Broadcast 3605 Dallas Bienhoff

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  • The Space Foundation Conference

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The Space Foundation Conference

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Guest:  Dallas Bienhoff; Topics: Cislunar space development, the Cislunar Space Development Company LLC progress, Starship, the Pandemic, commercial space progress, returning to the Moon, Mars and more.

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We welcomed Dallas Bienhoff back to the program to discuss the positive changes and advancements in cislunar space development for the past year as Dallas was last a guest on The Space Show in Sept. 2019.  Our discussion started off in a general way by Dallas updating us on the current AIAA Ascend nearly virtual conference going on at this time (the equivalent of the former AIAA Space conferences held annually in California) with a focus on a panel he participated in on examining what was needed to have to make the Moon sustainable.  Dallas shared some comments from the panel discussion, then he told us that lot's had happened in space since Sept. 2019 when he was last on TSS.  Our guest mentioned a short list of developments including the pandemic, election, the advent of Zoom meetings, team work plus Crew Dragon, ISS astronauts getting to the station on a US launcher and spacecraft, Axiom with their ISS private station module progress, plus the progress made by the Cislunar Space Development Company LLC, the company founded by our guest.  Along with listener email questions, we talked about some of the development Dallas mentioned but also developments that Dallas did not mention in his short list.  For example, Dallas had much to say abut the NASA Tipping Point Awards and the amount of money being made available for the participants as compared to what this field was like about eight years ago when Dallas was still a Boeing employee.  The Tipping Point Awards and the funds being spent on them came up several times during our program.  In addition, Dallas started talking about The Artemis Accords so don't miss a word of this section.

Early in our discussion Dallas was asked if he heard talk at the AIAA event or through his contacts as to who might be the new NASA Administrator in a change of administrations.  Dallas had no information for us on that topic. When asked if he thought the return to the Moon and Artemis plans would survive a change in administration, he thought that the program might though with a longer, more spread out time line.  Let us know your thoughts by sharing them with us with your blog post.  More was said about Artemis during this interview.

Listener Todd was the first to ask an email questions.  He wanted to know what Dallas thought would be the commercial success timeline for a cislunar business.  Dallas said he thought Starship would make that happen.  Once again, be sure to hear all of what Dallas had to say on this topic.  Next, our guest was asked what he thought the first commercial business in Cislunar would be.  Dallas suggested orbital lunar flights.  When pressed about fuel depot activity and non-human cislunar flights, well, just listen.  You might be surprised by what he had to say about all of the potential cislunar activity.  Along the same lines, a New York City listener asked Dallas if he thought the Chinese might beat us at the commercial game and have the first commercial cislunar operational business. Dallas did not think so.  Listen for the details. 

Marshall called to seek a definition of profitable in the context of a cislunar operational space company.  In addition, he asked Dallas about pricing for Starlink services which may start in a limited market by the end of the year.  We had a short discussion about possible Starlink pricing and what the price points might be for those wanting the services.  Marshall also asked about The Gateway Foundation and John  Blincow.  Dallas and Marshall talked about that subject plus I reminded them that John was on The Space Show Oct. 7, 2019.  Getting food to the ISS was an additional topic.  Dallas mentioned ISS test modules and in particular one called "vegie."  Before the call ended, Marshall and Dallas talked about gravity, 1g, artificial gravity, and the need to know just how much gravity was needed for human spaceflight and settlement.

I asked Dallas to tell us more about his space tugs, one of the items of focus for his company and mentioned on his website.  Dallas had much to say about the tugs, how they would be used and for what purpose, refueling them, autonomous control with human oversight, and a timeline for readiness of 5-7 years.  Later, I asked Dallas if he was at all surprised by how much has happened with commercial space and space in general given the pandemic.  He surprised me by saying that he was not surprised.  He provided us with an excellent explanation for why he was not surprised so don't miss it.

Dallas got a question from Joan in Portland wanting to know if having a Space Force made him more comfortable and secure about being in space with his business and having assets in space.  Dallas had lots to say on this subject so be sure to listen to it.  Note what he said about disputes in space being inevitable.  Dallas divided Space Force between national security matters and commercial space development along with civil space activities.  Let us know what you think by posting on the blog.

As the first segment was about to end, Dallas was asked if the recent announcements of water on the Moon in the equatorial regions would enhance commercial lunar development.  He did not think so but listen to all of what he said about water on the Moon and the new announcement. 

We started the second segment by asking Dallas about the ULA Cislunar 1000 Plan.  Dallas spent a good portion of the second segment talking about the ULA Cislunar 1000 plan plus his own plans.  One thing he said was that he did not like the $20 billion hurdle in the Cislunar 1000 plan which he discussed extensively.  Our discussion with the Cislunar 1000 Plan and cislunar development in general was extensive, including a focus on the proper role of government in helping to put key space infrastructure in place. 

Ft. Worth John called to inquire what had happened with cryo technology over the past few years to advance the field to the point where cryo transfer on orbit no longer seemed like a big deal.  This was a fascinating discussion about technology advancement for space, including work being done right here on the ground on Earth.  Don't miss it.  Before leaving, John talked human factors with Dallas, Musk and his Martian plans.

The last question came in from Beverly in Dallas wanting to know if guest Dallas had read the Dr. Zubrin op-ed on the NASA Ames et al paper regarding no human flight, not going to Mars, planetary protection, etc.  Bob's editorial has gone viral and can be found on lots of services.  Here it is at the Mars Society website:  Dallas said he had not yet read it but I had so I talked about it for a few minutes.  If you have not read it, I urge you to do so. If you have not read the NASA Ames paper, do that as well.  Be fully informed. 

Please post your comments and questions for Dallas Bienhoff on our blog.  You can reach him through me or his website per the above summary.




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17 Nov 2020 Dallas Bienhoff
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  • The Space Foundation Conference

  • The Space Foundation Conference

  • helix-space the space show sponsor

  • The Space Foundation Conference

  • space settlement progress