On May 5 SpaceX’s Starship rocket prototype achieved its first safe landing.
After four previous attempts to safely launch and land a reusable heavy-lift launch rocket had ended in explosions, this was a monumental moment — not just for billionaire tech mogul and founder of SpaceX Elon Musk, but for humanity and its spacefaring future as well.
Dr. Robert Zubrin recently joined Newt Gingrich on the Newt’s World podcast to discuss the feat and why this changes everything for the viability of space exploration and much more. Dr. Zubrin is a former staff engineer at Lockheed Martin Astronautics, president of Pioneer Astronautics, the founder and president of the Mars Society, and the author of several books including The Case for Mars: The Plan to Settle the Red Planet and Why We Must.
The big advancement of the Spaceship is that it is a reusable rocket that can handle a much heavier payload than other existing reusable prototypes have managed to this point, he explains.
“What [Musk] and SpaceX have managed to prove is that it’s possible for a well-led entrepreneurial team to do things that were previously thought to require the efforts of the governments of the superpowers. And not only that, but do it in one-third the time and at less than one-tenth the cost, and even do things that they had deemed impossible altogether, including reusable launch vehicles that could come back and land at the launch site instead of being crashed into the ocean. This of course is the key to cheap spaceflight, enough to make possible the settling of space.”
Dr. Zubrin also discusses what this will mean for how soon we can settle Mars, the need to wake up to the Chinese government’s advancing space technologies, the revolutionary ways this will transform travel on earth, and much more.