null Episode 20: The Next Horizon in Space Travel
Double Take podcast

Episode 20: The Next Horizon in Space Travel

00:38:45
Double Take podcast Audio Equity Multi-Asset
July 2021
Episode 20: The Next Horizon in Space Travel

In our latest episode of Double Take, we tackle a truly expansive and mind-blowing topic: human space travel and what it means for terrestrial investors. We explore the many facets of the new space age and the space economy.

Rafe Lewis: Hello and welcome to Double Take. I'm your co-host Rafe Lewis, head of investigative investment research at Mellon.

Jack Encarnacao: And I'm your other co-host and investigative researcher, Jack Encarnacao. And on today's episode, we go to infinity and beyond by taking on a truly expansive and mind-blowing topic: human space travel, and what it means for terrestrial investors. You may say to yourself, "Space? Really?" But consider this, Double Take listeners. This year, billionaire Jeff Bezos' New Shepard rocket ship will take off with one ordinary, non-astronaut, high-bidding consumer aboard. SpaceX will take cash-paying civilians up by the end of the year too. The new space age, hills of Mars. Can investors get involved today to make money tomorrow? From inside of BNY Mellon, we bring you none other than Andrew Leger, a senior investment research analyst whose coverage includes the publicly traded space industry companies.

Rafe: And from outside of our hallowed halls, Christian Davenport, space and defense industry reporter for The Washington Post and author of the great 2018 book, The Space Barons: Elon Musk, Jeff Bezos, and the Quest to Colonize the Cosmos

Jack: I sense a certain giddiness in you, Rafe. Is that excitement for today's conversations, or are you just over-caffeinated?

Rafe: Well, it is a little bit of both, Jack. I mean, I'm going to say that in this episode, it's a homecoming of sorts for me because way back in the late 1990s, which I believe scientists call the Jurassic period, I was a cub reporter at The Philadelphia Inquirer. And one of my newbie green colleagues back then was none other than Chris Davenport. So, a lot of water under that bridge, Jack.

Jack: I see. So, maybe more apt to say a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away.

Rafe: Yes. Let the puns fly. Anyway, let's welcome our first guest who is the veteran investment analyst we mentioned before, Andy Leger. Andy, welcome.

Andy Leger: Great. Thanks for having me, guys.

Rafe: Oh, this is so exciting. I mean, this is a pretty fun topic for us. All right. Well, why don't we just get it right to the point of what investors care about, Andy, which is when do you expect to see revenue-generating business in suborbital or actual space for some of these companies we're talking about here? Or perhaps more pertinently, when will they start to generate profits?

Andy: Right. Yeah. I think you're seeing quite a bit of it already. And what we're seeing is the market has been growing 6 to 8% for the last 10 years, but what you're seeing is a geometric rise in that and more of a focus through a lot of specs recently to pure-play space, whereas I think a lot of the historical revenues and profits that have come out of this have been divisions of larger public companies. So, I think that 6 to 8% growth rate that we've been seeing, you can divide up the market a lot of different ways, but I think it's poised to accelerate for a number of different reasons.

Andy: I mean, we can go back historically. I think a lot of this got going 10 years ago when NASA abdicated a lot of its research and abilities in space, and actively sought out the private sector. So, I think that was the genesis of how a lot of commercial initially defense got into the space arena. I think the geometric rise we're seeing is more of the entrepreneurship and more commercial offerings beyond defense wading into this space. And that part of it is just taking off now.

Jack: Thinking about, I guess, comparable verticals, Andy, traditionally investors have considered let's say airlines. May be mediocre investments for a whole host of reasons: massive fixed costs, cyclicalities. How are some of these non-government space companies not going to come to be seen as glorified airlines, when you think about the case they're making for sort of commercial, almost retail travel back and forth? In other words, are these just cyclical travel companies ultimately, or something much more interesting, in your view?

Andy: Yeah. I think there's a whole host of ways to break down the space economy, to your point, one of which being consumer-oriented travel to space and also more of a hypersonic travel. So, there is an element of I think the initial focus, where companies are going to be taking people up into space, there's a bit of a novelty, first-mover advantage to it that I think will sustain for several years. And I think that is just getting going now, as we said in the introduction. I think over time prices for that will come down and it won't be just millionaires going up into space, but I think that'll take some time. But to your point, I don't think that's necessarily the most exciting part of space.

