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Meet Lonestar’s Chris Stott


The founder of Lonestar shares his trajectory and plan to put data centers on the Moon


Chris Stott, the founder of 2Future portfolio company Lonestar, has been passionate about space since early childhood. Maybe Stott’s fascination with the cosmos was ignited in July 1969 when, after a difficult birth, his mother held her newborn baby in an isolation room where she watched the historic first moon landing unfold. A few short years later, Stott was photographed wearing a toy spacesuit in his Isle of Man, U.K. elementary school. At home, while growing up, he frequently argued with his father and brother over control of the TV—while they wanted to watch soccer, he always yearned for space programs.

Early in his career, Stott worked extensively in British and American politics as an office manager in the Parliament of the United Kingdom, an intern in the U.S. Senate, and a political aide on two U.S. presidential campaigns. But his fascination with space gradually led him to work with the space economy, first with the Boeing Space & Communications Company in California and later as international sales chief for Lockheed Martin's space operations division.

This culminated in the 2000 founding by Stott and his father of ManSat. This groundbreaking company played a crucial role in forming the SpaceIsle initiative, through which Stott’s native Isle of Man emerged as a prominent domicile and corporate service provider for the commercial space sector. The company manages satellite applications for anyone registering under the flag of this 75,000-inhabitant British crown dependency.

Linked to this initiative, Stott set up the ManSat fellowship to give students from the Isle of Man an opportunity to fully explore the industry he loves. The fellowship help groups of students attend NASA’s United Space School, where they can meet and work with other space-oriented students from around the world.

This initiative shows that Stott’s successful entrepreneurial space endeavors have always been deeply intertwined with his desire to contribute positively to humanity, and his belief that the successful exploration of space can be a fundamental opportunity to improve life on Earth. “The vast economic potential of space opens an entirely new sphere of wealth creation. From satellites and communication systems to scientific advancements, everything we accomplish in space has tangible benefits for life here on Earth,” he affirms.

New space race

Stott was born and raised during the first space race, which was largely spurred on by the Cold War. He believes we are now in a new space race spurred in part by Cold War 2.0. And he affirms that space exploration, and specifically further Moon exploration, can lead us out of this path of conflict. “While on Earth, resources such as energy and water are becoming scarce, leading to conflict and competition — in space, there is abundance that can move us from a scarcity-based economy to an abundance-based economy. So, either we run out of energy or water and fight each other for scarce resources on Earth, or we go into space to access limitless resources and enrich the world's economies.”

Aside from the scramble for resources, Stott believes there's another pressing reason for the new space race: climate change and the environment.

"Instead of destroying a forest, ocean, or mountain to get the resources, the resources are out there, on the moon or Mars, without displacing anyone, without destroying our environment on Earth.”

Space exploration can also help us transition from a fossil fuel economy to a carbon-neutral one, making climate change a risk of the past. One of the new technologies being developed to transition from conventional fossil fuel-based generation to a carbon-neutral technology is an alternative fusion reaction known as helium-3 fusion. Typically fusion combines light atomic nuclei, such as hydrogen isotopes, to form heavier nuclei, releasing a tremendous amount of energy without the emission of greenhouse gasses. Some proponents of helium-3 fusion suggest that lunar mining could be a future source of this fuel.

"You now have engineers and scientists experimenting with helium-3 fusion reactors. We don't find helium-3 on Earth. And yet the sun gives off helium-3 24 hours a day, but on Earth and Mars, we have a magnetic field that protects us from radiation, and helium-3 hits that magnetic field and bounces back into space. That is not the case with the Moon or asteroids, where you can theoretically process the soil and mine it. The Chinese have done that, and their mission brought back helium-3, which they are using in their fusion reactors.”

According to Stott, when fusion reactors become commercially viable, the cost of energy will be so cheap that it will be even hard to imagine. “Besides, we can turn a corner in humanity’s history by solving climate change. Cause we can solve it with fusion.”

Earth’s big data storage satellite: the Moon

According to Stott, the new space race should focus on the Moon. "Helium-3 fusion is a good example of why we should return to the Moon. Now the world's leaders have finally understood what people like me and other space enthusiasts have always known: there is a vast amount of potential to be explored in terms of rare earth elements and so many as-yet-unknown resources that can truly benefit all of humanity. So, it is a natural step into the solar system."

This brings us to Stott's latest endeavor: the Lonestar start-up. Taking advantage of NASA's Commercial Lunar Payload Services (CLIPS) program, Lonestar aims to create a high-quality, critical data storage service 400,000km (248,550 miles) from Earth. The idea is to create a data cloud on the Moon that provides state-of-the-art data processing using the existing structure of satellite operators. The goal is to buy third-party equipment and set it up in innovative ways to create this smart storage center on the Moon, which will create a market for people to send their data there, process it, and then send the results home.

The idea of creating a database on the Moon came about when three of his clients approached him with the same problem: They needed a safe place to store their most important data. They were worried about leaving it on Earth, where tsunamis, fires, and cyber-attacks are very real threats.

"There are two main threats to data today. The first is climate change," said Stott. "There are a lot of extreme events happening, such as superstorms, hurricanes, extreme droughts, and wildfires. Temperatures are rising above 40° Celsius, causing data centers to melt. Last year, the Rhine River in Germany dried up, leaving data centers without water for cooling. The entire German transportation system ground to a halt, causing enormous damage, including loss of life. Florida lost 40% of its data after the last hurricane and has never recovered it.”

The second threat is the increase in cyber-attacks. "There is a war going on in the world today where data centers can be attacked and completely destroyed by cyber weapons such as malware or viruses," explains Stott. "Last year, 43 million hacker attacks were recorded in Europe alone. In addition, fiber optic cables can be cut, or hackers can infiltrate the cables with malware that contaminates data transmission systems. And backup sites are also under attack. So, everything down here is at risk.”

Lonestar already has a plan in place to make the project a reality. In September, they will launch the first test mission, which means they will send data, recover some, leave others, and conduct other testing. In December, there will be a second mission of the same type. A $5 million investment has already been made. "Next year, we will start building the smart data centers with 16 terabytes of storage and a chip resistant to lunar radiation. From there, the idea is to gradually increase the storage capacity."

With intense focus on the future of the satellite industry, Stott always remembers his primary goals.

"Space is taking our technological civilization to great heights and will lift more and more people out of poverty. This is what makes me so angry when people say that money spent on space is money wasted. One hundred percent of the money spent on space is really all spent here. All that investment is being invested here, they are getting high-tech jobs, and the money is being reinvested in their own economy.”

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