Broadcast 2798 Johannes Torpe

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Guest:  Johannes Torpe;  Topics:  How to speak space to the general population, attack them to the industry and keep them interested in space.  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,   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   


We welcomed Johannes Torpe to the program to discuss ways to bring in more people to the space industry and keep them interested in space.  During the first segment of our 1 hour 44 minute program, Johannes spoke to us about his childhood interest in space and how his professional interior & industrial design work influenced his space understanding and thinking.  This certainly included his creative work as the Creative Director for Bang & Olufsen.  Johannes then told us how he met Dr. Pat Hynes who puts together the annual International Symposium for Commercial & Personal Spaceflight (ISPCS) which led to his being a speaker on the subject of attracting non-space people to the space industry and keeping them involved. 


He offered us some general characterizations of the people we want to attract to the industry.  This includes young people with an interest in doing things for humanity and with the belief that space is for everyone, not just private companies that can operate in space.  The concern among many in this community is that a private company or two might act as if they own and control space.  You will hear our guest address this concern many times over during this program because again, the non-space community sees space as belonging to everyone, a sort of global commons.  In addition, the way space is presented to non-space people is usually a turn off though people are interested in and fascinated with space activities, accomplishments, science and even the technology.


Johannes addressed being too technical with the non-space community, to focused on talking about risks and people dying because the facts are that there are risks in everything we do and people die doing the most basic of things right here on Earth, plus stressing engineering matters.  These are issues that do not need to be explained or hyped to people.  In stead, our guest talked about "domesticating" space - making space understandable, relevant, person, and beneficial for everyone.

These topics covered most of the first segment, along with the nature of the space vision, the use of social media, and the very real need for space to be relevant to people in their regular lives.  Johannes also stressed the need to be inclusive.  In both the first and second segment, he said that due to the heavy presences of engineers in the community, the tendency is to talk engineering talk with people regarding space but that is opposite of what he said was needed as you will hear and based on what I am reporting in this summary.

Before the segment ended, a listener asked our guest about The Elon Musk-SpaceX Mars colonization plan and the Musk goal & the essential need for us to become a multi-species planet.  Johannes had much to say about this including the need to be inclusive, to broaden the message, to make sure the impression is not given that SpaceX wants to own space or "brand" space for SpaceX.  Do not miss all of what Johannes had to say on this subject.

In the second segment, I asked him about the marketing ideas proposed decades ago by Charles Revson, a co-founder of Revlon.  This is a classic business school marketing case study because of how Revson identified his true product which he was selling to his customers.  This case study seemed to me to be very close to what our guest was talking about in terms of attracting people to space.  If you are not familiar with this story, you can read a short summary of it here:  Our guest was familiar with this story and cited additional parallels in attracting people to the space industry.  I cited another example of this with my recent contact the makers of a GPS dog tracking collar.  This led to a broader discussion about using GPS in getting people interested in space. 

Throughout our discussion, Johannes offered us several strategies for attracting and keeping people interested and associated with space.  One of his overriding themes was to focus on the benefits to people plus our making sure that we speak in a way that non-space people can easily understand and appreciate.

Later in the segment, a listener asked him about other space agencies besides NASA and their outreach programs. Our guest had much to say about government space agencies, specifically ESA.  As part of this discussion, he said we needed to answer the frequently asked question of why does space matter.  Then our guest said we needed courageous leadership which was a missing link in the process of domesticating space.  Before the program ended, Johannes stressed the need for there to be good story telling when we discuss space.  In conclusion, he suggested that when talking to people about space, take a step back, use clear words, be concise, and do not talk about things that might cause fear or concern with the listener.

Please post your comments/questions on The Space Show blog which is part of this archived program.  You can reach our guest through me or his website,  




Space project, hardware, & systems design and integration

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21 Oct 2016 Johannes Torpe
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