This Week in Space 104 Transcript

Please be advised this transcript is AI-generated and may not be word for word. Time codes refer to the approximate times in the ad-supported version of the show.

00:00 - Rod Pyle (Host)
On this episode of this Week in Space. We're talking about NASA's Artemis Accords and the country of Ecuador, with Robert Aileon. Stay with us. This episode of this Week in Space is brought to you by Zscaler, the leader in cloud security, Cyber attackers using AI and creative ways to compromise users and breach organizations. In a security landscape where you must fight AI with AI, the best AI protection comes from having the best data. Zscaler has extended its zero trust architecture with powerful AI engines that are trained and tuned by 500 trillion daily signals. You can learn more about Zscaler Zero Trust Plus AI to prevent ransomware and AI attacks. Experience your world secured. Visit zscalercom. Slash zero trust AI Podcasts you love From people you trust. This is TWIT. This is this Week in Space, episode number 104, recorded on March 29th 2024. Episode number 104, recorded on March 29th 2024. The Artemis Accords, Ecuador and you. This episode of this Week in Space is brought to you by Deleteme.

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02:50 - Tariq Malik (Host)
Hello Rod, hello Happy. What happy spring. Now we're in spring officially.

02:56 - Rod Pyle (Host)
Let's just call it Happy Friday because we're being made happier by the fact that we're being joined today by Robert Elion, the founder of Leviathan Space Industries and a prime mover in Ecuador's signing of the Artemis Accords. Hello, robert, hello.

03:12 - Robert Aillon (Guest)
Rod, nice to meet you, and Tariq, it's awesome being in the show, so thank you so much for inviting me here.

03:19 - Rod Pyle (Host)
Now it's good to see you again. It's been three weeks, two weeks, since I last saw you. Three weeks, right, something like that, definitely.

03:29 - Robert Aillon (Guest)
So we definitely want more of you guys to learn about space coming to Ecuador.

03:34 - Rod Pyle (Host)
Yeah, which was a great time. I can't thank you enough for that. But before we start, I need to remind everybody to make sure to do us a solid, make sure to like, subscribe and so forth with our podcast so we can stay as incredibly popular as we are. And, uh, do consider, please join in club twit. As you know from listening to leo's show, times have not been easy for podcasters and we can really use a support and heck, for seven bucks a month. You're not going to find anything better anywhere except baby dinner in ecuador. Um, now, the most important part of our pre-commercial bit is a space joke from a loyal listener known only as chris are you ready? Tarik?

04:17 - Tariq Malik (Host)
I'm ready. I'm ready, chris what do you got?

04:20 - Rod Pyle (Host)
tarik, why does jupiter always seem to be in dire financial straits? I don't know why, because he's frequently saying I know I owe. Oh, one had to think about that one for a minute.

04:36 - Tariq Malik (Host)
Eh, yeah, yeah I like it, I like it. I owe not getting a lot of space joke love. So it's nice to see the most volcanic place in the solar system getting a nod every now and then.

04:49 - Rod Pyle (Host)
And it's not a joke and I think I mentioned it before, but I remember back in. Let's see when did they reconnoiter Io? Early 80s, right With Voyager.

04:59 - Tariq Malik (Host)
Well, voyager, yeah, voyager, yeah, yeah. In fact, a USC student-turned-researcher was on the team that discovered the volcanoes for the first time.

05:08 - Rod Pyle (Host)
Well, it's good to know at least one person from USC was successful. Oh my gosh. But I remember at the time the press was up at JPL and one of them was referring to the moon as 10. Oh no, they didn't realize. It was I and zero, they thought. Or I and oh, they thought it was one and zero. All right, change your font so often as it was. Well, that wasn't me, I was just, uh, in attendance. So let's get to some headlines, shall we? Yes, yes, busy week. So yeah, and boy, oh boy, right down my alley from Reuters Boeing sues Virgin Galactic. Yeah, really.

05:49 - Tariq Malik (Host)
Not on my bingo card list this week, right, but yeah, this actually happened actually the 22nd, so the news broke late last week before our episode, then late last week before our episode then. But yeah, boeing is suing Virgin Galactic over a dispute revolving their plans for a new mothership for their suborbital space plane fleet. You know, as you know, virgin Galactic is kind of scaling up their new fleet, the Delta class of the Spaceship Two vehicles which can be easier to fly, faster, to turn around, and they want, because they're going to haveaceship Two vehicles which can be easier to fly, faster, to turn around, and they want, because they're going to have more of these vehicles, another mothership like the White Knight Two carrier plane that will be able to kind of go up, get these craft to altitude, drop them, let them launch and whatnot. And White Knight Two, just like the Spaceship Twos, need maintenance. The turnaround time isn't as fast as what Virgin Galactic wants. So they want this second generation carrier plane to do all of that be able to fly more often, fly with less maintenance and be more reliable.

And to do that they tapped Aurora Flight Sciences that's a subsidiary of Boeing, as I understand it, and they've been working behind the scenes to kind of develop the plans for all of this.

Well, apparently that relationship soured dramatically because at the end of the contract or whatnot, boeing is saying that Virgin Galactic owes Aurora Flight Sciences something like $25 million in unpaid fees for work done on this design. As well as that Virgin Galactic, they allege that they kept some trade secrets and, as I understand it, it's like some design type expertise and some equations used for the vehicles themselves, some really kind of high-tech stuff and they're supposed to destroy all of that. And Aurora Flight Sciences is worried that, since they haven't destroyed it, they can just take it and build their own mothership instead of working with Boeing and the company on that, or go to another, because, depending on the outcome, we'll find out where or when they're going to get this other carrier plane, because a lot of their business plan will revolve on being able to launch more of these suborbital space planes over and over again, and they need more carrier planes to do it at least one more.

08:21 - Rod Pyle (Host)
Should be noted.

08:22 - Tariq Malik (Host)
I suppose that White Knight has flown a number of times very successfully with uh with no adverse effects white knight two, because white knight one was, of course, the one that was used to carry the smaller spaceship one, which is now in the smithsonian.

08:35 - Rod Pyle (Host)
So white knight two is the one that virgin galactic is using now, currently my point is that they both worked and well anyway, there's probably something untoward to say about Boeing there, but I will keep it to myself because I'm a nice guy and I know you're sensitive to that.

08:51 - Tariq Malik (Host)
All right, well, and those were built by Scaled Composites. You know way back when, and Bert Rutan's yeah, but using Boeing secrets.

