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Career Journeys and The Space Industry with Troy Morris

Join Tim on this conversational ride with Troy Morris through career paths and how it has lead some of us to the Space Industry in ways no one saw coming.

Troy is one co-founder, and serves as the Director of Operations. Troy extends his business background of engaging with customers in critical industries and developing 70+ business units in multimillion dollar sales with an S&P 500 company to the needs of KMI, through starting business operations, and continuing engagement with crucial experts, colleagues, collaborators, and future customers.

Kall Morris Inc (KMI) is an orbital debris research and solution development company focused on Active Debris Removal (ADR) for keeping space clear for all. With proprietary software, exclusive hardware, and critical partnerships, KMI aims for a commercially viable system for ADR of legacy assets: significant debris objects that are often unprepared, uncontrolled, and potentially unrecognizable. KMI, located in Marquette, Michigan, was formed in November of 2019 by three Northern Michigan University alums.

Connect with KMI:

Episode Transcript:

[00:00:10] Hi, and welcome to another edition of podcasts for the future. My name's Tim Chrisman executive director foundation for the future. And I'm joined today by Troy Morris. One of the co-founders of Kall Morris incorporated. Troy is the director of operations there at KMI, which is orbit, orbital debris research and solution development company.

[00:00:35] That's working to keep space clear for all. Troy comes from a background of engaging with customers in critical industries and developing over 70 business units in multimillion dollar sales with an S and P 500 company. He brings that background to KMI and has been working with the.

[00:00:59] Creating [00:01:00] these business operations, the engagements and collaborations from scratch as is, want to happen in a startup. So we're excited to have you here today and let's get to it.

[00:01:15] Tim Chrisman:

[00:01:15] All righty. Troy, great having you here. Thank you so much for being here and taking the time to chat.

[00:01:26] Troy Morris: No, Tim wonderful to be here. And I appreciate you guys having me

[00:01:28] Tim Chrisman: on. Yeah. We'll get to Cal Morris incorporated here shortly. But when we look back across your bio going back to your schooling not not a space guy by, by education.

[00:01:43] And I would go so far as to say if we found you in 20 16, 20 17 and told you were gonna be running a space company might have gotten a funny look. Is that a fair assessment?

[00:01:53] Troy Morris: Yes very fair assessment. And if you were to go back in time the nerd in me, would've always appreciated that, back to the future is still one of my [00:02:00] favorite films and, science fiction and everything else related to it was an interest, but not something I was educated in or anticipated as my career.

[00:02:09] Tim Chrisman: Yeah, no. And the. For find the vast majority of us. It's not what what we assume is gonna be a real thing

[00:02:18] Troy Morris: Very succinctly and kindly put, but yes.

[00:02:21] Tim Chrisman: Yeah. And so what I wonder, wonder is that the right word? What I'm what I always try to figure out is, what is it that, made you think what I did in college or what I've been doing is just not quite right.

[00:02:36] This isn't, where I want to go, what I want to be.

[00:02:40] Troy Morris: Yeah. I think that story is multi-factored as most good, complicated technical answers are fair. But it's tied right into the story of call Moores, Inc or KMI. Yeah. So I'll tell both tales and I'll emphasize my own.

[00:02:53] And Adam and Austin will have to join with their own memoirs later, but yeah. Now. It actually started probably back in 2014. [00:03:00] My younger brother had just decided to attend the same university as I did a complete shock to everybody. It, wasn't also the first one of my siblings to go tou, but we didn't think all four of us would end up there or we would've planned life a little different.

[00:03:14] Yeah. So it ends up with my younger brother attending school and I go help him move in and meet his room. Great. My nerdy going after his engineering degree, brother has a roommate who is nerdy and doing something with computers and mathematics. Awesome. Just what I want from my younger brother, keep him safe out of his parties, girls.

[00:03:33] He now he did meet one and they now live together. But all that time ago, Something was different. It wasn't just, ah, cool. We like star wars, star Trek or whatever films, but it was deeper. And as the three of us got the conversations even way back when it was about the future and what can we do? How are we making our dent on it?

