Episode #2 of Beyond Blueprints is here, featuring an interview with Rajat Kulshrestha, CEO & Co-Founder of Space Machines. A company built around delivering accessible on-orbit satellite servicing and protection.
In short, we are talking about roadside assistance in orbit. No small task!
Over the course of 40 minutes, Andrew & Rajat delve into everything from the future of engineering, to the technical problems of servicing different types of satellites in orbit to how Star Trek was the inspiration for this ground breaking and exciting company.
Hopefully you find the chat as fascinating as we did & if you'd like to feature or offer any feedback, you can reach me at email@example.com
On another note, if you'd like to read the transcript rather than watching the video, you can do so here:
~00:00:01:07~ - 00:00:03:14 Welcome to Beyond Blueprints.
00:00:03:14 - 00:00:04:10 I'm Andrew Smyth.
00:00:04:10 - 00:00:09:13 And today we're delighted to be joined by Rajat Kulshrestha
00:00:09:16 - 00:00:14:02 from Space Machines CEO and co-founder of Space Machines.
00:00:14:04 - 00:00:15:13 Great for you to be with us Raj.
00:00:15:13 - 00:00:18:18 First thing I want to ask you
00:00:18:20 - 00:00:20:26 Space Machines, it's sounds incredibly cool
00:00:20:26 - 00:00:24:19 is what you're doing as cool is what it sounds like?
00:00:24:21 - 00:00:29:07 Well, firstly, thanks for having me on this podcast
00:00:29:09 - 00:00:31:05 and very nice to meet you, Andrew.
00:00:31:05 - 00:00:34:00 Yes, it is. It is cooler than it sounds.
00:00:34:00 - 00:00:39:16 You know, Space Machines as a company started with the premise that,
00:00:39:19 - 00:00:42:16 you know, as the number of satellites grow in orbit,
00:00:42:16 - 00:00:44:00 we're going to need to service them
00:00:44:00 - 00:00:47:28 and we're going to need to protect them, and we need to make sure that, you know,
00:00:48:04 - 00:00:51:16 all of these satellites are operating safely and sustainably.
00:00:51:16 - 00:00:55:05 And so our product is really about providing
00:00:55:05 - 00:00:59:04 almost like a roadside assistance for space.
00:00:59:06 - 00:01:01:12 How do we you know, how do we service
00:01:01:12 - 00:01:05:09 satellites that are broken down or upgrade them or refill them
00:01:05:12 - 00:01:10:11 or make sure that they get disposed of sustainably?
00:01:10:14 - 00:01:10:28 That's amazing.
00:01:10:28 - 00:01:12:16 It's really interesting to hear you say that
00:01:12:16 - 00:01:16:08 because we have an old saying in, I’m very much of the aero side of aerospace
00:01:16:10 - 00:01:18:28 with the old saying there's no hard shoulder at 30,000 feet.
00:01:18:28 - 00:01:21:05 But it sounds like if you go to low-Earth orbit
00:01:21:05 - 00:01:24:17 now, that could be exciting and that's where you come into play.
00:01:24:19 - 00:01:25:10 Absolutely.
00:01:25:10 - 00:01:28:06 And, you know, I think it's changed a lot.
00:01:28:06 - 00:01:32:04 And I give you an analogy of, you know, in the 1950s,
00:01:32:04 - 00:01:37:01 if you're trying to climb Mount Everest, you would need 900 people
00:01:37:01 - 00:01:39:01 and you'd be carrying 13 tons of gear
00:01:39:01 - 00:01:42:01 and you just wanted to survive and get to the top.
00:01:42:03 - 00:01:45:18 And today, in 2023,
00:01:45:20 - 00:01:49:12 that is $6,000 for you to climb Mount Everest.
00:01:49:12 - 00:01:54:13 And that's come as a result of a lot of infrastructure, a lot of,
00:01:54:15 - 00:01:57:19 you know, work that's been done as far as technology innovation
00:01:57:19 - 00:02:00:16 over a period of 50 years to make that accessible
00:02:00:16 - 00:02:03:11 to people affordable and available for people to do so.
00:02:03:11 - 00:02:05:05 I think, you know, from my perspective,
00:02:05:05 - 00:02:10:12 Space is moving from a mission centric place to a network centric place.
00:02:10:15 - 00:02:11:03 Okay.
00:02:11:03 - 00:02:11:18 Okay.
00:02:11:18 - 00:02:15:09 And I mean, this idea of Orbital servicing, when did you have
00:02:15:09 - 00:02:20:04 this aha moment when this Space Machines kind of come in to be?
00:02:20:08 - 00:02:23:11 Well, it's going to sound like a cliche, but the founding story
00:02:23:11 - 00:02:25:11 is that it was a Friday night and I was watching a
00:02:25:11 - 00:02:29:16 one of those Star Trek episodes, and it was
00:02:29:18 - 00:02:32:17 one of the one of the enterprises going into a star dock.
00:02:32:17 - 00:02:34:09 And we're like, you know what?
00:02:34:09 - 00:02:37:05 Like I think spacecraft
00:02:37:05 - 00:02:40:28 will be serviced in orbit and we've got to make that happen.
00:02:40:28 - 00:02:42:29 And so that's where the journey.
00:02:42:29 - 00:02:47:02 And my co-founder, George, he's a he's an amazing
00:02:47:04 - 00:02:50:15 and a very excitable co-founder, and I need that.
00:02:50:15 - 00:02:53:04 And, you know, he said, yeah, let's build that.
00:02:53:04 - 00:02:55:21 And so that's where we started.
00:02:55:24 - 00:02:56:23 Oh, amazing.
00:02:56:23 - 00:03:00:13 And in terms of just to give people
00:03:00:16 - 00:03:04:07 an idea of the journey that you're kind of going on, what are the,
00:03:04:09 - 00:03:07:06 I guess, timescales, you know, when are you targeting getting kind
00:03:07:06 - 00:03:11:04 of initial product to demo orbit?
00:03:11:06 - 00:03:13:23 So look, the first spacecraft, which is a tech demo,
00:03:13:23 - 00:03:18:09 is almost completing integration, going to testing at the end of September.
00:03:18:11 - 00:03:19:09 It's launched in time.
00:03:19:09 - 00:03:23:24 Then, yeah, it's launching February one, 2024, and Space X,
00:03:23:26 - 00:03:28:20 we call it optimists and it's it's going to be Australia's
00:03:28:23 - 00:03:33:29 largest design and build in here on the ground satellite ever done,
00:03:33:29 - 00:03:38:07 which is a great outcome for Australian space.
00:03:38:09 - 00:03:41:17 And yeah, so we we will, we hope to demonstrate
00:03:41:20 - 00:03:44:28 the a lot of the capability that we're wanting to build into future vehicles
00:03:45:04 - 00:03:48:14 as part of this first demo.
00:03:48:17 - 00:03:49:03 Okay.
00:03:49:03 - 00:03:49:25 Amazing.
00:03:49:25 - 00:03:52:25 So I mean, that's coming around pretty, pretty quick then.
00:03:52:25 - 00:03:54:26 So is it
00:03:54:26 - 00:03:56:26 is it kind of crunch time at the moment
00:03:56:26 - 00:04:00:13 with all the integration in the in the race towards the milestone?
00:04:00:15 - 00:04:03:10 Absolutely. It's crunch time and more.
00:04:03:10 - 00:04:06:01 I think the team's working
00:04:06:01 - 00:04:07:07 24 by seven.
00:04:07:07 - 00:04:10:13 And, you know, the heads down, you know, every day
00:04:10:13 - 00:04:15:03 we've got a famous code from the Martian movie comes to mind like, you know, if you
00:04:15:10 - 00:04:18:24 if you solve enough problems, you get to go to space.
