Rank #1: Episode 37: Grant Bonin of Deep Space Industries, a technology and asteroid mining company
Deep Space Industries is a five year old privately held company spacecraft technology with a long term plan of mining asteroids that has adapted its business for the long game.
At the time the company launched, some people wondered if the idea was crazy. It’s not, but it is hard, and It’s a long game. Deep Space industries (DSI) is still here and apparently has adapted its business plan to meet the challenge and has been working on developing technologies needed for its long term goals but which have commercial appeal now allowing them to generate revenue streams now.
Since the company was formed they've sparsely released information. Last year when Daniel Faber, the CEO at the time, left the company, he said not too long afterwards that he was proud of having led the company to sales in the area of $10 million in 2016. That was really the first public acknowledgement of any sales volume.
With DSI's products, most notably Comet, its water-based SmallSat propulsion system set to fly on four customer satellites this year, the company is slowly emerging from the shadows. As well, the company will be shortly announcing its first Series A funding meant to accelerate their Mission 1, a technology demonstration spacecraft which they hope to launch to a near-earth asteroid in 2020.
This week they also announced that they've sold another Comet propulsion system to Astro Digital. According to Grant, that's the 34th propulsion unit they've sold.
Listen to the podcast for a complete update on DSI's activities.
Mar 15 2018
Rank #2: Summer Series Episode 3: Elon Musk on Making Humans a Multiplanetary Species
Our Summer Series features recent important talks on topics we think you’ll find interesting. Our regular interviews will resume the first week in September.
The speaker this week is SpaceX founder Elon Musk. In this talk at the International Astronautical Congress in Adelaide just about a year ago, Musk discusses the long-term technical challenges that need to be solved to support the creation of a permanent, self-sustaining human presence on Mars. It's not a project that SpaceX can do alone. To build a sustaining human presence on Mars will require the collaboration of industry, government and the scientific community.
Aug 30 2018
Rank #3: Episode 57: Alex MacDonald on the Space Economy and the Long Space Age
Alex is recognized as an expert on the economic history of American space exploration and contemporary private sector space activities. He was previously the founding program executive of NASA's Emerging Space Office and is the author and editor of a number of NASA reports including Emerging Space: The Evolving Landscape of 21st Century American Spaceflight, Public-Private Partnerships for Space Capability Development, and Economic Development of Low-Earth Orbit.
Alex, who is Canadian, received his undergraduate degree in economics from Queen's University, his master's degree in economics from the University of British Columbia, and was a Clarendon Scholar at the University of Oxford where he obtained his doctorate on the long-run economic history of American space exploration.
In today’s episode we’ll talk about Alex’s work at NASA as an economist and the book he published last year, The Long Space Age.
Sep 06 2018
Rank #4: Episode 1: Sylvain Laporte, President, Canadian Space Agency
Mr. Laporte joined SpaceQ via telephone on the afternoon of Wednesday, May 31, 2017. Since this was the first interview we've ever conducted with Mr. Laporte, we discussed a variety of topics including the current astronaut selection initiative, the CSA's budget, a policy issue, the upcoming RADARSAT Constellation Mission, climate change, space commercialization, the CSA's education and public outreach efforts and some of the concepts for missions beyond low Earth orbit including a possible Canadian effort at the moon.
Jun 08 2017
Rank #5: Winter Series Episode 2: Deep Space Exploration Robotics on a Cislunar Habitat
In this episode we hear from MDA’s Paul Fulford on Canadian Deep Space Exploration Robotics for Improved Capability, Utilization, and Flexibility on a Cislunar Habitat. The talk is introduced by Daniel Rey of the Canadian Space Agency who also provides the conclusion.
The talk was part of NASA’s Future in Space Operations weekly teleconference series from mid-2018.
NASA has invited Canada to participate in its next big space program, a return to the moon as part of the Lunar Orbital Platform-Gateway program. While many in the Canadian space community support this effort, including the Canadian Space Agency, and though it is likely that Canada will participate, that final decision has yet to be announced by the government.
It’s clear from the current administration in the White House and leaders at NASA that the time to return to the moon is now. And it won’t be just government going, the U.S. is pushing the commercial sector to be a partner and to invest their money as well.
For Canada, being a part of the program means a seat at the table in what happens at the moon. Canada is looking to contribute robotic arms, lunar rovers, AI software, medical knowledge and equipment, and likely other technologies.
You’ll want to listen to the whole talk to understand how important robotics are to the Lunar Orbital Platform-Gateway program, how the concept has evolved, and how much how we’ll rely on robotics.
The presentation visuals are available in the story that accompanies this episode on spaceq.ca.
Jan 03 2019
Rank #6: The Moon Race is On
My interview this week is about the Moon Race competition. The competition is a global initiative founded by Airbus and its international partners including Blue Origin, and is aimed demonstration key technologies required for the sustainable exploration of the moon.
