11 minutes | Jun 9, 2019
Cislunar 1000 vision
There are many visions for the future of humans in space. The SpaceX Starship on Mars, the Blue Origin/Gerard O’Neill rotating habitats and industrialized moon with earth zoned residential. There’s the ESA Moon Village, and Robert Zubrin’s Mars Direct. A good vision is a story you tell. one that can be backed up with some potential to come true, and conveyed by someone with passion and influence. The Cislunar-1000 is a vision of our future in cislunar space from United Launch Alliance (ULA). It revolves around creating an economy and community with 1000 people between the Earth and the Moon. 1000 people is a number that necessitates a certain type of thinking, technology and systems to support it. It is a shift in mindset in the same way that baking 1 cake is different problem than baking 1000 cakes, or building one bicycle in your garage vs creating a factory to produce thousands of them. Solving the problems that will lead to getting 1000 people in space will have very different demands than our past endeavours.
9 minutes | May 31, 2019
What's going to happen to the ISS?
After two decades of ISS being the only game in town when it comes to space stations, things are finally starting to change. The decommissioning for ISS is in early planning stages now and the progress happening on new replacement stations from NASA and China, and perhaps Russia, as well as privately owned stations are starting to look like they are potentially close to finding a viable market. The future of space stations is looking bright. Hi, my name is Matt Warren and I am the host of Moon to Stay, a show dedicated to exploring the moon. In 60 years of human space travel fewer than 600 people have been in space. And the maximum number of people who have been there at the same time is 13 - a record set in 1995. The good news is that since the ISS has become fully operational we have maintained a continuous presence in earth orbit. The ISS crew complement of between 3 and 6 people has been held since the year 2000. The limiting factor in putting more people up on the space station at the same time has not been the size of the station, but on our ability to have escape vehicle capacity to leave in the case of an emergency. The ISS is currently scheduled for end of life in the late 2020s. There have been discussions at NASA about how to do that. It’s a complicated international investment and different parties may have different ideas for what to do with the modules and equipment they have up there. In the case of the Russian modules, rumours are that they are investigating the potential of taking their components off to re-use on a Russian space station. NASA is potentially looking at the possibility of finding a way to off-load the operational aspects of the station to private industry. Certainly de-orbiting the whole thing would be dangerous and seemingly wasteful. China meanwhile has quietly already launched 2 short lived experimental space stations and is planning a larger modular Chinese station to call their own. NASA and international partners have shifted their focus to the new Gateway station. A small orbital outpost in heliocentric orbit of the moon - our first attempt at building something outside of Earth orbit. Though not designed to be permanently crewed, Gateway builds on the same modular design principles used for the ISS and will create new obligations to get astronauts out to lunar orbit on a regular basis for the foreseeable future. This is I think one of the biggest lessons from operating the ISS for the last 20 years. A great way at ensuring stable funding over a long time horizon, across multiple changes in governments is to have complex international agreements and sunk costs into the infrastructure that would be a waste to very publically abandon. In the private sector, things might finally be approaching a point where lower cost reusable rockets from SpaceX and Blue Origin make a privately owned and operated space station something that has a viable business case. NASA has been advancing a vision of increased private activity in space starting with the successful goal of privatizing the supply rockets to the ISS. Now they are looking into finding ways to make it possible for private industry to operate space stations. The best benefit from introducing multiple companies to operate at the same time (rather than picking a single contractor to build something like say - the space shuttle) is that we get diversity of ideas and visions. A variety of rockets to choose from, with different trade offs for cost, payloads, and scheduling. Paying companies for the service, rather than time and materials contracts puts pressure on the supplying company to work on things that can deliver value to more customers than just NASA. They still need to go out and drum up other business to make things work financially. When it comes to space stations we need the diversity of ideas more than ever, because there is wide open un-test potential for what to build, and unknown, untapped demand for things we might want to do in space if it was more affordable to do so. This is why companies like Bigelow aerospace has attached a test module to the ISS to validate it’s inflatable module technology and prepare for a more ambitious development of an orbital space hotel. Axiom space is a private company that likewise has developed conceptual modules for expanding the ISS and building independant space stations. They have proposed a future of expanding and replacing modules over time on ISS, essentially to rebuild it into something new. Blue Origin has submitted a proposal for a space station that looks to be based on a New Glenn upper stage. They are in the early stages of discovering the viable business strategy for building space habitats. Other companies like - SNC, Space Adventures, SSL/Maxar, Boeing, and Northrop Grumman all have their own visions for what the biggest opportunities are for using a space station be it for science, in space manufacturing, tourism or for servicing other activities in space. Space stations are central to the future commercialization of space and part of the bigger picture of expanding human influence out to the moon. We can’t have a human presence in space without a place for humans to stay. The rockets are coming that will make it more possible than ever to get people up in greater numbers and lower cost. The next challenge will be to build enough places for them to stay and work when they get there. Thank you for listening to this episode of Moon to Stay. You can find more episodes of Moon to Stay on your podcast app or on Youtube. Please tell a friend about this show. And please go do those things people always ask at the end of a show. You can reach me on twitter @matt_warren and get the show notes for each episode on my website mattwarren.co. Now that you’re finished this episode go check out some of our previous episodes. New episodes are published every Friday. Stay tuned until then, and keep looking up.
