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tv   Worlds Apart  RT  August 15, 2018 11:30pm-12:00am EDT

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welcome to worlds apart sending humans into space has long required a national and even international effort to provide all the necessary financing and technology but space access recent successes in hauling freight into orbit claim to challenge these paradigms against privatized space services make space exploration cheaper and easier well to discuss that amount joined by geoffrey hoffman an american astronaut and currently a professor of aeronautics and astronautics at the massachusetts institute of technology dr hoffman it's so great to talk to you thank you very much for your time pleasure to be here now the world is still mass mara's by space x. a recent falcon have a launch it was certainly very spectacular i've heard some people compare it to the launch of sputnik or the landing on the moon i wonder though as an engineer do you think that was really such a major technological breakthrough
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a major milestone in the history of space exploration. no i mean it is evolutionary but what space x. as a whole is trying to accomplish i do think is revolutionary. the idea of strapping together three first stages to make a more powerful rocket is not new the the u.s. has the delta heavy rocket which has been flying for many years now. so that technology is not revolutionary however what space x. has accomplished is to make it a lot more affordable. the rough cost of a delta heavy. it's hard to know exactly but it's in the order of two hundred fifty million dollars. the falcon nine the falcon heavy can carry.
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twice the payload of the delta heavy for about one hundred million dollars and so it really is changing the paradigm of how much it costs to get into space and and that's the revolutionary aspect i think of what space x. is doing but dr kaufmann i wonder if it's perhaps too early to say that because i think the same arguments were made about the shuttle program that it's to be usable that it's going to be so much cheaper than let's say the soviet comparison but dan i got from your own lecture is that shuttles turned out to be much more expansive because all the ground operations and how they were service perhaps not very efficiently i understand that this is a house basics market it's technology at this point of time but can we really rely on those figures to be proven in time well. you're
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absolutely correct that people are waiting to see can space x. maintain the very aggressive launch scheduled that they have and reuse a lot of these first stage rockets which they've been recovering because that's what the price reduction depends on in in large part so yeah it's still early days but what i can say though is what happened with the shuttle it was a very complex vehicle immunes very capable it was the most versatile spacecraft probably that we'll ever see but it took a tremendous amount of care and maintenance there were thousands of people involved in every shuttle launch and that's where the money goes for people salaries and what space x. has tried to do is to simplify everything to make it possible to turn around a launch to reduce the first stages without thousands and thousands of people so
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far they've been successful but as you say it's early days and we have to see can they maintain the pace and do it. while they keep. you know hopefully a perfect roy ability record now elin mask is known to be very good at marketing this is how he sells his very expensive car speech i would argue are not very practical a driving but a very good for boosting your self-esteem i wonder if he's also trying to sell not so much the product by the imagined experience associated with it because when you think about all of the footage and video that god from doc launch a it's more about projecting it certain ideas certain dream rather than marketing the the actual capacity that he wants to bring to the market no i wouldn't agree with that i mean anybody in the space business was concerned about
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is the rocket going to work. you know it. was really important to be able to show that they could launch recover the boosters and get the payload into orbit. the fact that instead of just using a bunch of lead weights as because you know you have to hear it wasn't carrying any real payload for money i mean no nobody was launching a satellite on this but you still have to carry a payload with the equivalent mass of a large satellite and so the fact that he decided to launch his red tesla with a you know it a mannequin astronaut in it that that was obviously marketing and very clever and and the general public got a real thrill out of it and you know the idea of cia one of the things that i hope comes out of of
