Australian Space Agency is funded!

We were super excited to see the announcement of the creation of an Australian Space Agency, starting from July 1st of this year, as part of the 2018 federal budget.  It’s been a long time coming, and we are pleased to see that the government has supported or supported in principle the majority of the recommendations from the Expert Review Group, led by former CSIRO head Megan Clark.

Much has been written elsewhere about the details of the funding arrangements, so I won’t repeat that here, but I will say we look forward with interest to see how the agency will move to support the exploding space start-up industry in Australia, as well as supporting the cross-fertilisation of ideas and resources between academia and industry which will help all of us benefit from the new space revolution.

Exodus pitch is selected!

As we came to the end of the MoonshotX Gemini 2 Ideator last March, we were asked to submit a 5 minute pitch for our project or company.  Obviously, because of our pending patent application, we couldn’t delve into too much detail on our spin gravity architecture, but we could have a discussion on the issues that have plagued previous “space centrifuge” ideas.

In some ways it is simply a more refined version of the talk I gave at the SpaceHub event, but I think it really helps refine what the end goal of Exodus Space Systems is: facilitating the movement of humanity out into the solar system in large numbers, by addressing the problems with implementing spin gravity.

Here is the talk on Youtube:

Mike at SpaceHub Perth event

It was a great pleasure to be asked to speak at the first SpaceHub Perth event for 2018, (back on February 19th!) along with Troy McCann from MoonshotX, and Conrad Pires from Picosat Systems.

With a crowd of about 60 present, we spoke about the NewSpace industry, the exponential growth of start-up companies (in Australia and elsewhere), Conrad and my experience participating in the Moonshot Gemini Incubator program, and where we see our start-ups going.

It was a fine line to walk, giving a public talk about the problems we’re aiming to solve with Exodus, while not revealing anything that would invalidate our upcoming patent application, but I think I was able to give a good summary of the reasons why spin gravity hasn’t been implemented so far, and why I think it’s such an important problem to solve.  Unfortunately it lacks an audio track, but I’m happy to share my slides here:

ExodusPresentation20180219c_forweb

Falcon Heavy ushers in a new Era

We’re SpaceX fans here at Exodus Space Systems, and we’d like to send our congratulations to SpaceX at the massive achievement that is launching (and landing!) the Falcon Heavy.

https://www.nasaspaceflight.com/2018/02/falcon-heavy-success-paves-space-beyond-earth/

Having the ability to launch up to 64 tons to Low Earth Orbit, for little more than the cost of a regular (4-8 ton) satellite, is a game changing event, and I’m sure the remaining launch companies are scrambling to come up with equally economical offerings.  The fact that this is only one of several steps towards the SpaceX BFR system – which will be yet another  benchmark in cost and capability – means that new space companies like ours really don’t have to worry about “the launch problem” any more.  We can concentrate on what we want to do in space.

For Exodus, we’re especially noticing the increasing interest of investors (who wouldn’t traditionally consider space startups), who are looking to “get in early” with start up companies like ours.  At the moment we’re organising funding/drafting the provisional patent(s) which will underpin most of what we do, and we’ll have to finish that before we talk more openly to encourage that interest. Suffice to say however that we’ve noticed and are encouraged by the interest! and we’re working hard to make sure we can offer a solid proposal in the near future!

 

The Hub, the Rock, and the Ring (preview)

Hi guys!!!

Those who know me personally know I like to write creatively, and science fiction especially is something I find helps convey the full extent of my vision for the future.  The attached pdf is a set of 6 preview chapters for a novel I’ve been writing in my spare time.  It’s set in 2052, in the heart of an asteroid mining boom which I hope will be enabled by Exodus Space Systems and the new space revolution.

Advisory: some occasional adult language.  I hope you enjoy it!

LePage_HubRockRing_preview

Scott Kelly writes about 340 days in space! (*microgravity)

Hi all, Mike here again.  Yesterday, I came across this very interesting article on the effects of nearly a year in space, by astronaut Scott Kelly:
http://www.smh.com.au/good-weekend/astronaut-scott-kelly-on-the-devastating-effects-of-a-year-in-space-20170922-gyn9iw.html

Every time I see one of these articles, I note how journalists equate “microgravity” with “in space”.  Of course, it’s a safe choice for the journalist creating the headline, since we have yet to see a situation where having someone in space wasn’t also a case of subjecting someone to extended microgravity.  If you look at the effects they are discussing however, they are almost entirely the result of microgravity.  By contrast, the potential cancer effects of the space radiation environment may only manifest years or decades later.

If you ask scientists and engineers why we have yet to implement the obvious, constant acceleration solution of a spinning, centrifuge-style habitat, similar to *insert your sci-fi film of choice here*, you will receive many answers, but most will focus on the expense of launching, and the complexity of building and maintaining such a construction (which is assumed to be both very large and very massive).

Many will point out how current exercise regimes (practiced by Scott Kelly and other astronauts), can largely compensate for some of the symptoms of microgravity, or that the current record-holder for the number consecutive days spent in space (437) Valeri Polyakov, was able to walk from his landing capsule to a nearby chair.  This is taken to mean that Mars surface missions are possible without the complications of launching, building and maintaining a spin-gravity/centrifuge craft.

However, anecdotal personal experiences, such as related by Scott Kelly in the article above, and a wealth of scientific work onboard the ISS – the results of some of which were presented at IAC2017 – convey the complex, combinatorial effects that occur as a result of extended duration exposure to microgravity.  Most likely, no drug or exercise regime will ever be able to fully compensate for the lack of gravity, something which has been present for the entire 4-billion year history of life on Earth.  There is no indication whatsoever that what is significant after 6 months, and painful after 12 months, will not become clinically debilitating or even fatal after even longer periods.

This is a problem that needs to be solved, sooner or later, and what I always say to engineers when talking about spin gravity is this:

However complicated you think the engineering problem of implementing spin-gravity might be, the biological problem of trying to address microgravity effects without spin gravity is orders of magnitude harder, if not impossible. 

Exodus Space Systems is a company currently in the process of building a new type of spacecraft which we believe is the best solution yet created for the space-debris problem.  We arrived at this solution by working backwards from the end goal of solving the spin-gravity problem and the numerous issues it creates.  It’s because of my PhD in Immunology that I see the implementation of spin gravity as a biological imperative for humanity’s expansion into the solar system, and it was the solution of those many associated issues that led to our unique design.  This design will need to be prototyped at a small scale to demonstrate proof of concept, and the first use case for these small scale prototypes will be an efficient de-orbiting of space debris.

More to come…