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Space AND Humanity’s Progress with Doug Hurley

AND is the Future podcast

Season 2, Episode 2 

The new Syensqo 'And is the Future' podcasts hosted by CEO Ilham Kadri will be a continuation of the former Solvay editions that concluded after the spin off of Syensqo in December 2023.

The SpaceX Dragon launch, the Artemis mission to the moon, and what businesses can learn from space exploration

Did you watch the Netflix documentary Return to Space? Then you will remember one of the stars of the show, former NASA astronaut Doug Hurley! Ilham sits down with Doug to discuss his amazing flight in the SpaceX Dragon rocket; what sparked his passion for flight; the launch of Artemis I; when we’ll see humans on Mars; and, most importantly, what businesses can learn from space exploration.

1: 46 - Spark for passion for flight
3:24 - Experience going to space
4: 59 - The SpaceX Dragon mission
9: 32 - Focus on safety
12:50 - Friendship with fellow astronaut Bob Behnken
16:38 - SpaceX ascent and re-entry/splash down
19:46 - Bringing hope during covid-19

23:05 - Launch of Artemis I
27:32 - When will we put humans on Mars?
31:26 - Work at Northrop Grumman
36:27 - Diversity, equity and inclusion in space exploration
39:25 - What can businesses learn from space exploration?
41:56 - Devotion to family

Podcast available on   Apple podcasts     Spotify     Google podcasts

Meet Doug Hurley

Photo credit: NASA / SpaceX

Doug Hurley is a former NASA astronaut who went to space three times: In 2009, he piloted the NASA Space Shuttle Endeavour, and in 2011 he piloted the Space Shuttle Atlantis, which was the final flight of NASA’s Space Shuttle program. But that wasn’t Doug’s final flight: in 2020, he returned to space aboard the SpaceX Dragon rocket. After clocking more than 92 days in space, Doug retired from NASA and now works for Northrop Grumman, which built the two towering motors that powered NASA’s Artemis rocket to the moon.

In January 2023, Doug was awarded the Congressional Space Medal of Honor by US Vice President Kamala Harris for his significant contributions to American space programs.


Ilham Kadri: So today I'm so happy and thrilled to be speaking with former NASA astronaut Doug Hurley, who many of you will know from his starring role in the Netflix documentary Return to Space. In 2009, Doug piloted the space shuttle Endeavour, and in 2011 he piloted the Space Shuttle Atlantis, which was the final flight of the Space shuttle program.
But, that was not Doug's final flight. In 2020, in the middle of the pandemic, he returned to space aboard the SpaceX Dragon rocket. So after clocking more than 92 days in space, Doug retired, I'm not sure if you retired, really from such a job and environment, and now works for Northrop Grumman, which built the two towering motors that powered the Artemis rocket to the moon. What a resume. 
Doug, thank you so much for being here today. 

Doug Hurley: Uh, it's so good to be here with you talking about everything, space and rockets. It's very exciting. 

Spark for passion for flight

Ilham Kadri: We love it. You make us, you know, dream. So first of all, I think we are so interested to hear about your incredible career in space, but first to get to know you a bit better. Can you tell us, Doug, a little more about your upbringing? I think it was in New York, if my research is right, and what first sparked your interest in flight and then later going into space? 

Doug Hurley: Yeah I was born and raised in what we referred to here as upstate New York, so well away from New York City. So the northern part of New York, which is pretty rural. I had just a great upbringing and, you know, had a wonderful family life and played sports and all those things that, you know, young boys do. And it was at a pretty young age, you know, like 4, 5, 6, that age that I was really fascinated with airplanes and flight. And then at that time also, from a space perspective, we had already completed Apollo and we were working our way into Sky Lab, so I remember seeing Sky Lab growing up and then certainly space shuttle, but you know, always interested in space and science fiction, but really it was airplanes and jets. And so that's kind of what led me down this career path. I ended up, you know, spending the rest of my life doing so far. 

Experience going to space

Ilham Kadri: Wow. And I'm sure everyone asks you this question, so, I cannot, you know, push back myself to do it. But you've been to space three times now, and It must be a life changing experience. What was it like for you, Doug? 

