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Thought Leader Forum

Space Tourism


Rick Citron, Citron & Deutsch


Photographs by Samuel Coniglio

Thought Leader Forum

Space Billionaires: Educating the Next Generation of Entrepreneurs


Tuesday April 4, 2006

Wilshire Grand Hotel, Los Angeles

Keynote: Peter Diamandis, Chairman/CEO X Prize Foundation and CEO Zero Gravity Corp.

The inaugural space business event was a huge success with people attending from all facets of the industry--from the prime contractors to the space entrepreneurs and those interested in fostering new business models for the space industry. Keynote Peter Diamandis fascinated the audience with his futuristic vision of rocket races much like Nascar but in three dimensions and opportunities for everyone to experience zero gravity. Dr. Diamandis is best known as the co-founder of the Ansari X Prize and the International Space University in France. His ability to generate excitement for the private space industry is legendary.

According to Marshall MBA Roy Hogstedt who works at Northrup Grumman, the Rocket Racing League will feature customizable X-Racer planes based on the EZ-Rocket design developed by Mojave, California’s XCOR Aerospace, which will build the first generation of X-Racers. A prototype X-Racer will be demonstrated at the upcoming X Prize Cup. Diamandis said the first rocket races, currently slated for October 2006, are expected to see four X-Racer planes compete alongside one another, with the full 10-plane group to follow in 2007. While the initial set of racers will be built for the league, officials are actively searching for interested sponsors, teams and pilots. The liquid oxygen/kerosene fuel mix is expected to have a burn time of about four minutes, which would force pilots to repeatedly shut down their engines and glide, then restart as needed to surpass opponents. Because of their fuel type, X-Racers should also generate a 20-foot flame easily visible from the ground, which will be vital for spectators, Diamandis said. Current league plans call for a Grand Prix-type competition in which X-Racers stagger their takeoffs and fly side-by-side in lanes spaced a few hundred feet apart. Cockpit cameras, global positioning systems and even a planned “virtual X-Racer league” – which league officials hope will allow video game fans to race alongside actual flyers during races – are on the drawing board to engage public interest in human spaceflight.

Read more about the day



Pictures from the Day

Dr. Kathleen Allen, USC Marshall
Center for Technology

Andrea Seastrand, California Space Authority


John Spencer, Space Tourism Society




George Whitesides, NSS
Randy Baker, XCOR Aerospace
Fred Best, Center for Space Power

Tom O'Malia, Greif Entrepreneurship Center USC

Schedule: This is how the day looked

8:30 a.m. Forum Registration and continental breakfast
9:30 a.m.

Welcome and Forum Opening: Dr. Kathleen Allen, Director USC Marshall Center for Technology Commercialization

Forum Kickoff Talk: "What's Happening in the Industry,"
The Honorable Andrea Seastrand, Exec.Director California Space Authority

10:00 a.m.- 11:45 a.m.

Roundtable Discussion: Opportunities in the Private Space Industry

Moderator: John Spencer, Red Planet Ventures and Space Tourism Society

Kevin Bartram, President Sponsorship Strategies
Fred Best, Exec. Director, NASA Center for Space Power at Texas A&M
Bill Collins, Managing Partner, Starboard Venture Partners
Rick Searfoss, Shuttle Commander and XCOR Aerospace

12:00 p.m. - 1:45 p.m.

Luncheon Keynote
Peter Diamandis, Chairman/CEO X Prize Foundation and CEO Zero Gravity Corp.
2:00-3:45 p.m.

Roundtable Discussion: "Future Space Billionaires: Educating the Next Generation of Entrepreneurs

Moderator: Rick Citron, Citron and Deutsch

Guillermo Sohnlein, President International Association of Space Entrepreneurs
Janice Dunn, Deputy Director, California Space Authority
Tom O'Malia, Director, Lloyd Greif Center for Entrepreneurial Studies
Karen Randall, Director Special Projects, SETI Institute
Madhu Thangavelu, Conductor, Graduate Space Concepts Studio, USC

4:00 p.m.

Plenary: "Why Space Entrepreneurship Education: The Vision"

George Whitesides, Exec. Director, National Space Society
Kathleen Allen, Director, USC Marshall Center for Technology Commercialization

4:30 p.m. Networking Reception

Event Supporters: California Space Authority, International Association of Space Entrepreneurs, Red Planet Ventures, and Space Tourism Society

Speaker Bios