The race consist of challenges in four parallel technology streams. If you’re a small or medium business who are interested in getting your technologies demonstrated on the moon then this initiative just might be for you.
- 0:18 Start of my introduction and thoughts surrounding the recent developments on the exploration of the moon.
- 7:08 Introduction to my guest.
- 7:59 Guest interview.
Mar 14 2019
Rank #7: Mike Gold on Helping NASA Commercialize Space
The committee was created in the summer of 2018 to look at how NASA could further commercialize its activities. Mike is one of 15 members, mostly from industry, that meet several times a year including with NASA’s other Advisory Council committees.
Committee members include long time space players such as Northrup Grumman and Lockheed Martin to new space companies SpaceX and Blue Origin to name a few. In its first meeting last November the committee published its first observations, findings, and recommendations. The committee tackled a board range of ideas from export controls, intellectual property, supporting space-based commercial development, private sector habitats, logos, advertising, astronaut endorsements and space research.
May 23 2019
Rank #8: Episode 4: Gears, Transmissions and Moon Rovers, the ODG Story
Ontario Drive and Gear is not your typical space company. In fact, for most of its 55 year history, Ontario Drive and Gear had nothing to do with space, that is until 2008. And still today, this New Hamburg based business, just west of Kitchener-Waterloo, is still primarily known for developing gears and transmission systems as well as their ARGO all terrain vehicles.
How they got involved in the space sector is part of the story we’ll hear today. The other part of the story is how this company has turned that involvement into a new commercial line of XTreme terrain robotics, or XTR, and how their robotic mobility platform might be roving the surface of the moon in the not too distant future.
Jun 29 2017
Rank #9: Mining the Moon for Fun and Profit - 2019 Summer Series
In this weeks episode we hear from George Sowers who will speak on "Mining the Moon for Fun and Profit.” Dr. Sowers is a Professor of Practice at the Colorado School of Mines who works on the world’s first and only graduate program in Space Resources.
This talk was featured in the mid-June Future In-Space Operations weekly teleconference. The slides are available with the podcast on our website from the link below.
Aug 15 2019
Rank #10: Space Angels CEO Chad Anderson on Investing in the Space Sector
My guest this week on the SpaceQ Podcast is Chad Anderson, CEO of Space Angels.
If you’re a startup then chances are you’ve heard of Space Angels. The financial services company was started in 2007 but it wasn’t until around 2014 that the marketplace was ready for the investment community to make some serious forays into the space sector beyond a company like SpaceX.
Typical investment by Space Angels is anywhere from $500,000 to $1.5 million. The company has invested over $30 million to date and this may surprise you, many of their investments are outside the US.
In its recently released 2018 fourth quarter report, Space Angels said that US$2.97B in equity capital was invested in space companies globally in 2018 and that number is set to grow even larger in 2019.
Mar 22 2019
Rank #11: Grant Bonin of Rocket Lab
My guest today is Grant Bonin, Chief Engineer, Space Systems at Rocket Lab. Grant is making his second appearance on the SpaceQ podcast. The last time was in the spring of 2018 when he was the Chief Technology Officer at Deep Space Industries.
In today’s podcast we find out more about Grant's departure from Deep Space Industries and his current activities at Rocket Lab including their new Photon small satellite initiative.
Sep 19 2019
Rank #12: Episode 16: Keith Cowing on NASA's New Administrator, Elon Musk, SpaceX and a New Mars Base
Before we worked together Keith was the founder of NASA Watch 20 years ago. Keith edits NASA Watch, SpaceRef and the Astrobiology websites on a daily basis.
Today we’re going to talk about Jim Bridenstine nomination as NASA Administrator by the Trump administration, last weeks update by Elon Musk on the SpaceX Interplanetary Transport System and Lockheed Martin’s Mars Base Camp concept.
Oct 05 2017
Rank #13: Episode 15: Matt Bamsey Talks Safe Food Production in Space and His Astronaut Recruitment Experience
I first met Matt at the Haughton Mars Crater on Devon Island when he was a student intern at the Canadian Space Agency and a undergrad at Carleton University. My company SpaceRef had donated a greenhouse, what became known as the Arthur Clarke Mars Greenhouse, to the Haughton Mars Project. The greenhouse shell was built by myself, my business partner Keith Cowing, and many others at the Haughton Mars Project. Matt, who was working with the greenhouse science project lead, Alain Berinstein of the Canadian Space Agency, helped install the equipment and cultivate the crops.
Matt is now working on the EDEN ISS Consortium project at the DLR. The EDEN ISS project is a ground demonstration of plant cultivation technologies for safe food production in space. The ground demonstration includes an advanced greenhouse that will be shipped to Antarctic in the second week of October where it will arrive in mid-December. Matt will be part of the first team to setup the greenhouse at the German Neumayer Station III.