08:57 - Rod Pyle (Host)
Yeah, well, I guess. So apparently, apparently All right. Next up from Florida Today, that's a new one for us the Delta IV Heavy. Now, the Delta IV Heavy is a what would you call it, a sort of soulful lineage of the Delta rocket, but it really isn't. It's like the Atlas. Ula years ago completely redesigned both the Delta and the Atlas, but the Delta IV Heavy is three Deltas clustered together. It's very cool watching it launch. It's very neat, and we're waiting for what we think is the final launch of that vehicle, right.

09:35 - Tariq Malik (Host)
That's right. That's right. You know, before the rise of the Falcon Heavy rocket, the Delta IV Heavy was the most powerful rocket in the US operational arsenal at that point in time. And now it is time for the United Launch Alliance, which has been building these rockets for the last couple of decades or whatnot, to just kind of say goodbye to the Delta IV Heavy lift, because they have their new Vulcan rocket, of course. But it's not just the end of the Delta IV. This is the last of the Delta four heavy, uh, heavy lift, because they have their new Vulcan rocket, of course. Uh, but it's not just the end of the Delta four. This is the last of the Delta rocket family, right? So this is, you know, they, they. They retired the Delta twos, uh, a while back. They. They had other other variants, uh as well, um, last one that will ever fly.

So there's a lot of kind of attention for this mission and of course it's like the most impressive variant, the triple core, first stage, the Delta IV Heavy.

It is launching a spy satellite for the National Reconnaissance Office and unfortunately, when they tried to launch it yesterday, as we're recording this, they had a bit of a plumbing issue on the rocket and they are not able to launch it today. They had hoped to kind of launch it before you and I started recording today and so they're going to take their time. They say that they need to have. It's an issue with a government-supplied pipeline that feeds into the rocket and they're going to wait and get some information from the government I guess supplier to decide when it's going to be safe to actually fly the rocket itself. But if you didn't know that the last of its kind rocket, delta IV Heavy, was going to fly, now you do. And if it does launch over this weekend, we're hearing maybe April 1st is the next possible attempt. This way you won't miss it. It's crazy to watch because when it lifts off, all this fire and flame kind of crawls up the side of the triple boosters.

11:34 - Rod Pyle (Host)
Looks like it's in big trouble.

11:36 - Tariq Malik (Host)
Yeah, it looks like it's on fire when it's taking off and then it lifts off and it goes into space and it looks to me like Princess Leiaia ship in um the in the in the in star wars. Uh, a new hope. So, uh, I forget the name of that ship, but anyway it's that one. So that cruiser.

11:53 - Rod Pyle (Host)
So uh, I'm having trouble picturing that, but okay, I guess the one that she's on that darth vader in.

No, I understand what ship you mean. I just don't see the resemblance I always look more like well, I won't say what to look like to me. The other thing about the Delta Heavy was, I believe, besides being the most powerful for its time, up until SLS, I think, no, falcon Heavy, yeah. So up until Falcon Heavy, it was also the most expensive launcher you could buy, right. Yeah, I believe it was something like $450 million, that's a lot could buy right?

12:26 - Tariq Malik (Host)
yeah, yeah, I believe it was something like 450 million. Yeah, a lot. Yeah, one engine weighs 14 876 pounds and is 17 feet tall, according to florida today, so pretty crazy stuff because newspapers love those kind of stats.

12:35 - Rod Pyle (Host)
All right, and let us uh roll to the next and last one. We have an eclipse coming up, that's right we would like you to go to spacecom for a number of reasons, to learn all about it, but perhaps most importantly, rod's semi-annual warning about be very careful when you buy your eclipse glasses because there's a lot of forgeries out there.

12:55 - Tariq Malik (Host)
Yeah, this one comes from our reviewer, alex Cox, and the American Association, the American Astronomical Association, because they want everyone to be aware that.

You know, despite the excitement of the solar eclipse which, again to everyone, there's a total solar eclipse it's going to go from Mexico through Maine and Canada on April 8th in the afternoon, so it's going to be like really noticeable.

Most of North America will have some kind of an eclipse, partial or otherwise, during that time. But for everyone, you know, you can't stare directly at the sun. You need solar eclipse glasses, but they have to be verified and safe to use and unfortunately, as we saw in 2017, during the last great American solar eclipse, there's a lot of fraud going out there where people will just stick this ISO certification, an international standard that tells you that the filter on the glasses themselves is rated to filter out most of the sunlight. They're just putting that on there and the filters themselves aren't. So we have an article by Alex that really kind of touches all of the advice and an article by Alex that really kind of touches all of the advice and checkpoints from the AAS to help you kind of check if your glasses are safe. So this is like a reminder If you've bought some glasses or you're waiting for them. One way to check is put them on inside the house and look at like your brightest lights, and you shouldn't really see anything.

14:23 - Robert Aillon (Guest)
You shouldn't see pictures on the wall.

14:24 - Tariq Malik (Host)
You shouldn't see. You shouldn't see pictures on the wall. You shouldn't see, like the, the, the, anything around your, your office. Maybe the brightest spotlight like in your house you could, it could look dim but you really shouldn't see much at all. If that checks out, you can go outside and start looking around again. You shouldn't see anything through the glasses themselves except dimmed light from the sun itself. So if it passes that inside test first and that's really important then you can go outside and check. But you want to be sure that they're safe before you go. Look at the sun and you don't want to suffer any kind of eye or retina damage because you can really injure yourself.

And of course, another reminder never use binoculars or telescopes or anything when observing the sun unless you have an approved filter, made you know, or approved by the manufacturer himself. I actually bought a Celestron telescope with a Celestron filter that I can put on top of it and some Celestron solar binoculars that have the filter built in so we don't have to worry about it and we can observe the sun safely. And I know that they're safe because I trust the Celestron brand. I've been using their telescopes for years and that's kind of how I have the peace of mind for myself there. But this is like a reminder, because we're going to talk about the eclipse, I think in our next episode, that if you've ordered equipment, make sure that it's safe. Don't just take the. If you've ordered equipment, make sure that it's safe. Don't just take the certification that's printed on it for granted. If they're paper glasses, make sure you just do a quick double check from these guidelines from the AAS.

15:55 - Rod Pyle (Host)
And we'll talk more about this next week. But just very quickly because some people may be thinking oh crud, I need to order those glasses. I'm putting off. Yes, you can go on Amazon the majority of the stuff there is a little sketchy. If it says approved by NASA, it ain't Because NASA isn't in the business of approving sunglasses or some eclipturing glasses, and most of the ones I saw said approved by NASA. So that's bad juju. What you want to look for is Celestron, if you can get them in time. Lund L-U-N-D is a manufacturer of both little cardboard glasses and ones that look like conventional sunglasses and solar binoculars, as Celestron also makes, and I'm told I think it's Astronomy Magazine. It might be Sky and Telescope, but I think it's Astronomy Magazine. If you can find that on the news rack, they have Shriek wrap glasses with the magazine this month.

