Broadcast 1297 (Special Edition)

The Space Foundation Conference

26 Jan 2010 John Powell
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Guest: John Powell. Topics: Airships to orbit, balloons, team management and leadership. John Powell returned for this two hour program to update us on the progress made by JP Aerospace. In our first segment, John told us that JP Aerospace celebrated its 30th anniversary in 2009. He told us how he got started, what made the year 2009 special with the Discovery and National Geographic TV programs, and the Toshiba commercial with the chair going up on the balloon to promote big screen TVs. Check out their website for more details and to see the Toshiba commercial pictures, He also talked about the progress being made with the airship to orbit program, the type of computers used on board which are Basic Stamp from Parallax. John told us he was working on a second Toshiba commercial to be filmed in April 2010 and that they have a goal for JP Aerospace of reaching 160,000 feet in the near future. John received several listener phone calls throughout the shows. The initial call was about lifters and hybrid quad engines and plasma and chemical engines. At the end of this segment, he talked about the V shaped airship. In the second segment, our next caller asked about the organizational structure of the company and why people volunteer for it. This turned into a lengthy discussion and we kept coming back to it throughout the show. Understanding John's management style is important and there is much in it that can benefit us all regardless of what we are doing. Later in the segment, Charles called in and sparked an interesting conversation about the laws of physics and that the orbital airship cannot be done. Pay attention to this discussion. What do you think? Toward the end of the segment, we returned to leadership issues and John said the Team is everything. He talked about the company buying a Skypup airplane and updated us on the PongSat program. We started the third and final long segment with a call from New Hampshire inquiring about doing business in California and the regulatory requirements JP Aerospace faces both in California and where he flies in Nevada. Later he talked about the Tandem Airship project which is to fly early this summer to 100,000'. John received additional calls about a helium transfer pump and high speed GPS. John also described how to be a volunteer for JP Aerospace and then the discussion went back to gravity losses and electrostatic propulsion as a way of solving problems. John explained their use of an ion engine and much more. Toward the end of this last segment, he told us he reached a milestone in September 2009 during the Toshiba commercial. Listen to him describe this milestone! He said it was a "Passing The Torch" moment! If you have comments or questions for John Powell, you can email him at



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