12 minutes | May 20, 2019
The Time for Space
In the world of startup tech companies timing is a big part of what makes or breaks a business. Too early, customers aren’t ready, the market doesn’t exist, or the technology isn’t mature enough to work. Too late and someone else has a commanding lead in the market. Timing a startup has to be perfect. The new space economy features many of the same dynamics. There are certainly many brilliant visions for our future in space whose time is not yet here.
17 minutes | May 10, 2019
Building Habitats on the Moon
When we finally start to get a presence on the moon, one of the things we will do is build habitats and bases. Places to center our activities, to store our stuff, build things, sleep in, to create industries and operate businesses in. etc. What are the options for how to build these places on the moon and what are some of the the variety of strategies we could employ for designing our future habitats on the moon.
13 minutes | May 3, 2019
Story of the Apollo Rover and What's Next
show notes: https://mattwarren.co/mts How will we get around on the moon? Mobility is a primary need and it will be important to have a reliable way to move people and things in order to do the science we want to do and collect the resources we need. The Apollo rover had some design innovations, where have we come since then and what does the future look like for lunar surface transportation? The Apollo lunar rover used to drive around on the surface of the moon was a fascinating vehicle who’s history really demonstrates the enginuity and ambition of the engineers of the day.
15 minutes | Apr 26, 2019
What is the Moon Village?
Show notes: https://mattwarren.co/mts The European Space Agency is championing the idea of creating a base on the moon with similar multinational cooperation as is currently seen on the international space station. Allowing partner nations to contribute their own expertise and interest into the program. Is a moon village doomed to fail or is it the most promising plan for the future of the moon. Let’s find out. In 2016 ESA director Johann-Dietrich Wörner unveiled this vision. The idea is to build on the existing international relationships, partnerships and processes used for the ISS - the largest and most successful international project in human history. And to extend it to a new international endeavor on the lunar surface. Like the ISS, companies and countries can join and contribute to the project in their own way, leveraging their own unique expertise and aligning with their own goals. It is certainly a laudable goal, and the prospect of sharing the costs across more than a hundred organizations and governments has some real benefits.
11 minutes | Apr 21, 2019
Lunar Sports League - The Future of Sport
The moon’s gravity would make some sports infeasible, others would be more entertaining, and it would open the doors for new kinds of games we could create. One thing for certain, broadcasting the first lunar sports on ESPN would attract a lot of eyeballs.
15 minutes | Apr 11, 2019
The Moon Race - by Airbus
The Moon Race is an effort to reignite people’s interest in space again. It will drive the development of several key technologies which haven’t gotten the attention we need for a sustainable moon settlement.. Airbus and a collection of international partners have created a series of goals and prizes focused on developing some of the missing pieces. Airbus has partnered with Jeff Bezo’s Blue Origin, the Mexican space agency, the European Space Agency and Vinci the international construction company to form a new non-profit organization called “The Moon Race” They are giving a new slant to the prize incentive concept that was rebooted by the X Prize foundation a decade ago.
16 minutes | Apr 4, 2019
Smelting Lunar Aluminum
In the world of Aerospace, aluminum is perhaps the most used material. It has some great properties that make a lot of sense for building things that need to fly. First and foremost is the weight. Aluminum is lightweight which makes it more efficient for something that you are going to have to accelerate and decelerate and lift into the air. Every kilogram added to a vehicle, removes a kg of potential payload, so making rockets and planes with aluminum is better than steel in that regard. Aluminum is also stable, it doesn’t rust like iron, or explode like sodium metal. It is rigid and strong unlike lithium or gold. All in all, Great properties to have for building things with. With more than 100 years now of experience building things with aluminum for aerospace, it’s also a material we understand quite a lot about. There are well understood alloys of aluminum that can be referenced easily by engineers and acquired very cheaply.
