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Guest: Dr. Thomas Spilker; Topics: Our guest discussed the Orbital Assembly Corporation (OAC), both the Pioneer and Voyager Stations, details of each, spinning, artificial gravity, tourists, solar power vs. nuclear power and much more. See their website for full detail www.orbitalassembly.com.
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We welcomed Dr. Tom Spilker back to the show to provide us with updates for the Orbital Assembly Corp (OAC). Much of our discussion focused on both the Pioneer and Voyager Stations. While Tom did provide us with details for both stations, their specs, concerns and general issues, I refer you their website for full details on their projects and plans. Please see www.orbitalassembly.com. In addition, for the multiple topics discussed on this program, refer to the quick summary provided by or accurate tags which for your convenience have been repeated below.
Tags: Dr. Thomas Spilker, Voyager mission update, Orbital Assembly Co. projects, Pioneer Station, Voyager Station, LEO, sun synchronous orbit, propellant depots, truss structures, lunar & Mars surface construction, rotation system, market demand for service and product, costs, the funding challenge, docking with a rotating structure, spinning for level of gravity, Voyager Station 24 modules, Pioneer spins at 7 RPM, stability issues, water tanks for stability, spin stabilization, Pioneer and Voyager station timelines, dual tech with the military, multiple stations, solar power, nuclear issues, spacewalks for the two stations, competition, children as tourists, fetal development and pregnancy on stations, possible Venus mission.
Highlights to me included the projected timelines for operations both the Pioneer and then the Voyager Stations. But before that at the start of the program, I asked Tom how his wife Linda was as she was our main go to JPL person during the entire time of the Cassini mission. As it turns out, Tom told us that she was now the director of the Voyager 1 and 2 interstellar mission as both were still going and providing data back to Earth. I will be reaching out to Dr. Linda Spilker early in the year as I would like her to return and talk about Voyagers 1 and 2 on their endless mission in interstellar space.
Back to OAC with Tom, I thought it was most interesting that he said their biggest challenge was financial, raising the money needed to build out their program. I might have thought some of the needed tech development would have been a primary concern issue but again, he said financial. My personal belief is that financial will become more and more of an issue for many new commercial space operations and worthy startups given the increasing national debt of the US, the amount of money needed for our interest payments on the debt, the substantial increase in the total unfunded debt, rising inflation, rising business and consumer interest rate and the constant barrage of our being in or headed to a recession. I suspect the flow of money to risky adventures will tighten up and it will impact space which is a risky industry. One can certainly hope for improvements in the economy but as to when we will see them, make a prediction and hope you are right. This would be a good topic for some of you to post about on our blog.
Later in the show when Tom was asked about children on the stations as tourists or residents and then possible fetal development and pregnancy on stations, well, his response was very interesting. He talked about experiments in these areas by approved organizations. I wonder about that given how hard it is to do human, animal and even primate experiments here on ground with an independent IRB needed. I'm anxious to see how all of this might play out in space given their human spaceflight and tourism plans. What do you think? Our blog awaits hearing from you.
John Hunt asked a good question about docking on a spinning station. This seems to beg for significantly more R&D. Also, for tourists and others to do spacewalks, even tethered spacewalks, he made it seem plausible and on a sort of shorter term timeline than one might expect. Being able to do a spacewalk, tethered or not tethered, would be a real selling point if you asked me. In addition to John's question, finding out about some of the competition facing OAC was reassuring that a market would exist for their services and products. If there is no market or if the market is too small, funding might be the least of their worries.
Several other great questions came in from the listeners so don't miss this very informative program. Please post your comments/questions for Dr. Spilker on the blog. You can reach him through the OAC website above or through The Space Show. We already look forward to his return for more exciting OAC updates.
Please post your comments/questions on our blog for this program. You can reach Dr. Spilker through The Space Show or his website.