Broadcast 1328 (Special Edition)

18 Mar 2010 Peter Homer
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Guest: Peter Homer. Topics: NASA Centennial Challenges, spacesuits, technology innovation. Peter Homer was our guest for this program. Peter is the President and Founder of FLAGSUIT LLC and has twice won the NASA Astronaut Glove Centennial Challenge. For more information, visit www.flagsuit.com. In our first segment, Peter discussed the NASA Centennial Challenge program and introduced us to his astronaut glove which has won two competitive Centennial Challenge competitions. Peter went into detail to tell us what was special and unique about his glove including the material, the fabric hinges, and more. We discuss spacesuit sewing, materials, bladders, flexibility, and manufacturing costs. Don't miss this discussion. In response to listener as well as a question from me, Peter talked about air leaks in the glove or the spacesuit, sewing needle holes, bladder requirements, duck tape, and makeup gas. In the second segment, Anthony asked if an astronaut needed help donning the glove or his version of a spacesuit. The answer was no. We started discussing the business potential of the spacesuits and he said they were still out there in terms of being market ready but there were other commercial markets that could be exploited sooner. Peter then described his hyperbaric suit concept, his timing for prototype and product to market. We talked at length about his full body hyperbaric suit, including coverings for feet and head. I asked if covering the head would lead to claustrophobia so listen to his answer as this is a problem for many people. We talked about his funding requirements what was needed to go through prototype to market which he estimated would be around $1 million. In the third segment, we discussed the aerospace industry in the state of Main. You might be surprised by what you find out about this industry in this state. We also discussed the various pressures used for spacesuits and what they mean for pre-breathing to avoid the bends and more. Listen to what he said happened to the flexibility of his glove at 10 PSI! We talked about the use of launch and reentry suits for space tourism companies. The problem of heat and movement was addressed as well as other issues. I asked Peter to tell us how he got interested in spacesuit and glove development. The administration's space policy was discussed and he said that assuming it passes, the emphasis on commercial helps all commercial enterprises including his by showing that NASA endorses the private and entrepreneurial effort in space development. A listener asked about his suit providing radiation shielding which it does not. In the fourth and final segment, Peter told us about participating in the Space Investment Summit 7 recently held in Boston. Listen to what he said the benefit was for attending. He was also asked about participating in the famous Rice University Business Plan Competition and about the MIT mechanical counter-pressure suit development program. Peter had much to say about the counter-pressure suit so listen carefully. In addition, we compared US spacesuits with Russian and Chinese spacesuit manufacturing. Toward the end of the segment we talked about innovation, failure, and the path from Power Point or Viewgraph to a real project in development. As you will hear, nothing ever goes smoothly and you don't know what you don't know until you start building something to make it work. This is really an important discussion so listen sharply to what Peter has to say on this topic. Peter stressed innovation as being his important Pearl of Wisdom thought that he wanted to leave with us today. If you have a question or comment for Peter Homer, please email him at peter@flagsuit.com.

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