16:46 - Tariq Malik (Host)
Yeah, it's expensive way to get your solar glasses, but well, people, you a lot, of, a lot of libraries, schools, uh, public, public they're, they're they're having giveaways. But another trusted company is american paper optics. They're the primary supplier, okay, in, uh, in in the us and uh, for these. So a lot of these companies Astronomy Magazine, etc. They're getting them through special order because they make branded ones. They made them for Spacecom when we had ours, way back when.

17:14 - Rod Pyle (Host)
But I think it's important for parents, especially If you do get glasses from a library, check them out, because those guys aren't necessarily in the business of knowing how to do solar astronomy. And I won't go into my whole song and dance, but my eyes were moderately damaged by doing solar astronomy as a kid, with an inadequate filter, and you don't want to have cataracts when you're 45. So be careful, be safe, be smart. And last thing I'll say is, if you've got kids, don't let them stare at the sun for a particularly long time. These things are meant to be used for 20, 30 seconds at a time, not 10 minutes. All right, got anything else? T or can we move on?

17:53 - Tariq Malik (Host)
No, just, we're going to talk about the eclipse all next week, so I don't want to. Yeah, let's get to the good stuff.

17:58 - Rod Pyle (Host)
All right, speak of the good stuff. We have an ad coming up, so hold on to your seats and go nowhere, because the best part is just about to come. Stay with us. So, robert, very good to have you here, and I, once again, will just say I can't tell you how much I enjoyed my time in Ecuador. It was a fantastic trip. And no, I didn't just bring him here because he brought me to Ecuador. I brought him here because he has a lot of really interesting things to say. So, before we hear your interesting things to say, can you kind of introduce yourself, because your life didn't start off with rockets in space. It started off well, at least as an adult, in finance and banking, which is not always the usual route to get into this, although increasingly it probably will be as we figure out ways to make money there. But how did you get into space?

18:47 - Robert Aillon (Guest)
Well, thank you, ron, and that's a great question. My interest started back in an early age, thinking about the economic challenges that a country like Ecuador, a third world nation, faces and what is needed for economic development so we can escape our problems. So that led me to study economics, political science and develop a career in banking. Afterwards, when I decided to make the transition, I was looking to see how can we use technologies to definitely help solve these big problems that we're facing, because the big question is competitiveness how do we make an economy competitive and what technology can we do it?

And we saw that space definitely had the biggest impact, that it touched every aspect of the local economy. So that's where we said if space is the next big thing, how can we play a role and what can Ecuador offer in space to be part of that, and its geographic location was pretty unique to see what type of space activities we can do. And that's the reason that we decided to start with Leviathan Space to start thinking about if commercial companies are going to be looking to expand and grow. They're going to be looking for new alternatives, and that's where we think that a private space can definitely be something to create value in a complex supply space supply chain, and that's how we started back in 2018. And that's how we started back in 2018.

20:19 - Rod Pyle (Host)
And we've been working towards advancing that and thinking about how do we make a whole ecosystem that can definitely create value that way. So, yeah, and I want to talk more about the spaceport in a few minutes but the other thing that's remarkable about well, there's a lot of things that are remarkable about you, but you started a National Space Society chapter in Ecuador in a city called Guayaquil, and most people who start a National Space Society chapter they get together, they have dinner, they chit-chat, they page through Ad Astra, they're enthusiasts. But in Ecuador, the National Space Society chapter has become something because of you, largely of a force of nature and actually creating change. But let's talk about how the chapter started and some of your activities, if you would.

21:00 - Robert Aillon (Guest)
So we were very excited about the National Space Society. As an organization, we participated in the ISDC, the conference that they have every year back in 2019. We presented a paper on a very exciting topic space taxes. So it was definitely about this thought-provoking process of thinking about how property rights and taxes should work in space to help grow the space economy.

But I definitely saw that there was a community and we definitely wanted to have the young kids in Ecuador a place where they can relate, where they can find their own community and where they can get involved and where we can also advocate for space in Ecuador, and so that's what we're looking to create in our city, the city of Guayaquil this group. So we were able to have a voice for everybody, this group, and so we were able to have a voice for everybody, and in our first meeting, which was great, we were able to have over a hundred people show up trying to see how they could get involved, and even the United States Consul General was able to give some opening remarks and talk about space. So he gave a little weight about the importance of space and all the things that we could be part of, and I think that's an important part of this conversation is making people think that they can get involved and they can contribute.

22:16 - Tariq Malik (Host)
Well, yeah, so I did want to follow up, robert, because you had mentioned, you know, I guess, the inspiration or the impetus of Ecuador in space there in that discussion. But, of course, on June of 2023, I think it was June 21st, like the first day of summer that's when NASA announced that Ecuador had become an official signatory for its Artemis Accords. And I'm wondering what that path is like. Is that like a tough sell to the folks in Ecuador to say, hey, you can get involved in this and here's what you could do? Or had it been going on for you know, years in the background to get to that point where this official agreement you know really crystallizes?

23:09 - Robert Aillon (Guest)
to expand on Ecuador's role, not just in space but in lunar exploration, you know, with NASA's program to go to the moon. So, as we were engaging, the Ecuadorian governments talk about space and the use of a spaceport and what other activities we could do. Artemis was where we thought, a low-hanging fruit, something that we could definitely be involved and create a lot of value by becoming part of. So we had been in talks with the government by 18 months, before June 21st, and we were able to get the support from Professor Greg Autry from Thunderbird School of Global Management. Also, my goal from Redwire was also very instrumental in helping us and providing advice. So we had to engage the Ministry of Foreign Relations, ministry of Defense, ministry of Transportation, all government agencies, and we had started first doing some webinars, you know, having the conversation about space law, you know, and treaties and what are the opportunities for that. After that we were able to transition where we had one of the top environmental leaders and opinion leaders in Ecuador. Ines Manzano wrote a very important article opinion piece regarding Artemis and what that meant. So now we were in a major newspaper talking about the subject. After that we had to continue, you know, that level of engagement with the government officials and they had to validate, make sure what it means regarding a treaty, a bilateral treaty with the US. And we had to also explain all this process about what space, what was happening in space, because people were not familiar with that. So that level of advocacy took definitely some time and we were able to get a lot of support, like different universities in Ecuador in being advocates also for the process, lots of different companies in the US. We were able to get letters of support towards Ecuadorian government telling them that space was important and that Artemis should definitely be a path to follow. So that level of support from the local community, the international community, and then I would say the excitement of the Department of State, the US Embassy and the US Consulate in Ecuador. You know about what it meant in amplifying a bilateral relation, we definitely saw lots of doors opening towards what Artemis can mean.

