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.
Rank #2: Introducing Terranauts - A New SpaceQ Podcast With Iain Christie
What happens when you bring Iain Christie and Marc Boucher together? Well, naturally they’re both going to want to talk, a lot.
One of the outcomes of that June meeting was the idea to start a new podcast. That podcast idea is now Terranauts, which will join the SpaceQ family in September.
Ok, so what is Terranauts going to be about? Well…
How do you inspire the next generation of workers in the space sector? One way is to tell the compelling stories of those people who are firmly rooted here on Earth, unlikely to ever fly into space. We call these people Terranauts. They are 99.9% of the workforce, a vast majority of which you rarely hear about. Their contributions are essential to our knowledge of space and its use to benefit humanity.
Today, in introducing Terranauts, I’m going to turn the tables on the host of the new SpaceQ pop-up podcast, Iain Christie, and interview him. Iain’s first episode will air in September.
Rank #3: Australian Rocket Entrepreneur - A Conversation With Adam Gilmour
Adam’s career as a managing director at CITI Bank was going just fine until Elon Musk came along with his ideas on how to lower the cost of sending payloads to space. Musk inspired Adam so much so that he left his nice job at CITI Bank to start his own rocket company.
Now the company is about to launch its first suborbital rocket followed by plans to test a follow-on orbital launch vehicle. His story is one of perseverance, lot’s of hard work and with no guarantee of success.
Rank #4: Winter Series Episode 3: Peter Diamandis on Exploring Exponential Technologies
Anyone familiar with the XPrize, and in particular the ANSARI and Google Lunar XPrize’s, will be familiar with today’s speaker. In this recent Talks at Google recorded on December 11 , 2018, the speaker is Peter Diamandis who discussed Exploring Exponential Technologies. While the talk itself is not targeted specifically at the space community, it does discuss technologies related to space. The broader ideas discussed are useful for anyone interested in innovation.
Diamandis spends about 15 minutes talking to the audience before doing a fireside chat with Jack Hidary, Director of AI and Quantum at X, X being formerly known as Google X.
For those who are not familiar with Peter Diamandis, he is the Founder and Executive Chairman of the XPrize Foundation, the world's leading large-scale incentive competition that produced, among others, the ANSARI XPrize which directly led to the founding of Virgin Galactic, Virgin Orbit, the Spaceship Company and many other companies. He is also the Executive Founder of Singularity University, a graduate-level Silicon Valley institution that counsels on growing technologies and also a co-Founder of BOLD Capital Partners, a venture fund with $250M investing in exponential technologies.
An academic, entrepreneur, and an author, Diamandis holds a degree in Molecular Genetics and Aerospace Engineering from MIT and a Medical Degree from Harvard Medical School. He has started over 20 companies in the areas of longevity, space, venture capital and education and has published two books, "Abundance: The Future Is Better Than You Think" and "BOLD: How to go Big, Create Wealth & Impact the World.”
Rank #5: 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.
Rank #6: Marina Mississian of Honeywell Aerospace on Charting a New Course in Canada
In 2015 Honeywell announced it was acquiring Cambridge, Ontario based COM DEV. It seemed to be a good move on Honeywell’s part at the time, but by 2017 the market that COM DEV served, primarily the GEO Communication satellite market, had imploded with GEO satellite orders down by almost 75%.
Honeywell reacted by right-sizing the COM DEV assets, laying off nearly half the staff. Since then the company has been reinventing itself. Recently they announced a new Greenhouse Incubator to be based in Ottawa.
In my conversation with Marina, we discuss the events of the past few years, how Honeywell has reimagined its Canadian space operations, what the Greenhouse Incubator will do, and how the company plans to move forward.
Rank #7: 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.
Rank #8: 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.
Rank #9: Episode 51: Space Mining and the Governments Canadian Minerals and Metals Plan
I have two guests to discuss this topic. In the first segment I speak with Glenn Mason, Assistant Deputy Minister, Lands and Minerals Sector from the Department of Natural Resources.
