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Guest: Dr. Jeffery Greenblatt; Topics: Orbital Assembly Corporation spinning space hotel the Voyager Space Station development, preliminary demos, the gravity ring, artificial gravity and more.
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We welcomed Dr. Jeff Greenblatt to the program to discuss the space hotel development plans of the Orbital Assembly Corporation. For details and pictures of their plans, visit their website at https://orbitalassembly.com. Dr. Greenblatt is a Co-founder of the company plus he is their Chief Scientist and Chief Visionary Officer. Later in the program, Dr. Greenblatt was asked to describe the role of a Chief Visionary Office so be sure to note what he said about the position during that specific discussion.
The interview started with our guest telling us how he was inspired by Musk, SpaceX, attending a New Space Conference and more to go toward space tourism and related areas. Don't miss the story. We then started talking about the grand vision of the Orbital Assembly Corporation to have a larger spinning space tourist hotel in LEO around the 2027 time period. Jeff talked about why LEO, the many platforms and why they were doing what they were doing, plus he brought up the stepping stone phases from Earth based technology demos to the gravity right in space to eventually the Voyager Space Station hotel. He provided timelines for the different stages but talked mostly abut funding matters in the early part of our one hour discussion.
Jeff started getting listener email questions early in the show. One of the early questions asked him about a Monday Space Review article about their project titled "The enduring fantasy of space hotels." Jeff had much to say about their plans being a big leap forward but he made the case for the funding, the technology and the market to be there with demand for their space hotel. The subject motivated me to ask our guest about current space tourism or space tourist hotel demand. Was it there for this project at prices in the low millions to maybe more for a stay at the hotel? Listen to what our guest said about the market, the number of wealthy people on a global basis that could afford a visit to an orbiting space hotel, plus the transportation cost which he said would probably continue to come down. A listener then asked if the company was vertically integrated or would it work with subs and how would they assure quality control. Jeff said they would be working with other contractors and in fact they wanted to be a lead in establishing a true space construction company.
Ft. Worth John called to inquire how a capsule carrying visitors to the hotel would dock with the rotating station. Jeff explained that the incoming ship would dock with the central hub which would not be rotating. Jeff had much to say about docking, the central hub, viewing stations from the central hub and more. John and Jeff talked about the spin rate and why it would not spin at 1 g. At this time they are thinking the spin rate will be about 1.25/minute and mimic lunar gravity but this has not yet been finalized. John wanted to know the best orbit for the Voyager Space Station. Jeff said it would be a sun synchronous polar orbit. Listen to his explanation and what he said about other possible orbits. Jeff also talked about the huge size of the Voyager Space Station, he provided us with the dimensions and talked about the needed space infrastructure for the station.
Listener Alex asked him about issues pertaining to windows. Remembering what Dr. Benaroya said about why there would be no windows in the early lunar habs but maybe later, he wanted to know how they were solving window problems for the Voyager Station. Jeff was not that familiar with window and structural issues for a lunar hab but do listen to what he said about them for Voyager as viewing will be a key benefit and activity for the space tourists.
Gene called from Pasadena to talk more about the spin rte. viewing Earth from a spinning station and wanting to view Earth from a non-spinning part of the station such as in a restaurant. This was a very interesting discussion. In addition, Gene wanted to find out if the company had reached out to Bigelow or Axiom regarding their orbital habitat modules. Listen to what Jeff said about that when he replied to Gene.
A listener from Denver asked Jeff what the position of Chief Visionary Officer was as he was not familiar with that being a corporate office. Listen to how Jeff explained it. Joe from Dallas sent in a note asking about EVAs, tethered EVAs, and spacesuits. Jeff had much to say about how they planned to offer an EVA activity to those at the hotel but he did not address being tethered. Instead, he talked about their being a viewing platform outside Voyager Station that a tourist could strap onto and use.
As we were coming up on the end of the program, we talked more about the company stepping stone plan which included the gravity ring. Don't miss what was said about this, the gravity ring which might only be in space for six months, plus using it for artificial gravity experiments. A last minute question came from Mary in Chicago inquiring about potential regulatory risks and if they were concerned about that possibility. Listen for the answer.
Two additional late topics came up. The first was space solar power with our guest having more to say about this time. The second was in response to a question asking about medical facilities onboard Voyager Station. After we ended the program, I asked our guest if we would be able to see Voyager Station fly overhead just as we can see the ISS. The answer was a qualified probably.
Please post your comments/questions on the blog for this show. You can reach our guest through their website above or through me at The Space Show.