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a lot of what's happening in the private space market these days because we have to remember space x. is not the only one it's an extraordinary time that we're living in we we have a generation of billionaires who are space nuts they have a vision you listen to bigelow to to musk to be zos their vision is that some day many many people human beings are going to be living off the surface of the earth and i think that's really what's what's ultimately motivating him there there's easier ways to make money than than developing a rocket company but he but he has a vision they're not the only people who have vision and i think. just because they're billionaires i don't see why that a vision has to be given so much attention compared to for example your own vision because you you have been into space five times you completed four spacewalks you you know how to. fix the hubble telescope and yet what people would remember after
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this launch is an empty task like carbon the dummy auster not rather than for example you or somebody else who's doing every you work there in space don't you think that people perhaps need to appreciate not how glamorous the space is but how lebaron is it is you're misinterpreting the purpose of the falcon heavy launch was not to put a tesla into orbit the purpose was to demonstrate that this new configuration which is the first time that space x. has ever tried this and they want to be able to use this to launch heavy satellites when you're when you have a new rocket you have to demonstrate that it works. that was the critical part of the launch and it was totally successful you know he decided to make it a little sexier by putting his red tesla as the payload but that was not the
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purpose of the launch now when somebody wants to put a really heavy satellite into orbit they can have certain confidence that the falcon heavy configuration has demonstrated that it it can work successfully and hopefully that means that he'll be able to launch heavy payloads both for private companies and for the government because this is important for nasa and this is a lot of heavy payloads and if you can launch it for a third of the price of what you would have to pay on the delta heavy you can get a lot more science done now dr hoffman just a few moments ago you mentioned this new. you vision that mosque and other space not as you called them have and mr mosque in particular is talking about spacefaring civilization and and multiply metairie species i suspect this is actually very similar to what year harry didn't imagine when you were growing up as
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a boy in new york drawing all those rockets and that it was more than sixty years later and yet we ask humanity i still not there do you think mr musk will see his vision very bold vision i have to say realized in his lifetime well when he talks about millions of people living on the surface of mars i think probably not that's that's a very expansive vision whether or not that will occur in the lifetime of anybody who's alive now i i honestly don't know. but the falcon heavy now has the capability of taking payloads to mars rather significant payloads and. you know one of the exciting things that happened is that nasa as a space agency. originally kind of was reluctant to get involved with the
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private sector but. that was i think one of the successes of the obama administration's space policy was that they basically directed nasa to work with the private sector for lower thor but launches and for taking crew up to the international space station and so this idea of a public private partnership. i really look at as being the key to success for the future. we're not going to have another apollo program whether for the moon or mars i mean apollo was a very special time. we had a cold war going on between the u.s. and the soviet union space had been identified as one of the areas in which you could demonstrate the superiority of your culture and you know the the russians were launching things first and then the americans and finally we got to the moon
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first but at a tremendous cost i mean at the height of the apollo program over four hundred thousand people were working on apollo it was for about two years nasa was getting almost four percent of the u.s. government's budget that's not going to happen again so nasa if they're going to be successful in space exploration has to learn to do it not apollo style but affordably and i think therefore there's a lot to be learned from the public sector and by working with the public sector and using these developments particularly the rockets and the spacecraft developed at a much lower cost than nasa has previously been paying for launches that might make it possible on a much more limited budget that we then we had during apollo to get started with real space exploration again that's what i hope will happen dr hofman we have to take a short break but to be will be back in just
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a few seconds states didn't. get. to it. what politicians do. to put themselves on the lawn to get accepted or rejected.