Doug Hurley: Uh, going to space was incredible. I think for even the most hardened astronauts and people who don't think it's gonna have an effect on you, it does have an effect on you. To see your planet from orbit is unbelievable. It's breathtaking. It's beautiful. It, you know, you think about so many different things when you're looking back at the planet, of course, you know everything that you know and everything that you loved is back down there on the surface of the earth. You don't see borders. The sunrises, the sunsets, the different regions of the planet, the mountain ranges, the  beautiful colors of the oceans, the deserts, everything just looks incredible and it really does change your perspective on things. And I think the other part that you realize very quickly is you can see how thin the atmosphere is. And that's what's protecting us. And really gives you that sense that at least in my case, and I think many others, but certainly mine is, you know, we've gotta take care of this. You know, we've been given such a gift to be able to live on this planet and we've gotta take care of it. 

The SpaceX Dragon mission

Ilham Kadri: Wow. And you became kind of a household name with the SpaceX Dragon Mission and the Netflix, or obviously documentary that came after it. And for those who may not know about the SpaceX Dragon mission, it was very interesting because I think it's almost a partnership, right between NASA, which partners with SpaceX, obviously a private company to fly astronauts to the International Space Station from American soil for the first time since the shuttle program ended. So, Doug, it was really a new era of space exploration, right? And in that sense, there was some risk. I mean, it was a completely different rocket and different way of working, which of course had been tested multiple times, but still, and of course you have to think of your wife, your young son, I guess, right? You are a human being. What made you confident that this was going to be a successful mission, Doug? 

Doug Hurley: Yeah, that's a great question. I think, you know, part of it was, certainly after I had flown on the last shuttle flight in 2011, I honestly didn't know if there would be another space flight for me at least, certainly with NASA. But so many things have changed in the last 10, 12 years as you've kind of talked about. But I think for us, you know, being asked to participate kind of on the ground floor with at the time was both SpaceX and Boeing. Those were the two companies that were selected to build vehicles that could get us to and from the United States to the International Space Station, and carry a crew of four and to be on the ground floor, being able to help develop those vehicles initially with both companies and then of course, Bob and I being selected to be the crew that would fly the first dragon flight was kind of a dream come true in many ways from the standpoint of being a pilot and a test pilot, to be able to be the first to fly a space vehicle is kind of a once in a generational opportunity. And, we spent many, many years working with SpaceX. Frankly, living out there in Los Angeles more than we were in our home in Houston with our families. But, but certainly, yeah, we understood the risks and you know, everybody was working towards that same goal, which was to safely fly astronauts to and from the International Space Station. Being part of that, you know, living through some of the challenges we had, we lost, SpaceX lost a rocket relatively early on, in that process. It was a resupply flight where they lost a rocket. And then, you know, we worked our way towards the uncrewed test flight, which ended up being really successful. And then just a few months later, we lost that capsule in a ground test. And so yeah, there were many moments and many challenges that we had to work through to get to the point where we would fly the vehicle. We had challenges with the parachutes. Sometimes the parachutes weren't performing very well during the testing. There was a lot of work that went into getting those designed to the point where people were really comfortable with the parachutes. And then finally we got to the point where SpaceX performed an inflight abort test of the entire system. And so what that involved was using a, essentially destroying a rocket in order to prove that the capsule, the dragon capsule could successfully separate from the rocket if there was an issue with the rocket and get the crew back to safety. And that test went off without a hitch. It was an amazing test. And I think at that point, both Bob and I had just incredible confidence that the vehicle, the system would perform well. And even if it didn't and we had a really bad day, that the abort capability was there to save us and get us back to our families if the worst happened. Luckily we had a great, we had a great mission. 

Focus on safety 

Ilham Kadri: Yeah, this is fabulous. And I'm sure it resonates with many of our employees and in the audience, right? Because at the end of the day, also the chemical industry and the industry in general, we're still looking for our way to zero accidents and incidents and get everybody working for companies like ours back home, safely. And It's interesting to hear someone like you how you manage your risk and there are always risks no matter what, of course. And I know you saw that firsthand as you were actually on the runway when the Columbia accident happened, right. Doug? If I read it well, and that was before you ever went to space. What was that moment like for you? 