[00:03:52] And again, this was quite a while before chords or anything that's come on in the few years. Yeah. But as we fast forward I [00:04:00] graduated with my degree in psychology behavior analysis, went off and did a corporate job involved with sales and training and marketing. And I was in Chicago. Austin was in Philadelphia doing work with the army and D O D a lot of engineering work.

[00:04:12] And Adam had relocated to New York city. He was doing some data science, working his thesis and, doing some great stuff with ones and zeros. But despite being located in some of the largest cities in the most prosperous country on the planet, working in fields near to aerospace, it wasn't enough.

[00:04:30] We really did want to do. More. Yeah. And so that's got us chatting there was a initiative in Michigan called the Michigan launch initiative. Very cleverly named. Yeah. Yeah. About, Hey, let's make Michigan a better space state. Yeah. Let's try and launch things from our own backyard. And that was a catalyst moment for us of okay.

[00:04:50] If we were to go back to, Michigan, whether it's the up or down. What would we do and running through our backgrounds, data science looking at what's the [00:05:00] problems, what's the probabilities, what's the financials, looking at the business modeling and looking from Austin's perspective of rapid prototype, rapid development.

[00:05:08] Yeah. And one of the biggest factors that came into all of our dreaming ideas, in the weekends and after work was cool. Even if you can build it. What about space? Debris? What about space? Debris? What about space debris? And after the 15 time that Austin pointed out that valid concern, we're like, fine.

[00:05:24] What if we just go first principles, we'll solve debris and then we'll come back and do all this other cool stuff. There you

[00:05:29] Tim Chrisman: go. Can't

[00:05:30] Troy Morris: be that hard. No it's just debris moving at 17,000 miles per exactly. I'm sure if it was easy, someone else would've done already, it's just garbage, just junk and.

[00:05:40] We were like, okay, I don't see an immediate problem with this. So we started checking with friends, advisors, our networks, and as we were like, okay, let's make this a real thing. COVID hit a lot of bad things under that dark cloud, but we had a silver lining that the COVID world allowed. Video calls across the world to experts that otherwise were [00:06:00] busy in conferences, meetings, you had to fly everywhere to go see anybody.

[00:06:03] And in this, COVID concerned world. We had the opportunity to meet with Don Kesler, to meet with experts across NASA. We could have meetings with JPL and Godder within an hour of each other. There's no clue the world that could do that. So it really opened the doors, opened our eyes and led us to found the initial steps of what's now called more sync or K.

[00:06:22] Yeah,

[00:06:23] Tim Chrisman: That's that's pretty cool. I. Really appreciate the fact that that was what was, several minutes, you mentioned Michigan several times, there was no reference to a glove or anything about the shape of Michigan. So I really appreciate that and wanna make sure I'm practicing my gratitude.

[00:06:43] And so I need to make sure that I express that in real time. So thank you.

[00:06:46] Troy Morris: And think two parts of that of not mentioning the Michigan mitten is one We've spent most of our time in the companies located in the upper peninsula of Michigan the forgotten hand. And second is that among the three of us that founded an entire [00:07:00] space company in Marquette, Michigan.

[00:07:02] None of us were born there. We weren't born in Marquette, the greater counties, the up, even the entire state of Michigan, we are all transients that found our way, fell in love and wanted to build something where, we really came of age, our university town. So you know, being from Iowa and Illinois, it's something that, Hey, Midwest is great for us, but what if there's something more?

[00:07:23] And we found that and then we're like, okay, we found our terrestrial. What about looking up and, staring at the stars were like, all right, what's the next step?

[00:07:31] Tim Chrisman: Yeah, no. And there, there is something special about stars in rural areas in the cold. Yes, I I am still not used to seeing stars and it being being from Alaska, it just does not get dark while it's warm.

[00:07:48] Troy Morris: Those are two mutually exclusive properties.

[00:07:50] Tim Chrisman: Yeah, and that is like a firmly ingrained thing in my head that it's just doesn't it doesn't happen. So it's still, yeah, it's still weird. The few times I stay up [00:08:00] late enough to actually see a star in the warm, but no. So you're not from Michigan.

