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Guest: Robb Kunz; Topics: Commercial and New Space investing, opportunities, challenges, and needs. Please direct all comments and questions regarding specific Space Show programs & guest(s) to the Space Show blog which is part of archived program on our website, www.thespaceshow.com. Comments and questions should be relevant to the specific Space Show program. Written Transcripts of Space Show programs are a violation of our copyright and are not permitted without prior written consent, even if for your own use. We do not permit the commercial use of Space Show programs or any part thereof, nor do we permit editing, YouTube clips, or clips placed on other private channels & websites. Space Show programs can be quoted, but the quote must be cited or referenced using the proper citation format. Contact The Space Show for further information. In addition, please remember that your Amazon purchases can help support The Space Show/OGLF. See www.onegiantleapfoundation.org/amazon.htm.
We welcomed Robb Kunz to the program to discuss investing in commercial and New Space opportunities. We started our one segment one hour six minute program by my asking our guest how tax reform and repatriation of corporate dollars from overseas might impact the space community. We talked about businesses with headquarters and funds in Ireland, our guest referenced Space Florida as a model for building needed space infrastructure, plus the use of tax credits (not cash). I then asked our guest if New Space types of commercial investments were available for Joe and Mary Sixpack, for their retirement funds and such. He suggested the timing was not right but that there were good opportunities with traditional aerospace companies such as Boeing as their stock value has substantially increased this year. He thought it would still be several years before the emerging commercial space industry had average person investment opportunities associated with it.
Robb talked about three areas of focus for commercial space. In the order of his priority, we have the launch industry as the first priority, then satellites (mostly small sats and cubesats, not the big costly GEOs), and third, infrastructure development. He elaborated on each of these three areas so don't miss what he had to say about them. In addition, he said that there had been an uptick in VC funding and investment but the industry was still full of hype, especially in the small satellite area. Todd from San Diego followed up on this and asked Robb to provide examples of hype compared to non-hype and what he does to identify and avoid the hype. This was an interesting discussion so don't miss it.
Robb then talked about the new space businesses needing to solve problems on Earth using space. After listening to him for a few minutes, I repeated my understanding of what he was saying regarding solving problems on Earth, just to be clear that all of us were understanding what he was talking about. This was important so don't miss this discussion.
Adrian sent in the first of several emails, this one addressing ham radio and a geo satellite or lunar satellite for amateur radio. Robb, also a ham, addressed this and hoped that such birds would happen in the near future but said the costs were extremely high for their organization.
Other topics discussed by Robb included SDRs (software defined radio frequencies) followed by opportunities with asteroid mining. The variable frequencies with SDRs was a most interesting and informative topic of discussion. I asked Robb about sleeper types of categories, what may prove valuable at some point in the future. Then he got a listener question asking about a profit potential in a SETI type of investment. This was followed by a listener asking him if he would invest if he had the opportunity in the new large Chinese dish were it to be used for searching for ET. Don't miss what he said in response to this question.
Another listener asked him about what Esther Dyson recently said on the show in terms of management teams being most important over what Robb seemed to be saying about finding a problem on Earth and creating a solution for it using space. Robb said management teams were still first but don't miss all of what he said on this topic.
Our next big topic was the need for space infrastructure. Robb talked about the huge backup in launching of small satellites. We talked about dedicated small satellite launch. He said the fastest moving target was the launch industry. Robb had still more to say on this topic so don't miss it. This was followed by another Adrian note regarding Iridium though Marshall called and talked Iridium too. Next up was an email from Lindsey wanting to know if coding software for space was different than coding software used here on Earth. The simple answer was yes but you need to hear all of what Robb had to say on this topic. It was most interesting.
Robb was asked about commercial opportunities for humans in space and the suborbital portion of the market. He was not keen on the suborbital portion but said that doctors in space 10-15 years out may prove to be a significant commercial opportunity but infrastructure would probably still be tops.
Before the program ended, I asked what Robb was most excited about. He said the opportunities ahead for returning to the Moon were most exciting to him. I asked him about the biggest challenge going forward. Here, he said capital requirements. Listen to him elaborate on both of these situations. The final question from a listener dealt with equity based crowdfunding. While you want to hear what he said about it, in summary he did not think it would constitute a major force in commercial space funding.
Please post your comments/questions on TSS blog for this show. You can reach Robb Kunz through me.