Andy: I do think some of the idea of taking the revolutions we've had in terms of flying at altitude and making that available to the masses. So, we have some prototypes now that are being worked on for hypersonic travel. These would be probably priced at four times the price of a first-class ticket, but think of the potential to go from New York to Tokyo in two and a half hours. I mean, it's groundbreaking. You'd pay for it, but really shrinking the globe, and really offering something different. Now, that could be 10 years away, 12 years away. But I think to your first point on glorified airlines, I would highlight the glorified part of it because it is a real breakthrough in terms of the time. And I think it would initially eat up the high end of the market quite quickly. I think there'd be a number of paying consumers that would be willing to pay for that type of time savings.

Andy: So, bit of a two-part answer there. On the consumer side of space, where I think the idea of the appeal of the experience of space and going into orbit will be quite popular for the next four or five years. But beyond, I think it's a bit more exciting when we think of the potential for shrinking the globe with international travel being reduced 4X.

Rafe: And kind of aside from the travel piece of this, that seems to be where everyone focuses because it's exciting to think of ourselves sitting in that seat I think with the helmet on, looking out at the big blue marble, but maybe less sexy, but still pretty interesting I would think are manufacturing, mining, some of the more industrial processes that could take place up in space, getting metals out of asteroids and things like that. I'm curious, where are we with any of that? And are there any ways to play this in the public markets yet?

Andy: Yeah. It's a little bit here to there. So, if I think of segmenting it, the real breakthrough, if we can call it that, is just the declining cost of launching a payload into space. So, it used to cost $50,000 to send a kilogram payload into space. Now it costs $2,500.

Andy: And that precipitous decline in costs has caused an explosion in the want to put things into space, the number of entrepreneurs that are involved, the number of potential applications, the cost at which they can provide these things to the public. So, it's led to a whole host of new business models. And the manufacturing side of it, if you back into the increased demand, that means that there's a lot more demand for launch, a lot more demand for satellites and equipment. And what's to come after that is an explosion in the need for the software and analysis of all the data that's going to be coming off of that. So, I mean, if we start from that point of view of launch, I mean there's only 2,500 roughly operational satellites in space right now. That number, again, rising geometrically. The expectations are that 38,000 satellites are going to be launched in the next 10 years. So, the proliferation is massive.

Andy: And the majority of these are going to be small satellites. So, these are low earth orbit satellites that are flying around the earth. And a lot of them are small satellites where the idea of the entrepreneur is to get sensors into space. I mean, they just want sensors in space that either big geos that are going to take pictures, monitor radio waves, microwave, geopositioning, geolocation. An immense amount of data created, and that data will need to be downloaded and analyzed. So, I think that is where you're going to, on an emerging basis, see some of the best business models.

Andy: What you're talking about, I guess from the manufacturing side of it, you can see how that's going to cause an explosion in the satellite, the sensor and the software segments of both new business models and the divisions of companies we talked about. So, I think that's where I think the most exciting part going forward is. Whether it's used... we're talking NASA's still involved, and these companies that are still involved in the deep space missions and the mining seems probably a bit further out in time. But I think here to there, it's going to be much more focused on the consumer on the ground. And probably the most well-known or the most obvious being the EV autonomous revolution isn't taking place without a massive investment in space, the-

Rafe: EVs being electrical vehicles, correct?

Andy: Yeah. So, your electrical vehicles that we're all dreaming of a world where they're run autonomously is only going to work to the extent that we have precise geolocation on all of them. And that's going to be accomplished with the cars beaming data about their location up to space and being beamed back down to the networks of all the others. So, to the extent that the electric vehicle companies are putting out projections, we need to back into what that means for growth in space.

Andy: And there's a space race going on to get those constellations up into the sky to serve that market. And that ties back into those low launch costs, but it also ties back into the pace at which launch is even available. So, there's been new competitors that have entered launch, but the wait time for launch is still quite elongated. So, there's far more companies that want to launch constellations into space than there are in ability and launch points to do that.

Jack: Andy, is this ultimately going to be any different, do you think, than investing in defense contractors? I get the sense a lot of the space business will be ferrying government supplies and personnel to space, and almost maybe disintermediating NASA and other space agencies.

