/Interview John Bilcow on the Work to a Next Generation Space Station

Interview John Bilcow on the Work to a Next Generation Space Station

John Blincow is the President of the Gateway Foundation.

John Blincow has worked as a pilot for 24 years, flying all over the world in such aircraft as the Boeing 757, DC-10, and Boeing 747-400. John Blincow’s experience as a pilot instructor includes United Airlines, Boeing Flight Safety, and as a security instructor for The Transportation Security Administration (TSA). John Blincow graduated with a B.A. from Cal State San Bernardino in 1996.

Gateway Foundation has plans to build a circular space station that can hold 400 people. This will be called the Von Braun station. It will have twenty-four modules that are each 12 meters in diameter by 20 meters in length. There will be a ferris wheel like frame and a center hub and elevators. Each module will have about 8000 cubic meters in volume. There will be connecting docking areas for 24 Dream Chasers as lifeboats to enable full evacuation of the structure. The entire Von Bruan structure will have about 300,000 cubic meters of volume. This will be about 300 times more than the International Space Station.

The Von Braun will have the volume of a large cruise ship.

The pill-shaped modules look like Bigelow B330 or Bigelow B2100 modules but they are far larger. They are much fatter. They are also not inflatable.

The capacity of the lifeboats is the limiting factor for the habitation of the station.

They believe that in the first few years of a SpaceX Super Heavy Starship the launch costs will be about $40 million per launch. The launch mass will be about 100 tons. Despite high levels of full reusability the costs will stay higher due to the refurbishment needed for the launch pad. The Falcon Heavy and Super Heavy will degrade the launch facility substantially. The maintenance of the launch pads will eventually be reduced with further upgrades.

Each of the modules could be sold as facilities for countries or major corporations.

It will take about 30-40 launches of a Super Heavy Starship to launch the Von Braun Station. This would be fewer launches than the International Space Station. The costs will be far less because Gateway will try to use $40 million Super Heavy launches instead of $1 billion or more for Space Shuttle launches.

The Von Bruan Station could be occupied and begin operation with as few as 4-6 launches. They would create the hub and the ferris wheel frame, elevators and place the first two modules and Dream Chasers onto the station. Even with two modules the Von Braun would have about twenty times the volume of the International Space Station.

There is a plan to add large amounts of solar power. This could be 4 megawatts or more. This is thirty to fifty times more than the International Space Station.

To build the Von Bruan Station Gateway they will first construct an automated space drone robots called GSAL. The GSAL will create segments that are each unique for that part of The Gateway: For instance, to create the Hub we will weld together a series of square segments; to create ring sections the GSAL will reconfigure its beam guides to fabricate wedge shaped segments. In this manner the outer shell of The Gateway can be erected fast and welded tight around airlocks so workers can finish the interior without the use of heavy spacesuits. It is important to build The Gateway fast so it can generate revenue sooner. But safety will never take a back seat in space construction or operations. Once completed The Gateway will face months of operational testing to insure redundant safety systems will all function as designed.

This is the critical year for the Gateway Foundation. They have thousands of members but they will start selling stock and fundraising. The next step is to create the first triangular version of the GSAL construction robotic drone.

Construction capabilities in space will be the initial business and a critical path capability for the Von Bruan Station.

There will be many developments and announcements from Gateway Foundation this year and hopefully many more in the coming years. They will be starting their business and raising funds and releasing many new plans and progress reports.

SOURCES- Interview with John Bilkow, Gateway Foundation
Written By Brian Wang, Nextbigfuture.com