Choosing The Final Frontier: Launching a Rocket Company with Andy Lapsa of Stoke Space | The NFX Podcast
In this episode, Andy Lapsa, Co-Founder & CEO of Stoke Space Technologies, joins NFX Partner Morgan Beller to discuss the future of space exploration and the role of the space industry in addressing global challenges.
They delve into the importance of innovation and adaptability in this rapidly evolving field.
Space Industry’s Impact on Earth
The space industry’s role extends beyond exploration; it also aims to enhance life on Earth.
By providing global access to information, improving internet connectivity, and offering sustainable energy sources, the space industry can significantly contribute to a more sustainable, vibrant, and equitable life on Earth.
Overcoming Space Travel Challenges
Despite the potential and advancements in the space industry, significant challenges persist.
The cost and complexity of space travel pose substantial barriers.
However, companies like Stoke Space Technologies are striving to overcome these hurdles by focusing on rocket reusability.
Demand for Small Satellite Launches
There is a considerable unmet demand for small satellite launches, which large rockets cannot fulfill.
This gap presents an exciting opportunity for companies like Stoke Space Technologies, which can cater to this demand without betting on the future of space manufacturing.
Transition from Public to Private Sector Innovation
The shift from public to private sector innovation in space technology is driven by the speed and focus of private companies, often lacking in government programs.
The changing mission of NASA makes it challenging for the agency to achieve long-term goals.
Embracing Failure in Innovation
Embracing failure is integral to the innovation process.
The engineering process involves designing something quickly, testing it, and learning from the failures.
This approach is vital for dealing with complex machines and unpredictable outcomes.
Global Collaboration in Space Exploration
Space exploration challenges, such as climate change, are global issues requiring international collaboration.
The ‘overview effect,’ a transformative experience reported by astronauts who see Earth from space, underscores the interconnectedness of all people on Earth.
We must go to space for the Earth observation part. We must go to space to outsource… We simply have limited resources on Earth. So how are we going to sustainably generate all of the energy to keep us happy, to keep us going at a population of 8 billion, but what about 15 billion or 20 billion or more? We need a way to harness and use energy. I think space has unlimited unfiltered solar power that we can start to use. – Andy Lapsa, Co-Founder & CEO of Stoke Space Technologies
Establishing Rules for Space Exploration
It is crucial to establish and enforce rules for space exploration, both domestically and internationally.
Entities like the U.S. Space Force play a vital role in setting and enforcing these rules to ensure effective collaboration and prevent actions that could harm the collective good.
Potential for Collaboration with China
There is potential for collaboration with China in space exploration.
A global ‘land grab’ is underway, with different nations recognizing the importance of being first in space.
The existential threat posed by space exploration is likened to the nuclear arms race.
The Emerging Space Economy
The current space economy is in its infancy but shows promise.
The industry is demonstrating signs of viability and scalability, but also acknowledges the challenges that come with any emerging industry.
Stoke’s role is to help streamline the space economy and address its growing pains.