May 2010

Source: The 2010 TIME 100

by JonFavreau

Elon Musk makes no sense — and that’s the reason I know him. When I was trying to bring the character of genius billionaire Tony Stark to the big screen in Iron Man, I had no idea how to make him seem real. Robert Downey Jr. said, “We need to sit down with Elon Musk.” He was right.

Musk, 38, is a rocket scientist. He designed the Falcon 9 booster that may serve as NASA’s next vehicle to transport cargo and humans into space.

He is also a green pioneer. He helped create Solar City, the largest provider of solar-power systems in the U.S. And he designed the Tesla, one of the first electric cars of the modern era. Bob Lutz, the vice chairman of General Motors, credits him with catalyzing GM to move toward electric cars.

Even Elon’s humble beginnings are not so humble. The little Internet start-up that put him on the map is called PayPal. You may have heard of it.

Downey was right. Elon is a paragon of enthusiasm, good humor and curiosity — a Renaissance man in an era that needs them.

Favreau is the director of the Iron Man movies

  • Environmental Tectonics looking for art that’s out of this world.
  • Launch into space with New Holland Construction competition.
  • Wanted: Head of Safety, Virgin Galactic.

Thorough update from SPACE X.

I recently learned of Ventions, a  San Francisco based technology group that is developing micro rocket thrusters and small scale turbo pumps.

From their website:

Ventions, LLC is a research, development and services company that was founded in 2004 to commercialize innovatove technologies in the aerospace and clean energy areas. The Company currently has 2 business units:

  • Technology Development and Engineering Services Group
  • Business Services Group

Can any of our readers please add any credible info they have on this company?

Yesterday, I was visiting an early stage business who just moved into new offices adjacent to a busy, general aviation airport. I learned that one family controls most of the land surrounding the airport. Tenants include everything from corporate air charters to health care related businesses. The diversity of businesses there is impressive.

Will spaceports attract land speculators? They probably already do; especially in places near Spaceport America. Some might sit on their land while others might develop facilities and businesses  that they believe will  benefit from being near a spaceport. Several years ago, I looked at real estate investment opportunities near an existing spaceport, but opted not to invest. However, I know others who have invested in land near other spaceports. It’s another way to be involved with New Space. Will a new wave of real estate development  emerge based on these terrestrial space dreamers? Time will tell.

If you’ve invested in land or a related development at or near a spaceport, we’d love to hear from you.

Spaceport Resources

Angelenos, please consider attending this film event.OrphansPressRelease.doc




with Directors Question & Answer

Keynote Speaker: Astronaut & Test Pilot Brian Binnie

at the Historic Warner Grand Theatre

Friday, May 28, 2010 | 6:00pm | 478 W. 6th Street, San Pedro CA 90731

A Special Benefit for Manna Energy Foundation’s

“Geeks Without Frontiers”


Los Angeles, California: (5.6.10). A Celebration of Entrepreneurialism and a non-profit fundraiser with an exclusive screening of the film “Orphans of Apollo” will take place at the historic Warner Grand Theatre in San Pedro, CA on Friday, May 28, 2010 at 6:00pm.

Tickets at

“Orphans of Apollo” chronicles the dramatic adventure of the boldest business plan the Earth has ever seen. At the center of the film is ‘MirCorp’. The very first entrepreneurial company to have a sole focus on the privatization of space with a fantastic vision of transforming the Russian space station into an outpost for what was intended to be the first phase of a trillion dollar business. The project was to include mining of asteroids, gravity free laboratories, a space ‘hotel’, and a research facility. MirCorp was the ultimate start-up company, and unlike anything the universe had ever seen.

Join this band of rebels out to change the course of history in space, as they board a private jet, fly to Russia, and negotiate one of the most remarkable business deals of the final frontier. Follow this diverse group as they pioneer their way through the new business of space. Listen to the management team as they struggle with issues of branding, finance, technology, and engage in the ultimate slugfest with the most powerful governments and bureaucrats.

Free Radical Productions has now made the documentary film, “ORPHANS OF APOLLO,” available on DVD or at “ORPHANS OF APOLLO” is the award- winning documentary that has been called the “greatest space story never told.”