So when we had the final pitch to the minister of foreign relations, it was exciting because we had everything already, you know, signed by everybody, reviewed by the legal department. All the other ministers were OK with it. So it was just the final decision to see if we do the sign or no sign type of event Deal or no deal, exactly. So we had an important lunch with him at Universidad San Francisco de Quito and we had all the university officials you know our allies and friends there, and we were just pitching to him. You know, this is the moment, you know we can definitely do something with space.

And one of our allies, roque Sevilla, who was able to coordinate the meeting, was also present, and other members, nelson Gim, had been instrumentally supporting all the local efforts for this to happen. And then, you know, he said OK, let's sign. You know, after such an intense drill during lunch, he was like, if there's no objections, I will see a reason why not. And that was the case that we're trying to make. You know it's a no risk situation. It's all positive. You know about all the things that can happen if we follow this path. So he took a very valiant risk, I would say, because public opinion at the time was like you know, we have better things to worry than space. You know we have other priorities political situation. You know that Ecuador was going through. Maybe space was not something that was high on the agenda. Know that Ecuador was going through. Maybe space was not something that was high on the agenda.

But the good thing was that we were able to do such a good work, to have everything ready, that he only had to say let's do it and let's sign. So he said, okay, let's sign, let's figure out, you know, sometime in the next couple of months to do something about it. And then I was saying, well, you're going next week to Washington because you have an agenda already. How about if we just sign it there, you know, next week? So he was like, well, do I have the time in the agenda? So I definitely push him there.

And he asked. And then we were able to talk to NASA and the State Department, you know, and they said, okay, great, let's have a meeting. And we were able to have the ceremony at the Ecuador Embassy in DC. And it was wonderful because at the same time there was a delegation from Ecuador, businessmen there, from the American Chamber of Commerce, and we had the minister for relations, we had the prime minister, the minister of production and Ambassador Yvonne Backey, who was playing a huge role in being our big supporter in space, driving this topic. So when you see the picture, you see the top leadership from Ecuador being there with NASA, the State Department. So that was a very, very powerful thing that we were able to achieve.

28:00 - Tariq Malik (Host)
Yeah, we've got a photo of that on John on line 34 there at that link. That's the official photo from the signing it's interesting that you mention we have. We have other things that are priorities. You know, when you're discussing because that is like the perennial uh uh discussion or debate over whether anyone should invest in space science or space exploration it's that we've got other, so we've got potholes in the street on the ground you know, and let me just add, we've been hearing that in the US since about 1964. Yeah.

28:33 - Rod Pyle (Host)
Those arguments are going on right down to protests taking place outside the gates of the Marshall Space Flight Center and other NASA facilities. So that question never goes away.

28:46 - Tariq Malik (Host)
Yeah, there's the picture. There's that photo. Did you get to keep a pen, Robert, from the signing?

28:52 - Robert Aillon (Guest)
Let me tell you that Before the event, I went to the NASA headquarters office in DC and they have a NASA store.

28:59 - Tariq Malik (Host)
The gift shop.

29:01 - Robert Aillon (Guest)
I was able to get six different pins that said Artemis. I took them to the event and just laid them on the table so they can be blessed by this event. Can you just breathe on? Each of that said Artemis. So I took them to the event and just laid them on the table so they can be, like you know, like blessed by this event.

29:13 - Rod Pyle (Host)
You can just breathe on each of them.

29:16 - Robert Aillon (Guest)
And we were able to give them to all the folks that really work hard to make this happen. So it was great that our top friends and allies were able to get afterwards. They were not there in person for the ceremony, but at least they were able to keep the momentum.

29:31 - Rod Pyle (Host)
So with that, I have to make a point here, tarek, because you and I you more than me, but we both are constantly chasing our tails because of our workload and so forth. And I know Robert's a very busy guy too. He's got a young child. You know there's a lot of things going on in your life, robert, but what impressed me so much about watching you operate is that level of planning, so thinking ahead, because I would have been there with a broken pencil and, you know, an Etch-A-Sketch or something saying I forgot to bring the pens but here, sign this thing anyway.

And you thought ahead and got enough pens that everybody you know had a memento, which of course, you know it's a small thing to take advantage of at the moment, seemingly, but in two months the president's going to pull that pen out of his pocket and think, oh yeah, that was kind of fun. That's a cool thing. I had to call that Robert guy and nominate him to be the first, ecuador's first astronaut on the moon or something. So you know this is very smart. So sorry, tarek, I know you had a follow up.

30:27 - Tariq Malik (Host)
I just want to Well, I guess the only other follow-up and this is something that, robert, you mentioned actually a couple of times leading up to our discussion about the Aquarius. But you mentioned Ecuador's location. You mentioned the discussions about a possible spaceport and for a lot of our listeners they may not link the location of Ecuador with a spaceport, although you know, we do know, that Europe operates out of French Guiana and their spaceport there. But what is it about Ecuador's location that kind of lends itself to the possibility of a spaceport that would make sense to either, you know, like a native space program, or to other folks looking for a boost, if you will, to get into space based on where you are on the planet.

31:17 - Robert Aillon (Guest)
We definitely think that Ecuador is a magnificent place to do all kinds of different space activities. We definitely have a comparative advantage based on the geographic location due to the speed of the Earth, the rotation. That gives an additional boost for rockets to be launched.

31:31 - Tariq Malik (Host)
You're close to the speed of the Earth, the rotation that gives an additional boost for rockets to be launched. You're close to the equator.

31:33 - Robert Aillon (Guest)
We are right on the equator. We're latitude zero. We're right there.

31:38 - Rod Pyle (Host)
We're the chosen people to do space. There's the word equator in it.

31:44 - Robert Aillon (Guest)
We're the chosen people to go to space, as we might say. So we've been blessed by this location and this image here that you see I don't know if you can see this background this is the Cotopaxi tracking station, which was a NASA tracking station from the 1950s that was built to support the early satellite communications and the Apollo missions at the time, and this has been working for since that time, and you know it's like going to a museum. So you have communications, you have launch opportunities and another exciting aspect is reentry. You know, as you bring things back from space, they can come from the west to east of the Pacific Ocean and they can land on the coast of Ecuador and be recovered Capsules and other types of vehicles that could be the case and then we start thinking about.

