The audacious mission of Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin space company is to develop space systems for everyone (not just trained astronauts) to use and live in; and Brent Sherwood, space architect and Senior VP, is here to bring us behind the scenes.
3… 2… 1… Liftoff! In this episode of Moore’s Lobby, a veteran of the aerospace industry, Brent Sherwood, Blue Origin’s Senior VP of Advanced Development Programs, discusses the barriers and breakthroughs for all nations, companies, and people to (literally) get outta’ this world.
Sherwood shares how his childhood dream to “build cities on the moon” led him on an unorthodox journey to become an aerospace engineer and one of the world’s leaders in the field of space exploration. Sherwood’s career has been spent living out his grown-up dreams. First at Boeing, then NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), and now Blue Origin.
Blue Origin's Orbital Reef space station concept. Image used courtesy of Blue Origin
Architecting for space exploration and habitation requires a lot of people, money, and resources. It also takes a deep knowledge of hardware, mechanical, electrical, and industrial engineering in this new “space architecture” field. Sherwood brings us behind the scenes of both his experiences and Blue Origin’s projects and goals.
Sherwood addresses earth's fragility and space’s potential for human civilization and the development of new energy and material resources. Blue Origin is looking to dramatically reduce the cost and risk for people to pursue these goals and turn these dreams into reality.
Science Fiction is Becoming a Science Reality
Listen in on this great conversation with Brent Sherwood. Highlights include:
- Why part of space is like “living inside of a VCR”
- How many sunrises and sunsets happen in space each day
- How power sources (e.g., sun and nuclear) will play critical roles in creating and maintaining space architecture
- Design for reusable liquid rocket engines, microgravity, and timeless aesthetics
- The vision behind Blue Origin’s Orbital Reef - a commercially developed, owned, and operated space station scheduled to orbit by the end of this decade (that’s 2030—less 8 years away!)
- Sherwood discusses his favorite celestial body (everyone has one of those, right?)
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Meet Brent Sherwood
Brent Sherwood is the Senior VP of Advanced Development Programs for Blue Origin, a private space company where he leads the development of reusable systems in four program areas: Space Transportation, Space Mobility, Space Destination, and Lunar Permanence.
Prior to joining Blue Origin in 2019, Brent was at JPL for fourteen years, where he was the founding manager of the JPL Innovation Foundry and later, Program Manager for Solar System Mission Formulation. Brent worked for the Boeing Company where he led a number of teams that worked on numerous projects that included human lunar and Mars exploration system concepts, Space Station Freedom module manufacturing methods, and Sea Launch business development.
Brent holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from Yale, summa cum laude; a Master of Architecture degree from Yale; and a Master of Science in Aerospace Engineering from the University of Maryland. He has published over 60 papers on the exploration and development of space and edited "Out of This World: The New Field of Space Architecture."