25 April 2022 |
Rob Meyerson: Why The Future of Space is VC Startups
By Joe Sweeny
- Losing The Middle Man: 3:31
- A Lower Orbit Business Park: 5:36
- Reusable Rockets: 10: 04
- Sourcing From The Moon: 12:20
- Man on The Moon: 15:18
- Having Skin in The Game: 18:26
- Where Space and Cybersecurity Meet: 21:14
- Winners and Losers: 24:59
- Running Norton in Space: 26:53
- Space Future: 29:29
Making Space Affordable
“I think the next big leverage point in lowering the cost of space missions is utilization of space.” Rob Meyerson, Former President of Blue Origin.
Space is in Rob Meyerson’s blood. As an aerospace engineer, who grew up in Detroit, Rob got his first job at private company Kistler Aerospace in the late 90s.
His career took off and within a decade he was recruited by Jeff Bezos to run Blue Origin, a Think Tank leading the field in space tech innovation.
Rob and Blue Origin designed and built the New Shepard rocket, that took Bezos and three civilians to space last summer. Today he’s a VC investing in space startups such as Axiom through C5 Capital.
The Race to Commercialize Space
Lower orbit, Rob believes, is where the majority of commercial opportunities lie. It also provides the chance to lose the middle man:
“I think the commercial low-earth orbit the applications that we’re talking about at Axiom space are really providing a commercial version of the international space station, providing the opportunity to take the government out of the middle.”
Creating friction-free access to space, both as a passenger and for cargo is where Rob sees the next few years of innovation heading.
To do that, a new ISS is needed, which is where Axiom stepped in winning the contract to build the world’s first commercial space station, effectively privatizing the process.
And the benefits? Lowering the cost of access to space. Rob believes re-using rockets is key to this, alongside utilizing the existing resources already found on the moon, like water.
Thanks to the reusability and an increasingly competitive market, Rob sees that: “prices are coming down and opportunities are increasing.”
“Creating a settlement on the moon that serves both economic and science and exploration objectives could be hugely beneficial.”
From pharmaceutical company research to food growth, business on the moon isn’t as far away as you might believe.
And it’s the big life science companies that have shown they want skin in the game. With 3D printers already in action on the ISS, and brands like Johnson & Johnson showing an interest, bioprinting and material development looks like a major point of interest in the race to monetize space.
In terms of investment, Rob has a keen interest in creating workable infrastructures to support living and working in space. He sees this as the remit of AI and automated processes, which will also play a huge part in another key element of transportation: Propulsion and specifically the paring of propulsion systems with with a nuclear reactor to provide a nuclear electric propulsion system.
“The late 2020s are going to be a real turning point. I would say very confidently by 2030, because of the transportation infrastructure that’s being built under these public private partnerships, I think the cost of access to space is continuing to come down.”
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