One of the first commercial astronauts in the history of the world, Brian Binnie made the historic flight of SpaceShipOne to win the X-PRIZE, a $10 million+ award from the X-PRIZE Foundation given to the first team to achieve a specific goal, which has the potential to benefit humanity. Rather than honoring past achievements or directly funding research, an X-PRIZE incites innovation by tapping into our competitive and entrepreneurial spirits.

Binnie has served as Test Pilot at Scaled Composites, LLC and as Commander, USN, Ret.  He holds an MS in fluid mechanics and thermodynamics from Brown University; an MS in aeronautical engineering from Princeton University and is a graduate of the U.S. Navy’s Test Pilot School (class 93, June 1987-May 1988) at Patuxent River.


GEEKS is currently involved with providing humanitarian telecommunications solutions to Haiti.  The global vision of GEEKS is to empower 1 billion people to sustainably elevate themselves out of poverty (earning $1/day or less) over the next 10 years by leveraging a unified infrastructure platform for renewable energy, clean water, low powered telecommunications and advanced SMS-mobile and text applications. GEEKS will roll out a franchised model with local service providers and innovative technology partners and scale this platform across the world for maximum impact.  The Manna Energy Foundation is a Non-Profit 501(c)(3) representing a revolution in philanthropy, with the vision that positive change comes from a combination of philanthropic action and social enterprise.


Documentary filmmaker Michael Potter, who is one degree of separation from most of the key players in this remarkable and historic epic, is an expert on international technology and business. Potter has published extensively on technology policy issues. He worked with key figure in “Orphans of Apollo” Walt Anderson in creating a publicly traded pan-European telecommunications company. Potter previously worked on the 13 part WGBH Series, “War & Peace in the Nuclear Age.” He is a graduate of the London School of Economics.


TimeshareRelief Inc.© is the No. 318 ranked company on Inc. 500. TimeshareRelief is the industry leader in helping timeshare owners transfer their timeshares out of their names so that they will no longer be responsible for recurring costs including maintenance fees, special assessments, HOA fees, etc.  The company’s 5-year track record and inclusion in this year’s Inc. 500 proves that the Timeshare Relief method is successful and that our customers are satisfied


Grand Vision Foundation’s mission is to preserve and promote the 80-year old historic, art deco Warner Grand Theatre and to foster artistic, cultural and educational activities in the Theatre and the Harbor/South Bay area of Los Angeles.

Arts advocates in San Pedro since 1996, Grand Vision produces live concerts, films, performances and special events at the historic Warner Grand Theatre and recently at the 100-seat Grand Annex.   The goal is to become a regionally-significant performing arts center and film house while preserving the historic character and community appeal of the theatre.

“Orphans of Apollo” is both a great work of art and an important story….an inspiring film to see before my own flight to space!” - Richard Garriott, America’s first 2nd Generation Astronaut

“a fast moving chronicle of an action packed, amazing true story.” - George Whitesides, Former Executive Director, National Space Society

“I’m sort of hoping that this will become a bit of an underground classic at entrepreneurial programs. It captures that feeling of events rushing ahead of you as you try to figure out how to make it work, a seductive feeling beloved by entrepreneurs, and when they start hitting their stride.” - Out of the Cradle, Chronicles of the New Space Age,

“A fascinating account of how a small group of American space entrepreneurs challenged the government…” - Dr. Roger Launius, National Air and Space Museum, Washington D.C.


“ORPHANS OF APOLLO” is an intimate and compelling epic which eloquently communicates the real origins of the private commercial new space revolution.  Now for the first, and possibly the last time, “ORPHANS OF APOLLO” combines archival material from NASA with footage from Russian archives, IMAX and personal collections including material with key players Tom Clancy, Elon Musk, Richard Branson, Rick Tumlinson, Walt Anderson, Gus Gardellini, Jeff Manber, and others.


The Space Frontier Foundation (SFF), American Friends of the London School of Economics (AFLSE),  Students for the Exploration & Development of  Space (SEDS), International Space University Alumni (ISU Alumni), JulesVerne Adventures, and Mary’s Gone Crackers.


