Broadcast 2800 Barry Levin

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The Space Foundation Conference

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Guest:  Barry Levin; Topics:  Back of the Envelope space project analysis, 4th industrial manufacturing, Moon, Mars, advanced manufacturing & more.  Please direct all comments and questions regarding specific Space Show programs & guest(s) to the Space Show blog which is part of archived program on our website,   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


We welcomed Barry Levin to the program to discuss his concept for a Back of the Envelope analysis segment on upcoming Space Show programs.  Originally planned as a one hour discussion, our program turned into a one segment 88 minute discussion.  Barry started the discussion by explaining his concept of the Back of the Envelope segment for The Space Show, then took us through an analysis of what he was talking about via the spreadsheets he uploaded to the blog for this program.  Scroll to the comments section on the show website, and click on his Dropbox URL.  You want to open up the third item which is titled BOE4.xlsx.  Barry spent most of the first part of the discussion taking us through his example talking about launch costs.  Do not miss his analysis.

As you will hear, Barry, through this type of estimation and analysis, suggested that the cost of $500 per kilo to LEO is the cost that enables us to be spacefaring (not including human spaceflight).  Do not miss how he arrived at this number or the significance in his showing that Apollo and Orion were approximately the same costs meaning that little progress had been made other than by SpaceX in achieving low cost space access.  After spending considerable time going through his spreadsheet and discussing the various costs and what they mean, we switched to the issue of how best to achieve low cost space access.

Our guest suggested that we needed to move to 4th generation industrial manufacturing in order to be spacefaring and achieve low cost space access.  He talked about some methods such as 3D printing & AI, but also what it meant to be fully engaged in the 4th industrial revolution.  Do not miss this discussion as it was key to not only understanding the Back of the Envelope analysis technique but how in Barry's opinion, we become a fully space fairing nation.

Listeners asked Barry multiple questions via email but Sandra pointed out that if 4th industrial revolution manufacturing was used and labor costs were reduced to zero or near zero as he was talking about, there would be enormous social upheaval and cost to the nation and the economy.  She wanted to know how that would be handled.  This question set the tone for the balance of our discussion as Barry suggested that these social issues would be mitigated by educational outreach and training people in the industrial revolution processes.  Barry cited several examples for resolving dislocation issues.  As the discussion continued, one aspect that we focused on was being able to use the space industry as a 4th industrial revolution leader for the nation, not only in space, but in shifting our workforce to massive 4th industrial revolution participation which would great benefit our economy, the space program and more.  He talked about being able to afford both the Moon and Mars, not one or the other as costs for launch would come down along with space access. 

The concept of having our space program not only be a driver for new technologies needed for going to the Moon and Mars, but to re-educate, retool, and upgrade our manufacturing and industrial capabilities and work force emerged as a selling point for investing more in space. The intended and desired results and consequences mentioned in our discussion emerged as a possible way to sell and promote space and larger space investments by both the public and the private sectors. 

In responding to questions about this strategy, including my own, Barry said that the 4th industrial revolution was already underway and would not be stopped by governments or anything else.  He said it was already happening around the world, not just here in the US.  Since he said it had the potential to reduce labor costs to zero or near zero while at the same time developing new manufacturing skills available to everyone, there might someday be a global middle class and he talked about very large scale crowd funding possibilities plus alternative financial options such a bitcoin as a result of an expanded global middle class.

Our guest also offered to put together a 3D mode printing video to demonstrate some of what he was talking about.  We agreed to a follow up Back of the Envelope Space Show program later this year built around this interactive 3D manufacturing model video.  Check The Space Show schedule on future issues of the website newsletter to see when this program gets scheduled.  In addition, Barry and I both do want your comments on his concepts as presented in this show.  Post what you have to say on the blog which is in comments section at the bottom of the show website,  If you want to contact Barry directly, please do so through me.




Back of The Envelope Introduction Show

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25 Oct 2016 Barry Levin
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  • The Space Foundation Conference

  • The Space Foundation Conference

  • The Space Foundation Conference

  • The Space Foundation Conference