Pathfinder #0014, featuring Barry Matsumori

Pathfinder cover art

The Pathfinder guarantee is to bring you conversations you won’t find anywhere else. Today’s episode delivers on that guarantee in spades, taking us from the cost-per-kilogram of covered wagons to in-space delivery logistics to Mars highways. 

Our guest is Barry Matsumori, a space industry veteran who’s held exec roles at SpaceX, Virgin Orbit, and most recently, was CEO of BridgeComm. Barry’s now the COO of Impulse Space, which was started by SpaceX founding team member Tom Mueller. 

Impulse is just a year old and it has only ~40 employees, making it all the more surprising when Impulse and Relativity said they’d partner to launch the first commercial Mars mission in the next available window (late 2024). We grill Barry on the specifics of the mission, and though it feels highly ambitious, it’s safe to say that you don’t want to bet against these teams. 

Today’s episode is brought to you by our friends at SpiderOak Mission Systems, an industry leader in cybersecurity. 

What else did we talk about with Barry? 

  • Semiconductor manufacturing 
  • Historical consolidation and newfound competition in the space industry
  • Everyone’s favorite phrase (“vertical integration”)
  • How is planning coming along for Impulse and Relativity’s Mars mission? 
  • Beyond Mars…what’s Impulse’s vision for last-mile space transport?
  • Why is it important that Impulse is one of the few “trying to develop geostationary orbit?” 
  • Our favorite quote: “The cost per kilogram in our covered wagon is atrociously high.”
  • What are the strongest space regions across the US? 

…and more. We ask Barry to weigh in on the Star Wars vs. Star Trek debate, get his take on whether we’re alone in the universe, and hear whether he plans on going to space. For anyone interested in Mars or nimble, fast-moving space startups, you won’t want to miss today’s episode. 

Where to get Pathfinder #0014