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  • - Hey guys, this is Austin.

  • And this is something a little different.

  • Today's story actually takes place

  • on the other side of the country.

  • Meet Joe Barnard, a rocket scientist

  • who inspired by a certain aerospace company

  • has started to develop his own self landing rocket

  • just on a slightly different scale

  • and with no formal education.

  • I mean, this guy designs and builds pretty much everything

  • all by himself and is able to keep the lights on

  • by documenting the entire process

  • and selling some of the components.

  • However, right about now,

  • he's preparing for his biggest challenge yet.

  • This has been an absolutely

  • massive project, and it wouldn't had been possible

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  • on iOS and Android, which means that with a single tap

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  • (birds chirp)

  • (computer beeps)

  • (drone buzzes)

  • - Okay, and it's time.

  • Here we go.

  • (bright music)

  • (rocket fires)

  • The BPS Echo test vehicle.

  • This is actually the computer I use to land the rockets.

  • (computer beeps)

  • (rocket fires)

  • This is like extremely basic stuff.

  • We're only firing a single core vehicle,

  • which means we only need four clamps.

  • These four here.

  • (machines whirl)

  • You know, this is how they really do it

  • in real aerospace companies.

  • They have just one desk,

  • and there's like just trash all over it.

  • Okay, so the whole thing is put together,

  • the motor's inserted.

  • (computer beeps)

  • (clamps creak)

  • Hey, bingo!

  • And then if we release the clamps.

  • This is what happened at launch.

  • It's good to go.

  • And that's how they work.

  • (computer beeps)

  • (switch clicks)

  • (rocket fires)

  • And

  • done.

  • Well, done with that part.

  • Now there are like several hundred other more parts.

  • Before I got any footage of anything working,

  • the general consensus was, no, you can't do this.

  • I put this by the door

  • so that if there's a fire,

  • it's gonna be a lot harder to get out.

  • - [Announcer] Five, four, three, two, one.

  • (rocket fires)

  • (rocket fires)

  • I studied at the Berklee College of Music.

  • The joke is that at Berklee they teach you

  • how to say, "Do you want fries with that?"

  • I have been making YouTube videos of like

  • cover songs and original songs

  • in my parents basement for years.

  • (indie rock music)

  • And when she said no

  • ♪ I said no, no, no

  • ♪ I said no

  • No

  • So I got better at film making,

  • and some point I realized people will pay me money for this.

  • And that's a surprisingly big motivator.

  • I had been working in film for awhile.

  • It was just something I saw scrolling on Facebook.

  • It was this little video of SpaceX doing a test

  • with what's called the Falcon 9 Dev-R.

  • It's a rocket booster,

  • but it's not going into space.

  • It's just doing little hop tests down in Texas somewhere.

  • I saw that, and I was like, oh, man.

  • I need to be working for these people.

  • I had to like prove in a non-go-back-to-college kind of way

  • that I was serious about it.

  • I thought maybe I could try to like land a model rocket.

  • It's just a model rocket.

  • Like how hard could it be?

  • (drum roll music)

  • And I still haven't been able to land it.

  • Welcome to the rocket factory (laughs),

  • which is my apartment,

  • not a factory.

  • There's a lot of propellant in one apartment,

  • and it's all in a fireproof box.

  • Don't worry, Mom.

  • We've got our washer here,

  • and a 3D printer number one.

  • And the dryer here,

  • and 3D printer number two.

  • We can do both laundry and 3D printing services here.

  • Moving to Nashville was like

  • the most painful experience of my life.

  • I had been in Boston for a few years

  • watching all of my friends slowly leave.

  • It was just a slow steady downward hill of emotion.

  • I had to move home with my parents for a few months

  • just 'cause like money's tough, man.

  • I got some recognition for my work

  • from like larger aerospace entities.

  • - One potential future for our hobby.

  • - [Joe] One of them is SpaceX.

  • And like Elon has like seen my tweets.

  • They send a big Dragon spacecraft up to the space station,

  • and then they tried to land their booster

  • on the drone ship out in the ocean.

