Democratizing Space Travel

Looking for: Developer, Engineer
Deep Space Transport 

About me: My expertise is in philosophy of technology. I got involved in disruptive technology/advanced propulsion research in 2005 when I was hired to analyze the current state of propulsion research. During that analysis I found the only scheme that met my criteria for investment--that the scheme have both peer reviewed theory and traceable lab evidence--was the work of Dr. James F. Woodward at California State University at Fullerton. Since that time I've collaborated with Dr. Woodward though to the best of my knowledge, he is not working on a solution for commercialization. I am.

People often ask entrepreneurs what they know that others don't, or in what sense have they found a "contrarian" niche. I'm trained as an epistemologist, so I can judge highly technical endeavors without investing thousands of hours wielding highly technical skills (such as advanced engineering and physics.)  I argue from first principles rather than formulas.  I'm good at what I do because I use a different skill set and achieve better results than would for example, an engineer. I'm also much better at communicating about highly technical subjects than most engineers and I understand the key issues better than engineers, especially as regards how to judge scientific warrant for belief in these cutting edge physics issues. I can explain what my partners need to know in order to have confidence in the task before us, and will when I find the right cofounders. 

My Passion: Now is the time to develop space transportation that is safe, quick, convenient and economical to degrees that make space travel a possibility for the average man, just as air travel is today. To do this requires development of a Spacedrive that does not require propellant be dragged along with the spacecraft during deep space travel. Dr.Woodward has ably striven in the lab for many years clearly showing his theory of Mach Effect physics obtains and that it can be used to create commercial deep space propulsion that can make robotic space travel cheap within 4 years, and human space travel common within a decade. Deep Space Transport is all about democratizing space travel. 

My view: Dr. Woodward's work at Fullerton is fundamental, but he is continuing to provide TRL5 demonstrations of his theory, rather than moving on to TRL6 and TRL7. He has not incorporated and so far as I'm aware, has no plans to develop a commercial enterprise to see the technology brought to market. DST needs to pick up where Woodward's work leaves off and develop commercial applications of his Mach Effect physics.

My Preparations: Over the last 9+ years, I've invested more than 15,000 hours research into the materials and manufacturing techniques necessary to produce a commercial Mach Effect Thruster (MET) and though the challenge is significant, the goal is obtainable within 3 years. Within 2 years we can provide a TRL6 demonstration and a year after that we can fly a TRL7 demonstration from the International Space Station, putting all concerns to rest about whether this technology is ready for market. I have also charted the path through TRL8 and TRL9, including identifying the best manufacturing partners, and I know what needs to be done to bring this technology to market. 

Seeking: I'm looking for a co-founders with passion for the mission. Since we're looking for DARPA funding, US citizens only. I'm also looking for core employees with PhD's in electrical engineering, mechanical engineering, aerospace engineering, computational materials science and plasma physics. With just a couple of these positions filled we'll be ready to characterize our next gen dielectric, which can immediately go to market for purposes other than the thruster in order to generate early revenue. We also want to develop our own proprietary radiation hardening technology by putting it through the paces in computer simulation. With these two early wins under our team's belt (six months), we can then look to DARPA to fund construction of a thrust lab and the thruster itself. And take special note, no new physics is necessary for these first two projects. There is almost no technical risk to starting DST. All the early risk is in gathering the right cofounders.  Still, this mission is not for the faint hearted.  Only the courageous need apply.

We are not looking for anyone who needs a 5 year exit strategy. After the technology comes to market, we intend to take this the next step and begin to develop proprietary spacecraft. Also we'll be developing the second generation thruster which will have much higher figures of merit and may even be able to fly directly from the surface of the Earth, removing all need for dedicated launch vehicles and opening the terrestrial market through applications such as flying cars. The core mission however, is to create safe, quick, convenient and economical space transportation, and this requires mass producing spacecraft such that these craft cost no more than modern commercial aircraft and can fly people to the Moon in 5 hours, or to Mars in 2 days. This will within ten years, open up our entire planetary system for exploitation.

Additional Info

  • Time commitment: over time (>40h/week)
  • Idea stage: just an idea