On 12 October 2017, NewSpace Chicago was treated to a special screening of the short film “Space Crazy”, produced by FRC. Space Crazy was created as submission to NASA’s summer 2017 short film competition CineSpace. The film wonderfully captures the feeling of someone crazy about space, through Jon Francia’s personal story and the emerging startups of Chicago’s own David Hurst and David Koch. While introducing the film, Jon shared how he felt seeing commercials for Space Camp as a boy, and that even today as an adult, he’d still go. It is an inspiring little film; watch it below.
After the film, Jon lead a panel discussion with David Koch of AirChicago and David Hurst of Orbital Transports. Each first gave an overview of their respective business visions, opportunities, and current status. AirChicago sells private jet travel experiences, leveraging charter jets today and scaling up to sub-orbital hypersonic jets in the future (a future closer than you may think). The initial business plan focuses on travel from Chicago to destinations around the United States. As the business grows, other hubs will be added to expand to the rest of North America, Europe, and Asia. When supersonic jets are reintroduced to the market, AirChicago will add flights such as from Chicago to Beijing – in seven hours. Hypersonic jets, the ultimate technical objective, would further cut that travel time down to two hours! Hypersonic jets fly at about 150,000 feet, and enable both point-to-point travel on the Earth, but potentially also Earth to orbit and back.
Orbital Transports is in the business of space logistics, including satellite design, mission planning, launch coordination, post-launch operations, and all the paperwork in between. They’re starting with Low Earth Orbit (LEO), helping organizations who want to get to space, but don’t know how. Cubesats are the architecture of choice. Later, Orbital Transports will progress on through geostationary orbit, Earth-Moon LaGrange point 1, and beyond to near Earth asteroids, the Moon, and Mars. In the great California Gold Rush, the ones who reaped the most rewards weren’t the miners panning for gold, but rather those who supplied them. Orbital Transports is following in their footsteps.
This was part of a continuing series of space entrepreneurship discussion and networking forums presented by NewSpace Chicago and hosted at mHUB Chicago. This event was free and open to the public. Sign up for our free newsletter at http://eepurl.com/c5rTUT .