00:04:18:27 - 00:04:23:00 And so we're solving a lot of problems every day as they pop up.
00:04:23:03 - 00:04:24:05 Okay, brilliant.
00:04:24:05 - 00:04:25:02 I want to ask
00:04:25:02 - 00:04:29:07 more about your team shortly, but and this is probably naivety on my part,
00:04:29:07 - 00:04:33:01 but in terms of the I guess the problem that you're solving,
00:04:33:03 - 00:04:35:29 and I'm interested to know how much
00:04:35:29 - 00:04:40:18 is the interest in covering life extension for for satellites
00:04:40:19 - 00:04:42:00 have already been designed
00:04:42:00 - 00:04:45:00 and this is going to be almost an extension to their capability.
00:04:45:05 - 00:04:47:13 And how much are you thinking? Well, actually,
00:04:47:13 - 00:04:50:13 we can offer this to people who are designing their satellites now.
00:04:50:13 - 00:04:53:25 So that they don't have to have this capability themselves on board
00:04:53:25 - 00:04:57:07 if it's only something they're using once in the lifetime of the satellite.
00:04:57:08 - 00:05:00:15 Where where's the balance between this, if you can and if you're if you're happy?
00:05:00:17 - 00:05:01:27 Yeah, absolutely.
00:05:01:27 - 00:05:06:14 Look, I think our model has been and you're absolutely right,
00:05:06:14 - 00:05:10:08 I think we've got to characterize every satellite that's going up.
00:05:10:08 - 00:05:10:16 Right.
00:05:10:16 - 00:05:13:22 Everything from a three year satellite to a multi-ton
00:05:13:23 - 00:05:16:27 gsat light that's servicing critical communications.
00:05:17:04 - 00:05:21:22 And the approach we have taken is to really look at the types,
00:05:21:22 - 00:05:25:13 satellites and constellations that impact our life on Earth.
00:05:25:16 - 00:05:30:13 So start to look at GPS satellites, sat coms, defense coms, earth
00:05:30:13 - 00:05:34:11 observation that the natural disaster, the poor data analytics.
00:05:34:11 - 00:05:37:10 So when we start to look at what happens
00:05:37:10 - 00:05:41:04 if one of these satellites goes down and what's the impact?
00:05:41:06 - 00:05:41:19 Right.
00:05:41:19 - 00:05:44:23 And so really bring that into play to provide
00:05:44:23 - 00:05:48:12 some of these life extension inspection and other services
00:05:48:18 - 00:05:51:18 and make sure that's part of where we are targeting.
00:05:51:21 - 00:05:55:24 And so a good metaphor for that would be we're starting to provide roadside
00:05:55:24 - 00:05:59:16 assistance in space, but we're starting with police cars and trucks
00:05:59:16 - 00:06:03:28 and fire engines and utility trucks that provide all of that.
00:06:04:04 - 00:06:09:00 And I think once we've proven that model with those critical infrastructure pieces,
00:06:09:00 - 00:06:13:13 then we can start to make it more broadly available to all the satellites.
00:06:13:16 - 00:06:14:02 Yeah.
00:06:14:02 - 00:06:14:15 Okay.
00:06:14:15 - 00:06:17:28 So you're keeping the key infrastructure alive.
00:06:17:28 - 00:06:21:08 First and foremost, you kind of we have I guess we are over here,
00:06:21:08 - 00:06:26:02 but you're the kind of the elitist RAC.
00:06:26:04 - 00:06:28:17 And look, you know, I think I mean, I'll give you an example.
00:06:28:17 - 00:06:31:05 You know, in the probably in the last three or four months
00:06:31:05 - 00:06:34:06 and you know, the example of satellite going down, at least in Australia,
00:06:34:06 - 00:06:38:13 was that one of the GPS satellites went down for two and a half hours
00:06:38:13 - 00:06:42:07 and all of the trucks that were in all of the harvesters
00:06:42:07 - 00:06:46:27 and fields that were doing automated harvesting just came to a grinding halt.
00:06:46:29 - 00:06:50:08 And the estimated cost of that,
00:06:50:11 - 00:06:54:13 you know, for a multiday would be at least $1,000,000,000 a day type of scenario.
00:06:54:20 - 00:06:59:17 So when we start to look at some of these satellites and what depends on them
00:06:59:20 - 00:07:03:00 and the impact it will have for those services to not be available,
00:07:03:07 - 00:07:09:03 that's where we see a real first early adopter use case for what we're doing.
00:07:09:05 - 00:07:11:10 Okay, It is fascinating.
00:07:11:10 - 00:07:12:14 I really want to ask about the team,
00:07:12:14 - 00:07:15:14 but another technical question has just popped into my mind.
00:07:15:16 - 00:07:18:08 It's really interesting,
00:07:18:08 - 00:07:21:02 You touched on it slightly already that you're having to
00:07:21:02 - 00:07:24:27 look at the the array of satellites that might require this.
00:07:24:27 - 00:07:25:26 I guess the analogy is, you know,
00:07:25:26 - 00:07:30:01 you might have a gigantic bus that breaks down or you might have a moped
00:07:30:01 - 00:07:33:18 and you've got to be kind of agile enough to cater to to both of those.
00:07:33:22 - 00:07:35:15 That's quite a challenging
00:07:35:15 - 00:07:39:01 that's quite challenging kind of requirements set to cover.
00:07:39:01 - 00:07:41:13 Is that something that you see is a challenge?
00:07:41:13 - 00:07:42:19 Is that something that really energizes
00:07:42:19 - 00:07:47:12 the team, that it's not it's not a simple fix?
00:07:47:14 - 00:07:48:17 And look, absolutely right.
00:07:48:17 - 00:07:52:08 And I think it will take time to get to be able to in a place
00:07:52:08 - 00:07:55:25 where you could roll up to a tubular, you know, the same analogy,
00:07:56:01 - 00:07:59:18 roll up to a tubular and get it back on the road versus a bus.
00:07:59:21 - 00:08:02:20 But I think there's some common things that you start with the ability
00:08:02:20 - 00:08:04:06 to get very close
00:08:04:06 - 00:08:07:28 and inspect what's going on and diagnose what's wrong with the satellite,
00:08:08:01 - 00:08:11:28 and then figuring out whether that's that satellite
00:08:12:01 - 00:08:15:01 needs to be moved out of its orbit or stay there.
00:08:15:01 - 00:08:18:02 So I think starting to address some of those capabilities
00:08:18:02 - 00:08:20:05 is probably going to be the first few steps
00:08:20:05 - 00:08:23:21 Whilst you sort the issue of standardization,
00:08:23:23 - 00:08:24:01 you know,
00:08:24:01 - 00:08:26:04 how do you build satellites that are serviceable,
00:08:26:04 - 00:08:27:27 whether that's a small one or the big one?
00:08:27:27 - 00:08:30:28 So I think from my perspective, the team's really energized in
00:08:31:05 - 00:08:35:22 understanding how we provide that base level of capability
00:08:35:28 - 00:08:40:11 that at least lets our customers know what's happening.
00:08:40:11 - 00:08:43:14 So great example is ViaSat, you know
00:08:43:16 - 00:08:47:06 that satellite that stop operating because the antenna didn't fold out.
00:08:47:08 - 00:08:51:05 You know, what's the chance of getting very close on orbit
00:08:51:08 - 00:08:52:26 and starting to inspect it?
00:08:52:26 - 00:08:57:15 And how does that help insurers and operators understand what to do next?
00:08:57:18 - 00:09:00:19 And so from our perspective, there are a common set of capabilities
00:09:00:19 - 00:09:06:05 that will drive adoption of new technologies to help us service
00:09:06:05 - 00:09:10:10 a moped and a bus and, you know, address some of those challenges.