Andy: Yeah. I think what we've seen with NASA is it took time, but they've arrived at a point where they're very reliant on commercial. It's far lower cost. And I think that will be repeated globally because, to your point, a lot of other international space agencies didn't even have the resources of NASA, and will be very happy to welcome companies that can offer low cost launch as an alternative to the nationalized space agencies.

Rafe: So, does that mean that this rise of these private space companies is potentially a kind of competitive risk and threat to the traditional defense contractor businesses?

Andy: Yeah. I think it is. It's a bit of an evolution, where a lot of these traditional defense contractors had taken money from the government for R&D, worked on projects, and gone over budget. And a lot of it was on contracts where they were paid time and materials or paid for their R&D, whereas a lot of the new businesses are success-based, where it's outsourced for a price and it's sink or swim. And I think ultimately, that's going to be a much more appealing business model to governments than it is to rely on those larger defense contractors that had been the historical model.

Jack: We talk a lot, Andy, on Double Take, as does the investment world, about ESG. Have you thought about the ESG implications of investing in companies that at least in the early days are pretty much going to cater to millionaires and billionaire thrill-seekers getting up into space?

Andy: Yeah. I mean, there's a lot of ways to attack that one. I think that's very accurate. If you look at the cost to go into space right now that's being offered by the various players, I mean, it'd be prohibitive to anybody but multi-millionaires and that experience to them. So, there's that idea.

Andy: From an environmental, it's a bit trickier. I think the idea that we're opening up space and we're... I mean, there's a number of ways to look at this, but I think... we talk a lot about the broadband divide in our country and around the world, and I think this idea of seeding these constellations and seeding them at a very low cost is going to open up internet access and broadband internet access to a lot of places where it was previously both unavailable and potentially unaffordable. So, I think from an ESG perspective, there is potential for this to be a good, a step forward for the world. And I think a lot of these companies are going down that road. I mean, it's self-serving, but the ultimate outcome of that will be lower-cost internet and more availability to both poorer nations and poorer parts of our country. So, I think of it from that point of view.

Andy: And from a governance standpoint, there isn't... this one, it's very interesting. There's not a lot of rules right now in space. And there's not a lot of internationally accepted norms. So, what you saw recently with the Chinese rocket crashing down into the earth is that is a reminder of a few things. One, there's a ton of space junk up there. Two, the larger pieces don't burn up on re-entry and need to have preventative measures before they're launched into space. There needs to be set up a program by which space junk can be collected and disposed of, brought back down to earth or sent further into space or melted down on re-entry. But right now there's a ton of junk in the sky.

Andy: We talked earlier about the geometric rise we're expecting in the number of satellites. And we talked about how geosatellites are stationary, but LEO, or low earth orbit, satellites are actually zipping around at thousands of miles an hour. We start putting those guys out there at thousands of miles an hour, and more of them in the debris. And the chances of crashes are going to go up quite a bit.

Andy: But there's been a perverse incentive there whereby low earth orbit, you apply to the ICU. There is a body that's maybe not speaking for everybody, but supposedly serving that need. But it's a first-come-first-serve basis. And that's for slots to get into different apertures, sorry, different slots in the sky that you're assigned when you launch a low earth orbit satellite. It's really a land grab there, where you're just trying to get approval to be the first mover advantage and figure out the rest later.

Andy: So, you've had this rush of applications. We have this massive backlog of number of satellites and constellations. And launch hasn't been able to keep up to date, but you also have this governance issue of who's really running the show here? And do they have in mind what this means to the future of space debris, and what this means to the future of low earth orbit satellites and their potential to be crashing into each other, and where the liability is held in that?

Rafe: Wow. I'm envisioning those scenes from the great movie Wall-E, where the kind of lower space orbit is just absolutely filled with dead satellites. That doesn't sound like a glorious vision as you're staring into the night sky.

Rafe: Well, last one for me, Andy, speaking of ESG, is one of Elon Musk's stated reasons for wanting to go into space and go to Mars is because humanity needs a hedge basically because we're destroying planet earth. And so, kind of a weird pie-eyed question here for me to finish off with, but can colonization of Mars actually happen fast enough before earth gets destroyed by humans?

