Hi all! Wow what a huge couple of months it’s been. It’s hard to know where to start.
When I last wrote, we were preparing for two conferences, ASAM’s (Australasian Society for Aerospace Medicine) focus colloquium on space medicine in Melbourne, and the International Astronautical Congress 2018 in Bremen, Germany. Between these two events we’ve met a huge number of space professionals from both Australia and abroad, scientists and engineers from industry and various space agencies, all working towards driving the new space revolution forward.
We’re still in the process of contacting all the inspiring people we’ve met, so if you’ve not heard from us yet, please feel free to contact us, so we can continue the conversation.
We’ve also continued to work on promoting our DeTA (Deployable Toroid Array) space origami concept, both the hardware, and the business case(s) for what we can do with it:
We at Exodus have been hard at work creating the pitch materials that investors (rightly) want to see before backing a venture such as ours. That means laying out a roadmap for Exodus over the next five years, including both the milestones we expect to meet, and the costs we’ll have to cover, as we travel down the path towards becoming a leader in the space debris clean-up industry.
This has been a rewarding task, because it means we can start to make some better educated guesses about how big this industry will be, which may surprise some. With another 5000+ satellites expected to be delivered into Low Earth Orbit in the next ten years, in addition to a satellite services industry currently worth in excess of $100 billion/year, we predict a $100+ million/year clean-up industry by 2028, with satellite makers and insurers being the primary customers.
Interested investors should contact us for more information.
We’re also preparing for a couple of upcoming space conferences, the Australian Society for Aerospace Medicine’s: Focus colloquium on Space Life Sciences in Melbourne this Friday, and of course, the 2018 International Astronautical Congress in Bremen, Germany. We have also recently participated in consultation sessions for the rapidly developing Australian Space Agency: I have to say it’s been so encouraging to see how quickly the agency is coming together, as well as the enthusiasm and professionalism of its staff.
Lastly, while there’s a number of opportunities in the works that we can’t talk about yet, I do think it’s important to emphasise that yes, we are aiming to be a leader in the space debris clean-up industry, but that’s not all. Long term, we want to help enable the exodus of humanity to space in large numbers. Instead of “where next?” we ask “how many?” because the technologies that maximise the answer to that question are what will enable humanity to take that next step and finally start the settlement of space.
What does that look like? I’ve made a small update to my novel preview for “The Hub, the Rock, and the Ring” because I believe a story can paint a picture far more vivid than any trade study ever did. Caution: contains some adult language.
It was lovely to be invited to a conversation with Colleen Yates of RDA Perth. We spoke about the space debris problem, and how Exodus Space Systems’ technology could also help solve the medical problems encountered by astronauts living in space.
We’ve now uploaded a video presentation to our YouTube channel, showing the Exodus vision for our new patent-pending invention; the Deployable Toroidal Array, and how it enables applications such as our SDEDI (Space Debris Elimination by Dry Ice) method.
Our DeTA (Deployable Toroidal Array) invention has now been lodged with the Australian Patent Office as a provisional patent, which means we can finally talk about the invention, and explain how we’ll be using it to address the twin challenges of spin gravity research and space debris.
First of all, here’s a look at the simplified, 3D printed DeTA model we’re selling on our Shapeways page:
It’s a very cool desk toy as well as an excellent demonstration of the capabilities of SLS 3D printing, with its 62 individual, interlinked parts that come out of the 3D printer in one print, no assembly required. It also elegantly demonstrates one of the possible mechanisms we can use to move the DeTA between stowed and deployed states. Right now the best way that you can help us move forward is by buying one of these at our shapeways page here.
The patent itself contains more detail, and the drawings below are of a 3D model which is much closer to what we are actually in the process of building. I’ll explain in more detail later, but you’ll notice the stowed state is designed to fit snugly into the curved conical nose cone of a rocket payload bay, while the deployed state has a large relative spin radius, mechanisms needed to control orientation and spin rate, and tubular spokes which will be critical to our plan to deorbit space debris using pellets of dry ice.
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.
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.
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:
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!
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!