Doug Hurley: Yeah. That was in 2003. And ironically it was both Bob and I. We, part of our job, our first job as astronauts after we completed our initial training was as astronaut support personnel or what we call K crusaders. And so that job involved all the launches and landings for the different shuttle flights, and we would strap the crews in, we would configure the vehicles. We would typically be the last one out when the crew was strapped in ready for launch and we'd be the first one in after they landed. And my first time as kind of the lead was during STS 1 0 7. So we, I had strapped the crew in January. I think it was January 15th or 16th when they launched. And then of course, this was February 1st and we were at the runway in Florida waiting for them to land and of course as history tells us they didn't, you know the vehicle broke up over kind of the Central United States and we lost the crew and yeah, it was an incredibly difficult experience to go through as you would imagine. I mean, you know, I think part of it is it was so public and so, you know, the world knew, right? And then it was seven people that I had gotten to know really well, having worked with them for the, you know, that year leading up to their launch and they were, they were just a wonderful group of people anyway. So it was just, you know, a terrible, terrible event. But it shows that, you know, all the things that we ask of vehicles to do, going to and from space, you know, it's dangerous. You know, there's just so much physics involved to get a vehicle to go from zero to 17,500 miles an hour into orbit, and then you have to do the same thing in reverse to get 'em back home. And everything has to work the way it was designed. And unfortunately, there was a, the heat shield was compromised on the assent of Columbia, and there was a hole in the wing and those three or 4,000 degrees that that vehicles experiences are coming back through the atmosphere, you know, essentially melted the wing of Columbia and, you know, we lost the vehicle and the crew.

Friendship with fellow astronaut Bob Behnken

Ilham Kadri: Yeah. And it's, yeah, it's, tragic. It's heartbreaking. And so to move to maybe more positives, you talked about Bob, I think it's Bob Behnken, if I pronounce it well. In the documentary, when I watched it with my family, one of the best parts actually beyond, you know, the magic of what you are doing is seeing the close friendship you had with your mission partner, Bob, and the great bond that's formed throughout the years. I loved how you brought that toy dinosaur into space for your sons as your zero gravity indicator and that people called you the “space dads.” What was it like going into space with such a good friend? Does it actually weigh more than with someone you don't know and that could, you could essentially probably trust with your life? How is it? 

Doug Hurley: Yeah. No, it's a, it's a great question. I, I think for, you know, it was such a privilege and we were lucky. You know, Bob was…we gravitated to each other almost from day one when we showed up at 2000. And we've been close friends every since where we were in each other's weddings and we both married astronauts. We're all, all four of us are very close and our sons are close. But, you know, it really made such a difference, I think, one, because we knew each other so well, we had flown together so many times in a NASA jet and done so many simulators together as we were, training for Shuttle. And we just knew each other's, you know, you could just tell what each other were thinking without ever saying anything. We had tremendous confidence in each other's abilities. You know, we both had an incredible amount of experience in flight tests. We'd worked major programs in the military. Bob had worked on the F 22 and I'd worked on the Super Hornet. But I think, you know, for Bob and I having known each other so well, it just in so many ways made it easier because it was a pretty monumental task, I think, to be quite honest, when NASA had first awarded that contract to SpaceX and to Boeing, I think there were very few people who really, honestly believed that SpaceX would be successful flying people. And, Bob and I probably were two of those people, but it was a monumental task. I think people expected it would be much easier with Boeing than it would be with SpaceX. And so ironically that's not the way it went, but, it just really helped in every possible way. And then in the end, you know, just from the human standpoint, you know, being able to fly with one of your best if, if not your best friend. I mean, that is such a, I mean, it's so lucky to be able to do that. And, you know, because in most cases the NASA crews, you, you may not even, you know, you get assigned with a, with a crew mate or multiple crew mates in the case of ISS or with Shuttle, you may not know 'em hardly at all. And, and that's not necessarily a bad thing, but you know, I didn't have to worry about any of those things and knew that Bob and I, you know, we'd been all over, literally all over the world together and, you know, trained together and done all these different things, both, as astronauts and, you know, then our families. It just was easy.

SpaceX ascent and re-entry/splash down

Ilham Kadri: Yeah, what an adventure? And I have to say, watching that documentary, there are so many tense moments, Doug, especially the lift off, the splash down and those excruciating few seconds during the blackout when you are hurling back towards the earth. And of course we already know it all ends well, but it gets your heart rate going all the same. And we are just sitting on our sofa. What was that moment like for you? 

