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Guest: Dr. Tom Spilker; We discussed funding, engineering, design and architecture for The Gateway Foundation with the Orbital Construction Company on orbit space habitat and space hotel.
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We welcomed Dr. Tom Spilker to the program for a two segment 85 minute discussion regarding both the financial and design plans for the Orbital Assembly Co., LEO space habitats and hotels. Check out these relevant websites: https://gatewayspaceport.com/; https://orbitalassembly.com. We continually referred to the projects on these sites, Voyage Station and their demos with DStar and then later PStar plus the Gravity Ring and space hotels.
A good way to summarize this program is to follow the tags/key words. Here they are for your convenience: Dr. Tom Spilker, The Gateway Foundation, Orbital Assembly Company, JPL, planetary science, outer solar system, John Blincow, LEO launch costs decline, minimizing mass, new launch cost paradigm, space settlement value, Orbital Construction technical team, simulate cruise ship training, Orbital Assembly seed funding, Voyager Station, DStar, PStar, demos, timelines, 1 g, Voyager specifications, ISS as an analog, space engineering concerns, Ceres megasatellite settlement, orbital inertial forces, PStar launcher agnostic, gravity ring, funding as biggest challenge, new technology risk, equatorial orbits for habitats, docking, despin ports, human spin rate, gravity prescription for humans, lunar gravity, suborbital tourism, government regulatory environment, lower costs to LEO as a game changer, dealing with reality for space engineering.
During our discussion we had many email questions and several callers. One of the questions I asked our guest early on was what he saw in his meeting with John Blincow regarding settlement and John's on orbit construction ideas that he did not see in other space settlement concepts, even the Moon or Mars. Tom's reply was most interesting so listen to what he said and let us know your thoughts about it by posting on the blog. Another early question that I asked our guest dealt with the value of space settlements and why we needed them. Since this seemed to be a common question asked through email on recent shows, I decided to ask it to our guest myself. Once again, listen carefully to what Tom said as to why space settlement is important.
Many of the email questions focused on the Gateway Foundation and Orbital Assembly team plus the specs of the space hardware being designed for demon on Earth and in space. Todd wanted to know if demonstrating construction techniques on Earth equaled would be encountered in space construction. We also talked quite a bit about human spaceflight design and engineering as compared to cargo design, engineering, and demonstrating.
LEO was mentioned as the testing grounds with a good explanation as to why. The ISS was discussed as the only in space analog for space construction. In addition, Tom was asked what had changed from the ISS construction efforts to space construction today. The short answer was that lots had changed.
I asked several basic questions about engineering and design in space compared to here on Earth. Our guest talked about basic mechanical engineering skills and expertise and how they were applicable to space hardware engineering along with on orbit construction. Don't miss this this particular conversation. Before the end of the first segment, Fremont John called to talk about PStar being launch vehicle agnostic plus other PStar details.
We started the second segment by talking about the gravity ring and when it might become operational. Our guest then said that funding was the biggest challenge. He also said they did not want to use new technology. Listen to his explanation for this comment. Bill called to talk more about PStar plus they talked about the materials to be used to make it. Another key topic in this segment was docking and the need to despin the docking ports. Listen to this discussion for details. Spin rate regarding humans was discussed. You will find this part of the discussion most interesting, especially since our guest focused on space tourists more than permanent residents in terms of handling different spin rates. We learned that the initial spin rate would be for lunar gravity. Listen for the why behind this decision. Furthermore, Tom talked about how Voyager Station was very different from suborbital flights generating suborbital tourism.
As we were ending the program, Tom was ask about his concern for government regulation of the industry. He had a very interesting perspective on this issue. He expects the industry to be regulated much the way the FAA regulates airlines and aviation but the need exists to make sure they are effective and proper regulations. As we brought our program to a close our guest offer concluding and summarizing comments.
Please post your comments/questions for this show on our blog for this program. You can reach our guest through me or the websites referenced above.