6 January 2003
Other - General (None)
Space Future Interviews Dr. David Livingston
Host of The Space Show
by Carol Pinchefsky
Dr. David Livingston is a business consultant and host of The Space Show, America’s only talk radio show focusing on increasing space commerce and developing space tourism. More information on The Space Show can be accessed at http://www.thespaceshow.com.

How did you become the voice of The Space Show?

The first time I ever spoke about space matters was at the Space & Robotics 1998 Conference in Albuquerque, New Mexico. I quickly realized that, for the most part, I was preaching to the choir about space commerce, space tourism, RLVs, and space development.

What was missing was an understanding about these matters and their importance in the public arena. I wanted to find a way to bring the message about plausible commercial space opportunities for living, working, and even playing off-Earth to the public, not just to the space community.

I had an opportunity to host a radio talk show about business consulting issues, so I did six weeks of that in May 2001. While I enjoyed doing the interviews, I felt I wasn't really doing anything different than a hundred other shows.

Then I switched gears and did a show live from Tokyo featuring Dr. Patrick Collins on space tourism. I got some great positive feedback from people about how unusual the program was and that they liked the fact that it was unusual, addressed a subject they knew little about, and wanted more.

After the Collins program, my show, Business Without Boundaries, then focused on bringing the public real information about commercial space opportunities and their importance to us all.

Last spring, I changed the name of the program to The Space Show to more accurately reflect the program's general themes.

Have you always been interested in space?

I was reading Sky and Telescope at age 10. At about 12 I saved my money and bought a Unitron telescope and spent hours in my back yard looking at the stars. I had star charts pasted on my ceiling in my room. I remember spending as much time as possible watching Sputnik fly overhead and listening to it beep on this huge Grundig short-wave radio that my parents had. I've always been looking up at the skies, and I'm sure that I always will be looking upward.

I even wrote my dissertation—I’m a Doctor of Business Administration—on space: The title of my dissertation was Outer-Space Commerce: Its History and Prospects.

What was your favorite moment on The Space Show?

My most favorite moment was going on the air with The Space Show Sept. 12, 2001, one day after 9/11. Like most of the country, I was devastated by the terrorist acts and the attacks on my country. But I was able to do the show, remain on topic and integrate the horrible events of the day before with the theme of the show, even when my spirit, my mood, my concerns were simply light years away from space development.

I pulled it together, and the program was a very good one. I invite people to listen to it on the archives at http://www.thespaceshow.com.

Least favorite?

When a guest either freezes up or the conversation does not flow. It then becomes like pulling teeth from a baby to conduct any type of decent interview. This has happened a few times.

What response have you received from The Space Show’s

The responses I've received have been fantastic! When I started The Space Show I never dreamed that I would get such supportive feedback from listeners from around the world. Incredible e-mail letters supporting my efforts have come from Russia and other unlikely places.

I also receive excellent guest recommendations from the listeners. The guest recommendations are all serious people working to further space commerce or some part of space development and to assist in getting humanity into space. This tells me the audience is really focused on the topics, themes, and direction of this program.

What have you learned on The Space Show that you would like the rest of the world to know about?

I've learned that there are numerous paths to space development. Some are pretty traditional, right out of the NASA and large aerospace company handbooks. There are also some pretty far-out ideas that some believe would mean the beginning of our becoming a truly space-faring culture. These businesses use a completely different timetable and cost factors than the traditional models.

But our methodology for evaluating space business ventures has not caught up with our ingenuity, technology, our dreams, or our science. So businessmen and women must still be aware of, and speak to, traditional business objectives, goals, and criteria. Grounding in the traditional business world is absolutely essential and all too often overlooked.

In space business, the relationship between the new and advanced, and the traditional and proven, is absolutely essential. I believe that others need to recognize this strange relationship as well.

How do you see space tourism impacting upon the space industry?

If a passenger-carrying, certified RLV existed, I would say that space tourism would have a potentially monumental impact on the space industry. But I have to seriously temper that statement in the absence of passenger-carrying space vehicles.

I'm also concerned about likely competition with the U.S. government as it pursues its own version of a space vehicle and acts to extend the life of the Space Shuttle. In addition, it makes statements about next-generation launch vehicles that affect the Wall Street attitude about financing and risk-taking with companies striving to build such vehicles separate from the government or the government's chosen companies.

Care to make a prediction as to who will win the X-Prize?

I believe the X-Prize is a great contest and opportunity, but I have no prediction as to a possible winner. I just hope that someone does win it and that the winner becomes a guest on The Space Show.
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Carol Pinchefsky 6 January 2003
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