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Robert (Bob) Zimmerman, Tuesday, 3-26-13 March 27, 2013

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Robert (Bob) Zimmerman, Tuesday, 3-26-13

http://archived.thespaceshow.com/shows/1981-BWB-2013-03-26.mp3

Guest:  Robert (Bob) Zimmerman.  Topics:  Space news, company updates, and more.  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 Bob Zimmerman back for a two hour wide ranging discussion on space news, company updates, sequestration, policy, and more.  Be sure to check out his blog, http://behindtheblack.com.   Bob started out talking about the e-book release of his book, “Genesis, The Story of Apollo 8.”  He then talked about the upcoming Falcon 9 launches, their importance and significance.  Bob mentioned ILS and the Proton rocket which is having its problems causing insurance rates to rise. He said the Russians will absorb all insurance cost increases to keep Proton at a price advantage point.  This opened the door to a discussion about SpaceX and price competiveness in the launch industry.  Bob switched gears to the suborbitals and said we should be seeing Virgin powered tests soon.  He also talked about Stratolaunch per a recent Parabolic Arc article.  Bob was talking reusability and the RLV so I asked him if he was aware of economic analysis and data that was not supportive of an RLV short of a substantial increase in launch demand. Bob had much to say about this with his opinion. The RLV economic issue continued to be discussed in both segments of our program. Tim called in about it as well.  We talked about Sen. Rubio and his budget amendment suggesting NASA divest itself of unused assets & use the saved money for commercial space.  Bob then brought up sequestration and the announcement that NASA will be shutting down all public outreach but they will keep their PR arm going for their projects and missions.  We also mentioned Sarah Brightman and both her ISS and Virgin space tourism efforts.  Near the close of this segment, Inspiration Mars was discussed and as you will hear, Bob is skeptical, citing human factors & other reasons for his opinion.  Larry asked about North Korean rockets and threats to the U.S. west coast.  Bob said he took them seriously though their rocket was not yet ready for prime time. Bob also threw in Iranian rockets and threats and said he was more concerned about advances by Iran than N. Korea at this time.

In segment two, we talked about both the science side of NASA and the HSF side.  I’m sure you will find the comparison and mission summaries of interest.  John called in from Atlanta to raise yet again the question of reusability.  He thought it would be enhanced with the use of orbiting fuel depots. Bob was skeptical.  Don’t miss this discussion.  I asked both Bob and John about Inspiration Mars, Jim emailed in a comment about Falcon 1 relative to comments being made by Bob, and we talked about the upcoming Orbital Sciences Antares launch.  We got into the subject of risk taking and Bob and I talked about mining risks as well as caving risks.  As Bob is an accomplished caver, he had much to say about both mining and caving.  Near the end, we got a call about various spaceports in different states and spaceport commercial success so far.  Bob concluded saying that we are in an unstable world which could absolutely adversely impact all aspects of space and commercial space development and progress.

Please post your comments on The Space Show blog.

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.

Tom Olson, Dr. John Jurist, Friday, 6-22-12 June 22, 2012

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Tom Olson, Dr. John Jurist, Friday, 6-22-12

http://archived.thespaceshow.com/shows/1802-BWB-2012-06-22.mp3

Guests:  Tom Olson, Dr. John Jurist.  Topics:  The return to life of the Space Cynic blog, http://spacecynic.wordpress.com. You are invited to comment, ask questions, and discuss the Space Show program/guest(s) on the Space Show blog, http://thespaceshow.wordpress.com. Comments, questions, and any discussion must be relevant and 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 Tom Olson and Dr. John Jurist to discuss our plans to reactivate the Space Cynic blog, http://spacecynic.wordpress.com.  Tom started our Space Show discussion with an historical overview of why the Space Cynic blog was created by Shubber Ali and the three of us.  We talked about some of the past programs, themes we wrote about, the goal of the blog, and the Walking Eagle Award.  We mostly focused on the business side of issues, the engineering, human factors, and other issues that can make or break any venture, including a space venture.  We each mentioned some examples that highlight the themes we respectively focused on with the blog, including asteroid mining and space solar power.  We also talked about themes we have in common with one another. Each of us mentioned some new themes we are interested in once the blog becomes active again, probably by September at the latest.  A new feature of the rebirth of the Cynics blog will be the opportunity to be a guest Space Cynic blogger.  Details on this will soon be posted on the Space Cynic blog but we did mention of few of the obvious guidelines during our discussion.  We also talked about making comments on the blog and opening up the Walking Eagle Award to a blog reader nomination process.  Note that I will archive this program on Space Cynics as well as The Space Show blog but do understand that The Space Show has no formal relationship to Space Cynics other than as an individual, I am one of the four space cynic contributors.  We welcome your feedback on bringing the Space Cynic blog back to active life.  Post your comments on either blog or both of them.

