Is that? Yeah, because first of all, it's not quite that black and white. In the media, it's all portrayed as commercial space and like these are private companies are taking over. The truth is, at least for the human orbital space flight that we're doing at SpaceX and that Boeing is doing with their vehicle, it's a public-private partnership. And so NASA is working very closely with both those companies and we're working together. And in a way, it's not really that different from the way it's always been. NASA didn't have a NASA factory that built the Saturn V rocket. Is built here by like McDonnell Douglas and North American Rockwell built, if I remember right, North American built the command module and the lunar lander was built by Grumman. So those were all private companies. They're contractors, but they're still private companies. And what's happening now is just a slight change to the relationship between NASA and the private companies. When NASA is not micromanaging quite as much as they used to, they're saying, okay, here's our top level requirements. We want you to get four people up and down to the space station. That's a bit of a simplification because actually the requirements document is like, there are thousands of requirements. But they don't go down and tell you how to meet each requirement. They leave it up to you. So now SpaceX has a lot more room to innovate than like North American Rockwell did when they built the vehicles back during Apollo. So that and the other thing that's different is the funding, the way that NASA is paying, it's firm fixed price. All these are like the space shuttle, when we build an aircraft carrier, it's cost plus contracting, which has been terribly abused and it's been horrible for the US taxpayer. What it says to the company is, it could cost whatever it costs, that's what we'll pay. And in fact, we'll give you a profit as a percentage of the cost. So like your incentive as a company is like to make the cost as high as you can so your profit is high as it can be. Oh, that's ridiculous. Yeah. So it's not cool. They had to do it that way like during World War II is when it started because like nobody knew how much it was going to cost to build a P-51 Mustang because nobody did one before. So they came up with this mechanism, but now it's kind of been abused. Now we're using it to do things that we've done before. And then the third thing is that the companies own the intellectual property. So what that means is like Rockwell that built the space shuttle, couldn't like build a new space shuttle, like build like space shuttle enterprise or something and then go sell tickets on it. They weren't allowed to, but we can. So we can, we're going to build this dragon. We're going to take Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley, two friends of mine are going to be the first astronauts to ride it to the space station. And once we meet our NASA, NASA is our number one customer, they're paying the bill. So once they are satisfied, we can then go make another one and sell tickets and take private individuals. So really that's the key difference. And I really think that 2020, we're going to look back at 2020 as a year that everything changed. Really? Yeah, because all those dreams of science fiction, like being able to take your vacations around the rings of Saturn and like all the like private space stations, all that kind of stuff that we grew up hoping would happen when we were older. I think it's really finally starting because this is, this is the beginning of that infrastructure that private sector commercial infrastructure and ability to actually get it done.