Meet Chris O’Morain, an astrophysicist with an education & experience background in observational astronomy and aerospace & astronautical engineering, and the CEO of the aerospace company DarkStar Aerospace.
Check out more interviews with entrepreneurs here.
WOULD YOU LIKE TO GET FEATURED?
All interviews are 100% FREE OF CHARGE
Table of Contents
We are thrilled to have you join us today, welcome to ValiantCEO Magazine’s exclusive interview! Let’s start off with a little introduction. Tell our readers a bit about yourself and your company.
Chris O’Morain: I’m Chris O’Morain, the CEO for the aerospace & astronautics company, DarkStar Aerospace. I am an astrophysicist with an education & experience background in observational astronomy and aerospace & astronautical engineering.
DarkStar Aerospace is involved with the design & engineering of next-generation Ground & Space-based Technology & Systems – Satellites, Microsats, and Exploratory Systems – Hybrid Rockets & Hybrid Propellants.
We operate Ground Stations & Tracking Stations, and the forthcoming DSA-MSI, a next-generation Multi-Spectrum Interferometer. DarkStar Aerospace is a member of the Net Zero Space Initiative & Space Safety Coalition, because we strongly believe in the need for space sustainability to be managed properly and maintained for future generations.
In this regard, we use our Ground & Tracking Stations, and forthcoming DSA-MSI, for SSA/SST operations. DarkStar Aerospace are jointly developing new & advanced sensors for satellites to more efficiently operate SSA/SST initiatives, and are developing technology for ADR initiatives.
Both I, and DarkStar Aerospace, are directly involved with the development of the Etlaq Space Launch Complex, in Al-Duqm Oman. The first commercially accessible Space Port in the Middle East-Gulf Cooperation Council, which is also placed at one of the top 5 Equatorial launch sites in the world.
DarkStar Aerospace jointly has a scientific research division involved with astronomy & astrophysics research & asteroid mining.
If you were in an elevator with Warren Buffet, how would you describe your company, your services or products? What makes your company different from others? What is your company’s biggest strength?
Chris O’Morain: DarkStar Aerospace is an aerospace company that prides itself on innovation & technical prowess. We look at new ways to solve complex problems, at less cost than what our competitors spend, and succeed.
Quiet quitting, The Great Resignation, are an ongoing trend causing many businesses to struggle keeping talent engaged and motivated. Most are leaving because of their boss or their company culture. 82% of people feel unheard, undervalued and misunderstood in the workplace. In your experience, what keeps employees happy? And how are adapting to the current shift we see?
Chris O’Morain: We feel that this is an important aspect in the business world, given the current economic situations & sociological issues we all face. At DarkStar Aerospace, we treat our people as family, everyone has the ability to contribute to a project, or planned program, in their way and offer their advice for its completion.
We try to support our teams as they need, whether that be with project assistance or further training, to home support where applicable. DarkStar Aerospace is only as good as its people, and we try to ensure they are supported to the best of our ability.
Online business keeps on surging higher than ever, B2B, B2C, online shopping, virtual meetings, remote work, Zoom medical consultations, what are your expectations for the year to come and how are you capitalizing on the tidal wave?
Chris O’Morain: DarkStar Aerospace has been fortunate to be directly involved with the development of a new Spaceport, Etlaq Space Launch Complex in Al-Duqm Oman. Contributing to its design and overall development to make it into a premier location for access to Space.
We are also directly invested with Space Sustainability.
There is a vast amount of space debris, or junk, in orbit around our planet. This comes from meteoroids, dead or damaged satellites, rocket stages left in orbit from various launches, or various pieces of small debris and paint flecks that have come off from rockets and other space systems. Through the use of tracking stations humanity has been able to track more than 34,000 pieces of space debris larger than 10 cm (4 inches) across.
It is estimated that there are about 900,000 pieces between 1 and 10 cm (0.4 and 4 inches) across and there could be 128 million or more pieces smaller than 1 cm. Thousands of satellites and 1500 rocket bodies provide considerable mass in Low Earth Orbit (LEO), which can break into further debris during collisions, explosions, or degradation in the harsh space environment. Space debris orbits around the Earth at tremendous speeds of roughly 17,000+ mph in Low Earth Orbit.