Andy: That's quite a question. I don't know the answer to that, but I think the idea of the ephemeral nature of what you're asking in terms of what human beings are striving for and what Elon Musk is striving for with his deep space exploration, a mission to Mars, what I think it does do is draw attention to it, draw people to that industry, start people thinking about what's possible. I mean, a lot of the business models that have been proposed are relatively new and groundbreaking. And I think that outside-the-box thinking will spur more and more of that. And I think that in and of itself is a public good that comes from these farther-reaching aspirations.

Rafe: So, it's kind of like Kennedy saying, "Let's get to the moon," and it got an entire nation going. You're talking about kind of stimulating humanity and everyone on the planet.

Andy: Yeah. I see it with my own children in terms of there is a sense of kind of wonder and excitement at this idea that, "Wow, look what we're doing. We're back into space. We're talking about going to Mars." My children are reading about it. They're watching it on TV now. We're watching that there's a sense of sort of national pride that's comes from this idea of launching our own astronauts, taking them into space, talking about going to Mars. There's a psychic benefit, I think, to what's being proposed with our children and with the current younger entrepreneurs.

Jack: Wow. Wonderful suite of things to think about there, Andy. We appreciate you joining us here on Double Take, getting us started off on a great foot at this next horizon here in space. Thanks very much.

Andy: All right. Thank you, guys. That was fun.

Rafe: Christian Davenport, defense and space industry reporter on the financial desk of The Washington Post, author of The Space Barons, welcome to Double Take.

Christian Davenport: Thanks for having me.

Rafe: Oh, it's so great to have you. I'm really excited. And, again, as I mentioned in the opener, it's just seeing the distance you've traveled, its light years since we were both reporters years ago at the Philly Inquirer. And it's just great to see what you're up to these days. I love reading it. It's wonderful to have you on. So you wrote The Space Barons a few years ago, to much critical acclaim I might add. And since then, we've seen some decent progress in the march by private industry titans toward a private space economy. And I guess what I wonder is, you've been watching very closely for years now, has the progress in this industry matched your expectations for where we would be today? Or are you disappointed? Has it exceeded your expectations?

Christian: Well, that's a great question, and it's so good to be with you. I mean, just remembering our days as cub reporters back in Philly. And of course, you're asking a question that gets right to the heart of it. So on the one hand, I would say yes, that what we've seen particularly in the commercial space industry has matched or even exceeded what I had imagined a few years ago. If you go back even longer than that, if you take SpaceX, for example, I mean, even Elon Musk was saying when he founded SpaceX in 2002, maybe 50/50 chance the company survives. And it almost didn't. He was out of money, they had failed to reach orbit on three test flights, their original rocket. He barely scraped enough money for one more flight. It made orbit and NASA came in rescued the company with a contract.

Christian: And now from that date, that first flight was in 2008 to orbit to the fact that they've totally disrupted the market. They're flying NASA's astronauts, they fly cargo resupply missions to the space station, they fly national security missions for the Pentagon, and they're building this next generation rocket to go to the moon. You look at that and you're like, "That's enormous progress." And it's not just Elon and SpaceX, but that's touched off a broader space ecosystem. But at the same time, when you talk about the economics of it, there's still no sort of self-sustaining, private space economy. It's still largely driven by the government, by NASA, by the Pentagon, actually to a large extent. So it's not at that point where SpaceX can just go on and exist without those government contracts. So it's still highly dependent on the government, but you're seeing that slowly start to change. So I guess that's how I'd answer that.

Jack: Chris, Jeff Bezos' Blue Origin spacecraft, these are effectively autonomous. And I wonder how it's possible that Jeff Bezos can create a way to travel into space autonomously. And yet here we are, all those trucks and jets that his company utilize a still need human drivers on terra firma. Is this real life?

Christian: Yeah. That's a great point. And all these space crafts are now autonomous. The rockets, you're referring to probably Jeff Bezos' new Shepard rocket, which is suborbital that goes up and then come straight down. And what's really neat about that is that the booster, the rocket stage, separates from the spacecraft and then the booster flies back down to earth and guides itself and lands. And this was actually the technology that SpaceX uses as well on its Falcon 9 rocket that goes to orbit. And the Falcon 9 rocket comes back and lands on a ship at sea or on land.

Christian: And Blue Origin to be sure wants to incorporate that into their orbital vehicle, which is called New Glenn that's expected to fly next year or the year after. But in addition to that, I mean, being an astronaut, what an astronaut is now, has totally changed because of this technology, right? When Neil Armstrong landed on the moon in 1969, he was flying manually and had to find a good landing site because the original landing site was too rocky or too near a crater. So he took over control and landed it himself, harrowing because he's almost out of fuel. And he did it because he's a steely-eyed missile man fighter pilot.