00:09:10:13 - 00:09:11:20 Okay, brilliant.
00:09:11:20 - 00:09:12:12 And that's that's
00:09:12:12 - 00:09:16:04 gives a really good flavor of the problem that space machines is trying to solve.
00:09:16:07 - 00:09:19:22 And that's come back to the team because I gather
00:09:19:22 - 00:09:23:01 you're a pretty distributed team.
00:09:23:01 - 00:09:26:21 Can you speak to kind of the size and distribution of where
00:09:26:28 - 00:09:30:09 I think on your website, your column is it's space mechanics.
00:09:30:09 - 00:09:34:26 I think you are you it's it's space machinists.
00:09:34:28 - 00:09:36:00 Space machinists.
00:09:36:00 - 00:09:38:29 Sorry. Yes. Where are your space machinist based
00:09:38:29 - 00:09:43:09 So at the moment, we're spread across three main locations.
00:09:43:11 - 00:09:47:17 One is in Adelaide, in Australia, where we do a lot of our mission control
00:09:47:17 - 00:09:52:15 and mission ops in Sydney, in Australia where we do manufacturing assembly
00:09:52:17 - 00:09:56:20 and then India, where we do a lot of early R&D and component manufacture.
00:09:56:20 - 00:10:02:07 And outside of that we've got contractors in the US and Europe.
00:10:02:09 - 00:10:04:26 And so, you know, it's pretty distributed that way.
00:10:04:26 - 00:10:12:01 And so in total I'd say probably around 40 people spread across those locations.
00:10:12:03 - 00:10:12:19 Okay.
00:10:12:19 - 00:10:16:28 So I mean, I guess in your startup journey for the team size,
00:10:16:28 - 00:10:20:19 you are remarkably kind of distributed, so
00:10:20:22 - 00:10:23:00 you must be great at collaborating.
00:10:23:00 - 00:10:25:26 That must be something you really had to nail early on.
00:10:25:26 - 00:10:28:21 Look, it's not been a smooth journey, right?
00:10:28:21 - 00:10:31:21 I think for us, distribution was, you know,
00:10:31:25 - 00:10:37:03 we started the business in 2019, 2020, COVID, so we had a lot of engineers
00:10:37:03 - 00:10:42:26 that were remote early on, and it was just organically built that way.
00:10:42:28 - 00:10:47:19 But we we learned a lot, like we learned things like, you know, initially
00:10:47:19 - 00:10:53:10 we were dividing our design build test cycle across different locations.
00:10:53:13 - 00:10:56:29 And what we realized very quickly is that we've got to do it differently.
00:10:56:29 - 00:11:00:10 We've got to make sure that design built test
00:11:00:12 - 00:11:02:26 remains at the same place.
00:11:02:26 - 00:11:07:05 Maybe we we slice it differently in terms of function and what capability
00:11:07:05 - 00:11:08:22 we do in a particular location.
00:11:08:22 - 00:11:12:15 So I think it was learning that, you know, we had a scenario
00:11:12:15 - 00:11:16:08 where something would get designed and then it would get built in India
00:11:16:08 - 00:11:18:19 and they would get built in Sydney.
00:11:18:19 - 00:11:20:06 We realized there was some defects.
00:11:20:06 - 00:11:23:24 Then it went back to India and that was a massive, massive issue.
00:11:23:24 - 00:11:25:25 So there was a lot of learnings during that journey.
00:11:25:25 - 00:11:26:20 But I think we're
00:11:26:20 - 00:11:30:15 starting to get to a place where we think we're starting to get to a steady state
00:11:30:15 - 00:11:33:22 of how we operate across the different locations
00:11:33:24 - 00:11:36:07 and how does it work, as well as the geographic
00:11:36:07 - 00:11:39:13 challenge is with, you know, time zones.
00:11:39:13 - 00:11:40:16 Do you have have to kind of
00:11:40:16 - 00:11:44:16 have these key kind of interface times or how do you how do you manage that?
00:11:44:19 - 00:11:50:14 So at the moment, we we drive a common set of interfacing
00:11:50:14 - 00:11:54:28 during the week and a cadence that sort of drives all of the teams
00:11:55:00 - 00:11:58:24 and where they get to sync up on major issues and blockers.
00:11:58:26 - 00:12:04:16 And then they run into their own sort of weekly cadence individually at locations.
00:12:04:16 - 00:12:09:07 So, you know, giving a lot of time to make sure that you align
00:12:09:07 - 00:12:10:24 on the critical pieces
00:12:10:24 - 00:12:15:05 and then sort of drive your own individual, you know, design,
00:12:15:05 - 00:12:18:12 build test cycles or research cycles that happen every location.
00:12:18:12 - 00:12:21:11 And so I think to your earlier point
00:12:21:13 - 00:12:24:09 over communication is a value to the company, right?
00:12:24:09 - 00:12:27:06 Like the more people are talking to each other, the better it is.
00:12:27:06 - 00:12:32:23 And so, you know, our sort of ability to,
00:12:32:25 - 00:12:34:09 you know,
00:12:34:09 - 00:12:36:01 continuously reinforce
00:12:36:01 - 00:12:40:04 the things that people are working on is a really important asset.
00:12:40:07 - 00:12:41:29 So it sounds as if as you've
00:12:41:29 - 00:12:44:29 as you've gone along, you've not kind of stuck to the model,
00:12:45:04 - 00:12:48:04 you've kind of adjusted and tweaked the formula as you've gone
00:12:48:04 - 00:12:52:01 through to see what works best for, I guess I guess the team that is,
00:12:52:06 - 00:12:55:24 is doing different functions at these different places, but then has to
00:12:55:24 - 00:13:00:06 have these key times to be able to share a common source of truth.
00:13:00:09 - 00:13:00:23 Yeah, look.
00:13:00:23 - 00:13:03:03 And for us it said multiple layers, right?
00:13:03:03 - 00:13:07:00 It starts at individual, individual level.
00:13:07:00 - 00:13:11:13 So we think about the type of skills that each one of our engineers
00:13:11:13 - 00:13:13:26 needs to have. So
00:13:13:28 - 00:13:15:27 each one of them, irrespective of what they're working
00:13:15:27 - 00:13:19:05 on, needs to be a systems engineer, like they need to make sure that they're
00:13:19:05 - 00:13:23:11 thinking about the whole picture, not just that they're part of the picture
00:13:23:13 - 00:13:28:00 and and really question and negotiate with others.
00:13:28:06 - 00:13:32:20 So, you know, skills of, you know, making sure that
00:13:32:22 - 00:13:36:22 each one of the technical leads is a project manager, is a systems engineer,
00:13:36:25 - 00:13:40:29 is a great collab in a communicator is an essential part of that baseline.
00:13:41:02 - 00:13:43:20 And we've improved on that over a period of time.
00:13:43:20 - 00:13:46:29 And then moving on to the next level in terms of process,
00:13:47:02 - 00:13:51:14 when we start to think about, you know, what process we apply.
00:13:51:14 - 00:13:55:14 So you know, whether we need to be compliant to a certain standard
00:13:55:21 - 00:14:00:12 and how do we modify that so that it fits into our delivery cycle.
00:14:00:17 - 00:14:01:11 Right.
00:14:01:11 - 00:14:01:26 And, you know,
00:14:01:26 - 00:14:05:16 how do we think about those standards and from from our perspective,
00:14:05:16 - 00:14:07:16 that's really driven by the outcome we're seeking.
00:14:07:16 - 00:14:11:27 So, you know, hey, if we need to get this product out by that date,
00:14:12:00 - 00:14:16:13 we will obviously modify the process
00:14:16:13 - 00:14:21:13 and adapt it to make sure that we hit that outcome given we're startup
00:14:21:16 - 00:14:24:16 and in that process, make sure that we're doing things safely
00:14:24:17 - 00:14:26:20 and in a way that's sustainable but make,
00:14:26:20 - 00:14:30:19 you know, make the right set of trade offs in the on the process side of things.
