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Guest: Thomas Lagarde; Topics: Space architecture designs, current projects, primary space design concerns such as space toilet, orbital construction, tourism, settlement, government vs. private projects, life support, plants in space and more.
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We welcomed Thomas Lagarde to the program to discuss space architecture with us. Be sure to check out his website for additional information, much of which was referenced during our 72 minute discussion. See https://spacearchitecture.fr. This was a most interesting discussion with Thomas on space architecture, a topic I covered from before the days of The Space Show and then after with one of my all time favorite guests who unfortunately passed way too early, Constance Adams. Fortunately, there are a few archives of Constance and I urge you all to become familiar with her even if only through the archives. What a loss!
We covered many topics with Thomas so again, I ask you to follow the Tags as they do represent most of what we talked about though not always in the order presented in the Tag paragraph. For your convenience, I've repeated the Tags below.
Tags: Thomas Lagarde, space architecture, defining space architecture, differing perspectives, cooperative field, shielding design, Soyuz design, Constance Adams, today's space architecture opportunities, France, U.S., Netherlands, orbital construction and assembly progress, the role of space architects in early design and tech projects, timeline, life support, environmental aspects, ISS, the space toilet concern, cloth curtain door, Dragon capsule, space settlement & tourism bathroom facilities, gravity for the bathroom, O2 supply, plants for O2, plant timeline for producing oxygen,
Biosphere experiments, number of people supported by one acre of land, Kai Staats, rate of space settlement development, Russia & China on settlement, military space architecture, space taxis, Space Force, designing the passenger cabin for high speed vehicles, answering the question of why go to space in the first place, Mars City Design, The University of Houston Space Design program, Space Architecture Symposium, market readiness, academia, Orbital Reef, Axiom, Lunar Gateway, space situational awareness, debris challenges.
We started the discussion with Thomas giving us a good working definition of space architecture. We then talked about a more engineering focused definition or a definition seen through th eyes of any number of those cooperating but from a different discipline. This led to some of the basic human spacecraft design responsibilities for a mission designing space architect. Don't miss his list of challenges. In addition, we briefly talked space architecture here in the U.S. but also within ESA, France, the UK, the Netherlands and other space locations. We talked about space architects in government projects and those working with the private sector. Our guest named a few of the private companies posting space architecture jobs on their employment sites.
Todd was the first to ask our guest a question via email. He wanted to know if our TRL for orbital assembly, construction, and tourism was advancing at about the same rate as the development of space architecture was for those and related disciplines. You might be surprised by the answer given by our guest. Let us know what you think by posting comments on our blog for this program. The subject of life support was next and Thomas said it was a big part of his masters thesis. In his response, he talked about life support on the ISS being fairly good but then took time to call out the toilet which he said needed lots of work for a variety of reasons. Our guest spent some time talking about toilet facilities in space, said the current standard and design would not work for the average person wanting to settle in space or be a tourist and that advancements were needed. He got a question about the toilet by listener Jack saying that improving the toilet/bathroom implied space settlement. Thomas replied that any gravity level was better than zero g regarding toilet needs. Don't miss his gravity commentary for the space toilet. Following this discussion, another listener asked our guest about the oxygen supply. She wanted to know what was being done to avoid having to carry lots and lots of heavy O2 tanks on every mission.
In our oxygen discussion, Thomas took us into the world of plants and the rate at which plants can make oxygen from their environment. He suggested there would be lots of plants on board future spaceships, making sufficient oxygen for the crew. Listen to what he said about the rate plants can make O2, i.e. the turnaround time. As you will hear, not all plants produce O2 at the same rate. He told us about the influencing and control factors for plant O2 production. Marshall called on this and a related subject, eventually asking our guest how many people could be supported by the equivalent of an acre of land. Marshall was keying off the older Biosphere experiments that took place near Tucson.
Later in our discussion, there was a focus on settlement. Listeners were asking our guest to suggest which might be better for settlement, free space, the Moon, Mars? They also wanted to know what the Russians and Chinese were doing regarding settlement. Listen to what Thomas and other listeners said about the medium for space settlement. The discussion evolved into asking about military outposts, weapons, and the plans talked about by the Space Force. Lisa from Atlanta asked a great question as she wanted to know if people inside the vehicle would detect the acceleration, high speeds needed for orbital fights and how space architects were planning to cope with these features for the citizen spaceflight participant. Thomas listed lots of challenges and features being worked on for the citizen astronaut and the flight Lisa was describing. Listen to what he talked about, especially what he said about lights and alarms. Again, post your thoughts on this response on our blog. Think about the differences for a citizen astronaut as compared to today's government and military trained astronauts.
Before ending the program, Thomas mentioned the business model for orbital assembly, settlement and such, then said that we needed (as a group or industry) to answer the question about the purpose for doing all of this, for going to space, for settlement and more. There was some discussion of the purpose but our guest was asking the question as a deep thought question. Why don't you the listener share your idea of the purpose on our blog?
Please post your comments/questions for Thomas on our blog for this program. You can reach our guest through me or through the Thomas Lagarde website mentioned earlier in this summary.