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Guest: Kevin Rice; Topics; Financing various kinds and levels of space projects and entrepreneurs based on the JPL and Skunk Works experience of our guest.
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We welcomed Kevin Rice to the program to discuss financing various types of space projects, including the most innovative, risky and often even fringe concepts. We talked about financing concepts before financing a solid project. Our guest started out by talking about NASA projects and missions during his time he was at JPL. He said most of the calls were for mission types, not specific missions, then he explained the difference and the evolutionary process from general missions to a specific mission. This was a detailed discussion which was followed by a look at the processes use by the Lockheed Martin Skunk Works. He said Skunk Works also took on specific types of mission R&D and but that they don't do much in the way of private sector missions. While private sector companies get involved in their work, it still was usually a government work project. This was also a detailed and interesting discussion. Our guest included in the Skunk Works discussion, R&D and IRAD types of activity, plus their getting requests from DoD and other government agencies. Listen to what he continued to say about the private sector involvement with Skunk Works.
Kevin went over cost plus contracting, how they make a profit or do they make a profit and the difference in this specific area between JPL and Skunk Works. You might be surprised by what you hear on this point so do listen carefully. Later in the segment we fielded some listener emails. Listener Todd asked a question using the orbing space hotel plans for The Gateway Foundation as his basis, asking how funding is granted to only a concept, a never before done type of activity, like building an orbital hotel in space. Our listener did not equate the ISS to space mfg and building a space hotel. Neither did our guest. Don't miss what our guest had to say about funding out of the box concepts.
Ft. Worth John called to talk with our guest about false expectations, often by the government, and how that shows up with a project. Kevin and John had quite the talk on that subject. Remember, our caller recently retired from Lockheed where he did work on the F22 fighter so Kevin and John had much to connect with during their call.
Toward the latter part of the program, George sent in a note asking our guest for his initial reaction and perspective to Elon Musk when he started SpaceX. For sure you will want to listen to what our guest had to say but Kevin did tell us that early on he was skeptical. That's the only hint you get so listen to all of our discussion o this matter. Fremont John got back to us with a question or two for Kevin focusing in on NASA Centennial Challenges. John also mentioned Artemis which Kevin said NASA liked most anything about Artemis. Since we were now within earshot of the end of the program, I brought up and read an email or two that came in earlier on the show. One was from Karla in Las Vegas who wanted to know about Skunk Works back engineering UFOs and related material. She wanted Kevin to open up about this work which was and still is rumored to be going on a Skunk Works and other places. I then asked our guest about cyber and we got a very brief description of the cyber attention and focus at both places. He confirmed to me that they used Windows computers but he said mostly the Oracle system was used for accounting
.Kevin then provided us with a short summary of topics discussed including his consulting business.
Please post your comments/questions for Kevin Rice on the blog for this show. If you want to reach Kevin, you can do so through me or his website address, https://thebusiness.space.