Podcast Ep. #6 – Oxford Space Systems Founder Mike Lawton on Deployable Space Structures


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On this episode of the podcast I speak to Mike Lawton, who is the founder and CEO of Oxford Space Systems (OSS). OSS is an award-winning space technology company that is developing a new generation of deployable space structures that are lighter, simpler and cheaper than current products on the market. These deployable structures deploy antennas and solar panels on satellites orbiting earth, and are tricky to design because they need to package to a fraction of their deployed size, and need to be as lightweight as possible. OSS’ first product, the AstroTube boom, was launched into space and deployed on a cubesat in September 2016. This achievement set a new industry record in terms of development time, going from company formation to orbit in under 30 months. I met Mike at the OSS design office to talk about: venture capital funding of NewSpace companies how the design philosophy of NewSpace companies differs from established firms how origami, the Japanese art of folding, is being used to design more efficient deployable structures the flexible composites technology that OSS are developing and his vision for the future of space commercialisation I hope that you enjoy this conversation as much as I did. If you enjoy the Aerospace Engineering Podcast you can support it by leaving a review on iTunes or by becoming a patron. This episode of the Aerospace Engineering Podcast is sponsored by SAMPE North America. SAMPE is a global professional society that has been providing educational opportunities on advanced materials for more than 70 years. SAMPE’s network of engineers is a key facilitator for the advancement of aerospace engineering by enabling information exchange and synergies between aerospace companies. To find out how SAMPE can help you learn more about advanced materials and processes, consider attending the SAMPE 2018 Technical Conference and Expo in Long Beach, California. Selected Links from the Episode Oxford Space Systems: Technology overview AstroTube AstroHinge Origami and unpacking in space (Part 1, Part 2) First product launch Harwell Space Cluster Catapult Satellite Applications NewSpace UK Space Agency Funding Prof. Zhong You, Oxford University Asteroid mining

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