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TerraWatch Space

TerraWatch Space

By Aravind
Demystifying space tech and its impact on Earth - for everyone outside the space bubble.
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S1E12: The Commercial Case for Lunar Exploration & Mining on the Moon with Simon Drake
Today, I am speaking with Simon Drake, an entrepreneur and investor in the space industry. Simon is the Founding Partner of Space Ventures Investors, focusing on early-stage startups. He is also the CEO of Space Commodities Exchange and Lunar Resources Registry, two organisations focused on the lunar economy.  Simon and I talk about the lunar exploration market, the commercial case for going to the Moon and the importance of involving the mining industry in extracting resources on the Moon. We also discuss the feasibility of asteroid mining as well as the arguments for investing in the lunar economy. ----- 01:12: Simon's story and what his work involves 08:28: Why go to the Moon? What is the cislunar economy? 19:23: Why would governments and people be interested in mining the Moon? 23:42: Do the mining industry see a business case in the Moon? 27:43: How big of a milestone will Starship be in kicking off the lunar economy? 31:45: Is continuous human presence on the Moon necessary? 35:18: What is the deal with asteroid mining?  38:48: What is the argument for investors to back lunar exploration companies? 45:15: What can go wrong with respect to the lunar exploration plans? -----
June 4, 2021
S1E11: Demystifying Investing in SpaceTech with Raphael Roettgen
Today, I am speaking with Raphael Roettgen. Raphael is an investor and venture capitalist whose firm E2MC Ventures invests in space businesses.  Raphael is also the co-CEO of Space Acquisition Corp I, a SPAC focused on the space industry. He is also a lecturer, writer and podcaster with over twenty years of experience in global financial markets at investment banks and hedge funds. In this episode, we talk about investing in the space industry, the differences between investing in space versus other deep tech domains as well as prospects for the future of the space economy. Raphael and I share the same passion for demystifying space tech and so, we also discussed space outreach and ideas for making space tech accessible for all. Check out Raphael's book, podcast and course here: ----- 01:52: Raphael's story 11:25 Is it overwhelming to get into the space industry? 18:23 How is investing in space different from other deep tech domains? 20:53 Raphael's perspective of SPACs and Space Acquisition Corp I  23:12 Investing exercise: Would you invest in a launcher startup from India, Earth observation data analytics startup and an in-orbit manufacturing exercise? 29:19 Should space investors invest in Earth observation startups? 33:35 Space industry's prospects in the short-term, mid-term and long-term 38:55 What is the biggest gap in space outreach today?  43:13 What is the best place to start to understand the space industry? 45:23 What are the most exciting technologies coming up in space? 47:58 Raphael's 1-line for the space industry -----
May 20, 2021
S1E10: Investing in SpaceTech, Exploring the Oceans & Making a Case for Venus with Guillermo Söhnlein
Today, I am speaking with Guillermo Söhnlein. Guillermo has over 20 years of experience in technology innovation, "NewSpace" ventures, and early-stage investments. From co-founding technology companies in Silicon Valley to launching the Space Angels Network, from organising ocean exploration expeditions to advising emerging space ventures, he has had quite a fascinating career. Currently, Guillermo is part of the advisory team at New Vista Acquisition Corporation, a SPAC focused on the aerospace and defence sector. In this episode, Guillermo and I discuss a number of subjects including the evolution of investing in space companies in the last 15 years, the similarities with the internet era, and of course, SPACs. Guillermo also gives his perspectives on exploring the oceans as well as why we should also be looking at Venus for human settlement. [Hope you don't mind the disturbances to the connection during the recording. Apologies!] ----- 01:54: Guillermo's story 03:30: Guillermo's experience across industries and how it relates to working in space tech 05:58: Does the space industry have anything in common with other industries? 08:58: What has changed in the space industry in the last 20 years? 10:58: What is the next big thing in the space industry? 14:45: The similarities between the growth of the internet and the commercialisation of space 17:02: The Space Angels Network and investing in SpaceTech 25:05: Guillermo's perspectives on SPACs and working with New Vista 29:59: Guillermo's thoughts on exploration and what it means 34:10: Are we doing enough to explore the oceans? How is it related to space exploration? 40:27: Exploring the solar system and making a case for Venus 46:10: What could go wrong in the next decade?  49:22: What Guillermo is excited about in the space industry 51:01: Guillermo's 1-line for the space industry -----
May 10, 2021
S1E9: Consulting in the Space Industry and Prospects for Earth Observation with Luigi Scatteia