[00:08:06] You're from the white Sox side of Chicago. Is that right?

[00:08:10] Troy Morris: No. Born raised Northsider. My mom grew up in the city from immigrant parents and met my father, doing a ski medic thing that actually the family is still all does and raised us out where where the corn grows corn on three sides of our high school.

[00:08:22] But Northside is by.

[00:08:24] Tim Chrisman: Northside which I'm gonna assume Cubs

[00:08:28] Troy Morris: translating for those, not in the know

[00:08:30] Tim Chrisman: yeah. Clubbies yeah. I didn't know if there's, this was like a gang too like cool. I only know Crips and bloods, but that's mainly because of a single movie from the eighties.

[00:08:41] Troy Morris: No yeah.

[00:08:41] Grew up cheering for the Chicago Cubs. That tempers your expectations as a child really does. Yeah, it was a surprising thing. I was still working at my corporate job before this and I stayed up that night to watch the cubbies win their first world series since the Ottoman empire existed.

[00:08:56] Yeah. But it definitely helps you take expectations [00:09:00] and delayed gratification being a cubbies fan. Yeah, that's

[00:09:02] Tim Chrisman: fair. That's I can see your parents liked putting a positive spin on things.

[00:09:07] Troy Morris: It came about from the family of when you got I'm one of four siblings and I work with one and I love all of them, but it was a busy household.

[00:09:13] So you took, as you can get '

[00:09:14] Tim Chrisman: em. Yeah, no, that's fair. No, so it's So you start in as a north cider you go further north and are looking to space, when we, people think space, they think Florida, California, again, warm places where stars aren't supposed to be.

[00:09:29] So what is it about Michigan? You guys wanted to be in Michigan, but what is it about Michigan that. Useful for

[00:09:35] Troy Morris: space. Yeah. There's a lot of great assets. Some of them geological that just are the way that it is one of them being the large bodies of water lake Michigan, a little bit, but mostly lake Ontario.

[00:09:47] And then lake superior especially provides some great. UN polluted areas for, viewing of, if you need to look out over the night sky, it's really hard when there's a city in your way, which oh yeah. Is [00:10:00] part of a problem for Florida and California and Colorado, another big space state plus the manufacturing juggernaut that has churned in Michigan for, some on a hundred years.

[00:10:10] It turns out they expanded quite a few decades ago from just automobiles to aviation and from aviation to aerospace. So it's a slow but steady growth. A he healthy number of engineering students coming through multiple different schools. And, they've launched rockets from the up before. It was, back 50 years ago, but it was still something that NASA has launched from the up before.

[00:10:33] And there's many people working to launch from, within the state of Michigan. Again part of that for it's Northern climate it's access and ease for a polar launch. Have some benefits there, but for. We politely found out what doesn't matter. We could launch from California from new Guinea or Florida.

[00:10:49] Yeah. It's really something that for our mission, it doesn't need that as a private space loving citizen. It'd be freaking great to watch eight your own rocket or be just something in your backyard, launching off [00:11:00] every, few times a year. Yeah. But it was really that expertise that. Available knowledge, both at the university level, at the private industry a number of partners that we've been able to find some for communications and actually a engine provider up in Houghton, just 99 miles north of Marquette.

[00:11:17] It is at the site of our Alma maters rival. So we, try and leave our differences at the door, but there is already space companies right in our neck of the woods that we wouldn't have otherwise known about. So Michigan was already moving as a space state. We just were joining early in the crowd.

[00:11:33] Tim Chrisman: Okay. No, that's that's really interesting. We've there's been a lot of concern coming outta Georgia because of the space port , there in Camden. And there's an island that the rockets would go over. And having that wide open space where nobody is turns out is something that a lot of people care about.

[00:11:52] I personally think it would be pretty cool if a rocket crashed on my property and I survived. Yeah. That I [00:12:00] didn't survive. If I didn't survive, I wouldn't care. And so it's this is a cool thing. I'm like gambling, I'm gonna get a piece of more rocket. And I I like gambling. So I'm not very good at it.