If you want to email either of the guests on this show or space cynic founder Shubber Ali, you can do so through me and I will forward your email to the person of your choice.

William (Bill) Mellberg, Tuesday, 1-31-12 February 1, 2012

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William (Bill) Mellberg, Tuesday, 1-31-12

http://archived.thespaceshow.com/shows/1702-BWB-2012-01-31.mp3

Guest:  William (Bill) Mellberg.  Topics:  Comparing aviation to commercial space regarding markets, safety, and more. Explorer 1 54th anniversary.  You are invited to comment, ask questions, and discuss the Space Show program/guest(s) on the Space Show blog, http://thespaceshow.wordpress.com.  Comments, questions, and any discussion must be relevant and 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 Bill Mellberg to the program to compare the early days of aviation with today’s commercial space industry. We also honored the 54th anniversary of Explorer 1.  Mr. Mellberg started the discussion with Explorer 1 by talking about the early history of Vanguard, Explorer 1, Werner Von Braun, Ernst Stuhlinger & more. Richard Easton called & we talked about timing, GPS, clock synchronization, his Dad’s work, and Vanguard early history.  Turning to our main topic, comparing the early days of aviation history to the commercial space industry today, our guest said it was a flawed comparison.  During the first segment, he explains in detail his reasoning which has to do with commercial markets, what the government is paying for regarding commercial space as compared to what it paid for with aviation, specifically the Kelly Air Mail Act of 1925.  We also talked about the early history of Fokker Aircraft Company which he tied into our discussion on markets, market timing, and production capabilities.  Mr. Mellberg addressed human spaceflight safety from the point of view that it would be extremely hard for the commercial companies to master safety given the complexities & costs of human spaceflight & the potential damage or even ruination of the company should there be a fatal accident.  Before the segment ended, our guest drove home the lack of commercial markets for human spaceflight.  There must be HSF markets other than the government market for the ISS.  

In our second segment, our guest cited some airplane examples that were ahead of the market and suffered from bad market timing.  He then used the SST as an example of the points he was making about high operating costs, no or limited markets, government subsidies, etc.  He went over the economics of why the Boeing SST was killed by our congress and what happens when the ticket price is so high that a broad market cannot be realized.  Listeners and callers asked about government regulation crippling innovation.  Bill then suggested the path to commercialization was with a program such a what Dr. Spudis and Dr. Lavoie have proposed in their paper “Using the resources of the Moon to create a permanent, cislunar space faring system” as well as on The Space Show. You can read their paper at www.spudislunarresources.com/Bibliography/p/102.pdf.  Bill said that eventually as cislunar economic develop evolves, so would commercial markets and opportunities.  He also recommended the NASA reorganization plan proposed last year by Dr. Harrison Schmitt. You can read his plan at www.spaceref.com/news/viewsr.html?pid=37176.  Our guest suggested that we should use the money being invested in commercial human spaceflight to do space exploration projects because commercial space today is an unnecessary diversion of scarce resources in a tight economy.  Throughout our discussion, he talked about government contracting and why it is different today, not commercial, and unlike what was done in early aviation and with airmail.  At the end of the program, our guest treated us to some of his political humor and impersonations per his program, “An Evening With The Presidents.”

Post your comments/questions on our blog URL above. You can hear his humor at www.aneveningwiththepresidents.com/live

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