Today, I am speaking with Luigi Scatteia, who is a Partner at PricewaterhouseCoopers or PwC, within its Space Practice. It is a pretty special episode for me because I used to work within the PwC Space Practice team up until last summer, meaning I am interviewing my ex-boss. Luigi and I discuss how space policy is set up in Europe with institutions like the European Space Agency and the European Commission. We then move on to discussing the Earth Observation market, the Copernicus Programme and its applications for the European Green Deal. We also talk about how to improve the uptake of Earth Observation data and the role of professional services firms such as PwC in bringing satellite data to different sectors. If you are enjoying this podcast, please give it a 5-star rating on Apple Podcasts and share the word. Sit back and enjoy Luigi's amusing Italian accent! ---- 01:21: Luigi's story and how he ended up working in the space industry 05:42: What does PwC have to do with space, and what are they involved in? 09:52 How is space organised in Europe within ESA and the European Commission? 16:02 Is there a market for Earth observation today? 22:17: What are some sectors that are using Earth observation today based on PwC's experience? 28:16: The potential for Earth observation in the European Green Deal 31:05: The role of PwC in enhancing the uptake of Earth Observation data 34:14: What Luigi is looking forward to in the space industry ---
April 26, 2021
S1E8: Broadband, IoT and the Quest for Global Connectivity through Satellites with Doug Mohney
Today, I am speaking with Doug Mohney. Doug has been working in and writing about IT & satellite industries for over 20 years. His real-world experience including stints at two start-ups, a commercial internet service provider that went public in 1997 for $150 million and a satellite internet broadband company that didn't. We discuss all things satellite communication, particularly satellite broadband, the promise of connecting with the world by SpaceX, Amazon and a couple of other companies and whether they will. I also get Doug's perspectives on the similarities between the start of the internet era in the late 90s and the NewSpace era today. Follow Doug on Twitter at @DougonIPComm. ---------- 01:09: Doug's story and how he ended up in the space industry 04:51: What are the similarities/differences between the IT era of the late 90s and today's NewSpace era 08:19: Where is the demand coming from, for all the rockets being developed 20:40: Chances of a Big 5 in Space similar to the Big 5 in Tech 26:32: Can space companies become telecom companies? 33:08: Have we solved the connectivity problem for the world with satellites? 35:35: The satellite-based IoT market 39:50 Space tugs and their impact on the launch market 41:10 The importance of antennas in the satellite communication market ----------
April 13, 2021
S1E7: The Geopolitics of Space and The New Space Race with Namrata Goswami
Today, I am speaking with Namrata Goswami, a strategic analyst and consultant on space policy, international relations, great power politics and alternate futures. Namrata has authored a number of books on those topics with the latest one focusing on the second space race titled, "Scramble for the Skies: The Great Power Competition to Control the Resources of Outer Space", co-authored with Peter Garrettson. In this episode, Namrata and I discuss all things geopolitics and how it is very relevant in the world of space. We touch upon topics including  whether there is a cold war brewing between the US and China,  the role of Russia, India, Japan and Europe in the global space race and  the emergence of the spacefaring nations in the Middle East.  Namrata also provides her thoughts on why Elon Musk is so special for the space industry and also provides a note of caution in our quest for a future in space. If you enjoyed this episode, please consider giving the podcast a 5-star rating on Apple Podcasts. And, please share with anyone who might be interested. Aravind. ---- 01:30: Namrata's story: From growing up in north-east India to becoming a geopolitical expert 03:03: About Namrata's recent book 05:49: Is geopolitics in space still relevant? 08:31: Is geopolitics in space underrated? 12:52: What is the 'space power theory?' 15:59: Why do we have so many space agencies being established today? 19:35: About the series 'For All Mankind' on Apple TV+ 22:31: Is there a cold war developing between the US and China? 27:17: Where does Russia fit into the picture? 30:05: What is the role of Europe in the new space race? 34:07: No borders from space vs borders on Earth 36:53: India's position in the global space race 40:05: What about the role of Japan in the future? 43:04: The emergence of UAE, Saudi Arabia, Israel and potentially Turkey  50:15: The impact of geopolitics in space arms and military  54:28: Why Elon Musk is so important for the space industry 58:24: What should we be worried about in terms of our future in space? -----
March 30, 2021
S1E6: A Rational Perspective on the Space Launch Market with Pierre Lionnet