00:14:30:19 - 00:14:33:09 And then I think the final step is technologies,
00:14:33:09 - 00:14:35:26 you know, the tools that we use and how we use them
00:14:35:26 - 00:14:40:01 and making sure that, you know, the tools really reflect the way we operate.
00:14:40:01 - 00:14:43:11 Not sometimes tools tend to tend
00:14:43:11 - 00:14:46:24 to dictate the way they need to be used.
00:14:46:26 - 00:14:50:13 And so really making the choice on the right set of tools that allow us to
00:14:50:18 - 00:14:53:11 adapt them to our process.
00:14:53:13 - 00:14:55:02 And really interesting point
00:14:55:02 - 00:14:59:23 on tools, because of often we think about kind of
00:14:59:23 - 00:15:03:14 in hardware terms, this question of do we build it or do we buy it,
00:15:03:19 - 00:15:09:10 which I imagine is even more important when you're at this kind of growth phase.
00:15:09:10 - 00:15:13:22 So when it comes to those those tools and how you work together and how you
00:15:13:23 - 00:15:17:14 collaborate effectively, have you had any challenges there where you think, gosh,
00:15:17:14 - 00:15:21:17 do we build exactly what we need or do we go out and find it?
00:15:21:17 - 00:15:23:16 Is that a journey you've been on?
00:15:23:16 - 00:15:24:09 Absolutely.
00:15:24:09 - 00:15:27:14 Look, I think there has been I'd probably say every three months
00:15:27:14 - 00:15:31:02 we get to a point where we go, if I just had this tool
00:15:31:05 - 00:15:35:01 and, you know, should we should we spend some time building it?
00:15:35:04 - 00:15:38:04 Because then we would have exactly what we need
00:15:38:10 - 00:15:42:28 versus going out and trying to fit, you know, our requirements
00:15:42:28 - 00:15:46:21 into a tool that's out there but probably meets 50, 60% of what we need.
00:15:46:21 - 00:15:48:08 And and then on top of that,
00:15:48:08 - 00:15:51:21 a layer of cost and what that costs us on an ongoing basis.
00:15:51:21 - 00:15:55:13 So I think it's a it's a thing that you struggle with.
00:15:55:16 - 00:15:58:11 But I think from my perspective,
00:15:58:14 - 00:16:00:26 it's it's when you
00:16:00:26 - 00:16:04:10 start to understand the constraints of those tools
00:16:04:13 - 00:16:08:22 and where we've gone to is to say, well, we understand that we're never going to be
00:16:08:22 - 00:16:13:28 in a place where we have one or maybe two or three tools that solve it all.
00:16:13:28 - 00:16:15:24 But we're going to have to be practical
00:16:15:24 - 00:16:18:24 and we're going to adopt them to the best of their abilities.
00:16:18:28 - 00:16:21:24 And yes, that makes it more and more complex.
00:16:21:24 - 00:16:25:04 But let's deal with that complexity rather than try to build it ourselves,
00:16:25:04 - 00:16:26:22 because that would be a whole lot of you know,
00:16:26:22 - 00:16:28:25 that would be a very different thing to do.
00:16:28:25 - 00:16:29:27 Yeah, it's finding that sweet spot.
00:16:29:27 - 00:16:31:10 I definitely relate to that point
00:16:31:10 - 00:16:35:12 because, you know, I've worked in in quite small teams at a big organization
00:16:35:12 - 00:16:39:07 where there is quite heavy handed sometimes corporate tool.
00:16:39:10 - 00:16:43:06 And it's that balance between do I try and chip away
00:16:43:06 - 00:16:45:01 and customize it for exactly what I need?
00:16:45:01 - 00:16:48:08 Or do we just sort of scrape the decks
00:16:48:10 - 00:16:51:28 and just carve out the time so we can, you know, build exactly what we like?
00:16:51:28 - 00:16:54:28 And it's yeah, it's difficult because, you know,
00:16:55:00 - 00:16:58:16 time is ticking and you don't really know until you've got to your end.
00:16:58:16 - 00:17:00:17 State what was the right answer?
00:17:00:17 - 00:17:01:09 Absolutely.
00:17:01:09 - 00:17:03:04 You know, look, I completely agree with that.
00:17:03:04 - 00:17:05:13 I think we've been on that journey.
00:17:05:13 - 00:17:09:09 We're still on that journey. I think,
00:17:09:11 - 00:17:10:12 you know where we are.
00:17:10:12 - 00:17:13:12 We're embracing the chaos a little bit,
00:17:13:14 - 00:17:15:17 but we're checking ourselves to make sure
00:17:15:17 - 00:17:19:03 that that chaos is only exists to a certain outcome
00:17:19:06 - 00:17:24:19 and that we're not we're not being dogmatic about one tool or the other,
00:17:24:21 - 00:17:28:07 and we're just doing the things that allow us to get the outcomes
00:17:28:07 - 00:17:30:05 we need at the moment.
00:17:30:05 - 00:17:32:13 Yeah, yeah. Really interesting reflection.
00:17:32:13 - 00:17:35:28 And I want to circle back slightly and talk a bit
00:17:35:28 - 00:17:39:15 more about your past Raj. because this, this isn't your first rodeo.
00:17:39:15 - 00:17:41:26 You you're an experienced founder and you've been,
00:17:41:26 - 00:17:46:21 I guess both in the in the software space and now very different challenges
00:17:46:21 - 00:17:48:05 in the hardware space.
00:17:48:05 - 00:17:51:05 How has that moved between the two?
00:17:51:10 - 00:17:54:11 How much has been transferred and how much has been a learning curve
00:17:54:11 - 00:17:56:05 in the different domain?
00:17:56:07 - 00:17:58:03 Yeah, look, I think
00:17:58:03 - 00:18:02:16 when I look back, I think I trained as an aerospace engineer
00:18:02:16 - 00:18:06:12 some really hardware and then spent a lot of time in software.
00:18:06:14 - 00:18:09:09 And I think what software did,
00:18:09:09 - 00:18:12:11 it's a very different domain so changes are not easy, right?
00:18:12:11 - 00:18:15:23 Like you've got to you know, you can't just do another Git Request,
00:18:15:23 - 00:18:19:12 you know, change the code and everything starts working differently.
00:18:19:15 - 00:18:23:03 So there is a little bit more of this really deliberately
00:18:23:03 - 00:18:25:15 thinking about the changes you want to make, a little bit
00:18:25:15 - 00:18:28:20 looking into the future and going, this is how we need to plan ourselves.
00:18:28:23 - 00:18:33:21 But I think a lot of things that were part of the software domain and I think
00:18:33:23 - 00:18:38:07 obviously SpaceX has been a big sort of demonstrator of that is, you know,
00:18:38:10 - 00:18:43:05 if you translate them appropriately, they actually serve to your advantage.
00:18:43:07 - 00:18:47:07 The thing about focusing on building, right,
00:18:47:10 - 00:18:51:01 and using building as a way to design and refine.
00:18:51:01 - 00:18:58:03 So in a where initially, you know, in a hardware world you'd have 40%
00:18:58:06 - 00:19:00:01 design time and maybe
00:19:00:01 - 00:19:05:22 another 30% build time, another 30% test or some combination of those,
00:19:05:29 - 00:19:11:05 you move to 20% design, 40% build and a 40% test
00:19:11:07 - 00:19:14:25 into that software cycle approach in a very agile approach.
00:19:14:28 - 00:19:17:28 So I think on the process side, it's helped us.
