Innovation Heroes: Space, high tech’s final frontier
The ‘holy grail’ of commercial space is finally within reach – and it’s going to change everything

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Getting to space – and back again – has never been a speedy, easy, or affordable affair. But that might be changing if companies like STOKE Space have anything to say about it.

On the latest episode of Innovation Heroes, STOKE’s co-founder, Andy Lapsa joins our podcast host Ed McNamara to discuss the future of commercially viable space flight.

Before starting his new venture, Lapsa spent a decade as a rocket engineer at Blue Origin, William Shatner’s spaceship of choice. Today, STOKE is focused on building the infrastructure needed to make accessing the final frontier simpler and sustainable.

“We’re at a very unique spot in history. Our population is scaling at an incredible pace, and I think it’s fair to say that none of us fully understand what the impact of that is going to be yet. But I think if we’re going to put our civilization on a track that is not only sustainable, but also scalable, I think space is a necessary ingredient and a necessary pillar to doing that,” he says.

In this episode, Lapsa says the next five to 10 years of space tech development will have huge implications on everything from biomedicine, telecommunications, and even data storage. SHI readers take note: You might not be talking about the cloud in a few years; your data might live hundreds of miles above the atmosphere, where access to sunlight-powered electricity and sub-zero cooling is 24/7.

But to make these new frontiers a reality, companies like STOKE aim to make getting to space and back again commercially viable.

“For the first time, my team at STOKE is primed to be able to attack what really is the holy grail of rocketry,” he says. “We’re not the first people by any stretch to talk about high-cadence rapid reuse of 100% reusable vehicles that go to and from space, because as an industry we’ve been dreaming about that for at least 70 years. But now, we’re at the moment in history where the timing is right to go do this, for real.”

To hear the full interview, click play on the player above or listen and subscribe on the podcast platform of your choice.

This episode of innovation Heroes is brought to you by Autodesk. Visit shi.com/autodesk to learn more.