[00:12:09] So maybe I shouldn't gambling rockets I know where my house. Huh. Yeah. But. Yeah. No. So it's fascinating that Michigan is doing this and, you said there's the Michigan launch initiative. Yep.

[00:12:23] Troy Morris: MLI

[00:12:23] Tim Chrisman: yeah. How long has that been going?

[00:12:25] Troy Morris: I don't know the exact origin of it. It started with largely led by the executive for mamma, the Michigan association of manufacturers association.

[00:12:35] One of those a means something else,

[00:12:37] Tim Chrisman: but Devi. Oh yeah. Michigan

[00:12:38] Troy Morris: a aviation or Aeros. No, Michigan aerospace. Manufacturers association. I got there. Gavin you'll have to send me a sticker to remind me in the future, but no, they were working on it for a number of years and it was in later 2019 that, we started hearing those rumblings.

[00:12:52] Maybe it was over that summer. We first heard reporting about it, of potential sites. And at that time we had no knowledge where the vertical launch site [00:13:00] would be. I don't even think the horizontal launch site had been announced at that. So something we were outwardly interested in for what was developing and what was happening for that opportunity.

[00:13:10] Yeah. Again as space fans, no, I don't want to be in the rockets way as, quite as much as you might want Tim, but I'll take a safe distance. Watch the launches. I never made it to a shuttle launch as a child turns out. Yeah. I made a driver's license to get to Florida. So it's something that I would definitely love the opportunity if it was given level known fact

[00:13:31] Tim Chrisman: Yeah. Yeah, it's that's. Yeah. It's still there's a, there's now a space port consortium for Alaska. It still wild me that my home state is getting into space. When last I was there, the biggest thing that they had in terms of claim to fame for space was they could detect ICBMs.

[00:13:50] And they watched a lot of the Aurora yeah. Measured the particles and I'm like, cool. It requires a lot of map. I don't care. It looks pretty.

[00:13:59] Troy Morris: Yeah. And it's [00:14:00] quite a few states when I was at space symposium, however many weeks ago, that was, I was Florida. Not just, internationally, but within the United States, how many.

[00:14:08] Space ports are popping up. And when I talk to somebody about it, they're like yeah, only certain states have access to the ocean. Only certain states, have fertile ground to grow, but space is over everybody. It's an equal access opportunity. And that was a well dumb moment for me, cuz even if you're not launching rockets as they exist today, there's just like you were saying the math, the communications, the detections.

[00:14:30] You could be the smallest state in the union and you can have a slice of this pie.

[00:14:33] Tim Chrisman: Yeah, no, it's true. And I remember we did economic analysis of space jobs. NASA had done a similar one across the country and there's no state that has fewer than 500 jobs that are tied to the space sector or NASA.

[00:14:49] Specifically. Yeah, so more tied to the commercial space. So like Iowa has at least 500 space jets which is amazing and a great message to [00:15:00] take around the country and, Tell kids all the way through people in middle age are like, I'm done with this sales job or something like that.

[00:15:08] Maybe it's somebody that works at snap on tools and is I'm done with this. Maybe they last a little longer than you .

[00:15:16] Troy Morris: Yeah, no I spent a good part of a decade with the group and. Still keep in contact with a great number of them actually ran into one of my Snap-on colleagues at my little niece and nephew's birthday party, just this last weekend.

[00:15:26] Oh, cool. It's connections that they never go away, but sometimes determine you need to move on. Yeah. I had a LinkedIn connection came out of the blue this last week from someone from. I'll leave the company unnamed, but they have really sexy looking electric cars.

[00:15:39] Tim Chrisman: Yeah.

[00:15:40] Yeah. I've got one in my parking lot. that parking lot. It's a one, it's a one slot parking lot out there.

[00:15:47] Troy Morris: Hey, but I like the way you dream. Exactly. And his question was exactly to your point of Hey, I'm in a technical field, I'm doing cool stuff. Changing the world. But it's not enough. How did you from your sales experience, [00:16:00] get to you doing aerospace and I haven't given 'em an answer yet.