In the second segment I spoke Michelle Ash, Chief Innovation Officer at traditional mining giant, Barrick Gold.
For those interested in the space industry’s take on space mining, I will direct you to episode 38 from March in which I spoke with Dale Boucher.
Show timing notes:
Introduction - 00:16
Guest 1: Glenn Mason - 01:16
Guest 2: Michelle Ash - 20:44
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Rank #10: Episode 32 Bonus: Elon Musk, SpaceX Falcon Heavy Pre-launch Press Conference
The launch window opens up at 1:30 p.m. EST and extends to 4:30 p.m. Currently the weather is favourable with a 80% probability of good launch conditions. Our listeners can watch the SpaceX webcast on SpaceRef and SpaceQ.
- Webcast http://spaceq.ca/spacex-live/ or http://spaceref.com/live/spacex-webcast.html
Rank #11: Episode 47: Brigadier-General Kevin G. Whale on Canada's Military Space Component
Canada’s military space component is set to grow significantly going forward both in terms of personnel and capability. General Whale provide a status update on the space component he leads, and tell explain how our defence forces are preparing for the challenges of the future.
CASI ASTRO 18 Stories
Rank #12: The Future of Canada’s Space Sector - A CASI ASTRO 18 Special Podcast
The moderator for this discussion is Jacques Giroux of ABB who is also the incoming president of CASI. The panelists in order of who you’ll her from are; Sylvain Laporte, president of the Canadian Space Agency, Mike Greenley, president of MDA, Ewan Reid, president and CEO of Mission Control Space Services and Kaley Walker of the University of Toronto.
For more podcasts and stories from CASI ASTRO 18 go to spaceq.ca/tag/astro-2018.
The story that accompanies this podcast is available here:
Rank #13: Episode 42: Mike Greenley, MDA's new President, Canada's largest space company
MDA, once the parent company of several business units in the U.S., is now one of four business units in the larger U.S. based Maxar Technologies which it created. The other business units are SSL, DigitalGlobe and Radiant Solutions.
Being a player in the the defence and space sector in the U.S. brings unique challenges due to security issues. To grow the company MDA became Maxar.
Greenley assumed his new role on January 15 of this year. Greenley is an industry veteran having worked 22 years at companies such as Greenley & Associates (his own company), CAE, General Dynamics and most recently L3 Technologies in Burlington, Ontario where he was Sector President.
In this wide ranging interview, we discuss some of the changes Greenley has made since he came on board and the challenges in growing the business in Canada.
Rank #14: Episode 43: Kate Howells From the Planetary Society on Space Advocacy in Canada
She is also a member of the government of Canada’s Space Advisory Board.
In this interview we talk about the Planetary Society and its growth in Canada, space advocacy in Canada and her role as a member of the Space Advisory Board.
Rank #15: An Update on NASA's Moon Exploration Plans
The teleconference was held on April 17th after the Trump administration had mandated that NASA put Americans on the moon within 5 years.
The presentation mentioned in the podcast is available on the SpaceQ website.
Rank #16: Episode 70: Updates from the 2018 Canadian Space Summit
Segment 1 (03:47) - In the first segment I spoke with Ryan Anderson, a co-founder of the Satellite Canada Innovation Network, known as SatCan. It was just over a year ago that I last spoke with Ryan in episode 22 about the new SatCan project. Since then, the organization tried unsuccessfully to be a part of the governments Supercluster program. However, the concept has is not dead and the founders diligently worked towards their goals and just prior to this weeks summit did announce that they had received some funding from the government. Ryan provides an update on what’s happening at SatCan.
Segment 2 (18:42) - In the second segment I spoke with Professor Gordon Osinski from Western University’s Centre for Planetary Science and Exploration about a new national educational and public outreach initiative called Space Matters.
