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So what I'm going to talk about here is, this is a power station.
So if you've ever wondered
what a couple of million horsepower looked like,
that's pretty much what it looks like.
And for me, it's always been about the rocket.
In fact so much so that when I was growing up,
the school called in my parents to have a bit of a discussion,
because they believed that my aspirations
were unrealistic for what I wanted to do.
(Laughter)
And they suggested that I take up a job at the local aluminium smelter,
because I was very good with my hands.
But for me, aluminium, or as you Canadians say, "aluminum,"
was not part of my plan at all.
So I started building rockets when I was at school.
They got bigger and bigger.
I actually hold an unofficial land speed record
for a rocket bike and roller blades
while wearing a rocket pack.
(Laughter)
But as the rockets got larger and larger,
and more and more complex,
I started to be able to think I could do something with this.
Now today we hear about very large rockets
taking humans to, or aspiring to take humans to,
the Moon, and Mars and beyond.
And that's really important,
but there's a revolution going on in the space industry,
and it's not a revolution of the big,
it's a revolution of the small.
So here we have an average-to-large-sized spacecraft in 1990.
We can tell it's 1990 because of the powder blue smocks
for all the trained in the clean rooms in 1990.
But that was your average-to-large-sized spacecraft in 1990.
Here's a spacecraft that's going to launch this year.
This particular spacecraft has four high-resolution cameras,
a whole lot of senors, a CoMP communication system.
We're going to launch thousands of these into the solar system
to look for extraterrestrial life.
Quite different.
You see that Moore's law really applied itself to spacecraft.
However, the rockets that we've been building
have been designed for carrying these very large,
school-bus-sized spacecraft to orbit.
But this kind of launch vehicle here is not very practical
for launching something that will fit on the tip of my finger.
And to give you a sense of scale here,
this rocket is so large that I inserted a picture of myself
in my underpants, in complete confidence,
knowing that you will not be able to find me.
That's how big this rocket actually is.
(Laughter)
Moving on.
(Laughter)
So this is our rocket -- it's called the Electron.
It's a small launch vehicle
for lifting these small payloads into orbit.
And the key here is not the size of the rocket --
the key here is frequency.
If you actually wanted to democratize space
and enable access to space,
launch frequency is the absolute most important thing
out of all of this.
Now in order to really democratize space, there's three things you have to do.
And each one of these three things has kind of the equivalent amount of work.
So the first is, obviously, you have to build a rocket.
The second is regulatory, and the third is infrastructure.
So let's talk a little bit about infrastructure.
So this is our launch site --
it's obviously not Cape Canaveral,
but it's a little launch site --
in fact, it's the only private orbiter launch site
in the entire world, down in New Zealand.
And you may think that's a bit of an odd place
to build a rocket company and a launch site.
But the thing is that every time you launch a rocket,
you have to close down around about 2,000 kilometers of airspace,
2,000 kilometers of marine and shipping space,
and ironically, it's one of the things in America
that doesn't scale very well,
because every time you close down all that airspace,
you disrupt all these travelers trying to get to their destination.
The airlines really hate rocket companies,
because it costs them around $70,000 a minute, and so on.
So what you really need,
if you want to truly have rapid access to space,
is a reliable and frequent access to space,
is you need, basically, a small island nation
in the middle of nowhere, with no neighbors and no air traffic.
And that just happened to be New Zealand.
(Laughter)
So, that's kind of the infrastructure bit.
Now the next bit of that is regulatory.
So, believe it or not,
New Zealand is not known for its space prowess,
or at least it wasn't.
And you can't just rock on up to a country
with what is essentially considered an ICBM,
because unfortunately, if you can put a satellite into orbit,
you can use that rocket for doing significantly nasty things.
So quickly, you run afoul of a whole lot of rules and regulations,
and international treaties
of the nonproliferation of weapons of mass destruction and whatnot.
So it becomes quite complex.
So in order for us to launch down in New Zealand,
we had to get the United States government and the New Zealand government
to agree to sign a bilateral treaty.
And then once that bilateral treaty was signed
to safeguard the technology,
the New Zealand government had a whole lot of obligations.
And they had to create a lot of rules and regulations.
In fact, they had to pass laws through a select committee
and through Parliament, ultimately, and to complete laws.
Once you have laws, you need somebody who administers them.
So they had to create a space agency.
And once they did, the Aussies felt left out,
so they had to create a space agency.
And on and on it goes.
So you see, there's a massive portion of this, in fact,
two thirds of it, that does not even involve the rocket.
(Laughter)
Now, let's talk about the rocket.
You know, what I didn't say
is that we're actually licensed to launch every 72 hours for the next 30 years.
So we have more launch availability as a private company
than America does as an entire country.
And if you've got a launch every 72 hours,
then that means you have to build a rocket every 72 hours.
And unfortunately, there's no such thing as just a one-stop rocket shop.
You can't go and buy bits to build a rocket.
Every rocket is absolutely bespoke,
every component is absolutely bespoke.
And you're in a constant battle with physics every day.
Every single day, I wake up and I battle physics.
And I'll give you an example of this.