Ecuador is such a small country, you know, but at the same time it's so geographically diverse that people can come here and train to become an astronaut, because they have lots of different challenges. They can climb volcanoes, go to the jungles, scuba diving, lava tubes in the Galapagos Islands, and it's also an amazing place to do science. You know, it's such a rich ecosystem here thousands of plants, thousands of varieties per square kilometer that happen here. So if you want to replicate those ecosystems abroad, you know Ecuador is a place to learn about. How do we create life in Mars, the moon and beyond. So it's just the perfect testbed, I think, for doing space activities and hopefully we can create that so more people can come here and beyond. So it's just the perfect testbed, I think, for doing space activities and hopefully we can create that so more people can come here and operate.

33:16 - Rod Pyle (Host)
So it's interesting you mentioned the lava tubes, because while I was doing my brief tour through the Galapagos, I did get to go through a couple of lava tubes, as every tourist does, I suppose. But I was thinking, you know, if I had to go somewhere to simulate living in a lava tube for I don't know a week or however long we do these sims, you know these analogs that would be a great place to do it, because the whole point is not to go outside anyway. Right, so it doesn't have to be in Hawaii or something. We'll be right back after this short break, stay with us. And we'll be right back after this short break, stay with us.

So, robert, I think this can happen anywhere that you've got a conversation going about space, but especially in a smaller country, a smaller market like Ecuador. You know, here's the big government buildings on the Civic Square square and here's this guy from the national space society coming and saying and I know you have, you know, other other notations on your record besides the nss, but that's one of them coming and saying, hey, we really ought to get involved in this big space effort and, uh, you already kind of touched on this, but besides the natural hesitation or the head scratching. Is there also a bit of a giggle factor with people, not necessarily at the highest levels, but anywhere? Because we get that even at ISDC Somebody will bring up. At our conference, our annual conference, somebody will bring up something particularly outside the norm. Most people there would go oh it's an interesting idea, but some people go what Really? You think you're going to live on Saturn's rings. So has that been an issue for you guys?

34:59 - Robert Aillon (Guest)
I would say definitely. Many years ago there were some attempts to be able to launch some satellites and be able to do some work in space with an agency that was created by the government. But that was a failure and the public opinion turned against them because it was very politicized, a lot of questioning about possible corruption and the program did not go anywhere. So people, just like you said, Rod, you know, when they thought of space, they thought about those first efforts and the negative things that they brought to them. So we definitely had to spend a lot of time educating people about the changes that this is definitely not a political effort just to gain popularity, but about what the impact means, about education, bringing innovation to companies, seeing how the local industry can benefit from this technology, having a wider view about the benefits of space. And that has been a challenging conversation, of course, and that's all around the world. But in Ecuador we had the case where the space agency was dissolved, like four or five years ago, because people were not thinking that it was important.

So part of that advocacy work has, after Artemis, has been about thinking about let's have a national space strategy, you know.

Let's start thinking about what type of policies and regulations do we need so we can be successful in creating the right environment that people will think that space is a viable business and that we can participate and contribute to the international community?

And what are the necessary treaties that Ecuador needs to have to become that partner to the United States and the rest of the world? So there are things like the missile technology control regime that definitely regulates the exports of sensitive technology, and that's a great way for Ecuador to show leadership, that it is serious. You know about the use of ballistic missiles and also the technology safeguard agreement, which in this case, allows top US technology to be able to come to places like Ecuador to be able to be launched or used in the future. So those are strong statements for Ecuador to follow as we decide to become competent in space. And Artemis the important thing is that it just opens up the door. We're able to tell the international community that Ecuador is serious about space and we definitely want to become a partner. And now we have to find what do we offer and how do we contribute, thinking about the collaboration.

37:27 - Rod Pyle (Host)
Yeah, that kind of led into my next question, but before I go there, you know, as, as I mentioned, we have this conversation in the US constantly about why space, why space by space, and some of this in the trade keep saying well, because, for instance, for every dollar put in the Apollo program, we got back between 16 and $25 on our investments and education and STEM careers, and and you know the beat goes on. So I imagine that you have similar conversations, but again, it's it's a market that you're in that's a little less familiar with that story. So I imagine that that that's kind of a can be a tough one, and part of it I suppose. I mean, you know, there's this two sided blade. On one side, so we've got 36 international, 35 international partners now signed onto the accords last I checked with Ecuador being number 26. So on one side, what is NASA?

38:24 - Tariq Malik (Host)
I think it's 36 now with Uruguay, right, oh?

38:27 - Rod Pyle (Host)
so you did it Okay. Yeah, thank you for that correction. Sorry, way, uh rod. Oh, so you did it okay. Yeah, thank you for that correction.

38:32 - Robert Aillon (Guest)
sorry, sorry missed, but about 35 exactly if rod also includes, you know, the united states as a primary and 35 partners.

38:39 - Rod Pyle (Host)
So there we go so, you know, the us gets something out of this, which is building this coalition to show the world, hey, we're truly international, we're including everybody, come along for the ride, and so forth. And then what does Ecuador get out of it? And by that I mean both immediately and in the long term, because there's different levels of this.

39:03 - Robert Aillon (Guest)
And I think that's the million dollar question, rod. And I think that the first thing is that we have a seat at the table, and a phrase that in Ecuador is used a lot is that we're not late to the party, because Ecuador usually is. For all these international events, international communities, international treaties, we wait to see what the neighbors in the region are doing before we decide to act. We decide to act and by that time all the decisions have been made and all the policy has been shaped and all the benefits have been reaped by the other participants and we're just the last ones to join in. At least now we were able to sign before India, before Germany, before Holland. You know established space countries, you know. So it was great for us to start thinking about it. You know that we are pioneers in the first 26 countries to be able to be part of Artemis, and that opens up doors. So now there's interest of other organizations to find ways to collaborate with Ecuador, like the Space Foundation, the Milo Space Science Institute from Arizona State University, where they want to develop programs for K through 12 and also for university students, thinking about workforce development, where Ecuador can be the pilot for their Latin American efforts. So that's great, that's great news for the young students, great news for what the future can bring about, having this group of kids, you know, that are motivated by science and technology. And then how can they apply it?

Because one of the biggest challenges that we have right now, if you've seen, probably the news is that Ecuador is at risk because of the drug deals that are happening. It's being used as a transit point for all these drugs cocaine coming from Colombia, peru, to go to Europe and the United States. And that affects the local communities. It affects the kids because they're being involved not only as participants in these activities but also as consumers. So we definitely think that space can be a very motivating factor to create these local heroes that focus on the knowledge, on the learning, on the science, to be able to provide a different path for the kids to follow. So I think the space can be a very big tool for us to find a way for this terrible happiness.

41:12 - Tariq Malik (Host)
And you mentioned, robert, you know, the dissolution of the Ecuador Space Agency, but the need for a national space strategy, and you know, certainly signing the accords can perhaps inspire local universities and whatnot to come up with ideas in which to participate.

Do you see any early signs then?

