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Money and the Moonshot

Space isn’t cheap. Between 1960 and 1973, the United States spent $28 billion to land men on the Moon. That’s $288 billion when adjusted for inflation. The space investment market today is $360 billion and could grow to $2.7 trillion by 2045. In this two-part podcast we explore the history and the expansion of the private sector and venture capital into space exploration, with insights from Nasa’s chief economist, Alexander MacDonald; Apollo astronaut, Bill Anders; CEO of the Coalition for Deep Space Exploration, Mary Lynne Dittmar; venture capitalist and Space X and Tesla board director, Steve Jurvetson, and more…
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    Bill Anders, Apollo Astronaut
    Major General Bill Anders flew on Apollo eight in December 1960 on one of the most visionary voyages ever attempted in human history. He, Frank Borman and Jim Lovell were the first people to leave Earth orbit to travel to another celestial body to see the dark side of the moon, to see the entirety of the Earth at once, and to travel on top of a Saturn five rocket. He took the iconic Earth rise photograph. In later life, he served in the Nixon administration to advise on space policy, then ran the Nuclear Regulatory Commission and also served as the US ambassador to Norway.
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    Dr Mary Lynne Dittmar, CEO Coalition for Deep Space Exploration
    The Coalition for Deep Space Exploration is an alliance of space industry, businesses and advocacy groups collaborating to reinforce the value and benefits of deep space exploration with the public and our nation's leaders. Their stated goal is to build lasting support for a long term sustainable strategic direction for human space exploration and science ensuring that the United States remains a leader in space science and technology. The coalition is led by Dr. Mary Lynne Dittmar, who serves as president and CEO. A 25 year veteran of the space industry specialising in strategy public engagement in Space Policy, Mary Lynne assumed leadership of the coalition in October of 2015. Prior to this, Dr. Dittmar coordinated research and development and later managed flight operations for the Boeing Company on the International Space Station programme. Later she acted as a special advisor to the NASA astronauts office before her appointment as Boeing’s Chief Scientist for Commercial Utilisation at the ISS. More recently, she was senior policy advisor to the centre for the Advancement of Science in Space which manages the International Space Station National Laboratory. She has also served as a senior advisor to NASA, the Department of Defence and the Federal Aviation Administration.
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    Trailer 2 - Launchpad
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    Steve Jurvetson, VC investor and board director of SpaceX and Tesla
    In this special episode of money in the moonshot, we are excited to speak with venture capitalists Steve Jurvetson. Steve is a VC investor who focuses on mission driven companies at the cutting edge of disruptive technology. An early investor in SpaceX, Tesla Planet Labs, Memphis Meats and Hotmail, he currently sits on the board of both SpaceX and Tesla. Prior to co founding his current venture capital firm Future Ventures, Steve was a research and development engineer at Hewlett Packard. He also worked in Product Marketing at Apple and management consulting with Bain and company. In 2016 President Barack Obama appointed Steve as a presidential ambassador for Global Entrepreneurship.
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    Alex MacDonald, Chief Economist at NASA interview
    An economist and historian Alexander MacDonald wrote his doctorate on the economic history of American space exploration and is the author of the book The Long Space Age published in 2017. He is an expert on private enterprises involvements in space exploration from the early days of astronomical observation in the 18th century, through to the private public partnership of the Apollo program and the evolving relationship between NASA and the private sector in the last decade.
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    Money and the moonshot - Part two
    For the Apollo missions the burden of NASA’s budget fell squarely on the back of American taxpayers, and they were sold on this onerous arrangement by the context of the Cold War. When the main driver of your space program is partisan, your funding model is vulnerable to political risk. In this episode we explore the potential impact of mixing politics with commercial ventures in space. We discuss whether the current surge in space investments is leading to a bubble and ask whether investors can realistically expect to see a return on their investment.
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    Money and the moonshot - Part one
    From lightweight micro-processing computers, Digital Fly-By-Wire and program and project management to memory foam mattresses, cordless power tools and shock absorbent trainers; space exploration is a driver of change. Consequently, it is hardly surprising that sixteen of the world’s 500 billionaires have committed to space ventures. In this episode we explore the early role of philanthropy in space exploration; we examine NASA’s collaboration with the private sector during the Apollo program; and find out how these partnerships have evolved in the 21st century.
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    Listen to a preview of Money and the Moonshot