Doug Hurley: Yeah, I mean, it was all, they were all big and you, you know, just from a professional standpoint that the ascent and the entry are typically the most dangerous. They're typically where things could go wrong, that it's typically in those environments. But I think, you know, kind of goes back to what we were talking about before, you know, just how flawlessly space ex executed the uncured test flight from start to finish. The in flight abort test was flawless. And, so we kind of felt like we were certainly trained well enough to handle any issues that might come up. We were confident in the teams, both the SpaceX mission control teams and the NASA teams. And you know, I think so many times, and as I've gotten older, I've gotten better at this. But I think it's just, you know,  the biggest thing you have to remember to do in life is enjoy the moment. Take the moment in. And I think we did that, you know, and I remember there were many times where we looked at each other and it was like, well, it's the first time somebody's done this or, you know, in a, in a Dragon, or, that's the first time we've done that. And, it was, the whole mission was like that. And so it was just, and you know, once again we had confidence in ourselves, but we also had confidence in the system and the confidence in the folks that built Dragon and built Falcon nine. And, you know, cuz we had spent literally the last several years leading up to that flight with them. And, you know, it was a great team and we had a great team of NASA engineers and flight directors that were there as well. It was a small team, but it was a, just a incredible group of folks. And, and yeah, we lived through it. I, you know, I think that the part that probably doesn't get mentioned as much and maybe you felt that way when you were watching Return to Space. Your families, they are the ones that are kind of on the edge of their seat because they don't have any control about what's going on. They don't know exactly what's going on, certainly at the moment. And so, it was certainly, we were confident that everything would work the way it was supposed to, and it did. And, we got to get back with our families a couple months after we launched.

Bringing hope during covid-19

Ilham Kadri: Absolutely. And you talked about, you know, enjoy the journey, the carpe diem at the same time, family, having faith. And, I think you know it, Doug, you brought a lot of hope to people in a very dark time when we were in a lockdown with Covid 19. And, remember you posted so many incredible pictures of planet Earth, our home on that mission, and many people followed your story and we're so inspired. I think you, you are actually bringing more, more talent, you know, into the pipeline probably who wanna do the same. And I suppose it never gets old looking out of the window down to our beautiful planet. Have you received this testimonial? Did you know up there that you were impacting us during our, you know, crazy lockdown? 

Doug Hurley: You know, we, I don't think we did really understand or realize at the time that it was that impactful to people. I'm so glad it was, certainly part of it was because, you know, we were getting ready to launch, which in and of itself I think was a testament to the folks at SpaceX and NASA that we even launched during the, kind of the peak of the pandemic. And folks made it happen and made it happen safely, but I think, you know, because people were a little bit, you know, they were kind of stuck, you know, at home, they had the opportunity maybe to watch us fly in space that maybe a lot of people wouldn't have had, had they, you know, had it been kind of normal and people had been, you know, doing their normal routine every day. And so I think that was, in that vein, I think I'm very happy that we did inspire folks in whatever way we did, because, you know, doing something that is bigger than yourself, you know, to me is one of the most incredible things you can do. You know, supporting our planet, supporting, you know, technology, pushing, exploration, whatever you want to call it. You know, if it inspired people, you know, we’re very happy, but I, once again, I don't think we quite realized at the time, and I think part of it was just, we just didn't, and the other part was we were busy. They kept us very, very busy for the two months we were up there. Because at the time, you know, Chris Cassidy was the only US crew member on Space Station for several months because of the, you know, just because of the way the rotations had worked. And so there was a lot of work to be done on Space Station once we got there as well. But yeah, I think it's neat and it's, I'm, you know, it's one of the things that makes me really smile about that time was that it did inspire people and hopefully to participate in these types of things going forward, whether it's Artemis, whether it's STEM, whether it's technology, whether it's engineering, whether it's chemistry, whatever it is. You know, to make this a better place. 