Sep 28 2017
Rank #14: Episode 28: China's Space Program in 2018 with Andrew Jones
In this weeks podcast Andrew and I are going to delve into China's space program which has set an ambitious schedule of possibly launching more than 40 rockets this year.
Jan 11 2018
Rank #15: New Space Security Index Shows Progress but Mega Constellations Pose Increasing Challenge
The 2019 index covers the 2018 calendar year and includes the following data from the report. "Space activity is flourishing. In 2018, 71 countries owned satellites. Seventy-two national space agencies spent a combined $70 billion. Eleven new agencies were created or announced. Some of the 2,062 active satellites saved 2,700 lives. The satellite industry earned $277 billion, while startups secured $3 billion in private investment.”
The new report contains positive developments, but clearly shows more work needs to be done.
Nov 19 2019
Rank #16: Maxar's Power and Propulsion Element for the Lunar Gateway
Our annual Winter Series podcast special runs for three weeks during the holiday and features important news updates or talks on topics we think you’ll find interesting from other creators. Our regular interviews will resume on January 14th.
In this episode Scott Tilley and Ty Lee of Maxar Technologies discuss a critical Lunar Gateway technology, the Power and Propulsion Element, being developed for NASA.
The Power and Propulsion Element is the first element in NASA’s Lunar orbiting Gateway which will form the basis of a sustainable human return to the moon and beyond. It's an important program for Maxar which could lead to years of sales to both NASA and potential future commercial customers. The program is currently in Preliminary Design Phase with the first demonstration element to be launched in 2022.
Link to the presentation:
Dec 24 2019
Rank #17: Sergy Mummert of SES Networks Live at the Canadian Space Summit
While the focus of the talk is on SES Networks with an emphasis on the how they’re building a Cloud-Optimized Satellite Ecosystem and their O3b Medium Earth Orbit constellation, it’s important to note why they were a key sponsor to the conference.
While SES has been doing business in Canada for many years, including owning a majority stake in Ciel Satellite Group, they're now opening a new Canadian office with the aim of having a greater presence in Canada. They’ve hired their first Canadian employee, John Clarke, an industry veteran, as their Senior Sales Director.
Dec 03 2019
Rank #18: An IAC 2019 Special Podcast – Searching for Life on Europa
Europa has fascinated us since Galileo discovered it in 1610. In popular science fiction, Sir Arthur C. Clarke made it the centre piece of his novel 2010: Odyssey Two which was published in 1982. Odyssey Two was a follow-up to the original and classic 1968 movie, 2001: A Space Odyssey, directed by Stanley Kubrick.
This weeks SpaceQ podcast is the last of our coverage from the recent international Astronautical Congress in Washington. It is plenary 6, Europa Clipper: Making a Mission to Understand Our Place in the Universe.
Europa is slightly smaller than the Earth’s moon but scientist think it could have twice as much ocean water as the Earth! Today’s podcast will provide insight into Europa and NASA’s Europa Clipper mission. It should also be noted that the European Space Agency is also sending a mission to Europa, the Jupiter Icy Moons Explorer mission.
It is hoped that one day we’ll send a lander to the surface of Europa.
The panel is moderated by Dipak Srinivasan, Europa Clipper Telecommunications Manager, Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory.
The panelists include:
7:03 - Robert (Bob) Pappalardo, Europa Clipper Project Scientist, NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory.
15:39 - Karen Kirby, Europa Clipper Deputy Project System Engineer, Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory.
22:12 - Jennifer Dooley, Europa Clipper Project Systems Engineer, NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory.
30:19 - Thomas Magner, Manager, Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory.
38:16 - And Bill Nye, The Planetary Society.
We’ve edited the recording to keep the podcast within a reasonable length.
Nov 13 2019
Rank #19: Episode 9: Moon vs Mars and Infrastructure and Imagination Leadership
In today's show, Wayne and I discussed some of the notable current events and touched on the ongoing debate of Moon vs Mars, and what the government provides in the way of of infrastructure and imagination leadership.
Here are the topics for today's show:
- Moon vs Mars (0:41 - 11:44)
- SmallSats and Big Data (11:45 - 21:33)
- More water on Moon? (21:34 - 27:05)
- The latest Canadian Space Agency call for ideas (27:06 - 35:18)
- Canadian trade agreements and the space industry (35:19 - 40:27)
- The SEDS Canada Canadian Reduced Gravity Experiment Design Challenge (40:28 - 45:45)
Aug 10 2017
Rank #20: Episode 52: Astrophysicists Rob Thacker on Canadian Astronomy Missions
Our topic this week is Canadian astronomy missions and a recent independent report that offered mix results on the Canadian Space Agency’s space astronomy and planetary missions programs. The lack of funding was one of the issues the report mentioned.
Also of note, the Canadian Space Agency’s Departmental Plan for 2018-19, basically the agency’s blueprint of what it will do in this current fiscal year, has no funding for any new astronomy missions.
Jul 05 2018