11 minutes | Mar 29, 2019
NASA's Surprise Lunar 5 Year Challenge
NASA’s new goal of getting astronauts to the south pole of the moon in 2024 comes at the same time as NASA is fighting to maintain it’s shrinking budget before congress. It was in this proposed budget that NASA had actually scaled back it’s investment in the SLS rocket system capable of reaching the moon due to slipping timelines on the part of Boeing and sub-contractors to deliver a working rocket. It doesn’t look like there will be a bold budget to match the bold demands that the white house is placing on NASA. Instead, most of the money will likely to come from cutting costs. This goal puts everything on the table and will probably force some difficult decisions, and even tougher arguments. The plan was to build the Gateway station which orbits the moon, establish gateway as a base of operations and then proceed to the lunar surface for missions. 5 years isn’t enough time to build the full gateway first so something will have to give. To further complicate the matter are the international partnerships - Canada has publically commited to being a partner on the Gateway, JAXA, Roscosmos, and ESA have also designed modules that will be part of the station. Should NASA be forced to change the timelines or even re-think the whole station itself in light of it’s new goals that would create some backlash from international partners already invested into the Gateway concept.
14 minutes | Mar 21, 2019
Space Elevators and Mass Drivers
Getting from earth to the moon is a real challenge. If it were easy then it wouldn’t have been 45 years since the last time humans went there. Since the early days of space pioneering, rockets have been the only way to reach space. To go further, and to launch more stuff, we need to build bigger and bigger rockets. But what if that wasn’t the only way to launch things into space. In this episode I’ll look at some of the possible alternatives. The basic physics of a rocket is that in order to move the rocket forward you need to throw something out the back of the rocket, in this case explosive exhaust. That’s newtons laws of motion - for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. Rockets use a controlled explosion to push a lot of gasses at very high speed out of the rocket nozzle in order to push a big heavy rocket up into space.
15 minutes | Mar 14, 2019
Artemis And The First Lunar City
Andy Weir, author of The Martian, which became a box office hit movie starring Matt Damon, published his second book Artemis, a story set on the Moon. Andy Weir’s style of hard science fiction is factually accurate to the laws of physics and extremely detail oriented. In this episode we’ll examine his vision of the first lunar community. If you haven’t read the book Artemis by Andy Weir yet, I highly recommend you do. The witty humour and technical depth of his writing has made his books among my favourites, and were a driving factor in getting me to read more fiction. But a Word of warning, there may be some spoilers in this episode. The setting of the book is the city of Artemis, the first human city, not on earth, but the moon. Andy went to great detail doing research on how such a city would come to be, what the buildings looks like, what the culture would evolve into, how the economy would work in minute detail. It is all very believable aside from a couple of minor things to help with the plot.
18 minutes | Mar 7, 2019
Moon Direct - Dr. Robert Zubrin's Plan to Go to The Moon
Dr. Robert Zubrin, the thought leader and founder of the Mars Society, has developed a plan called “moon direct” that applies his Mars Direct ideals towards the Moon. It takes advantage of cheaper currently available commercial rockets to get us there sooner, cheaper and at lower risk. Dr Robert Zubrin is best known for his Mars direct plan initially proposed in 1990 and later expanded on in his book “the case for mars” published in 1996. In Mars Direct, Zubrin proposes a series of rocket launches to place key pieces of technology on Mars in advance of a manned mission. Starting with the launch of a return vehicle and fuel production equipment, followed by launching a habitat module and then a bare bones contingent of astronauts. By living off the land and taking some risks Mars Direct would put people on Mars quickly, mostly with existing technology. Zubrin’s approach could be summarized as “If you want to go to Mars, just focus on doing that”. With the excitement building around lunar exploration again he has taken this same direct approach strategy and developed a plan for getting to the moon.
19 minutes | Mar 1, 2019
There's LOTS of Water on the Moon
Water will be the the first and most important resource we look for on the moon when we get back there. The water on the moon has the potential to catapult human spaceflight into a new paradigm.
8 minutes | Feb 21, 2019
Israel is on route to the Moon?!!
show notes: https://mattwarren.co/mts Israel is on track to be home to the first non-governmental company that lands on the moon. SpaceIL is set to launch their lander on a Falcon 9 rocket on February 21st, and touch down on the lunar surface in mid-April 2019. SpaceIL was started to compete in the Google Lunar X prize before the competition expired without a declared winner.
15 minutes | Feb 14, 2019
Who's Going to the Moon?
2019 is shaping up to be a banner year for lunar exploration and the 2020s are looking to be extremely exciting for space discoveries. This episode of Moon To Stay looks at the various missions in planning stages by the nations and private companies trying to get to the moon. Show Notes: https://mattwarren.co/mts
14 minutes | Feb 7, 2019
Why The Moon Part 2
Why is the moon so important for humans in space? In part 2 of the first episode of this podcast I'm going over at a high level, some of the reasons why the moon is so critical to our future in space.
16 minutes | Feb 1, 2019
Why the Moon Part 1
This first episode sets a foundation of reasons why the moon is the most important location to explore in space. I discuss how the travel time affects the viability of lunar exploration and industry to make it a more compelling location than Mars or Asteroids.