Broadcast 3890 Gary Calnan

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The Space Foundation Conference

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Guest:  Gary Calnan; Topics:  Gary explained and discussed CisLunar Industries, the Micro Space Foundry now being developed, the plan for debris removal and ISRU like mfg of space products from the space debris.  Gary talked financing, partners, AI and much more.

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We welcomed Gary Calnan, the founder of CisLunar Industries, to the program to discuss their plan for turning space debris into in-space usable products such as steel, wire and more through the use of their special Micro Space Foundry. For more info see Gary's website at  In addition, check out the blog article posted on our blog for this show by John Jossy on his Space Settlement Progress Blog, "Converting orbital trash to treasure with CisLunar Industries' Micro Space Foundry.  John posted this March 18, 2022 article on the TSS blog for this program.  

We started the discussion with our guest by asking him what led him to his interest in space and eventually space debris and the concept of the Micro Space Foundry.  Its an interesting story so do listen it to it.  Note that Gary wanted to do something useful and beneficial in space for all and came to the realization that to do so he would have to be on the frontier just to make a dent in things per his goals.  He continued his story with his ISU experiences, friends he met their, brainstorming and then the creation of CisLunar Industries.

While Gary provided us with a detailed summary of how his company would operate, what it would do vis a vis debris and how his Micro Space Foundry (MSF) comes into play, for simplification, listen to my garbage collection comparison question, i.e. hauling the garbage (debris) to the sanitation plant or dump (his Micro Space Foundry) and then making products for insitu space usage or for disposal.  Gary talked about debris mitigation partners such as Astroscale and others bringing the debris, steel and all kinds of metal to the Foundry for processing.  We talked about this for a good part of the program to assure our understanding of the business plan.

Multiple listener questions came in via email, many of them asking about the types of metal that the Foundry could process.  Gary said over and over again that all metals could be processed.  At one point later in the discussion he said they were going to work with some debris from the ISS and also that NASA was giving them some metal from the SLS scraps terrestrial development and testing of SLS hardware.  Development of their program and hardware was being funded by an SBIR grant plus additional financial sources as we talked economics early on in the discussion and throughout the discussion. 

Later in our conversation, I asked Gary to explain how the foundry would work given the microgravity and vacuum environment of space.  Gary did explain it in some detail so do listen, then let us know your thoughts about this project by posting on our blog.  Notice that in the space environment it would actually work differently than here on Earth. 

Marshall called to ask about the power consumption of the foundry.  He was told less than 1KW, then Gary had additional information on power, the amount of tonnage it could service for that amount of power and he compared it to other space power consuming devices   He also said it was upwardly scalable.  We talked timelines for their Phase 2 at which time Gary told us about their testing plans this November.  Two parabolic tests!  I asked for more information on funding and we learned that so far the company had brought in about $1.8 million.

Fremont John was the next caller.  He asked Gary questions about their use of the Neumann Thrusters. One of his questions focused on the thruster compatibility with the foundry regarding different types of metal.  Once again Gary said all metals would work.  Gary went on to talk about needing a system to cut off the debris from the device bringing the debris to the MSF for processing.  He said that might be done by AI but that part of the development was still down the road. Gary again talked about the two parabolic flight tests this November.  Other topics talked about included company expansion, their work with the Colorado School of Mines, employee growth and future employee and student intern plans. 

Rob from Denver asked Gary if there were plans to bring products back to Earth for use here.  Gary did talk about future opportunities for the company with terrestrial use being one of those potential future uses.  There were additional comments on how to salvage materials in LEO and once again AI was the focus.  More was said about Axiom Space and other possible commercial space stations and users.  Then Gary was asked about ITAR and other regulations.  He said ITAR was likely not an issue but listen to what he had to say about the regulatory concerns. Gary then mentioned collaboration with other companies as he was asked about competition.  He identified one company doing similar things, Yolo, and talked about how they were collaborating on some of their similar projects.  Our guest mentioned safety risks and concerns, crowded space orbits and even collision avoidance. 

As we were nearing the end of the program, I asked our guest about his plans for the company five years from now and ten years from now.  Don't miss his replies.  The year 2025 will be a big one of the company, then he talked about possibly ten to fifteen years being on the surface of the Moon with a foundry or two.  Later on the same for Mars. Gary was then asked about selling portable MSF devices to customers who want to take them to Point A for their own needs.  Tim from Huntsville was the last caller.  He wanted to discus Neumann thrusters.  Once Tim signed off and when Gary was doing his summary, I got a last minute email from NYC about digital space art possibly being created by an artist using debris in the MSF.  Gary said why not.  And yes, why not?  Don't miss the concluding comments of our guest.

Please post your comments/questions for Gary Calnan on our blog for this show. You can reach Gary though me or through is own website,



Our guest talks Cislunar Industries, debris removal and more. Check out his website,

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12 Jul 2022 Gary Calnan
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