Broadcast 1560 (Special Edition)

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Guest: Gary Hudson. Topics: Commercial space, COTS/CCDEV program, investment, demo flights, taking federal money. You are invited to comment, ask questions, and discuss the Space Show program/guest(s) on the Space Show blog, Comments, questions, and any discussion must be relevant and applicable to Space Show programming. We welcomed Gary Hudson back to the program to discuss the presentations he made at the recent Space Access Conference. You can find his Power Point presentations on the blog entry for this program at the above URL. We started out with a discussion about Gary's "It's A Trap!" presentation. For the first part of this hour long segment, Gary went over the history of COTS and the efforts he undertook via t/Space to have New Space represented as an industrial consortium for a one time only infusion of federal money for a demo flight. The intention of the demo flight was to prove the New Space industry and to jump start it to be able to stand on its own for obtaining commercial investment and to compete with traditional aerospace. This is a comprehensive discussion you do not want to miss. During this discussion, Gary explained why the requirement to have "skin in the game" was a counter-productive and limiting COTS et al requirement. Related discussion topics included Dr. Mike Griffin as NASA Administrator, and the role and balance of government oversight and regulation with federal money. Later in the segment, Gary summarized the program's major mistakes including the "skin in the game" requirement, focusing on cargo rather than crews, making the ISS the initial destination, and allowing paper milestones such as meetings rather than hardware milestones. Toward the end of the first segment, I brought up fragility issues when working with the government because the odds are the program you are working on will be cancelled. Gary promised us a story about this issue upon return from our break. We started the second segment with a listener question wondering if Gary would advise against doing business with NASA and if we should be focusing energies on setting up shop in orbit to open up opportunities. Gary said he WAS NOT in any way advising against doing business with NASA and he did think there were starting to be orbital opportunities with Bigelow Aerospace leading the way. He went on to say that doing business with the government was challenging and it remained to be seen if the companies would be "captured" by NASA or the government in the process. He did define what he meant by saying "captured." Before moving on to additional questions, I asked Gary to tell us the story he mentioned at the end of the first segment about cancelled government programs. His story had to do with the need to get federal gov. program cancellation insurance and what the company had to do to get it and the premium cost which was around 13% of the project cost. Next, Bill asked a few questions about Rotary Rocket financing and technology which Gary answered and Mark from Scotland asked a series of questions that you will find interesting. In this context, Gary discussed being vertically integrated as compared to using outside contractors. In his program concluding remarks, Gary said he was very optimistic that we will prevail with robust space development as it represents a big part of the hope for the future. If you have comments or questions, post them on the blog. If you want to email Gary Hudson, send your note to and I'll forward it to Gary.



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17 May 2011 Gary C. Hudson
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