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Dr. Erik Seedhouse, Sunday, 7-28-13 July 28, 2013

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Dr. Erik Seedhouse, Sunday, 7-28-13

http://archived.thespaceshow.com/shows/2057-BWB-2013-07-28.mp3

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Guest:  Dr. Erik Seedhouse.  Topics: Dr. Seedhouse discusses his new book, “SpaceX: Making Commercial Spaceflight A Reality.”  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. In addition, please remember that your Amazon purchases can help support The Space Show/OGLF. See www.onegiantleapfoundation.org/amazon.htm.

We welcomed back Dr. Erik Seedhouse for this 1 hour 34 minute discussion of his new book, “SpaceX: Making Commercial Spaceflight A Reality.”  During the first segment, Dr. Seedhouse talked in general about the book, the fact that it addresses other commercial space companies and the suborbital field as well as SpaceX, plus Mars missions, funding, investment, and government support through COTS, Commercial Crew and other programs.  In fact, he said that 80-90% of funding for commercial launch companies was government funded at this time.  When asked if this suggested something other than a commercial company, he said no.  Lots of listeners both emailed and called in with questions about SpaceX and their projects.  One listener wanted to know if Dr. Seedhouse thought SpaceX might be spread too thin with so many projects.  Another wanted to know about meeting launch timelines and slippage, while another wanted to know about the new version of Falcon 9 about to be launched.  There were lots of questions and much discussion around the Falcon Heavy and the SpaceX manifest per their website.  Erik talked about ULA as a major SpaceX competitor and Doug called in wanting to know if Erik thought Falcon Heavy might actually be too much rocket for the market at this time.  He also inquired about the potential Falcon Heavy impact on human spaceflight.

In the second segment, Mars One, Inspiration Mars, and Dream Chaser came up for discussion.  Dr. Seedhouse talked about SpaceX and Mars but he also stressed the need for resolving EDL problem regarding future large payload missions to Mars.  Another listener wanted to know if Falcon Heavy or even the Falcon 9 could launch the Orion and then Doug emailed in and then called to ask about the SpaceX Mars Colonial Transporter.  Several times in both segments, Dr. Seedhouse stressed that his book was upbeat and written as a devoted fan of SpaceX accounting for the company’s first ten years.  He also said that he had no support nor did he have any interviews with anyone from SpaceX regarding the book.  Toward the end, Jacob sent in an email asking our guest why some in Congress still seemed opposed to commercial space, SpaceX and others.  Erik made it clear he did not include politics in his book but he suggested that Congress does tend to work toward reelection, often over the national interest.  Of course defining the national interest may not be as objective as we would like so it’s a tough question to answer, for sure.  The last listener question asked Erik if there was a commercial space effort of any significance coming from any other country.  Erik’s simple answer was no but you will want to hear what he said in response to this question.

Please post your comments/questions on The Space Show.  If you want to contact Dr. Seedhouse, you can do so through me.

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.

Hoyt Davidson, Sunday, 12-30-12 December 30, 2012

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Hoyt Davidson, Sunday, 12-30-12

http://archived.thespaceshow.com/shows/1920-BWB-2012-12-30.mp3

Guest:  Hoyt Davidson.  Topics:  Commercial space financing, markets, and risks.  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 Hoyt Davidson to the program to discuss commercial space from the perspective of markets and financing.  Mr. Davidson, founder and managing Partner of near Earth LLC (www.nearearthllc.com) shared with us his expertise and experience in a very instructive discussion on these important topics.  While much of the focus was on the commercial satellite industry, the applications apply across the board in the commercial space industry.  One of the topics we discussed in great detail was market risk. In fact, our gust suggested market risk was a bigger challenge and more of a possible road block than technical or regulatory risks.  Mr. Davidson also said what many others in the commercial space arena say and that is that the companies prefer to see themselves within their overall general industry such as media and communications rather than as a space company.  We talked about several popularly touted possible commercial space industries from a market perspective, the length of time needed for a return on investment, and what is referred to as Death Valley for space entrepreneurs.  Death Valley refers to an opportunity being too large for an angel investor but too small for venture capital.  In talking about market risks, we also talked about getting investor partners to strengthen the deal. XM Radio was cited as an example.  The pursuit of market research was discussed, both from the perspective of using a market research company and doing the market research in-house. Other potential commercial space industries were examined including space tourism, citizen science for orbital with cubesats as well as suborbital, space solar power, satellite internet services, and the use of public/private partnerships.

