Broadcast 1476 (Special Edition)

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Guest: Jonathan Goff. Topics: Altius Space Machines, propellant depots, Sticky Boom SBIR and more. We welcomed back Jon Goff to talk with us about his new company, Altius Space Machines in Littleton, Colorado. We started our discussion with Jon with his telling us about Altius and two of the major contracts his company has started working on regarding a nanosat launcher upper stage and another project with ULA. He went on to talk about The Sticky Boom SBIR which Altius won and what this means for space development, rendezvous and docking and more. Make sure you listen to this discussion as it represents a potential game changing technology. At the end of the first segment, Jon talked about the reasons for his departure from Masten Space Systems. In our second segment, we started off with a call from Dave regarding debris capture in LEO and the projects Jon discussed in the first segment. Several listeners sent in multiple question emails. Colin wanted to know more about the NanoSat Launch Vehicle Contest, how working at Masten prepared him for his own company, & tips on starting a company w/o deep pockets. Chris in Argentina wanted to know about vapor lock and safety issues regarding orbital propellant depots, Andrew inquired about the likelihood of an entrepreneur developing a class of liquid rocket engines in the 300 sec ISP range in a garage type amateur machine shop, and Tony inquired if Altius would one day compete with SpaceX. Toward the end of this long segment, Tom wanted to know about the Google Lunar XPRIZE contestants and opportunities. During this segment, reusability came up and we talked about starting small and incrementally ramping up. Jon talked about many of the lessons learned from working at Masten and mentioned that it was much harder to get hardware to fly than to develop a paper rocket. Other discussion topics included Microreentry and Microdelivery vehicles as well as rocket and spacecraft rapid prototyping. Later in this segment, we talked about advancements in propulsion technology that might take us away from chemical rockets. Jon said that there was still much to be squeezed out of chemical rockets, that with new manifesting technologies and other developments, we could still improve on chemical rocket costs. During this segment, Jon took the time to discuss his lunar exploration philosophy and to clarify his position on that. Trent called from Australia to talk more about the variable gravity research station that Jon talked about and to echo the need for such a tool in orbit if we are to take space settlement seriously. Jon has two blogs which you can follow. The Altius Space Machines blog is at Selenian Boondocks is at For your comments and questions for Jon Goff regarding this program, please post them on The Space Show Blog at You can also post your comments on Jon's blogs and you can email Jon through his blogs or by sending your note to me at and I will forward it to Jon.



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12 Dec 2010 Jonathan Goff
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