David Gump of Lunacorp started off his talk with a twenty-year old poster about business opportunities in space, displaying the Shuttle and the then newly announced space station program. It was a cautionary note, reminding us of all the things that can go wrong, and how the more things change…
Central lesson learned:
Government-owned infrastruxture (with federal employees as the space workforce) is poison to commercial ventures (cannot be overcome by good intentions–institutional barriers are too deep).
Privately owned facilities (vehicles, platforms, bases) are essential to success.
He hates the phrase “space advertising.” Emphasis needs to be customer rewards.
Prizes are good, but cannot be the only way for NASA to involve the private sector (same point that Jim Benson of SpaceDev made yesterday). Prizes are good for amateurs and angels, but businesses won’t accept the risk of being beaten to the deadline.
Lunacorp’s submittal for the NASA exploration initiative was to rely on the invisible hand, by nurturing private enterprise, and not to attempt another “Stalinist plan.”