Michael Potter: Free Radical Productions 310.990.8803

Orphans of Apollo

Q&A: He Wants Free Markets in Outer Space (Source: Houston Chronicle): As CEO of MirCorp, a private, Dutch-based company that leased Russia’s Mir space station and contracted the flight for the first space tourist, Dennis Tito in 2001, Jeffrey Manber had a front-row seat for NASA relations with Russia and the early commercialization of space. With NASA about to become more reliant upon Russia than ever, and President Barack Obama wanting more capitalism in space, Eric Berger spoke to Manber. Read full article here.

Editorial: Private Sector Should Fund Space Missions
(Source: CNJ Online)
America’s future in space is entrepreneurial. President Barack Obama partly has recognized that reality in his recent speeches and policy changes on NASA and American space policy. If the federal government really wanted to help, it should take up the proposal by former Pennsylvania Republican Rep. Bob Walker to give a 25-year tax exemption to any company that maintained a base on the moon for 365 consecutive days. This reward would appeal to such large, high-tech companies as GE, Microsoft, Apple and Intel.

There would be no cost to taxpayers; and no government bureaucracy involved. “The tax break wouldn’t come into effect until the moon base was constructed,” Hudgins explained. “But think of all the revenue paid by the private infrastructure” that built the moon base.

We encourage New Mexico’s and Texas’ congressional delegation to look critically at the president’s impractical and expensive space boondoggles, especially at a time when the country is already $12.7 trillion in debt. But they should embrace Obama’s push toward privatization — then push it further.  Read full article here.

Editorial: Space: The Free-Market Frontier (Source: OC Register)
America’s future in space is entrepreneurial. President Barack Obama partly has recognized that reality in his recent speeches and policy changes on NASA and American space policy. “I give Obama mixed reviews on his space policy,” Ed Hudgins told us. He’s director of advocacy and a senior scholar at the Atlas Institute, and author of “Space: The Free Market Frontier.” There were positive elements, he said, including “cancelling the Constellation,” a proposed new mission to the moon. And the president is encouraging “the private sector for low-Earth-orbit missions.”

Mr. Hudgins said that only the private sector can make prices for a product or service go down as quality goes up, such as with computers, TV sets and the global airline industry. The same is true for making space flights more common for commercial or tourist missions. He pointed to such ongoing private space efforts as those by Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic, Elon Musk’s SpaceX in Hawthorne and Robert Bigelow’s Bigelow Aerospace.

On the negative side is Mr. Obama’s vision for NASA, which is struggling for new missions as the Space Shuttle program is retired this year. He talked about a mission to Mars occurring in his lifetime. “I expect to be around to see it,” the president said in an April 15 speech at Cape Canaveral, Fla. Given that the president is 48 and could live another 40 years or so, that’s not all that ambitious. He also called for landing an astronaut on an asteroid within 15 years. Read full article here.

Russia Aims to Follow U.S. Lead in Private Funding of Space Projects (Source: RIA Novosti)
Russia wants to encourage private companies to invest in space exploration, the head of the country’s space agency said on Thursday. “Manned space systems have become rather expensive and private investment should be attracted more actively, like it is in the U.S.,” Roscosmos head Anatoly Perminov said.

He said Russia had not seen the expansion of private investment into space exploration witnessed in the Unites States because Russian companies were not willing to invest in projects due to the “lack of fast return on investment.” Perminov said the design cycle for a new spacecraft takes at least three years and only after this time period the companies could receive revenues. Russia’s government has increased national space expenditures by 40% over the past five years. Last year, Russia spent $2.8 billion on its space program. Read full article here.

Warren Olney talks with Elong Musk, Rand Simberg

Source: KCRW’s show Which Way LA

Link to Internet audio archive

After announcing that NASA would phase out the space shuttle program, President Obama visited Elon Musk, the head of SpaceX, headquartered in Hawthorne. Will Musk’s Falcon 9 bring aerospace leadership back to Southern California? We talk with him and others. Also, the cost of not standing up to be counted. On our rebroadcast of today’s To the Point, the failed bombing of Times Square led to speedy arrests in the US and Pakistan.  It’s also raised many questions about how the incident came about, how it’s been handled and what it means for the future.

Last night, I was on The Space Show with Tom Olson and host Dr. David Livingston discussing the upcoming Space Investment Summit in Chicago.

See the link above for an audio archive.

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