Broadcast 3828 Greg Klerkx

The Space Foundation Conference

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Guest:  Greg Klerkx; Topics:  Greg follows up on commercial space from his best selling 2004 book, "Lost In Space: The Fall of NASA and the Dream of a New Space Age."  Together we examine commercial space (alt.space) in 2004 to day.

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We welcomed author Greg Klerkx back to the show to discuss his 2004 Space Show appearance based on his best selling book, "Lost In Space: The Fall of NASA and the Dream of a New Space Age" comparing the commercial space or the emerging alt.space world of 2004 to NewSpace today.  During Greg's initial Space Show appearance on Feb. 24, 2004 with program #198 (www.thespaceshow.com/show/24-feb-2004/broadcast-198-special-edition-greg-klerkx), Greg looked ahead into the future and came up with highly accurate predictions of today's NewSpace-commercial space reality.  Upon invitation, Greg returned to The Space Show to talk commercial space then and now.  If you have not read his book, you can still get a copy of the 2005 edition on Amazon or the original 2004 edition will likely be available online at many other outlets.  In addition, I urge you to listen to his Space Show interview from 2004.

Greg started our discussion by reminding us that the emphasis to write his book was Mir Corp which was the private effort launched by a few alt.spacers back then including Charles Miller and Jeff Manber.  The plan was to save the Mir Space Station, turning it into a type of commercial enterprise.  While that eventually did not pan out, that got Greg to thinking and writing his classic book.  Some of what we talked about today included a look back at the emerging SpaceX operation with Elon Musk.  In addition, our guest noted that some things have not changed that much including human space flight which he said back then was something that the general public was not that appreciative of plus the public might have been growing weary of even hearing about it.  Greg did have lots to say about SpaceX and Elon Musk then and now including the in-between.  I'm sure you probably have commentary on this then and now history too so post your comments, questions, and opinions on the blog to share with all of us. 

Listener Todd asked the first question wanting to know if Greg was surprised by today's international space agencies being created for commercial space purposes.  He named several of the countries in his email which I read on air.  The issue of NASA innovation back then came up.  Listen to how Greg responded to these questions and comments.  Let us know if you were surprised by what Greg said in response to Todd's questions. 

Greg talked about the Space Shuttle which was flying then but remember that the Columbia accident had happened a year before Greg's book and his being on The Space Show so with regards to human spaceflight, it was an issue with the public.  But what about today with human spaceflight and the general public?  Listen and see if you concur with our guest.

Listener Sherry asked our guest about the state of Public Private Partnerships back at the time of his book and Space Show program and today, using Artemis as an example.  Greg thought the PPPs would be a big part of the human spaceflight future and again mentioned Musk working to get astronauts to the ISS but also going out on his own with his private company astronauts for Dragon flights.  Greg mentioned regulatory challenges as a concern back then and also for today. 

One big change Greg talked about was today's availability of money for investment and startups.  This was a big deal and we spent time discussing it on this program.  Twenty plus years ago there was a dearth of commercial space financing available for new companies, even existing ones outside the framework of NASA or the defense interests.  He cited examples of just how finance and funding are making space businesses and risky ventures possible today for the first time.  What do you think about this?  Once again, we would like to know your thoughts so post them on our blog.

Later in the program, Phil from Canada sent Greg a string of emails about commercial space. First, he asked for a good definition of commercial space noting that both Boeing and SpaceX has received billions from the government for their commercial projects.  Emails were exchanged about NASA and private sector terminology.  I read all of Phil's notes on air so be sure to listen carefully to this part of the program.  Greg responded to all of Phil's notes which focused not just on defining commercial space but also Phil's asking about a possible complete absence of government funding.  In that model, he asked Greg how Musk would fund his humans to Mars mission and vision.  Greg had much to say about this so do listen with great attention. 

While we covered additional topics with the listeners, Greg did say toward the end of the show that he was both disappointed and frustrated with how commercial space has evolved over the years.  I asked him what he meant by his comments.  Be sure to hear what he said.  Regarding the future, he talked about new players coming on the scene over the next 20 years and that they would accomplish business success.  Listen to hear what he meant with that statement.  Before ending, Phil from Canada send in a note saying that regarding commercial space, people needed to know the why of it.  He suggested there had to be more than just making money from space.  Greg said it was complicated but also thought something was missing, something in the middle was missing.  I talked about my idea, often stated on TSS, about the path through space being beneficial for all.  What do you think? Is something missing in the middle?  Can you suggest what might be missing or what might be needed in terms of relating to the general public?  Before ending, I asked Greg if might write a sequel or at least another commercial space book.  You will have to listen to hear his response on that one.

Please post your comments/questions for Greg on our blog for this program.  You can reach our guest through me or his website, www.gregklerkx.com/

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Author Greg Klerkx returns for a follow up to his famous book in 2004, "Lost in Space: The Fall of NASA and the Dream of a a New Space Age." You won't believe his predictions!

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18 Feb 2022 Greg Klerkx
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