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Guest: David Barnhart, CEO & Co-Founder of Arkisys, Inc.; Topics: The Arkisys Port, markets now and in the future, servicing Earth from space, servicing space to space businesses, matters of concern, existing competition, international customers and more.
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We welcomed David Barnhart to the program to discuss the innovation known as the Port, a product being designed by Arkisys, Inc. Please visit the Arkisys website for more information, including pictures and simulations for the port. Visit https://www.arkisys.com for general information about the company. To learn more and get specifics about the Port, see https://www.arkisys.com/the-port. As with previous program summaries, I am repeating the Tags here as they fairly represent most of the topics discussed during this program. Because of the highly technical nature of the discussion, do listen carefully but use their website to answer questions you might have and to supplement your information about The Port and its development.
Tags: David Barnhardt, Arkisys, Inc, USC research professor, The Port, power/data/control for commercial business to operate in space, ISS, size of The Port, transition to The Port platform, robotics, stability for payloads, space tugs, inventory control and storage, optimizing in space, in-space testing, multiple robotic arms, support for Earth, eventual space to space, market factors, Earth-based market, payloads and technologies serving Earth, coming markets, fuel, payloads, satellite servicing, last mile delivered as an issue, changing orbits in space, orbit change cost in fuel and power, LEO, moving from LEO to GEO, space debris concerns, resilient platform, space hotels, safe haven destinations, ISS inflatable habitats, hotel life boats, domestic and international issues of concern, international customers, humans manning the first Port, Ports are exclusive robotic, replacement parts, uniform interfaces and connectors, how to accelerate innovation, space testing and experimenting, the third market, competition
In interviewing David, I was most interested in the markets for The Port, both now and in the future. You will have to decide for yourself if we are ready for The Port, when readiness might happen but note that they are talking about first servicing needs here on Earth from space, space to space needs including space business to space opportunities plus future markets, most of which have yet to be identified. The earliest markets for viability will be space to Earth but are we developed enough for those markets at this time? Let us know what you think about the entire market discussion for The Port. Also, when I asked about competition, our guest identified some of the commercial space stations. We were coming up on the end of the show, but I should have taken the time to suggest that from my vantage point, The Port was a different type of project than a private sector space station so please explain how they are directly competitive with one another. I would think that the Port would welcome the private space stations as at some point the stations, with their development and ongoing servicing, would all be Port customers. Am I missing something? If so, please lead me to the light.
Our guest explained that The Port would be fully robotic in response to the call from Marshall asking about people on board The Port operating and maintaining it. Will being fully robotic slow down Port development or enhance it on a faster timeline? Let us know by posting on the blog. Another of my favorite topics included the space tug discussion with capabilities to change orbits in space, LEO and GEO. Will vehicles capable of making in-space orbit changes be here soon? We still need to perfect orbit refueling and cryo transfer which has yet to happen. I tend to think that while the Port is fully plausible, markets and timelines might be more off in the distance than we would like to think.
If you have questions about The Port, post them on the blog and I will make sure our guest sees them. I do believe something like The Port will exist in our commercial space future. As of now, I am uncertain as to what it will look like, what it will do, what markets will initially support it and how long it will take to have paying customers. That said, it does make for an exciting future.
Please post your questions/comments on our blog for this show. You can reach our guest through me, the Arkisys website or his USC faculty page.