We got a chance to interview Don McGregor Co-Founder and CEO of Space Railway Corporation, one of the promising companies seeking to redefine space travel.
Hi Don, Thank you so much for this interview. Just to start with, Could you please tell a bit more about yourself and your journey to the Space Railway project?
I’m a retired United States Air Force Major General. A fighter pilot, and career Air Force Officer with a diverse career, and expertise in national security, strategy, policy, strategic planning, and organizational management. I held several command and senior staff positions around the Globe and was the lead advisor to a member of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. I’m also a National Association of Corporate Directors (NACD) member and NACD director certified. I have a Master of Arts in Diplomacy and International Conflict Resolution from Norwich University, and a Bachelor of Arts in Computer Science from the University of Minnesota. I am currently the Company’s Chairman of the Board of Directors and acting Chief Executive Officer.
The journey started through Advisory Cloud, a board advisory service that connects seasoned executives to newly formed companies. Ken Douglas, Space Railway founder, contacted and asked me to join the adventure. After reading the business, I couldn’t resist…a fascinating concept and what I consider a national security issue.
What is Space Railway? Could you please briefly explain more about this project?
Space Railway redefines space travel using a patented specially designed rocket-less hybrid transport system to propel payload and passengers into orbit along uniquely constructed tethered graphene cables anchored in geostationary orbit.
It is an adaptation of the space elevator concept written about over the last 25 years but using a more plausible transport system. Graphene is the game-changer allowing for a much stronger (100-200 times stronger than steel), less dense and more flexible material to weave into tethered cables that would support the vehicle traveling into orbit.
That’s interesting! We know there are a few commercial space launches that have happened (Ex: SpaceX, Virgin Galactic, Blue Origin – New Shepard) and how will the Space Railway be different from those space vehicles?
No rockets and propelled into orbit along graphene nanotube cables. Once operational we will deliver over 10 times more payload weight per launch, with a delivery schedule over 10 times more frequent, with a delivery cost 10 times less than current rocket delivery systems, and a price to consumer that continues to decrease to 10 times less that of its initial cost as the increasing scale of the system enhances its total capacity by well over 10 times with full-scale, global operation.
Just curious to know, what will travelers actually be able to see and experience during their space travel?
The earth in all its glory through specially designed larger than normal windows (graphene composites for structural integrity and protection from space debris). Weightlessness and an ability to travel off the railway in modulator self-assisted steam-based propelled compartments. This will allow for excursions or movement of people to space stations or hotels (yes, there is already a company planning on building a space hotel for 400 guests).
How long will the space train be up there?
Once it arrives and delivers payload or passengers it will travel back down to the docking station on earth to reload. Frequency is the key.
How do you think that Space Railway would be a better alternative when compared to other commercial space vehicles in terms of cost?
Commercial payload deliveries will be marketed from the Corporation’s first Space Railway line at one-tenth the cost of rocket launches. One study has estimated that the cost of tethered space access will be as low as $220 USD per kilogram (kg) compared to current costs of $4500-$600/kg. The Corporation can take advantage of its first-to-market low-cost space access offering tourists/passengers a $75,000 ticket price trip vs. $2M-$5M today.
How many persons could be onboarded during a single space travel?
Current modular designs are 20 people per car.
Most people would consider safety as their top priority, so could you please elaborate on how safe their space travel would be?
Much safer than rocket-propelled launch systems. There are additional safety features such as rocket engine-assisted braking to slow the descent (100/kph) and rail car (compartment) parachutes for escape. The rail lines will be heavily redundant in case of one or two lines break.
What do you think is the future of the space travel industry and how the Space Railway would contribute to the same?
We’ve just scratched the surface of our adventures in space. Space railway is designed to greatly enhance space access without rockets. It will change the way people and payloads travel in space. Greater frequency will accelerate exploration, mineral mining, and scientific experimentation, and significantly reduce interplanetary travel since the apex is at the optimum orbit window (100,000km) for launch to Mars and other planets. For example, it could cut down travel to Mars from 9 months to 75-90 days.
Lastly, how do you think the partnership with Eqvista has helped you with this journey?
Eqvista has set us up for corporate success. An early capitalization table and valuation will benefit us greatly down the road as additional investors and employees are added to the company. An accurate idea of equity distribution and its value removes significant headaches down the road.
Thank you for your time and it was really great to know more about the Space Railway. We wish you all the best in your future endeavors.