Launch of Artemis I

Ilham Kadri: Definitely, and we all just witnessed Doug, the thrilling launch of Artemis I, the test flight which will set the stage for humans going back to the moon and later to Mars. And to the moon, I was born by now you would know my age, the year of Apollo 11 was, was the American space flight that first landed humans on the moon and Neil Armstrong, obviously who became the first person to walk on the moon. It was amazing. So what made, you know, NASA decide to resurrect the Moon program? Is it, uh, because I remember when it was by the President of the United States of America. He had a dream and a big dream that scared the whole, probably scientific people, but okay. We like big dreams and we go after them. And if they don't scare us, they're not big enough. Why doing it again, Doug? And, and is it the moon to Mars? We wanna see if we can do it again. Um, give us a bit, your perspective.

Doug Hurley: I think. You know, if you go way back in history with Apollo, you know, we literally scratched the surface of the moon. You know, we only sent, I think it was six flights to the moon and five landed if I'm correct, remember my history. And it was between 1969 and 1972 and the scientific part of it, we barely did much. I think if you, if you talk to, you know, the geologists and the scientists, that, and there was just so much more to do. And, you know, once again, NASA certainly has had to deal with the politics of, you know, the politics and the budgets. They've had to do that since the day NASA was formed. And the decision was made by then President Nixon to cancel Apollo, you know, before we had flown out Apollo 18, 19, and 20, I think were in various stages of production to be able to fly those flights and they were canceled. You know, we went in a different direction. And then when I was an astronaut, an active astronaut, you know, we had had a couple different startups of lunar moon programs again, and, you know, for budgetary reasons, political reasons, they just didn't take. And, you know, it's great to see Artemis come to fruition, with this first flight and ideally many more. And then use the moon as a stepping stone to ultimately go to Mars, which I think is what everybody wants to do. But with the understanding that, you know, you can take advantage of going to the moon, learning what we can about going to another planetary body and being able to stay there for longer periods, which is what's gonna be part of the many technical challenges of going to Mars. And, and then once again, also the scientific discovery that is still out there as far as the moon is concerned. You know, that we barely did during the Apollo era. So I think it's, you know, for many reasons, and frankly, the third reason is a little bit about what we were talking about before. It's just inspiring those next generations of scientists and engineers. You know, that's part of what space exploration needs to do is we need to keep these newer, younger folks involved in our industries and this is a way that it really inspires many people. If we're seeing pictures of the moon again, in 2022, and then we have humans flying around the moon hopefully in just a couple years, and then landing on the moon not long after that, that to me is incredibly inspiring and emotional and yeah, but it's part of it. And, and I think we need to have all those things in play to have these programs be successful. 

When will we put humans on Mars? 

Ilham Kadri: Absolutely. And I think as you say, the stepping stone to fly humans to Mars, which is, you know, a big mission by itself. How do you, how soon do you think Doug that will be, and what do you think life will be like for the first astronauts that go there? Because it's a long way, huh? 

Doug Hurley: Yeah. No kidding. Yeah, it's a good question. I think it's hard to answer when we would go to Mars, I think, you know, at this point, if I was sitting here in 2022, I think, you know, it's probably a couple decades away, if not longer. And, and part of it is because the effort is gonna be so monumental, from the standpoint of it's not just gonna be, and you can sort of see this with the Artemis Accords, you can see that many countries are involved with Artemis in one way, shape, or form. And I think, to have a successful effort to send humans to Mars and then bring them home, that contribution has to come from many, many countries, many, many space agencies, private companies. I mean, it is just gonna have to be this monumental effort to get humans to Mars, safely and so I think that in and of itself is gonna take a while to kind of build that coalition and that program and then maintain that momentum that you're gonna need in order to do that. And then of course the other part of it is the technology. I think we have many of the technologies that we need, but there are certainly gonna be things that we're gonna learn, with our longer stays on the moon, during Artemis, that will inform how we design our vehicles and our space suits and how we keep ourselves or the human part of it healthy. Certainly, and then the other part you mentioned is just the length of those missions. I mean, just to get to Mars with the technology we have today, takes months, six to nine months, depending on how the planets align. And then of course, if you're gonna go all the way to Mars, you can't just stay there for two days, you're gonna stay there for a while. And so those missions could be years long for the humans and to keep humans healthy in that environment, which is so, so threatening, you know, between radiation, the lack of gravity, all the different things that, you know, you would experience in two or three years of living on the planet. Just think about what you're gonna be subjected to in this type of mission. And then what we know and what we don't know. There's a lot of challenges that we need to overcome to ensure that, you know, the folks that go do these missions come back to their families and so lots to do, but it's exciting and I mean, yeah, just think about when that first human sets foot on Mars I mean, the whole world will probably be glued to a screen watching it, and then you just think about the inspiration that that will create and the scientific discovery that's probably waiting for us on Mars, you know, since we think Mars is probably most like earth, in the solar system. And I mean, I just, I can't even imagine. So, you know, I, of course I can't wait, but I know, you know, from the way things are and to do it right, it'll take many years before we're there. 

