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Guest: Jim Armor; Topics: Satellite industry issues, servicing, markets, closing commercial space business cases, government relations. Please direct all comments and questions regarding specific Space Show programs & guest(s) to the Space Show blog which is part of archived program on our website, www.thespaceshow.com. Comments and questions should be relevant to the specific Space Show program. Written Transcripts of Space Show programs are a violation of our copyright and are not permitted without prior written consent, even if for your own use. We do not permit the commercial use of Space Show programs or any part thereof, nor do we permit editing, YouTube clips, or clips placed on other private channels & websites. Space Show programs can be quoted, but the quote must be cited or referenced using the proper citation format. Contact The Space Show for further information. In addition, please remember that your Amazon purchases can help support The Space Show/OGLF. See www.onegiantleapfoundation.org/amazon.htm.
We welcomed back Jim Armor for Orbital ATK updates, news from the satellite industry, new technologies and much more. During the first segment of our 89 minute discussion we discussed commercial satellite markets, specifically the developing LEO constellations. Our guest had much to say about this emerging industry, the ability to close a business case, and the emergence of flight and operational hardware. Also discussed were smallsats of varying types and sizes, and cubesats. This was a good overview of this developing industry so don't miss it. In addition, we discussed wanting to provide wifi from the constellations. As you will hear, "mobility" was the operative goal with such systems.
Later, we discussed other segments of the satellite industry such as the GEO segment. As you will hear, the industry is not growing and over the past decade or more the U.S. industry was hurt by ITAR regulations though that is now turning around. Our guest reported that foreign satellite suppliers caught up with the US as a result of our ITAR problems but now there is a small satellite renaissance going on, there have been some positive ITAR reforms implemented, and the industry is stronger now and better off than it was in recent years.
I asked Jim about the current Space Show discussion topic, the 4th industrial revolution manufacturing topic. Jim was familiar with it and told us how his company was moving forward with industrial and manufacturing changes such as additive manufacturing (3D printing) and other changes. He talked about this for the industry as well. Like it or not, the changes that Barry and others on The Space Show have been talking about are well underway in the aerospace industry even if we are not that aware of it happening. Jim's comments on this subject were most interesting and timely for us so don't miss them.
Other topics discussed in the first segment included solid rocket boosters, going to Mars, Red Dragon, competitive government projects, contracts, & regulations, SLS, and the replacement EELVs Orbital ATK is involved in with the Air Force and others. We talked about SRB testing and how 3D printing was making it possible to make refined parts that could not be made before. Again, don't miss this discussion.
In the second segment, we talked about satellite servicing for which contracts have been made. This is for basic satellite life extension which our guest described. The first generation of satellite servicing will be with a backpack type device to take over satellite pointing and station keeping responsibilities. These Mission Extension Vehicles (MEVs) were explained plus Jim told us how their use and application will evolve over time. This was a fascinating look at very innovative technology so don't miss the discussion.
Other topics discussed before our program ended included human spaceflight using new EELVs replacing the Atlas or the Delta, plus the key issues in closing a space project business case. Jim said the big issues in closing the business case included the large amount of upfront capital needed, how the project was financed, and the need to be able to get insurance for the project. Fuel depots were discussed as was the FCC and orbit management, and the need for new market and innovative ideas. Near the end of our program, Jim said the MEV has a GEO hosted payload capability.
Please post your comments/questions on the archived program on our website as that is our blog. You can reach Jim Armor through me or the Orbital ATK website.