I mean, it's only been less than a year of of that kind of um, that kind of interest taking shape, and the reason I asked is what we saw during the, the first artemis one launch was not just like nasa launch an orion capsule to the moon, but they launched like a bunch of of cubesats built by companies and universities out to go test different things. And just this year alone, as we're recording this, there've been at least three attempts at moon landings, a couple of them from private. That included lots of different experiments and components from different universities, from a wide range of countries, and it seems like there is a bit more of a realistic opportunity for any kind of experiment. You know, no matter if it's from Ecuador or from a different country or a school to have that path now, and that being a signatory would kind of get you like a heads up of when those opportunities come up. So is like the preparation. Are you seeing folks saying you know we should be ready to have ideas when the call goes out for them?

42:36 - Robert Aillon (Guest)
One of the main things that I think are so cool about Artibis is that it will make all the data from the discoveries available for all the participants, and that's really groundbreaking about having all these open source information for all the schools and universities to benefit. So we've been telling the schools to be ready for that and for that we need to have the teachers and the students prepared to be able to deal with this new influx of information that will be coming from Artemis. So we see universities like Universidad San Francisco de Quito, which is one of the leading institutions here, just had their own space day, a whole day event dedicated towards talking about space and see how they can be involved, because they're doing already research with NASA regarding weather at the equator. But now we have opportunities to start thinking about biomedicine, what that means for environmental protection, the use of satellite images. Now they've applied and they were able to get the host of the NASA Space Shuttle Challenge for Ecuador, so it's going to be great. So now those opportunities open up about how they can become involved. We have other universities, like Espoole University, who just did a hackathon this week with Arizona State University Interplanetary Initiative regarding the use of satellite data for monitoring the oceans. So now they're taking steps, they're getting ready and the students are rising up to the challenge.

We have schools like Colegio Javier from Guayaquil that have sent seats to the International Space Station.

Just imagine, you know how space is so affordable that now that a school can send a project of science to the International Space Station over a year to stay over there, and it opens up doors for thinking about sending seats, sending postcards to space.

Organizations like Club for the Future, you know, opened up the door for that collaboration and we had 10 schools from Ecuador participate and send over 4,000 postcards where the kids send their own private you know, drawing or poem or essay to space. Before 30 years ago that was impossible, but now even small countries like Ecuador can become involved in some part. And for me it's about breaking those mental barriers, you know, for the young children to think, you know, that things are not accessible, you know, and that your role is just being in Ecuador and just being in your community and there's nothing outside of that. Now, yeah, imagine if the hardest thing that they've done when they were 12 was be able to go send something to space. When these kids are 25 and 30, they're going to be fearless. There's going to be no limits to what they can do, because they've already been to space.

45:20 - Rod Pyle (Host)
So one of the cool things that happened while I was down there, we were talking to the American counselor staff down in Guayaquil and they were discussing and it was a bit of a tangential from the reason we were there, but they were discussing the founding of a community college system in your country which I guess will fill a really critical niche between simpler technical schools and the elite universities. Do you see both your efforts in terms of developing a spaceport but also signing the Artemis Accords as affecting and perhaps informing those programs? What's important?

46:04 - Robert Aillon (Guest)
is that it opens up the doors to start thinking about where we can contribute and create value and, for example, the US college system. It's a low cost way of getting more people to school and be able to learn so that they can try it, test it and then decide to go toward other types of careers, as they go towards engineering or business or other types of careers. Another technical aspect is trade schools and I think that's something where Ecuador can definitely be benefited by having this level of access to participate and see what we can offer the United States. The United States will need to grow and will need talent from all over the world to be able to continue its growth in space. You know we have ITA regulations.

That places a lot of difficulties, you know, in attracting the talent for non-US persons, but you know the United States will need to flex in a couple of years and decide that they definitely need to expand its production base and have people be able to work. So that's something, a conversation that will need to come out, I would say, rather soon. Just imagine a world where, in the next few years, we'll have companies sending 400 or more rockets a year, compared to the 200 almost that we had last year. So for that type of cadence, for that type of production levels, you definitely need to improve that industrial base and have the welders and the technicians as well as the aerospace engineers and on all the people to be able to support that and we start thinking about what other countries can do. You know, even though the United States is saying let's focus on the onshoring process and focus on our industry locally, let's focus on the onshoring process and focus on our industry locally, you definitely benefit by having access to talent pools and knowledge and resources from around the world, and especially in America, can definitely contribute to be a part of that value to the United States.

About thinking about what can we do in the supply chain for assembly, what can we do in the supply for satellites, what we can do for chip components, you know. So those are great questions to start seeing. You know, how do we become ready for that future? What can we do now to be able to embrace and say, united States, there's 3,000 engineers here ready to help. You know, where can we help your new missions going to the moon, mars and beyond? Or what can we do in this case to support other private business activities that are definitely looking to create value.

48:36 - Rod Pyle (Host)
All right, and I have one more question pertinent to that, which I'll ask as soon as we get back from this break. Stand by, all right. Pursuant to what you were just talking about, one of the things you had mentioned to me about the spaceport is that it would not just be a launch facility, of course, but a larger business park with international partners. So how do you envision that rolling out? Who would be participating and what do you need to make that happen?

49:10 - Robert Aillon (Guest)
What do we need to make that happen? What do we need to make that happen? So, in this case, the important part now we'll be thinking about the regulatory process and the international treaties that are needed. We had mentioned the MTCR, the Missile Technology Control Regime, the Technology Safeguard Agreement. Those are the first points to be able to be ready for that future where you know US technology can definitely flow and find that Ecuador is a secure place to do those type of operations.

The FAA standards for the launch licenses and the space for launch are very important and the FAA has shown great leadership in providing those level of international standards. Thinking about aviation and now transitioning to space, where the international community are following and learning from all these big lessons that the FAA has gone through. So one of the things that we're working on is with the Ministry of Transportation is how do we work towards adopting those standards and be able to work with them, because we've already done it with aviation, so there's a precedent. Now we have to adapt for what's coming next and the role that a space for complaint. It's very interesting because it can definitely be many things and it has flexibility about thinking about suborbital launches, vertical launches, thinking about the communication aspect, thinking about the communication aspect, thinking about the education aspect, a center of learning, a center of production, manufacturing. You know, at the same, space tourism.

You know people that will go to space and to train before they go, and it's exciting because people want to go through these life-changing experiences, to go to space. But as soon as they go to, the first thing that they do is they turn back and they watch the Earth and that's the thing that really shakes them and moves them, you know. And they come back to this planet with this enlightenment and thinking about how do we protect them, you know, how do we care for the planet and the people, and Ecuador shows so much potential for that, and the people and Ecuador shows so much potential for that. My dream in this case would be that in the next 1,500 years, ecuador is the last thing on people's minds as they leave the planet and the first things on their mind as they come back to Mother Earth.