  • - [Announcer] And the Falcons have landed.

  • - It was a realization of like uh-oh.

  • Like they're really serious.

  • There's been like several different instances

  • where it seems like a drop could've panned out.

  • And then it just has never felt like the right time.

  • Every single BPS launch has taken place

  • between this piece of wood and this launch pad.

  • And at some point, I'd spent enough money

  • so that I was like, all right, something has to change.

  • So we're gonna have to do something else.

  • So that this can be not cashflow negative.

  • So for awhile I thought we could sell the flight computers

  • directly to model rocketry consumers.

  • I made this in September of 2015.

  • I have failed a whole lot.

  • And I figure if I can save other people some time

  • trying to do these similar things, that would be great.

  • We're in the black now.

  • The business works.

  • It makes money,

  • but it did not for awhile.

  • Most projects or tasks or jobs that look difficult are,

  • but not if you've been doing them for awhile.

  • So like all of these things that are just so dry

  • and boring to learn, they all become cool

  • once you know what you're working toward.

  • You can learn most things on YouTube.

  • It's kind of coming full circle though.

  • Like I learned all of these things

  • through YouTube tutorials.

  • The YouTube tutorialer has become the YouTube tutorialee.

  • The goal has for a lot of these flights is just to continue

  • getting it closer and closer to landing.

  • I've done tests where it lands a little too high.

  • I've done tests where it hits the ground

  • because it's going too fast.

  • Three,

  • two,

  • one.

  • (rocket fires)

  • The thing that like gets to me the most

  • is probably imposter syndrome.

  • Like I don't feel like I should be doing this.

  • I don't feel like I'm good enough to be doing this.

  • Even like the people who accomplish a whole lot of stuff,

  • I thinks they feel that sometimes too.

  • And so it's really easy to, you know, if someone says like,

  • hey, what's your next plan?

  • What's the next big thing?

  • Are you gonna go orbital, or are you gonna try to build

  • a rocket that goes to space?

  • And the answer is like I have no idea if I can.

  • What if this is it?

  • Like what if I plateau here?

  • And I don't think that's rational.

  • But that's what gets to me the most is just thinking

  • like I'm gonna hit a wall at some point

  • of I don't know.

  • The flight computer, I still need to build.

  • That's not that hard to do,

  • but I just need to do it.

  • (rocket fires)

  • The launchpad computer.

  • This is called Impulse.

  • It's another custom design board.

  • This computer controls all of the events

  • that happen on the launch pad.

  • Upload.

  • (computer beeps)

  • There it is.

  • Okay, cool.

  • There are all of these different stages

  • that the flight computers have to go through

  • in order to actually fly a rocket.

  • I keep using the pronoun we to describe BPS

  • both because I do plan on scaling up to more people

  • and because there's such tremendous support on platforms

  • like Patreon by people who are not just

  • supporting financially but like providing

  • really solid advice.

  • It's extremely cheesy to be like, well, really

  • we're more of a community, but that's what it feels like.

  • (upbeat music)

  • (computer beeps)

  • (machines whirl)

  • There we go.

  • There's a little flight computer package.

  • (rocket fires)

  • So sometimes when you spend a lot of money on rocket motors,

  • just because of the way that money works

  • you have a little bit less to spend on food.

  • And the great place to go to get cheap food

  • is right here at the Food Lion.

  • Now the Food Lion has food.

  • It's a grocery store.

  • But the thing about it is you're still paying.

  • Hazelnut's objectively the best coffee,

  • and no one carries it.

  • And primarily you're paying in your hope

  • and your will to live.

  • Got the coffee.

  • Got the seltzer, the food line Brent.

  • (cans thud)

  • (laughs)

  • Oh my god, I shouldn't have picked it up.

  • (laughs)

  • Oh, my poor little seltzers.

  • We have eight boards to build today.

  • And we'll go through the whole process.

  • (gentle music)

  • That's probably enough.

  • (board clanks)

  • (laughs)