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Guest: Tom Olson; Topics: Vector Launch, Skyrora, NewSpace Business Plan Competition, space settlement, small dedicated launchers, lunar landers & returning to the Moon plus much more.
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We welcomed Tom Olson back to the show for this one segment 100 minute wide ranging discussion on multiple commercial space topics. We led off with the news that Vector Launch (it was known as Vector Space Systems) has shut down. Tom spent significant time talking about this development, Jim Cantrell, John Garvey, the Vector plan, Vector financing and investment to date and their rockets. .I hope Vector returns to operations and wish John Garvey well as the new CEO. We will continue to follow this story.
After discussing Vector, Tom told us about Space Fund and raising capital for entrepreneurial space businesses. Joe sent in an email asking if the Vector problems would hinder or negatively impact the small launch industry. Don't miss what Tom said plus he talked about learning important lessons about management.
Tom then mentioned the company from Scotland, Skyrora, as they won the NewSpace Business Plan competition held in Seattle at the recent NewSpace Conference. Don't miss what he said about Skyrora and their third stage which would allow for precise orbital insertion.
Lunar landers, especially the Blue Moon Lander, were a topic on and off during the program. Tom got an email from Ralph wondering what Tom thought of our increasing national debt and related issues. Tom had lots to say on this topic and space attitudes toward discussing it. Let us know what you think about this issue and Tom's comments by posting on the blog.
Tom talked about the Center for Space Commerce and Finance plus he mentioned that the Center would start doing podcasts about the middle of September. You can get more information about their podcasts from their website which he gave out several times on air.
Tom mentioned hearing NASA Administrator Bridenstine at the recent ISDC meeting. As you will hear, he did not care for the Bridenstine comments or his approach to the Moon, the Gateway, SLS and related items. He referenced Dr. Zubrin a few times in his comments plus the Blue Moon Lander by Blue Origin. Your thoughts on these subjects are welcome so let us hear from you on the blog.
Later in the program I asked Tom for his opinion on the need for a Space Force. Tom was skeptical of the need for a space force but listen to all of what he said on the topics. Tom then brought up the concept of needing lower launch costs to move forward. He talked at length about this in relation to the small launcher industry, even citing launch costs per kilo for several of the new contenders in the field. Tom provided many new company examples of the lower launch costs but with lots of questions. We would like to hear your feedback on this topic.
Moving right along, Tom was asked if there were many SBA loans for space entrepreneurs. He thought it might be possible with space scalable technologies but the SBA was not a common source of funding for space startups, Ted sent in a question asking about the outlook for human spaceflight and space settlement. Tom engaged in a lengthy discussion regarding both HSF and space settlement. He talked about NASA HSF mission driven projects which would differ from the private sector human missions. As for settlement, he said it would be very long term. As far as he knew, no business case could be closed regarding space settlement though we did talk about the Globus plan for their LEO low radiation space station. Tom offered several comments on Al and his plan, plus Al's space habitat competition design project.
Before the program ended, we talked about China, the new Chinese commercial space industry with two successful operations in recent times, plus the cultural difference and having patience. Following our China discussion, Tim called and brought up the Enclosure Movement in the UK as part of why settlement came to America from the UK and Europe. What do think about this? Before ending, Tom commented on phone lines, true ATT land lines, and cell phones plus Space Show hybrids. Once again I talked about the problem of audio quality. I will address this one more time, I hope, on OL this weekend.
Please post your comments/questions on TSS blog. You can reach Tom through www.cscf.space or me.