Broadcast 2010 (Special Edition)

Feedback: What did you think of this show?: 

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, 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 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" ( 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



WARNING: Using Disqus Comments on the Space Show:

To ensure your comments do NOT get caught in the Disqus automatic spam filter systemplease login to your Disqus account or create a verified/approved Disqus account.

Posting multiple URL links WILL TRIGGER the Disqus automatic spam filter system.

17 May 2013 Frank Stratford
Your Amazon Purchases Helps Support TSS/OGLF (see

The Space Show Toll Free Number is only available on live broadcast programs. Please call 1-866-687-7223

  • The Space Foundation Conference

  • moonwards-logo