In our second segment, a listener wanted to know about space focused investment banking career opportunities for MBA graduates.  Next, we talked at length about public/private partnerships and being “pure” regarding what constitutes a commercial space company.  In this context, pure refers to not having a mix of government and private capital, instead being 100% private. SpaceX with Cots and Commercial Crew served as one of our company examples but we also noted that no such 100% pure private company was out there given the costs and challenges of space ventures.  Listeners asked about private capital financing for NASA science missions such as a Europa mission.  Other listeners wanted to know about commercial opportunities for human spaceflight. Here, our guest suggested the opportunities were more with the robotic missions that come before the human missions.  Toward the end, a listener asked how higher tax rates might impact risky commercial space investments.  We also talked about geographical areas of special investment expertise in the U.S. and in other countries. Silicon Valley is not the only player in this field.

Please post your comments/questions on The Space Show blog above.  You can email Hoyt Davidson through me or by using his website.

Walter Cunningham, Tuesday, 6-19-12 June 20, 2012

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Walter Cunningham, Tuesday, 6-19-12

http://archived.thespaceshow.com/shows/1799-BWB-2012-06-19.mp3

Guest:  Walter Cunningham.  Topics:  An inside view of the American space program from Apollo to today.  You are invited to comment, ask questions, & discuss the Space Show program/guest(s) on the Space Show blog, http://thespaceshow.wordpress.com. Comments, questions, & any discussion must be relevant & applicable to Space Show programming. Transcripts of Space Show programs are not permitted without prior written consent from The Space Show (even if for personal use) & are a violation of the Space Show copyright.  We welcomed Walt Cunningham to discuss our space program from Apollo through today’s developing commercial space industry.  For more information, visit his website, www.waltercuningham.com.  You can buy “The All-American Boys: An Insider’s Look At The U.S. Space Program” from Amazon & they will make a contribution to The Space Show/OGLF if you use this URL: www.amazon.com/All-American-Boys-Walter-Cunningham/dp/1876963247/ref=onegiantlea20.  I started the discussion by asking Walt about his perspective on Apollo 7 today, 44 years later.  Walt had some interesting things to say about perspective, especially over the past 10-20 years as compared to when he actually carried out the mission.  A few times during our discussion, questions came up about the so called “mutiny” with the crew & NASA ground control so listen to how Walt described what was mostly a non-event despite media & blog reports to the contrary.  He did talk about Wally Schirra, his head cold & the Actifed commercials, but there was far more to the mission & to the significance of Apollo 7.  Dr. Jurist asked about the ride on a Saturn 1B, professors & experiences while both were at UCLA.  We discussed risk regarding his ride on the Saturn 1B. Walt had much to say about risk during the Apollo era as compared to now.  We extrapolated from this discussion to Columbia’s foam issues. We talked about commercial space.  Walt suggested that today’s commercial space efforts were not purely commercial given government funding & missions. He also said that retiring the shuttle when we did was a big mistake.  He then took us through a cost analysis process to illustrate that space is & always will be costly.  At the end of the first segment, one way trips to Mars & reality TV show funding were mentioned.

In the second segment, Terry called with questions about Von Braun. Walt had high praise & much to say about Von Braun & his experiences with him.  Commercial space came up again & I asked him about asteroid mining.  He did not think it would be a good investment & talked about the need to pay attention to the laws of physics.  We talked about He3 on the Moon, fusion energy possibilities & more.  I read an email from a London listener asking about the Apollo rocket & mission sounds on Apollo 7.  We talked some more about the problems on board Apollo 7, this time regarding Wally & the TV broadcast delay & the wearing of the newly designed helmets during reentry.  Walt talked about climate change & global warming, urging people to do their own research & examine the data rather than believing what people had to say regardless of their position.  John in Atlanta called in about global warming & said that there was no practical mitigation strategy. Our guest shared what he perceived to be the true motivation of global warming extremists.  John also talked about having built a next gen space shuttle from the old space shuttle to avoid retiring it or having to build an entirely new & very costly program.  Walt supported that idea but history proved otherwise.  Toward the end we discussed the pros & cons of international cooperation & competition, Ares 1 as a safe rocket for HSF, & the cost of the ISS being more due to international cooperation.  Our final topic was risk versus reckless behavior & the difference between the two.

If you have comments/questions, please post them on The Space Show blog.

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