So those are great things about thinking about what role we want to play with the spaceport and definitely the level of international support and community is very important. We are members of the Global Spaceport Alliance, which is an association of spaceports worldwide and we have collaborated with Corgan, which is a design company, an architecture company, thinking about what the spaceport should look like, what role it should play, how it helps and interacts with the community. How do we create value to people that are thinking of working there in the future? So those are important value to people that are thinking of working there in the future. So those are important questions to see what level of economic impact, because Ecuador is such a diverse location that we definitely have to worry about what it means, you know, for the flora and the fauna in the region and how do we protect it.

52:06 - Tariq Malik (Host)
Well, robert, it sounds like there's a lot of opportunity for that that you're describing, you know, in Ecuador, both with the spaceport and a possible business park, and then just for the youth overall, for a new generation of scientists, of engineers, of folks that would support that sort of industry in the country. And you mentioned something that caught my interest earlier or caught my eye, pardon me with the students that launched postcards with Club for the Future. Of course, that's a Blue Origins education outreach program. When they launched New Shepard they let folks send in postcards and then they launched them and send them back. But it's an example of how that path or that connection to space is much shorter now than it may have been 10 years ago, 20 years ago or whatnot.

And I'm wondering if you see Ecuador's role in the Artemis Accords, ecuador's interest in a new and local space industry, as an opportunity to find those new, shorter pathways. I mean, I think we've seen many astronauts from different countries reach orbit now with companies like SpaceX and Axiom Space on a much quicker timeframe than might have thought possible. Is that something that is even being discussed now for the country, or is it something that could be possible in the years to come, you know, as more of the infrastructure stands up, more of the support on the processes back, you know, in the government and in the intellectual university side picks up to have that more direct access. If it's getting experiments to space quicker with the students or not, I'm just curious how that may have changed your thoughts on just the feasibility of getting into space quickly now than perhaps like 10, 10, 20 years ago.

54:13 - Robert Aillon (Guest)
I definitely agree with that statement because, you know, having all this infrastructure and having private actors be able to offer those services really allows countries like Ecuador to be able to participate immediately and not have to wait until developing their whole local capabilities. So, for example, now we're able to select and reach a company and say we want to send something to the space station, that will take within six months to be able to find a slot to be able to send the experiment, and within a year we'll have it back. Beforehand, we'll have to think about the whole process of building a rocket, designing everything from the ground up. It will be so expensive that nothing will get done, but now we can just go ahead and hire and thinking about the astronauts. It also opens up opportunities for people for the military you know the Air Force that want to have astronaut training to start thinking okay, we can have commercial opportunities to train that are very affordable.

You know, like the Virgin Galactic, you know, is over around $300,000 per person, maybe a little bit more by now. But you also have Blue Origin and the tickets prices are going down there. So that's something that people can definitely try to find a way to participate, and we've been offered those opportunities and now we have to try and figure out is how do we fund them so we can have the first female astronaut from Ecuador to go to space, or how do we get the first person from the Air Force to go to space. So those are opportunities that are there and now we just have to figure out how do we make sense of that and how we can fund it correctly, from the private sector in this case, and if we can get it with government support, it will be great. But I think definitely, you know, the private sector can definitely do some of the heavy lifting and find ways of collaborating, not only within Ecuador but international community, to be able to achieve those type of missions.

56:09 - Rod Pyle (Host)
So you say private sector and that kind of gives you a springboard and you've kind of half answered this question already. But in terms of moving ahead and when I say this I mean both for Ecuador and for Leviathan, your company and the efforts that you're attempting how can you be best served by the US government and by private industry here? Which will probably be best served by the US government and by private industry here, which will probably be ultimately one of the bigger investments?

56:37 - Robert Aillon (Guest)
I would definitely say that the opportunity for the US government is to show leadership in the region. It's about engaging the rest of Latin America in space and having wider conversations about how do we support within Artemis or a bigger relationship with NASA and participate in. We can do great things, for example, having the NASA Artemis and the rest of the NASA crew come and train in Ecuador. You know, very simple. They come here, they go to the volcano, they go to the lava tubes, you know, as part of their training to go to space, they can spend some time going here. That could be something really exciting that Ecuador can learn and provide we can start thinking about. There's an international program for internships that NASA provides so that can be open up to more countries in the region, including Ecuador. So those are the type of things that we definitely see that we can collaborate and participate as NASA starts thinking about how do we grow food in space and how do we feed our astronauts? You know, and the people that are going to be working there.

You know, countries like Ecuador have a lot of experience in growing food. We're big agri-exporters with shrimp $7 billion industry cocoa, bananas, cocoa coffee and fresh flowers. So we can be a great part of the diet and the health of those astronauts. So those are great lessons that we can learn and we can contribute. So I definitely think that there's a lot of room to be able to offer those opportunities. And this new hardware and infrastructure that is available now because of the private sector investment in the United States the Blue Origins, you know, the ULAs, the SpaceX definitely allows more of that interaction. And I'll tell you a funny story when we were able to send the first seats from Ecuador to the International Space Station, there are no rules or regulations right now anywhere in the region stating how do you get something to space and coming back to Earth. So when we first approached the Ministry of Agriculture saying we would like to send some seeds to the United States for research in space, they were like well, there's not a form to fill out here for that.

58:49 - Rod Pyle (Host)
So everything stops.

58:52 - Robert Aillon (Guest)
So we were saying, well, but we were able to get this form signed by APHIS in the United States, the Department of Agriculture, saying that they're okay with the seats going there to fill out this process. And then they were like well, we do not have a process, but if they're okay with sending the seats, we'll go ahead and give the okay for that too, as long as they're okay. So we were able to get that okay, but then we had to go back to them and said, but now we would like to bring the seats back to Ecuador because we finished the mission. And they were like why do you want to bring them back? What's the point? And we had to explain the point is we want to do science with that, we want to learn things. So it's very interesting.

As you know, things get more complex. You know that all the different organizations will need to adapt to space and what that means. We're going to be sending artificial organs, we're going to be sending medicine, we're going to be sending fungi to be studied and things along those lines. You know everybody needs to be involved and be part of that and shape that future, because there's no rules and regulations for any of this, so it's a no play. It's brand new.

59:58 - Tariq Malik (Host)
And I just wanted to follow up one real quick thing that you mentioned, robert, because you said, you know, the one of the goals could be the first female Ecuadorian astronaut, and and that's that suggests, of course, that there was a first male astronaut, which I believe is is it Ronnie Nader, right, who was trained? No, but we don't have an astronaut. No, no, no. So you still, you're looking to fly somebody.

