Interview withPrincipal Founder & CEONeal S. Lachman

Interview with Neal S. Lachman, Principal Founder & CEO of Titans Space Industries - by Titans Legion Captain Marcus Beau

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Published: August 17, 2022
Since we launched the website a couple of weeks ago for previews of our upcoming projects, we received many probing questions from Titans Legion members and the public at large.

Instead of publishing a FAQ, we decided to publish an interview between Titans Legion Captain Marcus Beau and our founding CEO, Neal S. Lachman.

The interview will be published in four parts.

This interview is the first part and concerns TSI's positioning in a world of aerospace and space behemoths like NASA and SpaceX.

Questions:
You’ve said that TSI can build a city on the Moon before NASA or anyone else. What do you mean by that?

Yes, I've said that, but I'd like to clarify, first of all, that we’re not (really) in a race.

If someone else does it first, whether it be the Americans, the Chinese, the Indians, the Japanese, the Russians, the Europeans or any of the space-ambitious countries, that’s great. Good for them, it will not affect us negatively. In fact, it will always be a positive development for us.

We (TSI) will learn from their mistakes, and we’ll benefit from their investments.

Nevertheless, given the pace of developments, while better than ever before, I deem it highly unlikely that large scale and truly impactful developments will happen through these players in the next 10-20 years.

While there are ambitions and even real plans, like with the NASA Artemis program, and the Chinese Space Station, the industry is taking a slow and steady approach. While general wisdom says that slow and steady wins the race, this is a whole other story, and that wisdom doesn’t apply if you want to industrialize space – especially not in today’s environment.

We must take action now; we must create alternatives for Earth industries that are destroying our planet.

While NASA is a real force to reckon with, they and most other large players in the industry are stuck in old aerospace mud. It’s very hard to get out of it, and they may -in fact- like it in the mud.

Organizations and institutions like NASA are, obviously, tied to commercial industries. These organizations, institutions, and companies have sunk costs of tens of billions of dollars, each.

There is simply no real incentive for them to speed things up. Why should they cannibalize their own bottom lines and destroy their R&D and commercialization pipelines - just to make space travel cheap and easy for you and me?

We've seen this stuck-in-mud issues with legacy operators when we pioneered fiber to the home more than twenty-two years ago. The severe dislike and the immense pushback from the establishment, the legacy industry and thus competition, affected us a lot. Thankfully, we learned a lot from that experience.

This is why I've also said that we'll do to the space industry what we did to the telecom industry twenty-two years ago. With TSI’s aggressive, ambitious, yet realistic projects pipeline, we can do everything much faster, cheaper, and more efficient.

Are you saying that the industry could do everything much faster, but they don’t do it because of vested interests?

That’s indeed what I’m saying.

OK, let’s stay with NASA and the USA, because that’s the most powerful player in space development. A prime example would be to compare NASA’s situation with that of new players, including SpaceX and Blue Origin.

Let’s not go into the cost issues of their Space Launch System (SLS), and just focus on development and speed. NASA can have ambitions what they want, but they are a government agency; their budget has to be approved by Congress, and they have to work with the big aerospace companies.

Congress gives money to NASA for it to flow back to these aerospace companies that employ hundreds of thousands of people.

Smaller, leaner, more flat organizations like SpaceX and Blue Origin have the benefit of freedom to pick and choose their objectives, their programs, and their suppliers. SpaceX excels in this regard even beyond Blue Origin.

We take a somewhat similar approach to SpaceX - leaner, meaner, efficient, basic engineering, first principles, etc.

Then there is the individual component. People who have spent their lives learning and teaching about rockets may not like a non-rocket solution. Astronauts are today’s heroes, rightly so, but what’s so exclusive about space travel if everyone can go to space like it’s a cruise vacation? What’s special if everyone can become an “astronaut”?

Whenever I think of such highly distinguished echelons of society, I think of the guilds of the past. They maintained their influence and status in society by limiting the number of people who could do the same thing. Too many entrants would cause loss of value. Supply and demand. That's economics and inflation 101.

There are many such obvious and non-obvious obstacles to truly paradigm-shifting and revolutionary developments when incremental, evolutionary progress keeps everyone happy, in business, and employed.

