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Frank Stratford, Friday, 5-17-13 May 18, 2013

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Frank Stratford, Friday, 5-17-13

http://archived.thespaceshow.com/shows/2010-BWB-2013-05-17.mp3

Guest:  Frank Stratford.  Topics:  Commercial space and space travel business models and revenue generation.  Please direct all comments and questions regarding Space Show programs/guest(s) to the Space Show blog, http://thespaceshow.wordpress.com.  Comments and questions should be relevant to the specific Space Show program. Written Transcripts of Space Show programs are a violation of our copyright and are not permitted without prior written consent, even if for your own use. We do not permit the commercial use of Space Show programs or any part thereof, nor do we permit editing, YouTube clips, or clips placed on other private channels & websites. Space Show programs can be quoted, but the quote must be cited or referenced using the proper citation format. Contact The Space Show for further information.

We welcomed Frank Stratford back to the program to discuss various commercial space business models, including nonspace revenue generating goals and objectives.  Frank is the founder of MarsDrive so for more information, visit their website at www.marsdrive.com.  During the first segment of our 1 hour 42 minute program, Frank introduced us to the topic in his April 22, 2013 Space Review article, “The Business of Space Travel” (www.thespacereview.com/article/2281/1).  Frank talked about the need to generate nonspace revenue while building up the space company & space revenue R&D, activities, & markets.  He cited SpaceX, Bigelow, & Blue Origins as examples.  This led to a discussion about markets & financing, plus estimated costs for a human spaceflight mission to Mars. Frank compared the Mars One $6 billion estimate to his own estimate from his research to be $15 billion.  Our first caller asked if big name investors associated with these early commercial space ventures created an expectation of success and may in fact turn out to not have been such a good idea.  The detailed discussion included ROI, Stratolaunch and the revenue cycle gap from up front/early capital needs to revenue generation later on in the project’s cycle.  We talked about the nonprofit or charity model and Inspiration Mars came to mind.  I entered the discussion with comments about the need for repeat customers, a commercial space success to model, unrealistic assumptions, the lack of due diligence, and the difficulty in cost estimates, especially when the cost of getting to the destination (the Moon for example) is unknown at this time.  Surrey Space & Technology was also brought up as an example of a good business to model.

In the second segment, our called pointed out a Moon & Back interview with Robert Bigelow in which our caller said Bob said he went into the r/e business to fund his space activities.  Later, he email in additional comments suggesting that just because a space venture or idea is not funded does not mean it’s a bad idea or concept. He then advocated NASA support such as with COTS and Commercial Crew.  Public/private partnerships were advocated as a good way to move forward with space development and exploration.  Frank was then asked if a failed commercial project would hurt the industry.  He said it was possible.  Another question came in regarding paying attention to human factors and if solutions would be available at the same time as engineering technology, financing, and maybe markets.  Frank said only if work moved forward on human factor solutions at the same time and at a similar rate.  He also advocated his own organization working the problems.  Listen to his reasoning behind this.  As the program was nearing close, Frank was asked if Curiosity found proof of life in the past or now, even the most basic life, if it would make HSF to Mars more of a priority.  Don’t miss Frank’s response.  In summary, Frank talked about the need for continuous incremental development.

Please post your comments/questions on The Space Show blog above.  If you want to email Frank Stratford, you can do so through me at drspace@thespaceshow.com.

Dr. Roger Launius, Friday, 11-30-12 December 1, 2012

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Dr. Roger Launius, Friday, 11-30-12

http://archived.thespaceshow.com/shows/1904-BWB-2012-11-30.mp3

Guest:  Dr. Roger Launius.  Topics: “Coming Home: Reentry and Recovery from Space” by Dr. Launius, space policy issues, magical thinking.  Please direct all comments and questions regarding Space Show programs/guest(s) to the Space Show blog, http://thespaceshow.wordpress.com. Comments and questions should be relevant to the specific Space Show program. Written Transcripts of Space Show programs are a violation of our copyright and are not permitted without prior written consent, even if for your own use. We do not permit the commercial use of Space Show programs or any part thereof, nor do we permit editing, YouTube clips, or clips placed on other private channels & websites. Space Show programs can be quoted, but the quote must be cited or referenced using the proper citation format. Contact The Space Show for further information. We welcomes Dr. Roger Launius back to the program to discuss his latest book, “Coming Home: Reentry and Recovery from Space” which is a free download at www.nasa.gov/pdf/695726main_ComingHome-ebook.pdf. During our first segment, our guest provided us with a short history of resolving challenges with reentry from space with human spaceflight.  We discussed winged vehicles and capsules from a historical, practical, and engineering perspective.  We also talked about DOD influence and the advantages as well as disadvantages of both types of space vehicles.  One listener question asked about winged vehicles evolving from suborbital to orbital HSF.  Terry called in with ballistic reentry questions about the V2 rocket & we mentioned museum locations where people can see a complete V2 on display.  Another listener wanted to know if there were any winged vehicle concepts for Mars. Here, our guest talked about some science fiction examples but nothing for real on the drawing board.  Our guest then introduced us to magical thinking and we talked about reality in space exploration as compared to fantasy.  As this segment was ending, we talked about RLVs and reentry issues.

In our second segment, we started off talking about the NASA budget and the potential impact of sequestration.  Our guest said human spaceflight is the biggest challenge and in fact at one point he said we were just one banana peel away from losing HSF!  This was in the context of access to the ISS with only the Soyuz and how fragile the access was until we had multiple ways of getting to the station.  We then discussed risk and some of the issues raised on this subject by other Space Show guests that believe we need more risk to advance human spaceflight. Risk was also discussed in the context of hypothetical ISS recue missions with HSF vehicles not yet ready for prime time. We also talked about the value and purpose of HSF, including should settlement really be the purpose of it.  We had a lengthy discussion on this subject. Both Roger and I suggested the purpose of HSF is a challenge, can be illusive, and is probably something larger and broader than space settlement.  Don’t miss his explanation behind his thinking.  We also talked about spinoffs as a reason for HSF, the we addressed the lack of needed infrastructure, radiation issues, etc.  Toward the end, we took some questions about SLS and heavy lift.  Jane asked our guest about the visitors to the Air and SpaceMuseum at the Smithsonian & if Roger could infer an increase or decline in the interest in space by the visitors or if the visitors had an awareness of the challenges facing NASA and HSF.

Please post your comments/questions on The Space Show blog.  You can email Dr. Launius through me.

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