Segment 3 (29:36) - In the last I ask SkyWatch co-founder and CEO James Slifierz on his initial thoughts of the news that Amazon had just announced a new service called Ground Station that could disrupt the current ground station model. Surprising many, the ground station offering, through Amazon’s Web Services, has Lockheed Martin as a partner. Currently available in preview mode for selected clients, the service has two ground stations managed by Lockheed Martin with an additional 10 to be added. Initial customers include Maxar’s DigitalGlobe, Spire, BlackSky, Capella Space, Open Cosmos and HawkEye 360. Ironically Jeff Bezos the founder of Amazon stands to benefit in a way many might not have thought of. Each year, according to Bezos, he sells some of his shares in Amazon to fund one of his other ventures, Blue Origin. It’s been reported he’s sold over a billion dollars of shares at various times. Now, thanks to this new AWS Ground Station offering, and in a roundabout way, those customers, using that service, will in part, it seems be helping Bezos fund the development of Blue Origin.
Rank #17: Episode 38: Dale Boucher, CEO of Deltion on Space Mining
Some of the questions Dale answers include:
How is Deltion involved in space mining?
Will Canada participate on a mission to test mining equipment on the moon or elsewhere?
How mature or immature is the technology? Is anyone working on heavy mining machinery needed for the moon?
Do we know where to begin mining operations on the moon?
Are nations like Canada, a leader in mining, working on policy frameworks for mining on the moon or elsewhere?
Rank #18: Episode 46: Joe Cassady, Explore Mars on the 2018 Humans to Mars Report
The report reinforces a notional date of 2033 for the first Humans to Mars mission. There also seems to be a convergence happening within the Mars community, both within government and the commercial sector, that the pieces needed to make a mission happen by 2033 can be ready.
Joe is the Executive Vice President and a Director at Explore Mars who published the report and organized the annual summit. I should note that his day job though, is that of Executive Director, Space at Aerojet Rocketdyne.
Rank #19: Episode 72: Panel Discussion on How Canada Can Create a Sustainable National Space Infrastructure
Each panel member discussed a specific area for the theme and were very articulate in getting their point across.
The panel was moderated by:
(2:21) Dr. David Kendall, Past Chair of the United Nations Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space. The panelists;
(6:16) Kate Howells, Global Community Outreach Manager and National Coordinator for Canada, The Planetary Society
(12:18) Dr. Gordon Osinski, NSERC/MDA/Canadian Space Agency Industrial Research Chair in Planetary Geology, Western University
(21:41)Dr. Michael Pley, President, Pley Consulting Inc.
(29:35) Dr. Lucy Stojak, Executive Director, Mosaic
(43:07) Short questions and answer session.
I would like to thank to Canadian Space Policy Centre for providing us this audio recording.
Rank #20: Episode 67: Chris Blackerby, COO of Astroscale on Commercial Space Debris Removal
Astroscale has raised $102M US to date for its business case which is to help in the removal of orbital debris through the provision of End of Life and Active Debris Removal services.
The company isn’t going to clean all of the debris that plagues us today, but it is taking steps to build a company that could be positioned to make an impact on future debris and possibly existing debris.
Astroscale was founded in 2013 by Nobu Okada, a tech entrepreneur with no experience in the space sector. He wanted to bring his start-up mentality to the space sector and address the problem of orbital space debris.
The company is working to get its first mission, ELSA-d, consisting of two spacecraft, a Chaser (~150 kg) and a Target (~20 kg), launched by 2020. According to Astroscale "the chaser is equipped with proximity rendezvous technologies and a magnetic capture mechanism, while the target has a docking plate which enables it to be captured. The Chaser will repeatedly release and capture the Target in a series of technical demonstrations proving the capability to find and capture debris. Demonstrations include target search, target inspection, target rendezvous, and both non-tumbling and tumbling capture. ELSA-d is operated from the National In-orbit Servicing Control Centre Facility in Harwell, UK, which is being developed by Astroscale as a key part of the ground segment."
My guest today to talk about Astroscale and its plans is Chris Blackerby, the Chief Operating Officer of Astroscale.