01:00:21 - Robert Aillon (Guest)
We haven't been able to send anybody to space and we are looking to support that dream, you know, of Ecuador having that leader in space that is able to reach that, and it would be wonderful to have a women leader to be able to be so representative of everybody.

01:00:38 - Rod Pyle (Host)
Right. Well, there are a couple of grad students I met at the talk at the second university I was down there that I would heartily recommend for that role as being the first Ecuadorian woman on the moon. Robert, I want to give you the final word for a wrap-up statement. If you have anything you want to tell the Ecuadorian youth, the world, US government, Tarek, whoever you want to talk to, this is it man?

01:01:03 - Robert Aillon (Guest)
So I would definitely like to add, rod, that I hope that from this podcast, you know, people in the United States and other parts of the world can definitely think that there's opportunity for engagement and there are countries like Ecuador that can be markets for space. So you know, it's not only thinking about it, us centric view, but it's how can we go ahead and engage countries like Ecuador to support your own business plans about selling more products and services, you know, and and engaging the local community and creating that impact, and and and be able to expand the labor base and the knowledge base. So so you know you get, the United States is not alone. There's a whole world ready to support the efforts in space, and I and I think that's exciting part of what Artemis can provide.

01:01:48 - Rod Pyle (Host)
All right. Well, I want to thank you for joining us today for episode 104. That's 104 dazzling episodes of this Week in Space, this week about the Artemis Accords. Don't forget to check out spacecom, of course, the website to the name, and the National Space Society at nssorg. Both are good places to satisfy your spaceflight cravings and to stay abreast of the International Space Development Conference, which is coming up in just under two months and it's going to be in Los Angeles this year. Yay, very convenient for me. So if you can make it to that, you should, and we'll be having a guest on to talk about that in the next few weeks. But suffice it to say Robert's been there, I've been there, tarek's been there. It's a great place to go and be with your tribe. If you will, robert, where is the best place for us to stay abreast of what you're doing and what you have accomplished online?

01:02:43 - Robert Aillon (Guest)
Oh, I would love to invite you guys to follow in the X platform at why you kill space, and if you want to learn more about the x platform, uh, at why you kill space, and you want to learn more about the spaceport efforts at leviathan, underscore space, and that way you can definitely see all the news and definitely would like for all of you guys to come down space, visit us. You know, reach out to us and we're more than glad to host you and so you can get a little bit more about what ecuador can offer would be great all right.

01:03:10 - Rod Pyle (Host)
Of course, this is the time of the show where I say something nasty about your chair and your website and your gaming, but I'll just say where would you like us to go? Look for you.

01:03:20 - Tariq Malik (Host)
Well, I mean you can find me at spacecom, as always I am. We're like T-minus one week in a couple of days to the solar eclipse, so I've got some packing to do for my road trip up north New York to go check that out. And you can find me on the Twitter at Tari J Malik. We're to keep up with. You know how those exploits go. However, I would say, if you're in New York, do drop by the Intrepid Air and Space Museum. See Air and Space Museum where they have Apollo. When we went to the moon Rod right up your alley, which is an amazing traveling exhibit from a NASA center. So it's great to see and you're right underneath the Space Shuttle Enterprise.

01:04:01 - Rod Pyle (Host)
So when Tarek says, right up your alley, it's like saying, hey, grandpa, here's an exhibit you're going to like.

01:04:06 - Tariq Malik (Host)
Only because you've written like 30 books about Apolloollo. That's why I'm mentioning, doesn't everybody?

01:04:13 - Rod Pyle (Host)
all right, um, and and yeah, and that's a good point. We'll both be heading off to the eclipse. I'll be leaving on the fifth myself to go to austin and fortunately, we'll both be back in time to pick up the podcast before we go. I want to thank, make special thanks to Greg Autry, who introduced me to Robert through his program at Thunderbird, and also to the Guayquil chapter of the National Space Society, who I had a great time meeting while I was down there and got a really great painting from, which is in another room, but it's a picture of me on the moon, which would probably make Tarek and the staff of Twit very happy.

01:04:52 - Tariq Malik (Host)
You have to show that to us now. I will. It's a requirement.

01:04:56 - Rod Pyle (Host)
Please remember to drop us a line at twits at twittv. That's twis at twittv. We welcome your comments, suggestions and ideas, and we're starting to read favored emails on the air. So that's something to look forward to. And if, if I may, I'll just add one real quick before we go.

This is Tucker Drake, who has his own podcast. He says Rod is someone who worked for a supplier to Boeing 20 years ago. I know that at one point in time they really took things seriously. I've also worked for supply.

This is an op-ed piece, by the way. This doesn't represent our opinion necessarily. I've also worked for suppliers to Honda, Toyota and various gun companies, and none of them were as down into the dirty details as Boeing used to be, which she's casting as a good thing in this case, With all that's been happening with their planes of late. All I can think of when you're talking about Starliner is that scene in Apollo 13 where they tell Jim Lovell's son that there's been a problem with the mission and he looks up and I'll add, with doe-like eyes and said is it the door? So he closes by saying my hat's off to any astronaut, but if you're climbing into Starliner, that's some next level courage.

Well, Tucker, I hope you're not correct. Um, we got our fingers crossed for starliner. I think they've got things worked out this time. They've. They've gone through the fine-tooth comb and there has been a change of leadership at boeing that will surely ripple down through the, the space division, at some point. So fingers crossed for those guys, because they they are an amazing company that have done amazing things, and I'd like to see that part of them come back.

01:06:34 - Tariq Malik (Host)
And we'll find out in May. So you know, fingers crossed for all of that stuff too. You know that's when Starline is supposed to fly. Sonny Williams and and and Butch, they are raring to go, I can tell you.

01:06:45 - Rod Pyle (Host)
I'm sure they've been ready for quite a while, new episodes of this podcast published every Friday and your favorite pod catchers, so make sure to subscribe, tell your friends and give us reviews. We'll take whatever kind of review you want to give us, as long as it's five of something. Don't forget also that you can get all the great programming with video streams on the twit network ad free on club twit, as well as some extras that are only available there, like uh on Club Twit, as well as some extras that are only available there, like well, mostly me making fun of Tarek, again For just $7 a month. You've heard Leo talk about the tough time facing podcasters and this is your chance to step up and help, because we could really use it. Finally, you can follow the Twit Tech Podcast Network at Twit on Twitter and on Facebook and twittv on Instagram. Thank you very much, tarek. Thank you Robert. Thank you very much, tarek. Thank you Robert. Thank you everybody else, and we'll see you next time.


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