President at Sierra Space Corp
- Recent missions from SpaceX, Blue Origin and Virgin Galactic (NYSE: SPCE), highlighting Virgin Galactic’s SpaceShipTwo’s FAA (Federal Aviation Administration) investigation
- Private sector opportunities with NASA and regulatory issues for key players
- Technology development across the industry value chain
- Investment opportunities and capital requirements for future growth
Could you outline the Virgin Galactic SpaceShipTwo FAA [Federal Aviation Administration] review for its July 2021 flight, given this has been in the news lately? How significant or serious is an FAA investigation into the airspace violation?
Virgin Galactic announced on 14 October 2021 that it’s delaying its next mission until Q4 2022. What stood out to you about this delay aside from the FAA investigation, which the company seems to have put behind it?
What is the process to get Virgin Galactic SpaceShipTwo back in the air? If the company addresses the science, does the spacecraft require more regulatory approvals, or is it still up to the company to solve the issues and make the judgement call as to whether it can proceed?
You mentioned similar issues came up in the Shuttle and International Space Station programmes. Could you explain what those issues were, how they were solved and over what time period?
Is SpaceShipTwo more easily managed, or does it come with such acceleration speeds that the force is still extremely substantial? I assume the mass of a spacecraft such as Virgin Galactic SpaceShipTwo is smaller than the Shuttle.
What impact could the SpaceX Starship opportunity have on the launch market? What capabilities could it have that others don’t possess?
What questions do you still have around Starship or the additional risks, given you mentioned some of the early issues with it? It will drive down the majority of the launch cost, but what do we still not know about it?
Where could SpaceX’s competition come from and in what areas?
What is the remaining life of the International Space Station? When does NASA hand it over and what do you expect from it in the years to come?
When would a presence in low earth orbit be awarded to get a commercial space station ready to go by 2026 or 2027? Which companies would work on building something such as this? How long would it take to construct?
Has there ever been this level of tension between the Americans and Russians in the history of the International Space Station? Is it having an impact on operations?
When could we get back to the moon?
What signposts are you waiting for to indicate we will get back to the moon by 2025?
What is your assessment of the Blue Origin New Glenn rocket and what is a realistic timeframe for its launch?
We touched on how the commercial space industry is being financed by two extremely wealthy individuals – Jeff Bezos and Elon Musk. What other capital sources are there? Are there any returns expectations, or is this all considered R&D-type expenditure?
Are experiments for cancer research and organ replacement ready to go? What could happen before we start these experiments or developments?
What risks do you expect in developing the space tourism market that we need to know about as more people get the opportunity to go into space or low earth orbit?
There’s been a lot of activity in the commercial space travel market – some high-profile launches and some famous people going into space. Do you pay attention to all of these launches? Which upcoming launches have your attention more than others?
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