So on the side of our rocket, there's a silver stripe.
The reason is because there's avionic components behind there.
We needed to lower the emissivity of the skin
so we didn't cook the components from the sunlight.
So we paint a silver stripe.
Unfortunately, as you're sailing through the Earth's atmosphere,
you generate a lot of static electricity.
And if you don't have conductive paint,
you'll basically send lightning bolts down to the Earth.
So even the silver paint has to be triboelectrificated
and certified and applied and everything,
and the stickers, they're a whole nother story.
But even the simplest thing is always, always a real struggle.
Now, to the heart of any launch vehicle is the engine.
This is our Rutherford rocket engine.
And usually, you measure rocket engines
in terms of time to manufacture, in terms of sort of months
or even sometimes years, on really big engines.
But if you're launching every 72 hours --
there's 10 engines per rocket --
then you need to produce an engine very quickly.
We needed to come up with a whole new process
and a whole new cycle for the rocket engine.
We came up with a new cycle called the electric turbo pump,
but we also managed to be able to 3D-print these rocket engines.
So each one of these engines is 3D-printed out of Inconel superalloy,
and right now, we can print round about one engine every 24 hours.
Now, the electric turbo pump cycle
is a totally different way to pump propellant
into the rocket engine.
So we carry about one megawatt where the battery is on board.
And we have little electric turbo pumps, about the size of a Coke can,
not much bigger than a Coke can.
They spin at 42,000 RPM,
and each one of those Coke-can-sized turbo pumps
produces about the same amount of horsepower
as your average family car,
and we have 20 of them on the rocket.
So you can see even the simplest thing, like pumping propellants,
always pretty much drives you insane.
This is Electron, it works.
(Laughter)
(Applause)
Not only does it work once, it seems to work quite frequently,
which is handy when you've got a lot of customers to put on orbit.
So far, we've put 25 satellites in orbit.
And the really cool thing
is we're able to do it very, very accurately.
In fact, we insert the satellites to within an accuracy of 1.4 kilometers.
And I guess if you're riding in a cab,
1.4 kilometers is not very accurate.
But in, kind of, space terms,
that equates to around about 180 milliseconds.
We travel 1.4 kilometers in about 180 milliseconds.
So, it's actually quite hard to do.
(Laughter)
Now, what I want to talk about here is space junk.
We've talked a lot during this talk about, you know,
how we want to launch really frequently, every 72 hours,
and all the rest of it.
However, I don't want to go down in history
as the guy that put the most amount of space junk in orbit.
This is kind of the industry's dirty little secret here,
what most people don't realize is that the majority of space junk by mass
is not actually satellites, it's dead rockets.
Because as you ascend to orbit,
you have to shed bits of the rocket to get there,
with the battle of physics.
So I'm going to give a little Orbital Mechanics 101 here,
and talk about how we go to orbit,
and how we do it really, really differently from everybody else.
So the second stage cruises along
and then we separate off a thing at the top called the kick stage,
but we leave the second stage in this highly elliptical orbit.
And at the perigee of the orbit, or the lowest point,
it dips into the Earth's atmosphere and basically burns back up.
So now we're left with this little kick stage,
that white thing on the corner of the screen.
It's got its own propulsion system,
and we use it to raise and trim the orbit
and then deploy the spacecraft.
And then because it's got its own engine, we put it into a retro orbit,
put it back into a highly elliptical orbit,
reenter it into the atmosphere and burn it back up,
and leave absolutely nothing behind.
Now everybody else in the industry is just downright filthy,
they just leave their crap everywhere out there.
(Laughter)
(Applause)
So I want to tell you a little bit of a story,
and this is going to date me,
but I went to a school at the very bottom of the South Island in New Zealand,
tiny little school,
and we had a computer not dissimilar to this one.
And attached to that computer was a little black box called a modem,
and every Friday, the class would gather around the computer
and we would send an email to another school in America
that was lucky enough to have the same kind of setup,
and we would receive an email back.
And we thought that was just incredible, absolutely incredible.
Now I often wonder
what would happen if I traveled back in time
and I sat down with myself
and I explained all of the things that were going to occur
because of that little black box connected to the computer.
You would largely think that it would be complete fantasy.
But the reality is that is where we are right now with space.
We're right on the verge of democratizing space,
and we have essentially sent our first email to space.
Now I'll give you some examples.
So last year, we flew a small satellite
for a bunch of high school students who had built it.
And the high school students were studying the atmosphere of Venus.
Those are high school students launching their own satellite.
Another great example,
there's a number of really big programs right now
to place large constellations, of small satellites in orbit
to deliver internet to every square millimeter on the planet.
And for pretty much everybody in this room,
that's just handy,
because we can stream Netflix anywhere we want.
But if you think about the developing countries of the world,
you've just disseminated the entire knowledge of the world
to every single person in the world.
And that's going to have a pretty major effect.
Thanks very much.
(Applause)
コツ:単語をクリックしてすぐ意味を調べられます!

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【TED】Small rockets are the next space revolution | Peter Beck

25 タグ追加 保存
林宜悉 2019 年 12 月 10 日 に公開
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