Vast Changes Executive Leadership as the Company Makes Alliances with SpaceX and NASA

Jon LeSage
IN MAY, Vast announced plans to launch the world’s first commercial space station, called Haven-1. That will be launching on a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket in 2025.

Vast, a pioneer in space habitation technologies and a fairly new resident of Long Beach’s Space Beach, just announced two executive appointments. Jed McCaleb, Vast’s Founder and former CEO, has handed over the chief executive role to Max Haot, who previously served the company as President.

Joining Haot as its first Chief Technology Officer will be Alex Hudson, who comes over from spacecraft engineering company SpaceX.

“With our recent operational acceleration and growth, the time has come for me to take a more strategic role as Founder, Board Chair & Tech Fellow and to empower our leadership to lead the day-to-day operation at Vast,” McCaleb said.

Hudson led the Avionics and Dragon Avionics teams at SpaceX. One of his achievements included flying astronauts on the new Crew Dragon spaceship during Demo-2, which positioned SpaceX to commence regular transport of astronauts once more on American hardware. He’d also worked on space vehicles, quantum computing, and imaging systems. Hudson had earned his Ph.D. in MRI Physics, from the lab of Nobel Laureate Sir Peter Mansfield at the University of Nottingham in the U.K.

Vast has been working closely with SpaceX, a company headed by CEO Elon Musk. In May, Vast announced plans to launch the world’s first commercial space station, called Haven-1. That will be launching on a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket to low-Earth orbit by August 2025. That mission will be followed by Vast-1, the first human spaceflight mission to Haven-1 on a SpaceX Dragon spacecraft.

Key features mentioned by Vast for this alliance include compatible docking with the SpaceX Dragon spacecraft; and extending the on-orbit duration of commercial Dragon spacecraft human spaceflight missions for up to 30 days for four astronauts

In June, Vast announced another major partnership – with NASA – to collaboratively set up technology and operations needed for its microgravity and artificial gravity stations. This includes the Haven-1 which should, as previously mentioned, be operational by August 2025.

Vast was awarded a Space Act Agreement (SAA) by NASA under the second Collaborations for Commercial Space Capabilities (CCSC-2) initiative. Vast’s long-term objectives include Starship-class modules and spinning stick stations that will provide continuously crewed, artificial gravity environments including Lunar, Martian, and Earth gravity. Vast and NASA will also be working with all of this for larger space station modules that will fall under the Space Act Agreement, according to Vast.

In July, Vast, announced the appointment of Garrett Reisman, a veteran NASA astronaut and accomplished space industry expert, as its newest advisor. With an impressive background in space exploration and extensive industry experience, Reisman brought over invaluable expertise and strategic human spaceflight insights to Vast, the company said.

How New is Vast to Long Beach?

Vast, also known as Vast Space, moved to Long Beach in January of this year when the company brought in about 40 employees. It’s two buildings at the corner of Spring St. and Orange Ave. will fill up about 115,000 square feet and will be housing about 700 employees by the end of 2027.

The company left behind its 7,000-square-foot facility in El Segundo, where it started up in 2021.

Vast prides itself on assembling a world-class team to build the world’s first low-cost, artificial gravity crewed station. That will allow people to live and work in space for long periods of time without the adverse effects of zero-gravity, the company said.

Vast has been very concerned about the severe side effect that comes from living long-term in weightless environments, minus gravity, which happens once you get outside the Earth’s gravitational atmosphere. The human body will deteriorate and experience biological damage.

Vast’s artificial gravity will come from a large spinning structure creating centrifugal force that provides a “gravity-emulative pull.”

The company will be providing large modules that will be customizable by those clients using them. The spinning stations will provide the needed weightless environment, with the team of astronauts having regular access to amenities and/or other personnel to assist them.

 

Jon LeSage is a resident of Long Beach and a veteran business media reporter and editor. You can reach him at jtlesage1@yahoo.com.

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