00:19:18:03 - 00:19:23:06 I think where there's been challenges is then translating that into working
00:19:23:06 - 00:19:26:14 with hardware vendors and lead times and all of that
00:19:26:16 - 00:19:29:14 too, you know, and you know, making that happen.
00:19:29:14 - 00:19:33:27 And then on the other side, I think a big part of that is as engineers,
00:19:33:29 - 00:19:38:17 my generation and and even today, a lot of the engineering schools,
00:19:38:17 - 00:19:42:13 they teach you a risk zero approach for hardware
00:19:42:15 - 00:19:45:22 which which is which is like you know you cannot have
00:19:45:22 - 00:19:49:00 any risk in your hardware systems because you just don't want it to fail.
00:19:49:02 - 00:19:51:23 They do not teach you how to use failure as a way
00:19:51:23 - 00:19:54:23 to design and move fast and iterate.
00:19:54:24 - 00:19:58:16 And so I think having to reprogram some of our team
00:19:58:18 - 00:20:01:18 to operate that way who have come from a hardware background,
00:20:01:22 - 00:20:04:22 I think software engineers get that very quickly,
00:20:04:28 - 00:20:08:12 whereas I think hardware engineers take their time to transition to that.
00:20:08:12 - 00:20:09:10 But it's happening now.
00:20:09:10 - 00:20:12:29 So I think, you know, for us it's been amalgamating the software
00:20:12:29 - 00:20:17:07 and the hardware teams to actually share how they operate.
00:20:17:09 - 00:20:22:01 And so, you know, I've got a very specific example where,
00:20:22:04 - 00:20:24:10 you know, we spent
00:20:24:10 - 00:20:27:23 four months optimizing a piece of structure
00:20:27:23 - 00:20:33:00 that weighed 40 kilos down to 36 kilos and nobody asked the question like,
00:20:33:02 - 00:20:33:12 you know,
00:20:33:12 - 00:20:36:15 four kilos on space, it costs $20,000.
00:20:36:15 - 00:20:40:07 And we probably spent $80,000 optimizing it.
00:20:40:09 - 00:20:43:04 And nobody just said, well, should we be doing that right?
00:20:43:04 - 00:20:44:26 You know, does that make sense? Right.
00:20:44:26 - 00:20:47:26 And so I think I think that's changing.
00:20:48:02 - 00:20:53:10 I think, you know, that risk zero redundancy approach is very hardware,
00:20:53:13 - 00:20:56:11 you know, legacy hardware engineering approach.
00:20:56:11 - 00:21:00:10 And so I think where software's,
00:21:00:12 - 00:21:02:09 you know, that background stuff work really
00:21:02:09 - 00:21:05:27 well is to really look at those problems slightly differently.
00:21:06:00 - 00:21:08:13 But also then on the on the other side,
00:21:08:13 - 00:21:14:15 sometimes it's worked to our detriment where we've moved fast
00:21:14:17 - 00:21:17:28 and made mistakes and realized, well, some things just take time.
00:21:17:28 - 00:21:19:00 So let's not
00:21:19:00 - 00:21:23:13 let's not try to optimize things where, you know, software is not a great analogy.
00:21:23:13 - 00:21:24:09 So it's just,
00:21:24:09 - 00:21:27:28 you know, picking and choosing where certain things from software work
00:21:28:00 - 00:21:29:11 the right tool for the job.
00:21:29:11 - 00:21:33:23 And I've heard that kind of that SpaceX philosophy before, which is, you know,
00:21:33:23 - 00:21:37:20 you can have as many models as you like, but nothing beats a test
00:21:37:20 - 00:21:41:09 if you want to be fast, because you could be polishing the best model ever.
00:21:41:09 - 00:21:44:29 And then, you know, you get to your last 20% of your time.
00:21:44:29 - 00:21:48:28 And if it deviates, you've just used a whole kind of iteration cycle to do it.
00:21:48:28 - 00:21:51:25 So yeah, really interesting. And
00:21:51:28 - 00:21:55:02 that you took slightly but kind of, you know, supply
00:21:55:02 - 00:21:57:14 chain, this hardware challenge
00:21:57:14 - 00:21:59:14 space.
00:21:59:14 - 00:22:03:19 Am I right in thinking you're kind of the first kind of space startup
00:22:03:19 - 00:22:07:04 that's really doing hardware in the Australian space?
00:22:07:07 - 00:22:08:06 Yeah, at the moment.
00:22:08:06 - 00:22:11:22 So how have you found the,
00:22:11:22 - 00:22:16:09 you know, the US I guess approach to, to space versus,
00:22:16:10 - 00:22:20:07 you know, what's it been like moving, moving down under.
00:22:20:10 - 00:22:22:03 Yeah. Look, I think it's very different.
00:22:22:03 - 00:22:25:12 You know, the US clearly has, you know, 50 year or six
00:22:25:12 - 00:22:30:12 years of space background, space infrastructure,
00:22:30:14 - 00:22:33:19 people infrastructure like people have trained to be aerospace
00:22:33:19 - 00:22:36:22 engineers with generational families have trained in that.
00:22:36:22 - 00:22:40:18 So I think for us, whilst we're trying to build a product
00:22:40:18 - 00:22:45:20 as a company, we're actually also building some infrastructure which doesn't exist.
00:22:45:22 - 00:22:50:01 So, you know, I had a really interesting anecdote
00:22:50:01 - 00:22:54:05 where one of the companies in the US, they were looking for cryogenic valves
00:22:54:05 - 00:22:55:19 for their engines
00:22:55:19 - 00:22:59:12 and they just went to the Apollo graveyards
00:22:59:12 - 00:23:02:22 and found themselves a valve and they were just able to pick that up
00:23:02:22 - 00:23:03:23 and test with it.
00:23:03:23 - 00:23:06:23 Whereas know in Australia you can get it.
00:23:06:27 - 00:23:10:26 Yeah, we're like, we're we don't have that, so we don't have that
00:23:10:28 - 00:23:11:15 heritage.
00:23:11:15 - 00:23:15:10 And so we've got we've got to start to look to built from scratch.
00:23:15:10 - 00:23:19:19 So we, you know, we depend a lot on collaboration, working with companies
00:23:19:19 - 00:23:24:12 in other continents, other geographical regions where we can leverage
00:23:24:12 - 00:23:29:05 what's already been done and really curate and put together
00:23:29:07 - 00:23:32:25 and manage that supply chain very effectively.
00:23:32:27 - 00:23:33:16 Okay.
00:23:33:16 - 00:23:36:05 So it's
00:23:36:05 - 00:23:37:06 yeah, interesting.
00:23:37:06 - 00:23:38:13 Very, very different environments.
00:23:38:13 - 00:23:43:28 If only we all had some Apollo hardware to dig into in the garden and would be.
00:23:44:00 - 00:23:45:08 Yeah.
00:23:45:08 - 00:23:47:12 And another this brings me back
00:23:47:12 - 00:23:50:18 to a technical angle which is, you know,
00:23:50:22 - 00:23:56:21 are you planning to launch from Australia or kind of orbit twice as unfavorable.
00:23:56:21 - 00:23:57:22 Will you be looking for
00:23:57:22 - 00:24:02:19 or will it depend on the mission that you're, you're trying to assist?
00:24:02:22 - 00:24:04:15 Look, obviously
00:24:04:15 - 00:24:09:27 there is Gilmour Space that's building Australia's rocket capability.
00:24:09:29 - 00:24:12:24 We're we're one of their first customers
00:24:12:24 - 00:24:15:24 and we really support launch from Australia.
00:24:15:29 - 00:24:19:05 You know, I think it'd be great to see a launch from Australia.