[00:16:02] So maybe after this interview, I'll have put enough thoughts to it, to, to that answer. But it's a question, not just you and I are asking, but a lot of people of how do I do more? How do I make my dent on the universe? And we're seeing so much happen in this space, pun intended. How do I get my piece of it?

[00:16:19] Yeah,

[00:16:20] Tim Chrisman: no, I'm asked a lot like cool. What you. What makes you qualified to do, run a space, nonprofit, do something with space. And it's a question that like community college students ask, like, how am I qualified to work in space? And the answer is always the same. Like I'm not nobody's ever qualified for their job.

[00:16:40] If they are, they've stayed in it too long and should be pushing themselves, but Space isn't any different than anything else. If you can sell a wrench, you can sell a rocket , to borrow from Dodge ball. And like we have put space on this pedestal and we're like, oh my God, it's so amazing.

[00:16:56] And you have to win an Olympic gold [00:17:00] medal and become a Navy seal. And then maybe you can go to space. But. No at this point space companies can't hire people fast enough. Some of them are like, do you have a pulse? Okay, we'll teach you from there. Like it's, they are that desperate at times because they've got, in some cases like SpaceX, a billion dollars of new capital, and we've on, we're on a timeline.

[00:17:19] We can train you faster than it would take to find people and be selective. And so it's crazy. Yeah,

[00:17:27] Troy Morris: no, and it's something that's definitely interesting. And I think one aspect to it that those of us who are in the industry, whether we have for a few months or a few years forget. It's awesome to be excited.

[00:17:40] Yeah. It's radically different to be working as a mid-level manager in a mid-level let's say accounting firm doing mid-level it doesn't give you that drive it. Doesn't give you that. Get out of bed in the morning. Feel you might have, great benefits, great coworkers, all these other great things.

[00:17:56] Yeah. But it's something different when intrinsically you are pulled [00:18:00] from your soul. To your mission of you'll wake up at, early hours of the morning, scribble a note on a pad of paper, because you were just thinking about what we're doing every day. And so that's, it's something that definitely does drive through those low points.

[00:18:13] They happen into this industry as well as any others. Yeah. It's a X factor. We have that can't the same be said for, selling cars or, just doing fixing potholes. It's great work and we need it. We desperately need that, but. We get a little bit different drive in the morning rather than just I gotta go fill an I 90

[00:18:30] Tim Chrisman: Yeah. It's true. And it's there's it seems like that's more and more a motivation for. Millennials and zoomers, I think they're called gen Z gen Z. Yeah. Either way. But like what is my purpose? And if I can't find it at work, I'm gonna go to a new job. Which I think is fantastic.

[00:18:55] I think. Most of human history. We've been in a coal mine because we [00:19:00] wanted to eat

[00:19:04] and now cool. Um, But now we have a chance to, move until we find something that fits us. I think that's great.

[00:19:10] Troy Morris: had plenty of early in my career, both as a student and then as a young professional the previous generation, gen X, the, sometimes the get.

[00:19:17] Skipped over between boomers and millennials, but, and turns out there's a generation there and one of them he sticks to my mind and I'm actually closer to the age of one of his kids than he had ever liked to admit, but it's something of, he worked for years and years did the job.

[00:19:32] And at the end of the day, they said, thanks and send 'em to a door. Yeah. And he had to restart everything he's so I, I learned quickly that if you're not inspired and loving what you're doing and doing with passion, you're building someone else's dream. Yeah. And that resonated for years. And, know, as I ended up walking away from a well paying corporate job with benefits and all the excitement of, stability am I building my dream or are we building someone else's yeah.

[00:19:54] And that's part of, what's gotten us to here today.

[00:19:57] Tim Chrisman: Yeah, no. And there's, [00:20:00] it's It's an awful lot to be said for the productivity of a motivated person versus a machine so to speak. Yes. Alexa, back here will do what I tell her too, but there's just something lacking. I hope she doesn't hear me because it's gonna be real awkward she ever takes over.

[00:20:17] So yeah, so you, you move, we've talked a lot about this journey. You're still trying to figure out the exact spent, details of what to tell this guy from an unnamed company of how do you make that transition? May you know, and we'll come. I think we'll, we can come back to that, but what is it about Cal Morris that, why start a company as opposed to joining.

