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Mark Bray, Monday, 12-17-12 December 18, 2012

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Mark Bray, Monday, 12-17-12


Guest:  Mark Bray.  Topics:  Commercial space market development.  Please direct all comments and questions regarding Space Show programs/guest(s) to the Space Show blog, https://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 back Mark Bray to discuss the development of a commercial space market, the applications of Geoffrey Moore’s “Crossing The Chasm” theories, space policy and the challenges of transitioning the aerospace industry to a full commercial space industry.  Our first segment began with Mark explaining how he sees commercial space development in the context of the Geoffrey Moore book, “Crossing The Chasm.”  The main idea expressed in the book and by our guest focuses on businesses that are able to leap from the very early adopter period of a product to the broader based product acceptance in the consumer markets. Mark’s quick summary suggested we were not yet there with our developing commercial space industry. He talked about the existing commercial space segment, the idea that we cater to our own community rather than finding a need in the broader consumer markets, then supplying that need through commercial space development.  Until that happens, commercial space remain hindered. He also suggested that that space tourism would not be the business that crosses the chasm as he did not see it as being sustainable.  We talked about the ISS and its potential uses, NASA science missions, and the need to transition to an actual commercial industry which he does not believe exists today.  His focus during this discussion was market driven saying the lack of sustainable broad based commercial space market today is a problem. As the segment was ending, Doug emailed in to inquire about Dragon Lab and the possibility of NASA taking on more characteristics of the old NACA were in line with his perspective commercial space, markets, and broadening the consumer user base.  Mark had interesting comments about both and as we were going to break, suggested that the issues he was talking about dealt with how we get from where we are today to where we need to be to have a viable commercial space industry.

In our second segment, Todd emailed in questions about the impact of the U.S. and global economy on commercial space development.  Later, Mark was asked what it would take to have a profitable commercial space industry.  We talked about government subsidies in space, the Falcon 9, SpaceX, and ULA with the Atlas and Delta vehicles.  Mark then addressed the issue of needing to know the real costs involved for a product or a launch vehicle saying there should be at least 5-7 successful missions before the costs can be classified as known and understood.  Mark also addressed the difficulty with human spaceflight (HSF) and commercial space, then moved on to the boom in the cubesat sector which might actually end up being a product that does cross the chasm. Michael commented about mission insurance and Mark suggested that because of liability and insurance issues, we would not have a totally pure commercial space industry.  A listener asked him about the NewSpace industry and Mark talked about this in the context of NASA and industry innovation and early adopters.  Near the end of the program, Mark assessed the suborbital industry which is commercial but questioned the sustainability of the suborbital tourist market.  As the program was ending, I asked Mark for a Huntsville space status report.  He said things were stabilizing and it appears that worst of the layoffs and setbacks are now a thing of the past.  Fiscal cliff worries exist but the situation was not getting worse. He said many were expecting new and larger projects within 2-4 years.

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