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Broadcast 1450 (Special Edition)Listen to the show!
Aired on October 31st, 2010
Guest: Debra Facktor Lepore
Guest: Debra Facktor Lepore. Topics: Space entrepreneurism, business lessons learned with space businesses. Please note that you are invited to comment, ask questions, and rate this program on the new Space Show blog, We started our first segment with Ms. Lepore telling us about DFL Space LLC and the Stevens Institute of Technology School of Systems and Enterprises. Our first listener question came in soon, asking Debra for her thoughts on space businesses in today's economic climate and what she would be telling her consulting clients given current economic conditions and space industry uncertainties Shortly after Debra responded to that question, John from Montana called in to ask about startup launch companies and relevant business practices. This was a very interesting give and take discussion with our guest outlining several key points and factors for business success including being sure to match personal passion with the daily effort and making sure the entire business team working on the venture is the very best that can be put together for the project. Debra identified other important aspects as well as part of this discussion and she introduced us to the term accidental entrepreneurism. Toward the end of this segment, we talked about the organization Women in Aerospace and the recent awards given out in Washington, DC. As we started the second segment, we talked about the diverse makeup of Women in Aerospace and how it is expanding into foreign arenas starting with Europe and Canada. I then asked Debra to talk about her lessons learned from her space entrepreneurial executive positions, a talk she gave at the recent AIAA meeting in Anaheim, California. In talking about her lessons learned from her diverse experiences, she talked about her work at ANSER, Kistler Aerospace, and at AirLaunch LLC. You definitely want to hear what she had to say about her experiences with these very famous organizations, both in terms of the projects that were underway as well as the business, management, marketing, and financial aspects of the companies. We addressed government contracting, contract termination fees, milestone performance requirements, and the need for cash flow early on in the venture as everything required cash. Tim called in wanting to know what happened to the Kistler hardware. Kelly sent in a note asking if AirLaunch had considered human space flight, and John from Montana commented about the challenges in storing hardware and keeping it in good shape, even operating condition. John in Atlanta called in near the end of the show to ask technical questions, 2nd stage and propellant questions and more. Near the end of the program, a listener asked if ITAR played a role or impacted Kistler in a damaging way. At the end of the program, a Boston listener asked about relevant or compatible business experience to the space venture being pursued. Debra had much to say on this issue so do listen carefully. If you have comments or questions for Debra Facktor Lepore, please post them on the blog and you can send them to Debra at Make sure to reference Space Show in the subject line. You can also send your comments for Debra to me and I will forward them to her.

About our guest...

Debra Facktor Lepore
Debra Facktor Lepore is the vice president and general manager of Strategic Operations for Ball Aerospace. Lepore is responsible for increasing Ball Aerospace’s profile in the market and facilitating collaboration across the company. She is the company’s senior executive in the Washington, DC area and leads Washington Operations, Communications and Strategic Development. Lepore brings over 25 years of experience in the aerospace industry to her current role. Prior to joining Ball in January 2013, she served as the president of DFL Space LLC, an aerospace consulting firm focused on developing innovative business strategies for a wide range of customers. As an industry professor at Stevens Institute of Technology in Hoboken, NJ, she led its Master’s of Engineering in Technical Leadership program and served as Director of Strategic Programs for the Systems Engineering Research Center (SERC). She was Principal Investigator on the SERC research project “Expedited Systems Engineering for Rapid Capability and Urgent Needs,” sponsored by the U.S. Air Force, and has used this research toward PhD studies. Lepore has extensive business experience including serving as president and an owner of AirLaunch LLC, a small business which won funding from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) and the U.S. Air Force to develop an operationally responsive small launch vehicle. She previously served as vice president of Business Development and Strategic Planning for Kistler Aerospace Corporation. Earlier in her career, she was Chief of Moscow Operations for ANSER’s Center for International Aerospace Cooperation. Among other distinctions, Lepore was honored with the University of Michigan 2014 Alumni Merit Award for Aerospace Engineering and as the Women in Aerospace (WIA) “Most Outstanding Member” for 2012. She is the former chair of the board of WIA and founding president of the WIA Foundation. She is also an appointed member of the FAA’s Commercial Space Transportation Advisory Committee (COMSTAC). Lepore is a fellow of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) and an Academician of the International Academy of Astronautics (IAA). She holds a B.S.E. (magna cum laude) and M.S.E. in aerospace engineering, both from the University of Michigan, and is an alumna of the International Space University summer session program in space policy and law.

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