[00:20:41] Troy Morris: Yeah, that's a good question that we asked ourselves. We're asked by our partners and our parents and our peers and any rational person. We're like all you leaving good C these good cities. Okay. Walk me through this. And the way we got to this thought was innovation. And you know [00:21:00] that again, are you building your dream or somebody else's yeah.

[00:21:03] Of this. Or debris is literally between us in the future, as we view it as the co-founders. Yeah. Is that for us as a species, as individuals, to be able to unlock the access of space that we've always dreamed about that has been written about for generations? Yeah. Debris needs to be handled. And our, one of our driving concerns is that if we try and, change the system from the inside or go work as a lowly entry engineer and try and work our way up to make this problem.

[00:21:33] Work in someone else's system. Yeah. It might be too late. It might take too long. It might become too expensive and we just, you know what, humanity doesn't go to space anymore. And I, that, that would more than break my heart. Yeah, it's something that we recognize that time is not on our side here.

[00:21:48] It's an exponential problem that every year is getting worse and worse. So it's something of. If you can't find someone to do it for you, get it done yourself. There's great companies out there that are solving other aspects of space [00:22:00] problems from launch to communications, and they are built for solving those problems.

[00:22:05] But we haven't quite seen a focused, dedicated effort on, or we have some great collaborators, competitors, whichever, day we decide to call them. But. Our focus is really on that long lasting legacy debris, those unprepared objects, those objects that have been floating over our heads since my dad was a child.

[00:22:24] Yeah, no, one's done anything yet. So what are we waiting for if they won't, we will. And that's some of our drive that has opened doors opened opportunities for, Nope. We're gonna be doing this. It's more a question. If you wanna come along, Mr. Executive, Mr. General, Mr. Whoever they are, or do you wanna stand to the side?

[00:22:44] Tim Chrisman: Yeah, no, that's as good a reason as any my wife and I were just watching

[00:22:49] Raven's bank game. That's not it. , it's a show on apple TV about a video game studio. Oh mythic quest. OK. And one of the themes of a couple [00:23:00] episodes is that one of the co-creative directors like really wants this feature in there, and the person who, the main creative director who like came up with the game, he is like, it's not possible.

[00:23:12] You cannot do that. It's literally impossible with this game. But the series ended with him and her going off and starting a new company. Around her idea. And she was like, surprised she's like you said, this was impossible. He said, yeah, it's impossible in the structure we had over there.

[00:23:30] You can totally do that. You just don't need to be burdened by this institutional momentum around you. . Which I, I think is a great thing for, the entire space sector that we've seen over the last. 10 15 years that, you don't need the institutional momentum of Apollo.

[00:23:49] You don't have to fight that there's a lower barrier of entry for a lot of different companies now. And it's fantastic.

[00:23:56] Troy Morris: And that was one of those mitigate, not mitigating factors. [00:24:00] Additional factors when we were looking at the Michigan launch initiative was, access to launch ride, share vehicles had come online.

[00:24:06] It was now an option that you didn't have to just buy the whole stack. Yeah. Yeah. No small business could do. There was, smart phone technology made components available off the. That could do a small space, mission cube sets going to plenty. So there was a lot of these changes that gave that lower barrier of entry than had ever been seen before in space.

[00:24:26] Yeah. So those, those were those additional factors that maybe don't make the headlines, but they're definitely part of the story of how we got the opportunity to go this far is some of those pieces that you didn't have to move, all of a major prime to go to a space mission. You could.

[00:24:41] Partner up with a local university, put something together, cube sat by the end of the year. That's incredible. Yeah. So it really has changed the way of the world. Yeah,

[00:24:51] Tim Chrisman: no, it's true. And we still are not at a point when the sort of cost for launch is legitimately cheap [00:25:00] that we're gonna see over the next year or two is SpaceX gets Starship and the price per pound drops by basically an order of magnitude.

[00:25:09] I think that means a. I was on a competitive math team in middle school, but we didn't do orders of magnitude. It was just about speed and sort of addition, subtraction. I think we did division two.