This debris can cause catastrophic damage to a satellite or a spacecraft if it were to collide which can result in its destruction and could create more debris, in the order of up to an additional 2500 pieces or more per collision event, which moves off in different directions and jeopardizes other space infrastructure.
Such an event can lead to a situation called the Kessler Syndrome, which is a phenomenon in which the amount of junk in orbit around Earth reaches a point where it just creates more and more space debris, causing critical problems for satellites, astronauts and mission planners, and could prevent us from leaving Earth, or being able to operate satellites in orbit, for extended periods.
Simulations of the long-term evolution of debris suggest that LEO is already in the protracted initial stages of the Kessler Syndrome, but this could be managed through Active Debris Removal (ADR) initiatives. In the area of Space Sustainability,
DarkStar Aerospace has focused our attention to key areas of rocketry, and to Space Situational Awareness (SSA) where our technology & efforts pertain to Space Surveillance and Tracking (SST). This later is done at the ground level with our Ground & Tracking Stations, and soon with our forthcoming DSA-MSI, a next-generation multi-spectral interferometer which allows fast tracking of space debris that also provides more information than current systems used by others.
Soon it will involve space-based SST with new, next-generation, sensor instrumentation we are developing that will offer an enhanced view of LEO/GEO space than what other instruments provide. These new sensors will go on a small cubesat constellation for refined debris tracking & management. DSA’s engineering team have also been working on another focus of SSA, one that is becoming more imperative to managing the space debris issues that we all face.
Active Debris Removal (ADR), Active Debris Removal is necessary to stabilize the growth of space debris, but even more important is that any newly launched objects comply with post-mission disposal guidelines – especially orbital decay in less than 25 years (or 5 years as outlined by the FCC and others).
ADR involves collecting and removing debris, rather than having satellites deorbit at their EOL, which has a negative environmental impact. DarkStar Aerospace’s approach will be with the application of composite aerogels combined with DarkStar Aerotanium (our proprietary composite material) structural frameworks.
Business is all about overcoming obstacles and creating opportunities for growth. What do you see as THE real challenge right now?
Chris O’Morain: The current Aerospace market is growing exponentially, to stay competitive in this industry, we have been required to increase our innovative capability, think outside of the box in relation to other’s standards, and develop new technologies & methodologies to answer complex aerospace issues that others have not been able to address.
These innovations include new Green Bio-Hybrid rocket propellants that offer the same capability as traditional rocket propellant, but minimise the pollution & environmental degradation.
New Aerospace materials that offer advantages to traditional standard materials. And new Ground & Space-based research instrumentation that allows us to see Space with greater complexity.
2020, 2021, 2022 threw a lot of curve balls into businesses on a global scale. Based on the experience gleaned in the past years, how can businesses thrive in 2023? What lessons have you learned and what advice would you share?
Chris O’Morain: DarkStar Aerospace has found that networking & collaboration with other companies in our industry has led to new opportunity that has furthered our growth. We would recommend a similar strategy to other companies.
Seek to build new partnerships where you can collaborate on complex issues in your industry, you might find that it enables greater growth & innovation in your own organization, and achieve greater profitability.
What does “success” in the year to come mean to you? It could be on a personal or business level, please share your vision.
Chris O’Morain: DarkStar Aerospace is developing different technologies to address the Space Debris issue that the Aerospace industry, and humanity, are facing.
It is progressively getting worse with the greater level of Space-based activity.
Success to us would be in being able to complete our R&D and place it in-orbit, to increase safety & security in Space Sustainability.
Jerome Knyszewski, VIP Contributor to ValiantCEO and the host of this interview would like to thank Chris O’Morain for taking the time to do this interview and share his knowledge and experience with our readers.
If you would like to get in touch with Chris O’Morain or his company, you can do it through his – Linkedin Page
Disclaimer: The ValiantCEO Community welcomes voices from many spheres on our open platform. We publish pieces as written by outside contributors with a wide range of opinions, which don’t necessarily reflect our own. Community stories are not commissioned by our editorial team and must meet our guidelines prior to being published.