Florida’s Fourth Estate: The significance of SpaceX flying humans to space

How once far-out ideas have turned into burgeoning business models

ORLANDO, Fla. – We all agree, space is hard. So much work goes into just getting humans to blast off it makes you wonder if the effort is worth it.

The answer is yes, a gazillion (it’s a real number because we’re talking about space) times over. On this week’s edition of Florida’s Fourth Estate, News 6 anchors Ginger Gadsden and Matt Austin speak with Laura Forczyk. She is the founder of Astralytical, a space consulting firm.

You heard right, she’s the person who can help you get your space-related career off the ground. She swears space isn’t just for rocket scientists.

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We are all ears.

In case you haven’t noticed, Florida’s Space Coast is once again the center of the space universe.

You know, like how it used to be before the Space Shuttle program ended in 2011.

It’s a situation that left the United States needing a space Lyft from the Russians to get to the International Space Station.

Not only is space hard, turns out it’s also expensive.

“Russia has been increasing the price that they charge NASA so the last price they charged NASA was $80 million,” Forczyk said.

But she said now that there are partnerships with private companies like SpaceX , the U.S. can get to the ISS for a lot cheaper. And the more companies the better it is for space business.

“So if you see that price difference …the prices might go down the more SpaceX is able to fly,” Forczyk said. “Boeing is another company that is contracted by NASA to fly astronauts to the space station, they have their Starliner. It has not been certified yet but hopefully next year we will be able to see them be able to certify the Starliner and get to fly astronauts to space as well.”

So far, SpaceX has launched two crewed missions from Kennedy Space Center. The first one, which happened in May with astronauts Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken aboard the SpaceX Crew Dragon, was a test flight. The second flight with four astronauts blasted off this month.

That’s two flights in roughly six months.

But Forczyk said she envisions a future where space flights are dramatically increased.

“I am hoping that we launch them daily,” she said with a big smile. “I am hoping that we launch them not just from the Space Coast of Florida but other operational space ports maybe elsewhere in Florida…all around the country all around the world.”

Forczyk believes one day, going to space will be like catching a plane ride home for the holidays.

But she cautions, “We’re not going to get there anytime soon and it is very expensive . But that’s where the commercial space industry comes in. If they can make it profitable, it will take off.”

So if space is so hard and expensive, how come Tom Cruise is about to make a movie on the ISS?

While not a done deal, the actor has been rumored to have his eye on shooting a feature length film with director Doug Liman. The two worked together on the movie “Edge of Tomorrow “so it’s fitting they would take their next project to the edge of space.

“My understanding is that it will be bare bones,” Forczyk said.

She said the astronauts are already familiar with cameras in space. Apparently, there are a ton of cameras on the ISS.

“If you ever look at the camera wall that they have, it’s beautiful. So, they are used to videography up there on space station,” she explained.

She also said a non-actor has already beaten Cruise at making a movie on the ISS.

“There was a private astronaut, Richard Garriott, actually flew privately for a company called Space Adventures,” Forczyk recalled. “He actually filmed his own little mini kind of amateur movie that was nine minutes long.’

Turns out Garriott is the son of former NASA astronaut, Owen Garriott, who flew on NASA’s ninth Space Shuttle mission in 1983. (This was during the era when the ISS was still being built.)

Forczyk goes on to explain, “… this Tom Cruise movie will be first large action movie that is filmed in space.”

Who knew so much was going on aboard the ISS? Did we even mention the science stuff that happens up there?

You can hear more of Forczy’s interview on Florida’s Fourth Estate and find out if a space career might be right up your interstellar alley.

Florida’s Fourth Estate looks at everything from swampy politics to a fragile environment and even the crazy headlines that make Florida the craziest state in the Union.

Ginger Gadsden and Matt Austin use decades of experience as journalists to dissect the headlines that impact Florida. Each week they have a guest host who helps give an irreverent look at the issues impacting the Sunshine State. Big influencers, like Attorney John Morgan, renowned Florida journalists and the scientists protecting Florida’s ecosystem, can often be found as guests.

Look for new episodes every Friday on iTunes, Stitcher or wherever you listen to your favorite podcasts.

Listen to the full episode of Florida’s Fourth Estate on iTunes here or on Sticher here.

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