[00:25:21] Troy Morris: So your math is right and your math is right and it'll be very exciting to see. I've heard it coined the Starship singularity by someone out there.

[00:25:28] Yeah. Uh, How things are all going to change? If and when, Starship comes online and yeah, it's something that people joke about. What if they don't? What if the whole company goes up upside down. Okay. But someone else is gonna do it. It's if you were looking at, aviation and I there's something along the right brother's story of.

[00:25:46] In the week they did one of their testing in a big major newspaper. There was, is you okay? Some experts saying, it'll take a hundred years for humanity to do it. No that someone was doing it later that week. So it's something that even if it wasn't Starship, even if [00:26:00] it wasn't in the next one or two years, it's something that there's so much momentum that it will be an occurrence that we've been waiting.

[00:26:08] Tim Chrisman: Yeah. Yeah. No, I think it is inevitable and that then makes it all the more important as basically anybody can jump in, for hundreds of dollars, you can launch a satellite to be able to solve this debris problem. It's it's one thing when we've got a few thousand satellites that have ever been launched, but when Starship can launch, a third, as many satellites as have ever been launched in a single launch that's aggressive.

[00:26:36] Yeah. I think the timing's perfect for KMI and you want to talk, can you talk a little more about, what is it that's unique about what you guys are doing?

[00:26:46] Troy Morris: Yeah, like any good technically founded company. Our first leg of that stool is always the technology. Sure.

[00:26:52] And really is some great stuff. I welcome anyone listening in go look at our website, we've got a ITAR safe CONOPS at the landing there [00:27:00] because it's cool. And that's a fun thing to have. So on the hardware side, it's. I'll call it a kind of octopus set of arms. We call it breach that is able to secure to unprepared services.

[00:27:10] And that makes a first difference for us. We don't have to do some of the tried and true tested techniques for a net harpoon and other early ideas that humanity was figuring out how do we tackle this beast? Yeah. Moby Dick worked pretty well for tackling whales. Let's try that. We've moved on.

[00:27:26] Society has mostly figured out their other ideas. And then on the software side is, how do you see something moving so fast and how do you adjust to it? One of our co-founders after his team at time at NASA Godard built tum I, to characterize these objects on approach.

[00:27:40] So it's, it's first taking those technological separators, those differentiators and. What can we take that's, pieces, parts are out there. Machine vision has been advancing for years in other industries. Yeah. These components that we're using get, go adhesion is now something that you can buy you don't have to just, go find some GetGos and tape 'em to your machine.

[00:27:56] It really has changed of things that. We are [00:28:00] combining and putting together, but it's also the industry partnerships and that's I think the extra part of the secret sauce that doesn't always make it into a, an investor's pitch deck is the industry, this new space cohort.

[00:28:12] I heard someone call us once as they looked at a table of us, all chatting at one point of you guys might be the future, we could all be wrong, but it's something that as you start working with partners for. The different pieces, parts of, let's say KMI goes and capture it. And yeah, one of our partners can repurpose it or rebuild it and move it into something else.

[00:28:29] And someone else is turning that into space station 3.0 yeah. It's not one dream that's making that possible. It's thousands of dreams and dozens of companies working together to build that future. And that's really where we're factoring ourselves is part of that roadmap to both utilizing what happens after the Starship singularity, but also.

[00:28:50] Benefiting from it that we can capture these objects or, mistakes will continue to happen. We're all human. Yes. So that's where KMI is really leveraging ourselves, is that we can deal with [00:29:00] the unprepared, the unplanned, the unrecognized, and turn it into a controlled situation that we can move forward from.

[00:29:08] We're laying the foundation for a lot of the stepping stones as humanity continues to. Yeah,

[00:29:13] Tim Chrisman: no, I think that's really cool. And we'll include links to guys' sites here in the description. But no, I think that, there's. There's, a handful of people that I've heard.

[00:29:25] Talk about how, whether it's, we've got too many launch companies, we've got too many this too many that there's been a handful of companies that have popped up working space, debris and just in the last couple years, And I think that, and I'm sure this is, played out in you all's pitch decks to investors that there's no reason why one company should be the only one doing this.