About Today's Guest: Today, I am speaking with Pierre Lionnet, the Research & Managing Director at Eurospace, the trade association of the European space manufacturing industry. Pierre is an economist with more than 25 years of experience in the space industry, and a well-known expert on space markets.  Pierre's LinkedIn: Pierre's Twitter: About Today's Episode: In this episode, Pierre and I discuss what is NewSpace, recent developments in the launch sector, launcher economics particularly focusing on the micro launcher segment, meaning small-lift launch vehicles capable of lifting up to 2,000 kilograms to Low Earth Orbit (LEO). Being an experienced analyst, Pierre provides a realistic assessment of the recent developments in the launch sector. ----- 01:42 Pierre's story 05:55 What is Eurospace? 08:45 How policy-driven is the space industry? 13:10 What is NewSpace - is it based on the source of funding or based on the source of revenues? 26:04 Number of launch companies needed to satisfy the market demand 35:46 The business case of Astra (a small-lift launch vehicle) 40:14 Why is there so much investment flowing into the space industry? 48:41 The last-mile delivery market in space transportation 53:31 The importance of price and quality of service in the launch market 59:39 Is Uber & Deliveroo part of the space industry? 1:07:10 What Pierre is looking forward to in the space industry (hint: Earth Observation & SpaceX Starlink) 1:11:10 The 1-line Pierre wants to tell the space industry ----- Aravind
March 23, 2021
S1E5: Being a Space Enthusiast, Venture Capitalist & Building Factories in Space with Delian Asparouhov
Today, I have a very interesting guest, one who wears 3 different hats - a self-proclaimed space enthusiast, a venture capitalist and a space entrepreneur, Delian Asparouhov. Delian is a Principal at Founders Fund, a San Francisco-based venture capital firm that has invested in SpaceX, Palantir, Facebook, Airbnb and more. Delian also recently cofounded Varda Space Technologies that is building factories in space in order to manufacture products for use on Earth. In this episode, Delian and I talk about his story, how he juggles multiple roles and his perspectives on the space industry including the recent phenomenon of SPACs. I also got to hear some of his plans for Varda and how he sees in-space manufacturing evolving over the next few years. Before we get to it, just a small request: I am looking for feedback from you, the listeners - it can be whether you are enjoying this podcast or not, if you have any suggestions on the format, questions or maybe you have recommendations for guests. Just let me know on Twitter or LinkedIn! Now, onto the episode. Sit back and enjoy! ---------- 01:53 Delian's story 07:04 Why Delian is passionate about space 08:52 How Delian managed to keep track of developments in space tech without actually being in the space industry 13:20 Why are we hearing so much about the space industry recently 17:23 Delian's thoughts on SPACs and whether Varda will also look at a potential SPAC 23:54 Delian's comprehensive overview of the space industry 35:00 About Varda's plans for space factories and manufacturing in-orbit    39:43 Why isn't anybody doing this and looking at this market? 42:05 How will we get the manufactured products down from space? (Note: we wait for further updates) 43:55 Will there be more startups working on space factories founded as a result of Varda? 45:25 Is in-space manufacturing the next big thing in space tech? 48:46 Should we get more people excited about space? 51:05 What could go wrong in the next decade or so? 53:53 What does the space industry not do well? 55:42 Delian's favourite hat to wear - space advocate/space-tech VC/ space entrepreneur
March 16, 2021
S1E4: Space Tourism: Hype vs Reality with Laura Seward Forczyk
Today, I am speaking with Laura Seward Forcyzk. Laura is the owner of space consulting firm Astralytical specializing in space science, industry, and policy, and also offering space career coaching services. She is a NASA Subject Matter Expert for planetary science missions. She has researched astrophysics and planetary science at three NASA centers, flown two parabolic “Zero Gravity” campaigns and conducted geological research in a meteor crater. She is also the author of "Rise of the Space Age Millennials." In this episode, we discuss a lot of exciting topics including when are we going to be space tourists, how much do we need to save for going to space and whether we will start going to space for a vacation. We also talk about the use of stratospheric balloons for space tourism, the effects of going to space on the human body as well as the importance of space for Earth. Follow Laura on Twitter: and check out Astralytical: ---- Chapters: 01:40: Laura's story 04:35: About Astralytical 07:30: About Laura experiencing zero-gravity 10:42: When are we going to be space tourists? 14:48: How much do I need to save for going to space? And, when can I go? 18:18: Are we going to have space hotels? Are we going to start going to space for a vacation? 21:30: Going to the edge of space through stratospheric balloons 25:20: Should we make space tourism more equitable? Can we? 29:26: Why are we talking about the space industry so much these days? 34:26: Laura's take on the developments in the launch sector 37:40: Understanding the importance of space technologies for life on Earth 41:07: Team Moon or Team Mars? 42:21: Team Human Exploration or Team Robotic Exploration? 44:24: What impact does going to outer space have on the human body? 46:26 What is Laura looking forward to in space tech? 48:21 Is Pluto a planet? 49:23 What is the 1-line you want to say to the space industry?
