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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 President of DFL Space LLC and Executive Liaison for Stevens Institute of Technology School of Systems and Enterprises. A rocket scientist and “serial entrepreneur,” she has over 20 years experience in the aerospace industry, nearly all of which involved start-up projects or companies. Her company, DFL Space LLC, engineers innovative business strategies, using Debra’s entrepreneurial, technical, and international skills to balance big picture visions with tactical implementation. In her university appointment at Stevens, Ms. Lepore serves at the executive level to advance and grow space systems engineering education and research. In 2005, she became President of AirLaunch LLC, a company (currently in hiatus) developing a small rocket launched out of a C-17 cargo airplane to deploy small satellites into space. Prior to AirLaunch she was Vice President for Business Development and Strategy at Kistler Aerospace Corporation. Ms. Lepore played a key role at Kistler since joining the company in 1997 in raising over $600 million in private capital and setting the stage for emerging space launch companies to provide innovative services to US government customers. Her first entrepreneurial venture came as the Cold War ended, when she lived and worked in Russia as chief of Moscow Operations for the ANSER Center for International Aerospace Cooperation to facilitate joint aerospace partnerships with the former Soviet Union. Ms. Lepore began her career as an aerospace engineer working on strategic defense projects at ANSER (Analytic Services, Inc.) in Arlington, Virginia. Over the course of her career, she has conducted business and interacted with government and commercial entities around the world, including the U.S., Russia, Ukraine, Europe, Japan, Canada, India, Australia, and South Korea. Ms. Lepore is President of the Women in Aerospace (WIA) Foundation, Past Chair of the WIA Board of Directors, president of the Washington State Women’s Forum (WSWF), and former chair of the Aerospace Industries Association (AIA) Space Council. She is one of the “100 Top Women in Seattle Tech”, one of Puget Sound Business Journal’s 2008 Women of Influence and 2006 “40 Under 40” Awardees, and recipient of WIA’s 2007 International Achievement Award. She is an Associate Fellow of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA); an Academician of the International Academy of Astronautics (IAA) and former Secretary of the IAA Commission on Space Policy, Law and Economics. She is a member of the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Commercial Transportation Advisory Committee (COMSTAC) and an alumna of the International Space University 1989 summer session program in Strasbourg, France. Debra Facktor Lepore earned a Bachelor of Science degree (magna cum laude) in 1988 and a Master of Science degree in 1989, both in aerospace engineering from the University of Michigan.

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