Dec 2010/Jan 2011 Update

It’s been a while since I updated the ASM blog, so I figured it was worth a quick discussion of what we’ve been up to lately.

Space Show Appearance
It was great having the chance to appear on The Space Show with Dr Livingston last December. The archive can be found here for those who missed it. I had a chance to discuss a lot of what Altius was up to, as well as discussing orbital propellant depots and some of the issues related to them. It looks like I will likely be returning to the show sometime soon for a Space Show Classroom edition discussing propellant depot technology with Dan Adamo and some of their other regulars. Admittedly, Altius isn’t directly working on depots yet, but many of the technologies we are trying to commercialize are directly relevant and should help accelerate the time when depots are a reality.

ULA Contract
In late December, Ian and I also finished the feasibility study we were doing for ULA. It was a cool project that really required both Ian and I to stretch our capabilities. We were really pleased with the end results, and hope we get a chance both to follow-up on that work at some point, and also to be able to publicly talk about what we did. ULA’s was a great company to work with, and I really want to see the Integrated Vehicle Fluids system (hopefully with our little contribution) flying some day. I think it would be not only a great enhancement to the Delta-IV and Atlas-V’s upper stage capabilities, but will help position ULA well to take advantage of propellant depots and orbital refueling when they become available.

NanoSat Propellant Tank Project
With the short-fuse nature of the ULA project, I only had a chance to really get back into the NanoSat Propellant Tank project for Stellar after I had my family moved-in and situated this last month. We recently did a design review on the concept, and hopefully I’ll be having metal bent in the near future. Hopefully I can post some pictures once I have the proof of concept tanks fabricated and tested.

Ventions Avionics Project
The avionics project we’re doing for Ventions is also coming along. I’m not sure how much I can say about it, but we do have some prototype hardware in that Ian has been testing and doing some of the embedded programming for. One of our hopes is to be able to leverage this work to develop a generic and modular avionics system that can be used for UAVs, rockets, test stands, reentry vehicles, and other projects.

We have a lot of other work going on in the background, and hopefully I’ll be in a position to talk about more of them publicly sometime soon. Last year was a good start for the company. We made a decent profit on our contracting work, got Ian and myself relocated here to Colorado and basic business operations going, got setup with all the key software and tools we needed, and have started to land a stream of small projects. Over the next several months we hope to be able to announce several other exciting projects and collaborations, and to announce some new members of the Altius team.

Thanks for following our progress!

3 Responses
  1. MIke Garceau

    Why would you and Ian work on an In Vitro Fertilization (IVF) system? Some sort of colonization scheme?

    Also, do you need samples?


  2. admin

    I got rid of the acronym for you. ;-P Like you would actually fly an In Vitro Fertilization system…


  3. MIke Garceau

    Ah… Integrated Vehicle Fluids. Sorry — we had discussed it, but I didn’t have the acronym in mind. Must replace current biomemory with newer, higher density version…