So kindly NorthWales Technology (a meetup organisation for North Wales technologists of all flavours) hosted me and negotiated a space within Pontio Innovation, and also arranged out fabulous event sponsor S2recruitment who paid for a mass of pizza and refreshments.
So about 25 people turned up and I started of with some slides about the different routes I have come across that different individuals, startups or not for profits I've linked into have taken into getting into the space sector. I also looked at how these entities had funded their activities (from bootstrapping/crowdfunding, angel/VC, European space agency funding applications and finally through winning funding through competitions!). We then spent the best part of 3 hours exploring the Astrosat and Huntsville CountyChamber competition that sits within the range of competitions currently running in the Space Exploration Masters program which is headed by AZO and ESA.
We looked at the Dream Chaser vehicle and the competition requirements that state that they are looking for commercial applications for dream chaser that use the platform beyond current earth observation and crew and cargo resupply missions and develop “space as service” ideas around themes of wider exploration of the universe, interplanetary, moon, mars missions etc. I armed the participants with some dream chaser plans, 3d printed models and a heap of pens and paper and off we went!
The ideas within this really wonderful varied cohort of people were fabulous and everyone really entered into the spirit of the evening... I'd love to give a complete list of the fascinating ideas that arose but frankly there were too many! However here are a few I recall...
- Flat pack space laboratories, Dream Chasers are used to deploy and equip expanding LEO laboratories to allow scaling of microgravity research.
- Multiple dream chasers as a wide reconfigurable interferometry platform for deep space exploration/measurement/telescopy.
- Dream chaser as Biological lab allowing remote un-crewed safe environment for experiments using volatile/toxic/bacteria etc.
- Space ark... an off world seed bank.
- Dream chaser as Bio lab exploring biofuel using the different decay rates of organic material on orbit.
- Dream chaser mission for 200 commercial cubesats to be flown to the moon.
- Using SLA 3d printing and dream chaser to enable new 3d SLA techniques to be used as Dream chaser could create different gravity/reaction at differing parts of the print process.
- Dreamchaser in LEO as Deployer for interplanetary cubesat missions.
- A Dreamchaser dock in LEO, a multifaceted structure with an IBDM berthing docking ring on each face, inside a robotic system acts as cargo shifter to allow exchange of cargo/fuel/equipment between Dream Chaser allowing flexibility in usage.
- Space recovery, Using dream chaser to de-orbit space debris but rather than burning up in atmosphere debris could be sold into the high value space collectors market.
- Dreamchaser space burial!
- Dreamchaser space prison (although we all thought this would encourage crime)!
- Space tourism..... but dream chaser would need windows!
And many many more! We finished off the evening with a quick look at how people entered the competition and what details the competition required for entry. So, finally, I think everyone had a good time, apparent both in the room and also on twitter on the hashtag #inspaceone, I got this lovely tweet which really made my day as reducing barriers to space is exactly what I was aiming for!
And finally this lovely bit of written feedback... and yes... here's looking forward to Inspace Two!