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Share Your Story • Richard Sample • May 4, 2015

How to change the approach to space exploration - Part 2

How to change the approach to space exploration - Part 2

I just spent the better part of the day reading almost everyone’s entries on "My Story". Some I read the whole article, others, just the bylines, but I got to see who’s out there all across the planet. Young and Old, Novice and Professional, Dreamers and Believers, Pioneers and Adventurers. When I did my first entry, I kinda did more like a resume’ and a recruiting tool rather than a “This is who I Am”. I realized this after reading everyone’s articles. So who am I? Well… I am the luckiest guy in the world. My career has allowed me to work in and around some the most amazing industries. I have been in valves big enough to drive a buggy through and inspected “Silicon Nitrital” ball bearings so small you had to use a microscope to inspect them. I have tested materials for use in the Space Shuttle, rocket engines, aircraft, jets, submarines, and hips and knees used for medical implants. I was like a kid in a candy shop!

I have had the privilege of meeting many people working on developing and growing all that we see today. They saw a bright and beautiful future for all of us and are working to make it happen, one step at a time. They inspired me so much, and I want to be a part of their vision. When I was younger, I traveled to many locations in the US. As unique opportunities arose, I heard the call and went traveling and working in many states and cities. When my children were about to start school, I settled down in a small town with 3 traffic lights, a small slice of Heaven. Now my children have grown. I am a grandpa 3 times over now. My kids have always known my dreams and aspirations, and they are cheering me on to “Dream Big”.

All I want to do at first is to start a conversation. I want to present an idea for space exploration that I don’t see on anyone’s radar. It’s a simple idea but still has a lot of complex things to consider. The idea? Spiral Fabricated Materials. You have all seen the big rolls of steel on transport trucks and trains. Those rolls can be thousands of feet of material in a 10 or 15 foot diameter roll. The formers that shape this material out uses only a few “rollers” that can make a large continuous pipe of any diameter. This pipe can be shaped to create massive habitats in space 5 to 10 times the size of the ISS. “Google or Bing” spiral fabricated pipe and spiral ductwork videos, and you will see how these rolls can be transformed into a continuous enclosure. The “Pipe” videos are typically thick structures; the “Ductwork” videos show a very fast forming process.

My concept is a step above the ductwork, and less cumbersome than the spiral pipe process. See if you can imagine how this process would work in a “Zero G” environment where the constraints of gravity limit what we manufacture on earth. Even imagine that once the enclosure is complete, how this process could be used to create ductwork and conduits needed to develop and grow the enclosure. Of course, you may see some of the things missing that would be needed to make this a livable environment, but, there is an obvious answer. Can you see what it is? Be curious. Go look, and start the conversation!

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