Dr. Charlie Kuehmann of SpaceX and Tesla Motors speaks to composites industry leaders about the ambitions of two innovative companies and implications for the entire industry.

October 17, 2018 (Dallas, Tx.) The fifth annual CAMX – The Composites and Advanced Materials Expo, the premier composites and advanced materials conference and trade show in North America, began today with the CAMX Live! general session, featuring Dr. Charlie Kuehmann, current VP of Materials Engineering for both SpaceX and Tesla Motors and former product design leader at Apple.

This year’s speaker delivered a passionate presentation about SpaceX programs. SpaceX’s dreams are bigger than an orbiting Martian space station or small research outpost on the surface of the moon. Dr. Kuehmann stressed that the primarily goal of SpaceX is to help humanity become a multiplanet species. He explained that SpaceX aims to help establish a million-person Mars colony in the next 50 to 100 years. To make this happen, his team is building a Big Falcon Rocket (officially shortened to BFR) – a fully reusable launch vehicle and spacecraft system. The overall space vehicle architecture includes both launch vehicles and spacecraft, as well as ground infrastructure for rapid launch and relaunch, and zero-gravity propellant transfer technology to be deployed in low Earth orbit (LEO). The payload capacity to Earth orbit of at least 100,000 kg (220,000 lb) makes BFR a super heavy-lift launch vehicle. The company publicly stated an aspirational goal for initial Mars-bound cargo flights of BFR launching as early as 2022.

Dr. Kuehmann also describes how with Tesla the goal is to ‘make life on earth better’ with products that will make ‘solar and renewable energy an easy choice for people’. For that they need to focus on products that are cost effective and durable using materials such as composites and advanced materials.

To conclude, he said that there is no better time than now to be a material’s engineer. Materials are here to stay and to make things happen. This CAMX Live! General session was breathtaking, inspiring and a great way to kick off the fifth CAMX.

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