I’d like to state first and foremost that we have access to considerable start-up capital, primarily and initially because of our Titans Astronauts program.

We know how the Venture Capital and Private Equity industry works. Take a look at our co-founder bios, and you'll see our combined 250+ years of experience.

We have pragmatic planners, project development experts, and VC/PE experts in our founding team. I'm in constant contact with them, and we go over all proposals together. We've kept everything short, flat, and lean.

This way we can make huge decisions in a very short time frame. We can change course mid-stream if we'd need to. That's how agile we are.

We decided to take a different route from venture capital and other forms of funding. Instead, we focused on Titans Astronauts. The little we can publicly tell about that program can be found in the relevant section of our website.

At one point in the near future, TSI’s investments, coming from all sorts of streams, and its related TASA (Titania Aeronautics and Space Administration) agency’s annual budget will exceed that of NASA’s. This will have huge ramifications for the industry as a whole. And we as a team are very excited about it.

Our investment budget for 2023 is less than a billion USD, and is focused mostly on R&D and groundwork for our Earth-based components. But the entire phase 1, which includes the initial core orbital ring, a spaceport, and a space elevator, is estimated at $25 billion - by 2030. And after that, the annual budgets -tied to annual revenues- will sky-rocket because we are dedicated in re-investing in humanity and planet Earth.

At Titans Universe/TSI we have a business philosophy that we call, “Reversed Unfolding”: Once we have identified what we want to achieve, we plan in reverse to see what we need to do, and how to get there.

Let's take, for example, TSI’s main objective: a Mining Colony on the Moon.

We identified the opportunity and need for a huge mining and space commerce colony on the Moon - to lessen Earth’s industrial burden. We then had to figure out how, what, where, when, who, why, etc.

The entire space industry acknowledges that the single most important barrier to space development is the cost of rocket launches, which -as of yet- is the only way to get things into space.

Our solution for mass space travel and large scale industrialization of the Moon is to combine and realize several forms of infrastructure that have been floating around as proposals for decades, and to create an end-to-end solution that makes space launches very safe and efficient.

This will allow us to solve the catch-22 dilemma that’s limiting the industry: how to get huge quantities of stuff up in space at the lowest cost possible.

We start small and then pace up every year, and within 30 years, your life will have changed and improved at twice the rate of the last 30 years.

Can you tell more about these forms of infrastructure and how it works together?

Sure. We’re working on several layers per project, for example with the space launch vehicle. Our desired mode of space transportation will be a spaceplane, much like an airplane. Our current preferred design is modelled after and inspired by the Star-Raker.

We will do everything in our power to make it happen, in five years rather than 10-15 years, and for $3.5-$5 billion rather than $10-$15 billion investment. Nonetheless, our alternative is a space shuttle like vehicle. We’ll make that final decision at the end of our R&D process, most likely at the end of 2023. Then the world has another four years to deliver the first two spaceplanes, ready to rock and roll.

Our spaceplanes will make the construction of the initial part of our first orbital ring a reality. They allow for fast turn-arounds, efficient transportation, airplane-like safety, and huge payloads to orbit. This $3.5 billion investment in our spaceplanes will allow us to build a massive initial orbital ring core and platform for approximately $7-$8 billion, which would otherwise cost 10x that amount, if possible at all.

The spaceplanes will also be essential in building the orbital ring part of our fist space elevator and first two supporting space towers. Which is another part of the infrastructure solution.

While the space elevator industry is still talking about building an elevator 36-40,000 kilometers tall, we are building a relatively short one – a mere 100 kilometers tall. The elevator connects to the orbital ring at 100 kilometers altitude, and this is where things get really futuristic.

Our orbital ring, which we call the OrbitalLoop, will initially (around 2027/2028) consist of a platform on top of the space elevator, where space tourists can spend some time for just a few thousand dollars per person.

However, the daily construction work of the OrbitalLoop will have to result (by 2030) in an equatorial ring that has special ultra-fast magnetically levitated pods in them, much like the HyperLoop plan was.

This is a paradigm-shifting development because the MagLev track is also our launch track for special spaceships to deep space, including the Moon.

End of Part 1
If your interest is piqued, you can read Neal's analysis.