New Space 09: NewSpace Case Studies

PANELISTS

Rich Pournelle – Advocate, Space Frontier Foundation (Session Chair)
Ken Davidian – Program Lead, FAA Office of Commercial Space Transportation (AST)
Rex Ridenoure CEO, Ecliptic Enterprises
Dave Masten – CEO, Masten Space Systems

Ken Davidian
Program Lead, FAA Office of Commercial Space Transportation (AST)

Commercial space folks need to not just focus on the engineering but focus on the business case for their ventures

–“The engineering is important, but this stuff is as important as well.”

— Fair amount of it is luck – some get the breaks, others do not….

Rex Ridenoure
CEO, Ecliptic Enterprises

Ecliptic came out of an earlier effort for the first commercial effort, which was funded by Bill Gross of IdeaLab in Pasadena, Calif.

He was chief mission architect for that effort

This effort eventually formed the basis for the Google Lunar X Prize competition…

With the dot.com bust, the effort got shut down in a day – ended up founding Ecliptic with 11 people out of the original group of 50…

New company, Ecliptic, focused on getting live video from rocket launches

Got an investor from Peter Sperling (founder of University of Phoenix)

Bought product line from an existing firm that had been doing rocket cam….

End up with 17 customers as a base….

— Biggest lessons –

1.  Don’t ever run out of cash
2. Don’t ever run out of cash

Just assume that it’s all going to go away and always be in the search for new revenues….

Worst part of job: laying off people – had to do it several times in the company, he needs to make decisions…

Best part of job: bringing in new people, getting them adjusted and watching them grow….

Dave Masten
CEO, Masten Space Systems

–Working on rockets on the side while at Cisco

— Would love to go to space, but would like it to be tested several thousand times before he tries it

–A lot of downside in moving from the Silicon Valley to Mojave – a lot of the best minds are in Silicon Valley, top companies, more social activities….

–” On the other hand, nobody complains about working 12 hour days because there’s nothing else to do.”

— A lot cheaper to live and work in Mojave – the Silicon Valley is very expensive to live in….