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so when you want to be president or injury or something want to be rich. but you do like to be prosperous what before three in the morning can people that. i'm interested always in the waters of politics. first sit. welcome back to worlds apart and chafee hofmann an american astronaut and now at a press pass a department of aeronautics and astronautics now dr hoffman just before the break
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you mentioned that space x. already has the capability off transporting cargo and perhaps humans to mars i wonder if figuring out the chance for that capability is enough she commands on these very icy and dangerous voyage to the raft planet oh absolutely not i mean there's a whole slew of things i mean. radiation how we're going to deal with the radiation exposure. just something simple like keeping food viable for three years i mean there's all sorts of things that nasa is looking at that problems that need to be solved to say nothing of the. you know the psychology how are we going to keep people healthy physically. i really think it's important that we first go back to the moon it's been almost fifty years since we've had
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human beings on the surface of another planetary body and mars is very hard which isn't to say that the moon is easy but it's a lot closer it's easier to get to you can come back relatively quickly if something goes wrong. and many of the things not all but many of the things that we have to accomplish on mars we could test out on the moon i think the moon would be . an excellent test bed and with the exception of the united states up until the recent change in policy every other space faring nation in the world russia included is wants to go to the moon. and i. hope that we could actually put together an international lunar exploration initiative much like we have the international space station consortium and together the countries of the world cooperating with the private sector. could afford to get back
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into real space exploration and i think that would that would create a real a lot of excitement it's interesting you say that because i'm sure you know that back in two thousand seven hundred and the russian space agency ross qassam a signed an agreement to look into building the first lunar space station and that's at the height of. well very poor relationship that we currently have a bit in our two countries so why do you think the space exploration was somehow on the fact that by all of these political matters that divides our countries i think it's actually cause for at least some optimism not not just talking about what we would like to do someday in the future with the moon but the current activities on the international space station where the two biggest players are the united states and russia and as you say we have our problems on the ground but i think it's very
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. you know it's a cause for optimism that still in space we were each keeping up our parts of the bargain and we seem to be getting along quite well there is some hope that may be get off the surface of the earth and we're not arguing about little pieces of ground in the middle east or wherever in the world. that we can actually. behave more like members of the whole human race and work together you complained about the shortage of budgets that go into space programs and i think that's even more the case for russia done for the united states but i wonder if those financial constraints actually provide for these call parading experience because the russians need them eric and money and the americans need the the russian equipment our technology for the time being do you think that's a good range meant that does it provide any synergy apart from each of the sides
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getting what they want. it provides a certain level of safety again looking at the space station we have to oxygen generating systems we have to water production systems and they're different. and if one somehow has a design flaw fault and breaks down. you have a certain level of safety by having different types of engineered systems and this would be particularly the farther away from earth you go the more important the reliability becomes on the space station if we have a failure of a piece of equipment we can send up and have something else to replace it or if the worst comes to worst it's pretty easy to come back to earth in a hurry you go to the moon and you're much farther away from help and if you're going to mars forget it there's no way if something breaks they they can't send you
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a spare parts so to have to differently type engineered systems. really provides a lot of extra safety now a few minutes ago you're sounded very excited about this infusion of private money into space exploration and i think many x. parents believe that somehow private money can come to almost stops to cheat national budgets for as. as space program is concerned our space programs are concerned do you believe that's realistic to expect that you can continue exploring space. by the use of private money rather than relying on state budgets nasa has budget is is a little over nine to around nineteen billion dollars a year that's a lot more than even you know jeff bezos puts about he said he puts about one billion dollars a year into his blue origin company he sells
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a billion dollars' worth of amazon stock and he's got plenty of amazon stock to sell the real question is what's going to motivate them. the you know you're not going to make a profit by exploring mars and the government does it not to make a profit but because traditionally the governments have sponsored scientific missions but if you look at the history of exploration. you know earlier on in previous centuries there was a lot of private sponsorship of exploration again what i hope will happen is that we'll have a mixture of public private investment in this. how much the private sector wants to put into it depends on. what they will do you know do they need to make a profit from it i mean jeff bezos has said you know he he runs the amazon business
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because that provides enough money for his space company he's he's motivated by his work in space is not really to make a profit but when you look at what's happened over the last few years it has truly been revolutionary we have seen a tremendous amount of innovation just the idea of being able to reuse parts of the rockets nasa tried to do that with the shuttle economically it was not a complete success but. you know nasa was never on its own probably was never going to develop the ability to reuse parts of the rocket or even to substantially bring down the cost up until space x. came into the game nasa's launches were all with the united space alliance which was a monopoly created by boeing and lockheed. and they had no real motivation
