Brad Younger, the 369th person I’ve met on my quest to have lunch with 500 strangers, is in the process of establishing Australia’s first space launch company.
Brad has taken a small step towards his big goal – last year, he launched a small rocket 4,000 feet into the air, as part of a certification flight to prove his capability. Brad built the rocket himself, over a period of several months, for a cost of about $5,000.
Currently, Brad is self-funding his company, Space Games. He’s trying to raise revenue by selling a flight that will take people’s business cards into space; the rocket will then return to Earth and customers will receive a framed copy of their other-worldly cards.
At some point, Brad will need to find investors, so Space Games can hire staff and begin the challenging – and time-consuming and expensive – task of designing a commercial rocket that can take satellites into space. Brad hopes to achieve that goal by 2030.
Brad says there are two reasons why he’s trying to build an Australian version of SpaceX. First, even though Brad’s background is in IT and marketing, he’s always been fascinated by rocketry and space. Second, he likes the idea of boosting Australia’s manufacturing capacity, given that so much manufacturing has moved offshore in the past half-century.
Some will say Brad is crazy; others inspired. I’m in the second group, which is why I wanted to have lunch with him. It takes incredible vision and courage to pursue such an enormous goal. I hope he succeeds.