00:24:19:05 - 00:24:20:29 So we're really hoping that,
00:24:20:29 - 00:24:24:15 you know, they've got a launch plan soon, the one of their first ones and you know,
00:24:24:15 - 00:24:29:00 we're in fingers crossed that we'll build that capability in Australia.
00:24:29:03 - 00:24:33:07 I think though we see the orbital servicing
00:24:33:14 - 00:24:37:13 and protection sort of framework applying globally.
00:24:37:16 - 00:24:41:14 And so one one key part of our platforms being compatibility
00:24:41:14 - 00:24:44:24 with different launchers out there from different countries
00:24:44:26 - 00:24:48:14 so that we can provide, you know, our network the best,
00:24:48:17 - 00:24:53:24 you know, the most largest and more broadest frame of orbits possible
00:24:53:26 - 00:24:57:15 to service some of the satellites on orbit.
00:24:57:18 - 00:24:58:15 Yeah. Okay.
00:24:58:15 - 00:25:00:17 And then that makes total sense
00:25:00:17 - 00:25:04:24 When when you're going to assist the satellites,
00:25:04:26 - 00:25:07:06 another technical kind of thing that's coming to mind
00:25:07:06 - 00:25:12:05 and you slightly touched on it earlier about kind of the
00:25:12:07 - 00:25:14:02 the risk approach that you take to space.
00:25:14:02 - 00:25:17:18 I guess from your customers point of view, trust is going to be really,
00:25:17:24 - 00:25:20:13 really important because they've got this precious asset
00:25:20:13 - 00:25:23:22 and you know, you're you need to get into the nitty
00:25:23:22 - 00:25:27:01 gritty to, you know, fix it, refuel it, whatever it is.
00:25:27:03 - 00:25:30:12 How do you go about building trust?
00:25:30:12 - 00:25:31:16 Is that something you're having to start
00:25:31:16 - 00:25:35:08 really, really early in the conversations with customers?
00:25:35:11 - 00:25:35:29 Absolutely.
00:25:35:29 - 00:25:39:18 Look, and I think that's why that approach of starting
00:25:39:18 - 00:25:44:01 to build iterative capability that brings confidence from our customers.
00:25:44:01 - 00:25:47:23 So, for example, our ability to get on orbit
00:25:47:23 - 00:25:51:13 with an asset and get close
00:25:51:16 - 00:25:56:27 safely starts to build confidence in our customers and our ability to
00:25:57:00 - 00:26:00:21 of high resolution characterize the asset,
00:26:00:21 - 00:26:04:20 make sure we understand what the orbits it's at, how it's moving.
00:26:04:23 - 00:26:08:07 All of those things start to build trust in our customers.
00:26:08:10 - 00:26:12:13 And so I think then once that's happening, then we can start to look at, okay, now
00:26:12:13 - 00:26:15:13 we're going to go proximity and start doing proximity ops
00:26:15:19 - 00:26:18:16 and really start to look at some of those use cases around being able
00:26:18:16 - 00:26:23:26 to put a new module in or repaired or refuel it or dispose of it.
00:26:23:26 - 00:26:25:05 So yeah, absolutely right.
00:26:25:05 - 00:26:28:21 I think, you know, we see this as a long
00:26:28:21 - 00:26:33:07 term relationship with each one of our customers,
00:26:33:10 - 00:26:34:12 and it's
00:26:34:12 - 00:26:37:15 about kind of demonstrating the precision and control.
00:26:37:15 - 00:26:39:28 You've got to bring them on the journey with you.
00:26:39:28 - 00:26:43:18 And I don't know how much you can speak to the customers
00:26:43:18 - 00:26:47:04 and this kind of commercial confidentiality, but, you know,
00:26:47:04 - 00:26:51:10 I can imagine there's an interesting kind of dual use case for the technology.
00:26:51:10 - 00:26:55:29 So are you at well, let me leave it as an open question for you.
00:26:56:02 - 00:26:59:11 What can you speak to that the customer,
00:26:59:13 - 00:27:04:05 I guess, interest that you're having, does it cover a broad church?
00:27:04:07 - 00:27:05:00 Sure, absolutely.
00:27:05:00 - 00:27:08:26 Look, and going back to, you know, the capability of the platform
00:27:08:26 - 00:27:12:28 and you know, it comes down to we want to service and protect
00:27:12:28 - 00:27:14:23 critical space infrastructure. Right.
00:27:14:23 - 00:27:18:16 And so we start with what is critical space infrastructure today.
00:27:18:19 - 00:27:22:13 So we look at, you know, telecom satellites in GEO,
00:27:22:13 - 00:27:28:13 we look at communications satellites in LEO, we look at capability
00:27:28:13 - 00:27:33:02 that provides our defense forces with certain capabilities.
00:27:33:10 - 00:27:37:10 And so when we start to look at that gamut of critical space infrastructure,
00:27:37:10 - 00:27:41:22 our customers are commercial or on the dual use side.
00:27:41:24 - 00:27:45:29 And it's really around the way I think about it is
00:27:46:01 - 00:27:50:25 how do you enable sustain and safe space operations, Right?
00:27:50:25 - 00:27:53:21 And and the customers that talk to that globally.
00:27:53:21 - 00:27:58:17 And so, you know, what I would probably say is
00:27:58:19 - 00:27:59:05 satcom
00:27:59:05 - 00:28:02:05 providers are interested in customer segment for us.
00:28:02:13 - 00:28:05:09 And then also some of the national security
00:28:05:09 - 00:28:08:10 agencies around space are our customers of ours.
00:28:08:10 - 00:28:13:28 And so those two really form the current basis of a lot of our business.
00:28:14:00 - 00:28:17:02 It's expanding because you're seeing more and more satellites.
00:28:17:02 - 00:28:21:21 I think over the next ten years there's going to be a 4x increase
00:28:21:23 - 00:28:25:03 in the number of satellites and a lot of that will be
00:28:25:10 - 00:28:28:07 critical space infrastructure, you know, weather satellites
00:28:28:07 - 00:28:29:20 and natural disaster satellites.
00:28:29:20 - 00:28:35:13 So, you know, really where there are satellites that are impacting human life
00:28:35:15 - 00:28:39:16 and critical to our way of life is where we see customers emerging from.
00:28:39:16 - 00:28:42:28 So government, government, defense and commercial
00:28:42:28 - 00:28:46:23 satcom operators is where our business is at at the moment.
00:28:46:25 - 00:28:48:08 And is is Space Machines
00:28:48:08 - 00:28:52:06 also going to speak to the challenge of space debris,
00:28:52:06 - 00:28:54:19 because I've seen I've seen some of the scary simulations.
00:28:54:19 - 00:28:58:16 But I that is kind of growing and that I believe there's not
00:28:58:16 - 00:28:59:13 some sort of, you know, mandate.
00:28:59:13 - 00:29:00:05 If you're putting
00:29:00:05 - 00:29:03:28 new satellite into orbit, you've got to have some sort of plan to remove it.
00:29:03:28 - 00:29:08:12 Does can space machines help a kind of that end of the lifecycle as well?
00:29:08:14 - 00:29:09:01 Absolutely.
00:29:09:01 - 00:29:12:06 And look, I think that's where our model that when we looked at a model
00:29:12:06 - 00:29:15:14 and how it was similar to what roadside assistance does,
00:29:15:17 - 00:29:17:26 I mean it would be pretty bad if a car broke down
00:29:17:26 - 00:29:20:12 in the middle of the highway and you just left it there. Right.
00:29:20:12 - 00:29:25:00 And so our view has been that, you know, we want to work with national space
00:29:25:00 - 00:29:28:29 agencies out there and very similar to the way your cars get registered,
00:29:28:29 - 00:29:33:05 I'm sure, everywhere around the world, where when you when you register a car,
00:29:33:05 - 00:29:36:01 you need to make sure that you have a third party service
00:29:36:01 - 00:29:40:12 that allows you to have roadside assistance as a mandatory
00:29:40:14 - 00:29:44:09 Mandatory part of you getting your car registered.