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to reduce the cost of flights because they were getting their contract basically they had no competition and they were getting a cost plus contracts so the more the launch costs the more profit they got now we have real competition and rocket companies all over the world not just not just boeing and lockheed but aryan space ross cause most of the japanese the indians the chinese everybody is concerned can we compete with space x. so it's really been revolutionary and it's led to a tremendous amount of innovation which i do not think we would have had if it had just been the government involved now i heard you seen one of the interviews that private companies such as basics of blue origin are willing and able to take more risks than nasa or any other government agency do you think government should play any role in determining the pair of amateur yourself though the risk just as a matter of public safety because i think you would agree that launching
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a vehicle into space represents hadn't been no no no they do in order for space exploration any any or boeing or lockheed i mean any any private company needs to get government approval before they launch and of course the government approval is mainly to make sure that they don't hurt anybody on the ground we don't want rockets falling on the land near big cities or anything and they need to get the it right now it's. the federal aviation administration that has authority to approve commercial launches when it comes to launching people the first people who are going to get launched in the space x. and boeing is also making its its own private capsule space capsule there or they're going to be launching nasa astronauts and there of course nasa will determine the safety. conditions that have to be met and i think for as
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far as the flying the general public if nasa decides that these vehicles are safe enough to fly nasa astronauts then probably the federal aviation administration which frankly doesn't have a lot of expertise in human spaceflight will say well if it's if it's good enough for nasa then it's good enough for us and and then they'll give approval to fly other members of the public you know we talk maybe about the birth of a space tourism industry still early days we don't know if it's all going to happen if it's going to be successful but this is the long vision middle lot of these companies have you know. bigelow will put a space hotel up there and space x. will launch paying tourists to go up and it won't be inexpensive especially at first but there's plenty of people who would love to go into space and they may have a chance in the next generation
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a day they want to go into space even if that represents a certain risk to their lives i want to ask you specifically about calculating those human risks because i heard from a number of facts press that especially after day they have the loss of the shuttle columbia. has become more risk averse than before but on the other hand i've also heard many american astronauts and russian cosmonauts say that they discount that space exploration is it is an inherently dangerous time to taking and they are. ready to take calculated risks for the sake of common good do you think the agency and especially the united states is balanced enough bit thin you know protecting people and providing a certain a space for. exploration to reach is always mission always contain a certain degree of france where we would we would like the next generation of human space vehicles to be safer than the shuttle than the one one big thing there
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is that they will have a launch escape system which the shuttle did not have so had there been a launch escape system the challenger astronauts would have survived even though their shuttle was destroyed when the shuttle was designed it was designed with so much redundancy that people managed to convince themselves that it would be safe no matter what happened and therefore since you could always get the shuttle back the crew would be safe as well well that turned out not to be the case and i don't think we'll ever make that mistake again. when it comes to the question of will tourists be able to take those risks well you know tourists pay seventy five thousand dollars to get a guided climb up mount everest and people have died you know tourists have died on on mount everest. so i think it's clear at least a certain subset of wealthy. people who want are looking for
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new experiences are willing to take a certain level of risk and there will continue to be a certain level of risk in spaceflight. it's not yet as safe as flying in an airplane but you know in the early days of aviation there were a lot more crashes it was a lot less safe than it is now i suspect the time will come i don't know how long it will be in the future when. i don't think it's any more dangerous to get in iraq at than to get in an airplane but that time is not now and i don't know when that's going to happen so there were there will be a risk in spaceflight but i think there are people who are willing to take those risks while i you're certainly one of them dr hoffman we have to leave it there but i really really appreciate your being with us today and sharing your thoughts and your expertise your experience and to our viewers please keep the conversation
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going on our social media pages as for me hope to see you again same place same time here on the walls a part of. i mean. that's a very rough roads around you so it's rough climates and you have to fight to be able to the flank. it was gunshots on top of them and so many friends they would have been going to me and i've been and you don't want to leave. with me
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everything will back up. you know i don't when you see a better body in the trailer when it's ready to participate in the good. old to me a good mood and. you don't think about this leave this soldier or no you just do it like yeah and you know do another face. look at.
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the security crisis in afghanistan with say it says a suicide bomb attack in the capital claims the lives of at least forty eight civilians it comes off to a taliban attack on a security base on the same day reports of the killing doesn't. mean while donald trump revokes the security clearance the former cia director john brennan the white house says the president is looking into also revoking security clearances and several other high profile fagan. it's linked with the intelligence community. tell you what russian cosmonauts complete american space lossing nearly eight hours carrying out repairs to the international space station. my colleague has got a full news bulletin for you in about an hour's time.

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