Broadcast 2705 Derek Webber

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Guest:  Derek Webber;  Topics:  Gateway Earth space tourism and more to GEO.  Please direct all comments and questions regarding specific Space Show programs & guest(s) to the Space Show blog which is part of archived program on our website,   Comments and questions should be relevant to the specific Space Show program. Written Transcripts of Space Show programs are a violation of our copyright and are not permitted without prior written consent, even if for your own use. We do not permit the commercial use of Space Show programs or any part thereof, nor do we permit editing, YouTube clips, or clips placed on other private channels & websites. Space Show programs can be quoted, but the quote must be cited or referenced using the proper citation format. Contact The Space Show for further information. In addition, please remember that your Amazon purchases can help support The Space Show/OGLF. See   

We welcomed back to the show Derek Webber to discuss his new project, Gateway Earth (  Our 92 minute discussion was in one segment without a break.  Derek started the discussion by saying that he had invited and sought out the under 30 crowd to help with the Gateway Earth project due to their different perspective on space and different ways of getting things done.  He also said he started the project in Oxford, England with the intention for it be a global project.  For now, he needs more U.S. participants. 

Gateway Earth is about space tourism to GEO.  According to the Gateway Earth website, "Gateway Earth will be a combined governmental space station and commercial space hotel, located in geostationary orbit (GEO). At this location it is close to the edge of Earth’s “gravity well”, and so it is a great place for interplanetary spacecraft to dock both as they depart for, and as they return from, distant solar system destinations. This would apply to both robotic and crewed missions. For the same reason it is a great place to assemble the interplanetary craft, which would then avoid the craft having to withstand the rigors of launch and re-entry through Earth’s atmosphere. Space tourism revenues will provide a significant part of the funding needed to both build the complex and supply the regular reusable tug service. Space tourists at the hotel will get a magnificent view of an entire hemisphere of the Earth. They, and the government astronauts, will get to and from the complex using a regular reusable shuttle taxi service."

Derek spoke to the fact that with space tourism in GEO, there would need to be a regular supply line, probably using reusable space tugs.  He also suggested the infrastructure would include an adjacent spaceport for manufacturing purposes and 3D printing.  Cislunar infrastructure would need to be developed as well.

The subject of "hotels" for space tourism came up.  Derek mentioned possible orbital hotels by the private sector, including Bigelow Aerospace, then he mentioned their BEAM project with the ISS.  Listeners wanted to know how the GEO space tourist destination was going to be funded.  He suggested parts of it would be government funded while other parts would be funded by the private companies.  Our guest was asked about timelines for Gateway Earth .  He said there was no timeline and that it might take 40 years or more to undertake the Gateway Earth project.  He talked about the need for younger people to push the project and an enabling policy. 

Listener Beth wanted to know about space tourism for other locations including the Moon and Mars.  Derek said people want to go further out so GEO tourism will develop as will Moon and Mars tourism. 

We had a brief conversation about suborbital tourism.  I asked our guest if the delays for this industry might cause the companies to miss the market.  Don't miss what Derek had to say in response to my question.

Doug called wanting to know the size of the earth when looking at it form GEO, then suggested the size of a volleyball.  Our guest and Derek talked about needed cislunar infrastructure, then Doug inquired about geostationary locations.  He suggested to Derek that the space tourist facilities start off with inflatable structures, the use of ion propulsion, & he commented on their probably being less space debris to worry about in GEO.  

Listener Sally from Little Rock inquired about the possibility of asteroid tourism.  I then asked Derek what our TRL was for geo tourism, not including the launch and rocket components.  The subject of spacesuit technology and availability came up with Doug emailing in some suggestions.  We had an interesting spacesuit discussion so don't miss it.

Derek concluded the discussion by saying he was an agnostic regarding the current space tourism companies.  He also said he was working on a new book which he briefly descried. 

Please post comments/questions in the comments section of this archived program.  Derek provided listeners with his email address should you want to get involved in the Gateway Earth project.  You can also reach him through the Gateway Earth website.




Gateway Earth will be a combined governmental space station and commercial space hotel, located in geostationary orbit (GEO).

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20 May 2016 Derek Webber
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