Broadcast 3497 Christopher Richins of RBC Signals

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Guest:  Christopher Richins;  Topics:  RBC Signals updates, GomSpace & RBC Signals MOU, running a global space company during a global pandemic.

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We welcomed back to the program Christopher Richins of RBC Signals for a one segment 83 minute discussion regarding their new venture with GomSpace of Denmark plus Christopher talked about running a global space business during a deadly world wide pandemic.  You can read the announcement about the GomSpace and RBC MOU arrangement here:   https://gomspace.com/news/gomspace-and-rbc-signals-sign-mou-to-strength.aspx.  Check out the RBC Signals website at www.rbcsignals.com

We started our discussion by asking Christopher to tell us more about the MOU and venture with the Danish company, GomSpace.  Our guest explained the venture and talked about the quality and demand for GomSpace satellite radios.  Our guest also explained the importance software defined technology and the use of it by RBC Signals.  Don't miss this discussion which was detailed.

Robert from Houston called in early to inquire about satellite internet based usage and providers plus he wanted to know what Christopher thought about coming competition in this industry segment.  Our guest and caller had a great discussion concerning the LEO mega constellations, GEO, the new entries into the field, even the OneWebb bankruptcy.  Technical hurdles, development and operational costs in the billions of dollars for participating companies, plus the need to have a quality market distribution program were all challenges for the industry.  Our guest said the industry was working on all these challenges but challenges were still today significant to overcome.  Christopher was then asked about the deployment of solar sats for SSP.  Our guest said it was a market they were interested in so don't miss what was said about RBC and SSP.

Christopher was asked how RBC, a global company, was doing in light of the pandemic, both in the US and abroad.  He talked about being oriented toward remote work and how beneficial that has been for the company.  Christopher had several tips and observations about running a space business during this pandemic so listen to all of what he said on this subject which was on and off for the rest of the program.  Our guest provided us with examples and stressed the need and benefit of good global relationships.  On the same topic, our guest talked about RBC having diversified their customer base last year, how to work with risk customers, and the need to focus on stable cash flows. He talked about government contracts for stable cash flows.  In response to a Denver email question, he said RBC Signals was classified as an essential business.  Before moving on, Christopher was asked to elaborate on the OneWebb bankruptcy.  He said he did not have any more information on it other than what he has read in the press.

Christopher picked up a few questions wanting to know what he thought the space industry, even the US would look like when it comes out the other end from the shelter in place, shutdowns, and the virus pandemic.  He had interesting observations for us so don't miss what he said. 

Marshall called to ask who owned the frequency bands for the satellites.  Again, listen to what our guest said as he explained the allocation process as it goes country by country, plus he explained and talked about both unprotected and protected frequencies.  As you will hear, for the most part LEO is unprotected and users need to coordinate and cooperate with one another.  GEO usually works with protected frequencies.  Marshall and Christopher started talking about China.  When asked how RBC was protecting satellites from jamming and such, Christopher talked about and explained the use of resilient hardware and software systems.  Don't miss this important part of the discussion.  Christopher did say they operate in China, then he explained their structure which keeps US operations and technology separate from their foreign operations. 

As we were approaching the end of the program, Christopher was asked for his opinion on the growing US national debt and space plus the possible impact on space due to the collapse of the US oil and energy industry.  He had much to say on these topics but also suggested since it was all new and developing it would take awhile for clarity to prevail.  Listener Joan sent in an email about the new Trump Executive Order for space resource usage, mining, the Moon, for not treating space as a commons and more.  Don't miss what Christopher had to say about this new executive order.

Robert from Houston called back to offer some hopeful points, focusing on private space station development, timelines, and more.  He thought the new Executive Order would prevail and the OST, Mon treaty, and related items would become moot points over time.  Let us know if you agree with that opinion by posting on our blog.  This discussion opened up the end of the show for some space politics.  For example, what part of the existing program might survive or be killed if a new administration is elected?  Will a new administration focus on space for national security?  Will the importance of space to us all remain a US core value?  Before ending the program, our guest said they were now doing a blog at RBCblog.com.  Check it for updates and news items.

Please post your comments/questions on TSS blog for this show. You can reach Christopher Richins at his website above in this summary or through me.

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21 Apr 2020 Christopher Richins
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