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Guest: Dallas Bienhoff; Topics, OffWorld.ai, lunar return, policy, nuclear propulsion, depots, heat in space, orbital construction, a.i., robotics, terrestrial development for use in space and much more.
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We welcomed Dallas Bienhoff back to the program to discuss his joining with OffWorld (see www.offworld.ai) in addition to talking about other timely topics impacting space development, our efforts for a lunar return, new rockets and spaceships, human spaceflight, policy, adversaries and much more. We started the discussion by asking Dallas why the move to OffWorld and if his focus would still be on cislunar development. Dallas had much to say about OffWorld, his long standing relationship with the company and the similarities in his cislunar approach with those of OffWorld. He said it was a natural fit and with the greater resources of OffWorld, it made sense to combine efforts. Dallas said the timing was right. Listen to our discussion for all the details regarding this transition and move.
Dallas had lots to say about our Moon program, returning to the Moon and his interest in the ESA Moon Village program. This included commentary on Starship, SLS, and Artemis. He talked about a soon to publish IAC paper supporting the lunar-Moon Village economics and more. Dallas cited and referenced key cost numbers, plus he suggested commercial timelines to development. Todd sent in the first email of the day asking Dallas who the customers were or would be for the plans he was discussing. Listen to how Dallas responded to this question. Later, he went over timelines again and said commercial readiness would be at least five years. Later, he said the cost of a commercial Starship launch would be significant and would suggest the real timeline for customer development, business plans, launching, investment and such. Don't miss this specific commentary. Better yet, post your comments about it on our blog. Additional factors influencing cost would be the FCC, space mfg. capabilities, satellite safety best practices and the actual SpaceX commercial plan. This led to our guest referencing some possible commercial applications for the Moon.
One of the topics that came up was the Artemis vision as compared to a view and vision of benefit usage by the private sector and also by the U.N. Listner Terry asked our guest if the entrepreneurial movement for commercial space was primarily a U.S. movement or global. Dallas said it was broader than the U.S. but that we had a better legal and business climate for entrepreneurial development than many other countries. Dallas went on to talk about the pending commercial space stations and the gap between what we want to do in space and in orbit as compared to what we can actually do in those domains. He said R&D will lead us to the future.
Fremont John called to ask about the OffWorld master plan on their website, www.offworld.ai, regarding ai and robotics on Earth leading to their usage in space. Dallas talked about demo missions, autonomy and the need for human overseers for the time being. Sharon sent in a note asking Dallas about his personal history in space plus she wanted to know if back when he was starting, did he even think things would be where they are today regarding capability and technology? Don't miss this important part of the discussion. You might be surprised by some of it.
Space Solar Power (SSP) was an important part of the latter part of our discussion. What stood out for me was the amount of energy required to do SSP satellites but also the degree radiators would be needed to get rid of heat depending on the type of power being used, especially including nuclear power. This getting rid of heat was a very significant part of the conversation with Dallas and the company he mentioned that was working in this area has agreed to come on as a guest to discuss getting rid of heat in space, the use of radiators and other devices and the quantities and technologies needed to make all this happen. A good portion of our conversation was about why this issues gets dismissed by those advocating technologies in space. Seldom do we hear about their heat dissipation plans. Listen to how Dallas described the problem, the amount of heat to get rid of and the technology behind doing it. Watch the newsletter for our upcoming program on this subject.
Before ending, Dallas was asked about the Boeing CST 100. Also commercial space being customer dependent. When concluding, we talked some AIAA and conference topics.
Please post your comments/questions for Dallas on our blog. You can reach Dallas through me or OffWorld.ai.