Work at Northrop Grumman 

Ilham Kadri: Yeah, I cannot wait either. So now, Doug, instead of being an astronaut, getting ready to fly, people say you're retired, but actually for the Artemis mission, you now work at Northrop Grumman, the company that's created the solid rocket boosters for the Artemis mission, and as well as its launch a board system, which will automatically prepare the astronaut to safety if an accident occurs. And you, you talked about the importance of safety. And by the way, as a company, we humbly, you know, we are extremely proud to partner with Northrop Grumman and to provide the ablative materials for the rocket nozzles and the launch abort system. So how does it feel now to be on this side of the curtain of the business, making the rockets that will power fellow astronauts into space and keeping them safe if any accidents were to happen during the launch? Are you a bit frustrated to say, I wanna be there? Or you say, you know, it's a time now that I impact and give my expertise into another part of the journey and the mission.

Doug Hurley: I, yeah, I think, you know, certainly. You know, given the opportunity, maybe you keep flying. But at some point, you know, we all have to make these decisions, you know, to do other things. And I think I kind of felt like for me and for our family, you know, my wife, is also an astronaut and, you know, putting your family through those, through launches and space flights is very emotional for them. You know, it's much harder for them than it is for you flying those space flights. And we have been, as a family, I've been on both sides of that. I've been, you know, I was there at three in the morning in Kazakhstan and I watched her launch to the Space Station for six months when our son was three years old. So it's you know, it's one of those things that it's incredible to have the privilege to be able to fly in space. But it's also, you know, a lot like the military people experience where you, you know, when your loved one is in space, there's always the opportunity that something bad can happen. And, you know, it's just, it, it's just a, it's just a level of stress that, you know you don't, at least from our family's perspective, we didn't wanna just continue to do forever. And, the other part is, is this, this opportunity certainly with Northrop Grumman allows me to stay connected to the human space flight activity, and contribute to it, which, you know, I'm certainly very passionate about it. I have been for a very long time. It also allows us to live somewhere that we've always wanted to live in the mountains. And so it's just, this just seemed like a great fit for us, as our son gets older and we can, you know, spend more time supporting him because as a parent you kind of feel like that's your number one job is at this point, is to make sure that you raise somebody who can contribute to society and make this world a better place. And so I think it was all those things that kind of led to our decision to stop flying at least, with NASA and, and frankly, you know, for me it's like if I'm not flying for NASA, I'm not sure I'd wanna fly again. And, you know, and, and then the other part is that there are plenty of people that deserve the opportunity of flying space and to go do these great things and you know, we had our opportunity and, and loved every minute of it, but it was time for someone else.  

Diversity, equity and inclusion in space exploration

Ilham Kadri: What a leadership lesson so leaving space for your successors. Before I closed Doug, and this is an inspiring and enriching, you know, conversation I wanted to ask you about diversity, equity, and inclusion. It’s close to my heart in the industry, but in space exploration because while things are improving quite a lot, there is still a long way to go. And I know that both you and Bob are married to accomplished astronauts who have incredible careers. It's, I think, probably unique. I try to do homework and to see if there are couples like this, and it's just fantastic to see that Artemis will set the stage for the first woman and the first person of color on the moon. You think that the industry's moving fast and in the right direction, Doug? 