[00:29:48] Yeah. Like this is, there's not one garbage company for even a single large city. Yeah. Like that's crazy. And so what I don't know is our. [00:30:00] You and some of these other companies specializing essentially in a region and whether it's lower earth, Orbi geosynchronous, et cetera.

[00:30:08] Troy Morris: Yeah. And I think, yes. And some of that is. Finding the open market, finding where you can have the most impact. Yeah. Astra scale in one web have a great announcement a couple weeks ago for Elsa M they're gonna move on from their demonstration mission and, do magnetic capture of one satellite that needed in the future.

[00:30:27] Wow. And as a debris company, That is fantastic one. Yeah. Yeah. It shows the market is willing to make some deals. Let's get some pieces together and two. Yep. Yep. The first step of fixing a problem is not letting it get worse. So any company out there that is doing yeah, great steps to, mitigate debris or space, domain awareness, we're huge fans and advocates for yeah.

[00:30:48] Uh, We ended up talking to the Astra scale team in one way or another, almost every week of the year, because there's many things that were shared on for policy and other pieces. And that's where I think. There's a lot of this collaboration because we are all [00:31:00] pioneers in this and other, It happens by intentional thought or just interests is that you are seeing, some differentiation from, droids that are working as more space hugs to missions that are, custom belt outta Switzerland to go after known pieces of debris, Vespa rockets.

[00:31:17] It's yeah. There are many different aspects of the debris field. There's some crazy wonderful ideas we're seeing for the small and micro debris that, that's a largely. Undeveloped area. How do you deal with pieces of paint, flex and nuts and bolts that are flying around? Yeah, so there's, there is tons of space to go and clean up or debris because there are so many different factors of it.

[00:31:39] Our focus is the, Lost my train of thought there, our focus is on the unprepared legacy assets of okay. Those things from long before, but we would really appreciate if no one put up anything new and no new debris. And that's where, our partners and competitors are coming on to deal with that.

[00:31:55] And we thank them. It's a better world for all of us. Yeah. .

[00:31:59] Tim Chrisman: Yeah, [00:32:00] no. And I think that there is more and more an awareness of we need to be, putting things up that can be cleaned up or they clean themselves up. Yes. And so I think that really is it's incredibly important.

[00:32:13] Without that we really do have this self-licking ice cream cone where we're just building up trash. I love the imagery. It's great. I don't know how this ice cream cone is looking itself, but it is. And it's great. Yeah, I don't know. Yeah. Yeah I know we're coming up on the end of our time here, but is there anything we missed talking about that you wanted to, make sure we dove into.

[00:32:34] Troy Morris: No, we covered a lot of, where KMI come from, where we're going. A wonderful discussion on the state of industry and it's growing, it may not be today that every company is asking for engineers to go up into orbit, but I know my co-founder and brother has already signed up for, phase one, put me up there, give me a scoop as a.

[00:32:50] And I'll go up there to work on stuff. So I don't think we're gonna see a drop in drive. There might be headwinds or issues, supply chains, et cetera. But yeah, I [00:33:00] think this industry is just purely gonna continue. And that's what us in our, investors are betting on. KMI had some recent success.

[00:33:08] We were selected for some contracts that. Cannot be announced yet are very good signaling from federal partners that this is a private partner or a private public partnership that everyone is at the table at. And so it's something that, as the next few weeks go on with contracting officers, we're, we'll be excited to put out the releases and let you guys know more.

[00:33:27] Yeah it's an exciting age for our industry. It's an exciting age for our company, but we're really excited to watch as the future goes and be our part of it. That's.

[00:33:36] Tim Chrisman: Yeah, no and we'll definitely be following what you guys are doing and have to have you back to hear more about what what new and exciting things you guys are doing.

[00:33:47] So thanks for being here. Troy,

[00:33:48] Troy Morris: Tim, thank you for having me on behalf of Kall Morris and my entire team. Thank you for having us. We love what you guys are doing and excited to continue this conversation in the future.

[00:33:58] Tim Chrisman: Sounds good. Take care, Troy. [00:34:00] Thank you.

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