Broadcast 719 (Special Edition)

26 May 2007 Esther Dyson
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Esther Dyson was the guest for this Space Show program. Please be aware that there are audio problems with parts of this program as a VoIP phone line was used for the interview. VoIP audio problems cannot be edited out of the recording. Both Esther and I appreciate your understanding regarding this matter. This interview with Esther Dyson is outstanding! We began the interview by learning about Esther's amazing workshop program, Flight School. Flight School will be held this June 20-22 in Aspen, CO and its the third annual Flight School program Ms. Dyson has put together. In addition to hearing about this intimate and very participatory workshop through this interview, check it out at Not only is there still time to register to attend Flight School, but first understand what its about and when you do, for sure you will want to be there. Esther talks about some of the participants and the Flight School agenda but you can see it all on the website, specifically you can see the list of speakers at and the agenda at This year's Flight School will contain a mix of aviation and space subjects and businesses, plus there will be opportunities to take a Zero G flight during the workshop as the Zero G plane will be operating out of Aspen for this event. As you will hear on this show, Flight School is a unique event, it is not a conference or a symposium. If you can attend, you should. In addition to discussing Flight School, Esther tells us how and why she got interested in space and entrepreneurial space investing, she shared with us her criteria for making a space investment, her due diligence methodology and much more. This is a rare opportunity to understand how space entrepreneurial investments are sought out, evaluated and analyzed, the expectations from the investment, the anticipated involvement with company management and much much more. We talked about the NASA VSE program in comparison to what the private sector is doing. We discussed suborbital as a path to orbital and she shared her thoughts with us on this subject as a result of a listener question. We discussed the ISDC Financial Symposium and what these types of events mean for the developing start-up space industry. Other topics discussed included getting Ether's thoughts on what appears to many as excessive secrecy among the start-up space companies, suborbital space tourism, and why she invested in certain New Space companies. She was asked about how her peers see her space investing. You don't want to miss her answer to this one. Toward the end of the program, Esther told us about her experience with Charles Simonyi's launch into space as she was in Baikonur with Space Adventures and others for this event, including Martha Stewart. As you listen to Esther describe her experience and tell us the story of being in Baikonur, the human side of space development becomes crystal clear and we easily understand both its significance and importance. In the final few minutes of the program, I asked Esther what she thought would be the most likely success story in commercial space and entrepreneurial investing over the next five years or so and she suggested we would see a liquidity event and possibly a major cultural icon getting involved in space travel or space commerce to help make it routine. Our discussion with Esther Dyson is far ranging over many commercial space, investment, and cultural topics. If you have questions or comments for Esther, please send them to or you can send them through me at and I will promptly forward them to Ms. Dyson. And again, our apologies for the VoIP audio problems with this show.



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