March 8, 2021
S1E3: An Investor's Outlook on SpaceTech - Part 2: Jeff Crusey
Our guest today is Jeff Crusey,  a venture capital investor at Seraphim Capital that invests predominantly in space tech. Seraphim has invested in many startups across space domains including Spire, Iceye, D-Orbit as well as AST & Science. In this episode, Jeff provides his perspectives on the space industry, including the recent developments in space tech and the applications of space technologies for Earth. We discuss how big of a problem space debris is and how companies are using innovative technologies to tackle it. Jeff also has some interesting thoughts on what the space industry could do better - to tell better stories with a bigger vision. Chapters: 01:55: Jeff's Story 06:30: What is the "Space Industry?" 08:55: Why Create an Investment Thesis Around Investing in Space? 12:50: Is Space Debris a Big Problem? 14:25: Are We Worrying Too Much About Space Debris? How Can We Clean Space? 16:14: Do We Need More VCs Investing in SpaceTech? 18:27: Would You Invest in an Earth Observation Company, a Satellite IoT Company or a Launch Company? 21:53: SPACs and Space 24:33: What Can the Space Industry Do Better? 27:09: What Would You Want to Say to the Space Industry?
March 1, 2021
S1E2: An Investor's Outlook on SpaceTech - Part 1: Andrew Lapham
This episode is all about investing in space. Our guest today is Andrew Lapham, the CEO of Northern Private Capital, a private equity firm based in Canada. In 2019, Northern Private Capital acquired MDA, the Canadian aerospace company, from Maxar Technologies of the US, for a deal valued at about 1 billion Canadian dollars. In this episode, Andrew provides an investor's perspective on the space industry. As an outsider who ventured into space by investing in MDA, Andrew has some interesting insights on the recent trends in space tech including Earth observation, launchers, robotics and space exploration. He also some thoughts on the recent phenomenon of SPACs in the space industry as well as suggestions for investors exploring opportunities in space tech. Chapters: 01:39: About Andrew and Northern Private Capital (NPC) 04:31: Andrew's Perspective on SPACs  09:28: Segments of the Space Industry That Were Easier to Understand As A Generalist Investor 12:06: Satellite Systems 13:32: Robotics 15:04: Earth Observation 18:03 Invest in an Earth Observation Startup, a Launch Startup or A Startup Building A Moon Lander? (Hypothetically) 23:30 Strategic Outlook for MDA 28:30 Does Andrew Recommend the Space Industry to Non-Space Investors? 31:15 What Does The Space Industry Do Well? And What Can it Improve? 34:03 What Are You Most Looking Forward To In Space Tech?
February 22, 2021
S1E1: A Closer Look at Earth Observation with Joe Morrison
In this first episode, I am stoked to have Joe Morrison on the podcast to talk about all things Earth Observation - the domain of space tech related to collecting data about the Earth through sensors in satellites.  Joe and I discuss what is Earth...
February 14, 2021
Hello World!
Welcome to the TerraWatch Space podcast. This is Aravind.In this podcast, I will attempt to decode what is going on in the space industry, by interviewing thought leaders, entrepreneurs, investors, space professionals and more, to get their perspectives...
February 2, 2021