Doug Hurley: I certainly, from my perspective, I think, you know, like with anything, there's certainly, you know, you don't wanna rest on your laurels and certainly, we can do better. But I certainly saw that as a NASA astronaut, we did so much to include and be diverse and get folks from all walks of life. And I think we did pretty well, certainly as I had been there a few years when we started selecting for what would be, I guess considered the space station era and, you know, as the shuttle was phasing out, and I think it just, it makes for a better organization. You know, the challenge that we have and maybe continue to have, is just those fields that we select astronauts from. You know, the diversity within those fields still has a ways to go as well. So I think while we did a great job with our selection of astronauts, it also was a reflection of those particular fields and the number of women and people of color that were in those fields relatively speaking. And I think you're seeing gains in those fields, and I think by default you'll see those gains be reflected certainly with these crews that will fly to the moon and ultimately to Mars. Yeah, I think it was really inspiring to see NASA make that statement very early on, that, you know, the first woman and the first person of color walking on the moon during Artemis. And, just what that will do to inspire folks from those backgrounds to go into those fields, kind of like we were talking before. It's, you know, we need everybody we can get to go into the STEM fields and you know, whether it is you end up as an astronaut, whether you end up as a chemist, whether you end up as, a mission controller, a flight director. Whatever, somebody who designs the tools that we're gonna use on the moon and on Mars, whatever the case. I think seeing someone that looks like you, that is walking on the moon will have that incredible inspiration going forward. And, you know, I know you can't wait, but neither can I. I mean, it's very exciting. 

What can businesses learn from space exploration? 

Ilham Kadri: Thank you, Doug. And what's a pledge right, to attract more STEM women and minorities because that's the problem we're facing in my industry is that we're still anecdotes at the top of companies because we miss the pipeline and you mention it is when you go and tap into these pools of candidates, you need that pipeline. So, as you know, Doug, the podcast is about the power of the AND (A-N-D) and how businesses can be both sustainable and profitable, and how we can ensure that we are science-based and human company, and that our scientific solutions are at the service of humanity. In space exploration as in business, we have to take risks both in the short, long term to be successful. And I think you are the perfect role model, the perfect person to ask because you are taking that spirit into the business world yourself by now. What do you think businesses can learn from space exploration and from astronauts like you? 

Doug Hurley: Well, I think, I mean, I think you said it, you know, you have to be willing to take risks for what you believe in. And you know, not taking full hearted risks, but just taking calculated risks in order to better, not only better the planet, but better exploration and for the benefit of your company. And I think all those things go hand in hand and yeah, I hope that's the case as we go forward, that this type of endeavor that we're doing to explore the moon and ultimately Mars, you know, we can, as a company or as companies can take these risks in order to, you know, set ourselves up for success in those missions. Because I think you, the safest thing you can do, certainly, and I remember a friend of mine used to say this all the time, it's like the safest thing you can do is not go fly in space and not go take these risks. And, and I think it's the same for not only in your life, but in your business life. If you don't take any risks, there aren't gonna be any rewards. You know, whether it's, you know, something better for humanity or whether it's something as basic as profit for your company. I mean, you're not gonna get anything for free. I hope that, you know, we can take inspiration from these, these huge, you know, multi-company, multi country exploration events, whether it's the moon, whether it's Mars, or whether it's even beyond that at some point, and realize that there is a reward, but you have to take those risks.

Devotion to family 

Ilham Kadri: And you are an inspiration. I mean this is an amazing conversation. So let me go to a final question What do you enjoy doing most outside of your focus on space? 

Doug Hurley: Well, yeah, so it's really just about our family. You know, just being able to, you know, watch our son grow up and experience all the things that he's experiencing. He's gotten to do some pretty neat things as a pretty young child. He's gotten to see his parents fly in space a few times and fly jets and all those things, and then now, you know, his new life in Utah and living in the mountains and being able, you know, hike and ski and all those things that my wife and I, Karen, love to do and have waited long time to get here. And so it's just, I think it's just all those things. And just having a, you know, kind of having a normal life. 

Ilham Kadri: Yeah. A normal life with an extraordinary man. Thank you so much, Doug, for joining us today. You know, many people call you an American hero. For me, you are the family or the Space Dad, preferred Space Dad. I love that part and I have to agree with all that you are a hero for all of us and a role model. I mean, today you have given us so many leadership lessons, which resonate with me and with many in the audience. So we, you made us dream. You inspired us. Thank you again for this fascinating discussion.

Doug Hurley: Well, thank you so much. I enjoyed it so, so much and, best of luck. Thank you.