54 minutes | Aug 25th 2020

Commercializing Satellite Propulsion, featuring Louis Perna

No longer the domain of strictly nation-states, 'new space' is undergoing a wave of commercialization and growth. Two key engineering challenges, observed Louis Perna, are in-space communications and propulsion. He and his co-founder, Natalya Bailey, launched Accion Systems to provide cost-effective electrospray propulsion for satellites.While the complexities of space travel are something that many members of society may recognize, less obvious may be the terrestrial challenges spacefaring tech developers face: designing and manufacturing hardware, cultivating an interdisciplinary team, and working through unit economics of complicated systems. Louis details his insider's view of the privatization of space, one electrospray ion thruster at a time.Show Notes– Episode page, transcript, and podcast listening links: https://toughtechtoday.com/commercializing-satellite-propulsion-with-louis-perna/– Louis Perna on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/louis-perna-6b237621Topic Timecodes01:10 Electrospray propulsion is...02:54 Transitioning tech out of a lab04:50 The Global Founders' Skills Accelerator05:36 Space industry inflection point06:54 Lowering satellite costs07:31 Failure as an option08:53 Two challenges: communications and propulsion09:53 Designing for mass manufacturability12:01 Making thousands of thrusters12:53 Kessler Syndrome responsibility14:54 Avoiding a 10,000-year delay on spaceflight16:51 Maneuvering in space19:01 Cubesats and modular design20:55 What if a low-cost satellite threatens a billion dollar satellite?22:35 How to recruit a team to build complex systems26:39 Rocket science is tough, but commercializing rocket science is tougher29:00 Making something manufacturable30:32 Learning supplier relations and quality monitoring31:34 An entrepreneurial seed?33:53 Having a partner at your side37:32 Space to remain the domain of nation-states?39:42 The Earth-focus of commercial space41:04 Manufacturing thruster components in space43:14 Water propellants43:59 Space-testing thruster tech45:54 The enticement of Very Low Earth Orbit47:09 Air-breathing satellite propulsion48:36 Advice for a fellow scientist-engineerTagsSatellite Propulsion, Ion Thrust, Electrospray, Louis Perna, Accion Systems, MIT
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