00:29:44:09 - 00:29:48:08 Right, because it's it's for the common good of everyone that
00:29:48:10 - 00:29:51:26 if there are multiple cars that are starting to block
00:29:51:26 - 00:29:54:27 highways, that, you know, it's a common asset that should not be blocked.
00:29:54:27 - 00:29:58:14 So I think you know, debris removal is a big part of our long term
00:29:58:14 - 00:30:03:04 vision and the way we work with government agencies globally around it.
00:30:03:07 - 00:30:06:05 Yeah, it it's it's such a great analogy.
00:30:06:05 - 00:30:09:03 I think you need a catchy jingle to go alongside.
00:30:09:03 - 00:30:10:22 That's that's the next step.
00:30:10:22 - 00:30:12:05 I wanted to make sure you kind of orbited it
00:30:12:05 - 00:30:15:25 so well, you know, flagging you down as you did an orbit pass
00:30:15:28 - 00:30:19:16 I don't mean too loud, but the guys are going to get pretty excited.
00:30:19:18 - 00:30:21:20 So yeah.
00:30:21:20 - 00:30:24:20 And so
00:30:24:26 - 00:30:26:26 I do have another question on requirements
00:30:26:26 - 00:30:30:22 because it's it's really interesting to me because it's
00:30:30:24 - 00:30:35:21 you have control over your product and what the space machines in a product
00:30:35:21 - 00:30:40:18 is going to do, but your customers will follow different processes
00:30:40:18 - 00:30:44:18 for either building their satellites or how they, you know, track them.
00:30:44:19 - 00:30:48:19 How you exchange that information is certain is inevitable
00:30:48:19 - 00:30:49:17 that a certain amount of
00:30:49:17 - 00:30:53:17 those requirements are going to be defined on a case by case basis.
00:30:53:17 - 00:30:56:17 There is only so many that can be generic, and then you've basically
00:30:56:17 - 00:31:00:13 got an open scope on some of them that you've got to try and design around.
00:31:00:15 - 00:31:03:25 So I think this is one of those things that we have
00:31:03:28 - 00:31:07:22 and we're hoping to adopt from the way software and SaaS platforms
00:31:07:22 - 00:31:11:09 have been built where we're starting to think about demand
00:31:11:09 - 00:31:13:22 and what are the features that are being demanded and,
00:31:13:22 - 00:31:18:23 and so really start to provide a baseline platform and a capability
00:31:18:26 - 00:31:22:11 and then tested by access and data to start building
00:31:22:11 - 00:31:24:00 more and more capability up here.
00:31:24:00 - 00:31:28:15 So I think you've got a great point that is easy to for us to very quickly
00:31:28:15 - 00:31:28:27 get into.
00:31:28:27 - 00:31:29:13 Oh, that's what
00:31:29:13 - 00:31:35:04 the one individual customer wants and that's where there's a lot of,
00:31:35:06 - 00:31:38:06 you know, from a business point of view, law of attractiveness.
00:31:38:08 - 00:31:41:04 But I think we've got to hold ground to say at the end of the day,
00:31:41:04 - 00:31:45:01 platforms burn out and so our view has been,
00:31:45:03 - 00:31:48:05 you know, make sure that we build it in such a way
00:31:48:05 - 00:31:51:22 that we can test for the type of things that customers want.
00:31:51:25 - 00:31:54:09 And as we test them as we identify demand for them,
00:31:54:09 - 00:31:58:01 we can start to add them to our platform over a period of time.
00:31:58:04 - 00:31:58:22 That will
00:31:58:22 - 00:31:59:28 that will mean that
00:31:59:28 - 00:32:02:20 there'll be some opportunities that we're not going to access immediately.
00:32:02:20 - 00:32:06:12 But we believe that on a long term basis, you know,
00:32:06:13 - 00:32:09:22 the way we deliver that rather than an individual vehicle,
00:32:09:22 - 00:32:11:07 a bespoke vehicle that delivers
00:32:11:07 - 00:32:13:18 that kind of capability is not going to be the way to go.
00:32:13:18 - 00:32:16:16 So I think it also means that to your earlier point
00:32:16:16 - 00:32:19:16 that we can take control of the way we build.
00:32:19:19 - 00:32:22:19 Right. And the process we apply to build.
00:32:22:25 - 00:32:26:00 And so that gives us a lot of efficiency.
00:32:26:00 - 00:32:31:19 And so I guess it offsets against the costs of building a platform versus
00:32:31:21 - 00:32:37:28 servicing a very specific customer need now versus a larger need in the future.
00:32:38:01 - 00:32:39:15 Yeah, it's a
00:32:39:15 - 00:32:43:19 fascinating kind of problem you've got because you've got to keep that.
00:32:43:19 - 00:32:45:12 You've got to keep that open scope.
00:32:45:12 - 00:32:49:03 I mean, speaking to the future, so you've said, you know, 2024
00:32:49:03 - 00:32:52:22 is when you're kind of planning to look for each product, what do you see
00:32:52:22 - 00:32:58:04 as you know, the future of, you know, space engineering?
00:32:58:04 - 00:33:00:10 What's your what's your golden vision?
00:33:00:10 - 00:33:01:24 What would you like to see happening?
00:33:01:24 - 00:33:05:27 Do you think it's happening where we're going in the right direction?
00:33:06:00 - 00:33:08:07 I think I think we're moving in the right direction.
00:33:08:07 - 00:33:12:21 I think space engineering was always treated as an exception.
00:33:12:21 - 00:33:13:25 Rightly, I was like, All right,
00:33:13:25 - 00:33:18:16 it's a very specific thing out there and only certain people can do it.
00:33:18:19 - 00:33:21:28 And so we're finding that it's becoming more democratized.
00:33:21:28 - 00:33:23:13 Right, there are people
00:33:23:13 - 00:33:27:11 that are coming from non space engineering backgrounds are getting interested in it
00:33:27:11 - 00:33:31:13 and applying the learnings they've had in those areas into space.
00:33:31:16 - 00:33:32:15 So, you know,
00:33:32:15 - 00:33:37:14 before space was sort of a, you know, a playground for a few.
00:33:37:16 - 00:33:40:06 And I think from our perspective now that's expanding
00:33:40:06 - 00:33:42:15 and the more it expands, the better it is for everyone
00:33:42:15 - 00:33:45:15 because you get a very diverse set of views on how to build.
00:33:45:21 - 00:33:49:08 I can give you a very good example on our first spacecraft.
00:33:49:08 - 00:33:52:08 So, you know, all spacecraft have to be wrapped
00:33:52:08 - 00:33:55:00 in a multilayer insulation for thermal management.
00:33:55:00 - 00:33:58:19 And being a startup, we just did not have that
00:33:58:19 - 00:34:02:24 capability here in Australia and we couldn't access one.
00:34:02:26 - 00:34:07:23 And so when we're thinking about how to do MLI, which is the multilayer insulation,
00:34:07:25 - 00:34:10:16 and it had to be 15 layers,
00:34:10:16 - 00:34:13:09 we're like, look, this is foil, we need to stitch it together.
00:34:13:09 - 00:34:15:27 So we actually got a seamster, right?
00:34:15:27 - 00:34:21:13 And literally there was a sewing machine in the lab and we sewed it.
00:34:21:16 - 00:34:27:01 And we're in a place now that our multilayer insulation looks beautiful.
00:34:27:01 - 00:34:30:14 Why it's, it's so perfectly fitted to the spacecraft.
00:34:30:17 - 00:34:34:16 And so for me, it's been amazing to see that our seamster
00:34:34:16 - 00:34:36:23 now is doing space engineering.
