Over the weekend, history was made when the United States returned to launching American astronauts from American soil. The SpaceX Crew Dragon aboard the Falcon 9 rocket docked successfully with the International Space Station 19 hours after the successful launch (NASA). But this time it was different — they were lifted off in a commercial spacecraft aboard a commercial rocket.

SpaceX, a California based company, is busy working on their next endeavor – their Mars-colonizing spaceship. While Falcon 9 was made with a carbon fiber skin overlaid on an aluminum honeycomb core, SpaceX is turning to stainless steel for their trips to Mars. After building its first few “Starship” prototypes out of a stainless-steel alloy known as 301, Space.com reports, “Aerospace engineers have been using that particular metallic blend since the middle of the last century, and it’s time for SpaceX to make a change, Elon Musk said.”

“SpaceX is still committed to stainless steel for both the 100-passenger ‘Starship’ and ‘Super Heavy,’ the giant rocket that will launch the ship off Earth. The company will just migrate to a different alloy, whose constituents SpaceX will tweak over time,” Musk said.

“Stainless steel is much cheaper than the carbon-fiber material that SpaceX initially aimed to use for ‘Starship’ and ‘Super Heavy,’ and the metal has other important advantages as well,” Musk stressed. “For example, stainless steel handles heating far better than carbon composites do, he said. And that’s crucial for the reusable Starship and Super Heavy, both of which will be making many highly energetic trips through Earth’s atmosphere, both up and down.” Click HERE for more on the SpaceX Starship.

With steel on the mind, this week’s METALCONLive! will help answer the following burning question: What’s happening in the steel industry and how will it affect your metal construction bids and contracts?

Steel prices have been on a roller coaster, with high demand from China and COVID-related supply chain disruptions in Brazil leading to a spike in raw material costs. But many are predicting a steel glut in the 3rd quarter and a decline in construction supplies costs. What’s this all mean for how you should bid on projects in the near term? This week we welcome two industry pros who will provide some clarity, share some exciting new developments, and give us some business intelligence for spinning steel into gold.

Brian Smallwood Brian is the Market Manager-Construction for Steel Dynamics, Inc., one of the largest steel producers in North America. He started with National Steel in 1981 and has worked with Steel Dynamics since 2007. Brian’s entire career has been focused on the role of Flat Rolled Steel in all types of construction. He will address the following questions: What does one key player in the steel industry have in store for the construction market? What new protocols and guidelines have they had to establish? Have they had to lay anyone off or shut down operations?

Marines Hagemann – Marines is the Director of Client Experience for Allied Steel Buildings, a global metal fabricator. She has a long history of working in the construction industry in business development and project management and has been with Allied since 2014. She will answer the following questions: Has Allied Steel Buildings experienced a disruption to their supply? How has the disruption impacted their projects and delivery dates?