Space Bucks

As we say here on SLP, commercial space means business.

Instead of Friday Flybys this week, here's a small bankroll of recent items I've been meaning to post from the world of space finance... (Shall we say Frugal Flybys? Nah.)

  • First, listen to a live space investor: Dr. John Jurist, physicist, medical researcher, successful business guy and serious space investor, appeared on The Space Show (May 14th) to talk about "investing in alt.space businesses from the perspective of an investor who has done so and who also has a successful track record as a risk taking investor." Turn up the MP3 (Note: our gracious host Dr. Livingston apologizes for the VoIP phone line audio problems that cannot be edited.)

  • Here's the buzz about the National Space Society's full day Symposium on Space Venture Finance, taking place in conjunction with the International Space Development Conference (ISDC 2007) in Dallas on May 24th. The pros will be talking investment and "recent innovations in early- and mid-stage finance within the commercial space, spaceport, satellite and space-related information technology industries." And the winner of the NSS Space Finance Award will be announced at the symposium. Any guesses? (Not too big of a hint: It won't be a lawyer.)

  • If you missed it, Jeff Foust reports on the April 17th Space Investment Summit in New York City, Opening wallets, closing windows. (The Space Review, April 30, 2007) And here Jeff overviews industry concerns highlighted by straight-talking Art Dula, Esq. (who is always quoteworthy):

    Noted space lawyer Art Dula brought up a common concern for the aerospace industry—export control—and suggested new space companies should consider moving offshore in large part because of it. "I would argue today that the United States is not the venue of choice for a person who wants to start an aerospace startup company," he said. As an alternative, he suggested the Isle of Man, a Crown dependency of the UK that offers space companies based there a zero-percent tax rate, as well as less-onerous export controls. That company would then contract with an independently-established American company to do business in the US.

    Dula also pointed out that while the US has the best-developed space law of any country, there are still a number of key uncertainties in space law and treaties. "We don’t have any definition of where space starts. We don’t have any definition of what, for example, a ‘celestial body’ is. We’re not exactly sure what a ‘space object’ is; it’s not well defined," he said. "So there’s a great deal of law that we’re going to have to rework over the next few years as this becomes a real business."

    Here, here. More work for space lawyers. (And watch this blog for more on Isle of Man space law.)

  • And another overview of the NYC investment summit, along with a look at the possible sale of Intelsat, and other insights into the satellite and telecom industries and the capital markets in From The Ground Up, the April 2007 newsletter from Near Earth LLC. (Hat tip: HobbySpace)

  • A heads up about Flight School 2007: From the never-winded Esther Dyson, the "third annual workshop for start-ups and investors in the emerging markets for private air and commercial space travel" -- at the Aspen Institute, June 20-22, 2007, Aspen, Colorado.

  • Euro money woes: A brief update on Europe's trouble financing Galileo, its satellite navigation system meant to rival US's GPS.

  • And finally, a roundup of recent satellite and launch orders and other new biz in Milbank's April 2007 Space Business Review.

    Have a frugal weekend ;)

    UPDATES (5/22/07):
    A few more quick items --
  • Dr. Burton H. Lee, managing partner of Innovarium Ventures in Washington DC, who will be chairing the upcoming Space Venture Finance Symposium (see above), appeared on The Space Show (May 19, and rebroadcast today) previewing the symposium (should be hot) and talking space investment financing. Listen to the show!

  • Also, here is a recap of ESA Space Investment 2007, theme: "Helping companies to grow". ESA's first investment event took place last month at the European Space Research and Technology Centre in the Netherlands and "attracted more than 100 participants from all over Europe, including representatives from the finance and investment communities, the European Special Applications Fund and 20 start-up companies."

    Gordon Cooper:
    You know what makes this bird go up? Funding makes this bird go up.
    Gus Grissom:
    He's right. No bucks, no Buck Rogers.
    The Right Stuff (1983)

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