00:34:36:23 - 00:34:38:21 And that's phenomenal, right?
00:34:38:21 - 00:34:44:21 Like, and I think, you know, broadening that group of engineers who work on space
00:34:44:21 - 00:34:48:23 and non engineers who work on space is where this needs to go right?
00:34:48:24 - 00:34:52:18 Because then everybody can work on a space system.
00:34:52:20 - 00:34:54:01 I love that idea in a just
00:34:54:01 - 00:34:57:15 like a nice little knitted jacket to keep the spacecraft cozy.
00:34:57:15 - 00:35:00:15 Well, it was literally that.
00:35:00:15 - 00:35:01:12 It was literally that.
00:35:01:12 - 00:35:04:19 And I think if you if you actually check the pictures
00:35:04:19 - 00:35:08:10 out on some of our posts at the moment, like you'll see like you know,
00:35:08:13 - 00:35:12:04 we've got feedback from SpaceX engineers going, this looks beautiful.
00:35:12:11 - 00:35:15:11 And so so our view is that, you know, I mean,
00:35:15:17 - 00:35:18:23 you know, circling back to I feel
00:35:18:26 - 00:35:22:04 everybody it's when everybody, every engineer
00:35:22:05 - 00:35:24:04 our non engineer thinks that they can
00:35:24:04 - 00:35:28:06 participate in the space engineering and space systems
00:35:28:08 - 00:35:33:00 business is when we think we're going to have a lot of innovation happening.
00:35:33:02 - 00:35:34:17 Yeah, yeah, yeah.
00:35:34:17 - 00:35:36:01 It's very, very exciting.
00:35:36:01 - 00:35:39:16 And a bit before we wrap up, there's something we'd like to ask
00:35:39:16 - 00:35:43:13 everybody on Beyond Blueprints, which is and it's a slightly spiky
00:35:43:13 - 00:35:47:15 question, it's a very thought provoking one, is, you know,
00:35:47:17 - 00:35:51:08 how are you tackling this problem now versus
00:35:51:08 - 00:35:55:23 if you were tackling this in, say, 1985 or 30 years ago,
00:35:55:25 - 00:35:59:17 are you tackling it in the same way or is it fundamentally different?
00:35:59:17 - 00:36:02:17 What's what's changed that meantime, that's enabled
00:36:02:23 - 00:36:06:22 space machines to be as it is today?
00:36:06:24 - 00:36:09:24 Yeah, look, I think
00:36:09:28 - 00:36:14:13 I think there's probably multiple layers of answers to this, right?
00:36:14:13 - 00:36:16:27 I think,
00:36:16:27 - 00:36:19:14 you know, what,
00:36:19:14 - 00:36:24:25 For example, you know, our cost to access space has gone down significantly, right?
00:36:24:25 - 00:36:29:15 That's opened up huge avenues of our ability to take risk
00:36:29:15 - 00:36:32:25 and what that means and cost associated with it.
00:36:32:27 - 00:36:36:07 I think the focus on the miniaturization of,
00:36:36:13 - 00:36:39:23 you know, electronics has had a huge role in it.
00:36:39:26 - 00:36:41:28 I think the,
00:36:41:28 - 00:36:44:28 you know, again, democratizing who can build a space.
00:36:44:28 - 00:36:47:08 system has had a huge impact on it.
00:36:47:08 - 00:36:47:14 Right.
00:36:47:14 - 00:36:51:20 Like, you know, you've gone from NASA and ESA and others
00:36:51:22 - 00:36:55:08 in a very select group of people working on these systems
00:36:55:08 - 00:37:00:22 to, you know, in an average person being building a three year CubeSat.
00:37:00:22 - 00:37:01:10 Right.
00:37:01:10 - 00:37:05:04 And so I think, you know, that sort of capabilities increase.
00:37:05:04 - 00:37:10:00 And also I think the commercial off the shelf technology available
00:37:10:00 - 00:37:16:01 to do things as a result has allowed people to build these systems fast.
00:37:16:04 - 00:37:19:05 They don't have to be built specifically for space.
00:37:19:05 - 00:37:21:05 And I think maybe I answer this question
00:37:21:05 - 00:37:25:03 looking into the future, like if you think about Starship,
00:37:25:06 - 00:37:27:04 Starship is
00:37:27:04 - 00:37:32:02 going to bring the cost of launch down to 500 to $8000 a kilo.
00:37:32:04 - 00:37:35:21 So now if you're building a lunar rover right now,
00:37:35:21 - 00:37:39:20 you could build a very specific lunar rover for space.
00:37:39:22 - 00:37:44:21 But if you can carry if it only costs you 500 to thousand dollars a kilo,
00:37:44:23 - 00:37:48:03 you would take a rover that's already available
00:37:48:05 - 00:37:52:16 commercially and you would adapt for space use, because now
00:37:52:16 - 00:37:55:25 you have the volume and the mass and it's not that expensive to send it.
00:37:55:25 - 00:37:59:18 So I think there's another revolution coming as we
00:37:59:21 - 00:38:04:14 as you move to the next phase of access to space, right, where
00:38:04:16 - 00:38:07:10 rather than satellites getting smaller now, they're going to get bigger.
00:38:07:10 - 00:38:10:16 And in doing in getting bigger, you might actually be able to use
00:38:10:16 - 00:38:13:16 a lot of technology we've built already for terrestrial use.
00:38:13:18 - 00:38:15:17 Just get adapted for space use.
00:38:15:17 - 00:38:20:13 So so I think, you know, it's these changes
00:38:20:15 - 00:38:26:10 that happen as a result of process and technology commoditisation nation
00:38:26:10 - 00:38:30:03 that's driving you know, the difference between 1985 and us.
00:38:30:05 - 00:38:34:15 So it's so that's such an interesting point so you think the trade space
00:38:34:17 - 00:38:38:08 might actually be changing in terms of that balance between you know
00:38:38:09 - 00:38:42:05 weight and readiness I guess you think yeah,
00:38:42:08 - 00:38:45:08 we're going to see that trend maybe changing slightly?
00:38:45:14 - 00:38:48:10 Well, I mean, you know, a great example of that would be
00:38:48:10 - 00:38:51:19 if you have a battery management system for a two kilowatt
00:38:51:22 - 00:38:55:02 in a battery right now, you
00:38:55:02 - 00:38:59:01 could take one that's terrestrial being, use qualified for space,
00:38:59:01 - 00:39:04:06 not have the mass or volume optimize because it's only $500,000 per kilo.
00:39:04:06 - 00:39:10:10 You're paying for it versus a world where you are paying $15 to $20,000 per kilo.
00:39:10:12 - 00:39:13:12 And that place you would absolutely have to
00:39:13:17 - 00:39:16:01 look at completely redesigning in a new way.
00:39:16:01 - 00:39:21:10 So I think suddenly you can leverage and stand
00:39:21:11 - 00:39:26:01 on the shoulders of technology that's already been built for earth right?
00:39:26:03 - 00:39:29:19 It's yeah, exciting New Frontier moving away from where
00:39:29:19 - 00:39:31:15 every gram counts to where.
00:39:31:15 - 00:39:33:14 Yeah, space is much more democratized.
00:39:33:14 - 00:39:36:14 It's an exciting time to be in the industry.
00:39:36:16 - 00:39:39:25 And thank you so much for joining us on Beyond Blueprints.
00:39:39:25 - 00:39:43:15 I'll be keeping my eyes eagerly on the news next year.
00:39:43:15 - 00:39:45:02 So best of luck with the first launch.
00:39:45:02 - 00:39:47:06 And thanks so much for joining us today.
00:39:47:06 - 00:39:49:05 Thank you for having me, Andrew. Really appreciate it.
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