Christian: But the astronauts that fly in SpaceX's crew Dragon to the International Space Station, they're hands-off. The Dragon approaches the space station and docks with the space station autonomously. And yeah, the astronauts have the ability, if something goes wrong, to fly the thing, but everything is done autonomously. And you're seeing all of this, basically it's the computers and the algorithms that are flying the spacecraft. And certainly, Elon's working on that with Tesla to get self-driving cars, but we're not there yet. I mean, I guess the good thing is there's not too much traffic in space. So I guess the risk of a collision is relatively low compared to say, I-95.

Rafe: You could compare almost anything to I-95 that way, I guess. So speaking of hands-off, speaking of human contribution, so Bezos, the guy's got a degree in electrical engineering, computer science. Do you get the sense that he's up to the task of being a rocket scientist? Or is he just the money behind the venture? How deeply is guy involved and is that a benefit or a risk to the venture?

Christian: So I think he's deeply involved. I mean, he's been running Amazon, obviously, all these years. He recently announced he's going to step down as CEO. A lot of people think he will invest a lot more of his time into Blue Origin. He has said that Blue Origin is the most important work he's doing, which may have been a little bit of a surprise to my colleagues at The Washington Post because obviously he owns The Washington Post. But I think Blue Origin and space, he thinks is very, very important. Selling books on the internet was not his childhood passion. Owning a newspaper was not his childhood passion. When he was five years old and he watched Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin walk on the moon, that resonated with him and he was a space geek from early on.

Christian: So yes, I think he's going to be deeply involved. And yes, he is technically capable. I mean, he had a small group of reporters out to the Blue Origin headquarters. This was five years ago. And, we met with the propulsion team and the engineering team and some of the manufacturing teams, and they were talking in incredible detail about what they're doing. And every once in a while, Jeff would interrupt and translate what they were saying for those of us in the journalism corps who don't have a master's degree in rocket science or engineering. So he understands this stuff to a great degree. I think people are hoping he will be more involved with Blue Origin because they've moved somewhat slowly, particularly compared to some of their other ventures. And there's a lot of hope and expectation that he'll get in there and really supercharge them moving forward.

Jack: You've mentioned Elon, Chris. Why is he so fixated on colonizing Mars? What precisely do you think is the attraction of a barren and dusty airless planet? And maybe more relevant, why would people want to spend a fortune to go there?

Christian: Right. And it's a great question. It's not a pleasant place to be. Actually, as Jeff has said, you want to understand what Mars is like, go to Antarctica and live there because Antarctica makes Mars look like a garden paradise. It's just it's deadly, it's cold, you can't breathe the air. I mean, it's just, it's not a pleasant place for humans. But, Elon's thought is that it's relatively close. There used to be life there. He's got these ideas of terraforming the planet and re-introducing a bigger atmosphere. But generally, it comes down to, I think, two things. One is this concern that, as a species, if earth we're going to get hit by an asteroid and there's some sort of extinction event that could wipe away the human race, the way the dinosaurs went extinct, that we don't have a backup plan. That's like your computer hard drive. If your computer crashes, you need to have a backup plan for the human race.

Christian: I also think he thinks that people need to explore and they need to push farther. And that we went to the moon and now Elon and SpaceX have a contract to return astronauts to the lunar surface, and he's working on that. But what he really wants to do is go to Mars because we've never had humans there. And we went to the moon in 1969, the last Apollo mission was in 1972 and we haven't been back. And I think that bothers him. And I think that he believes that if humans are on Mars, it would be good for science, it would be good for technology, it would be good for the country, and you'd have that national pride as we had during the Apollo era. It would be inspirational. I mean, he talks a lot about life has to be more than just solving one problem after another. That you need something to be excited about. And Mars is his north star, and that's what gets him fired up about leading SpaceX.

Rafe: That's weird that the north star is the north star, but I can live with that. And I get that space is virtually infinite, right? But is it big enough as an addressable market for three private space travel companies? Or at least at this point?

Christian: Yeah. And, and you're seeing that shake out. I mean, I think for the economy to grow, it's got to be the self-sustaining space economy, and it's not just reliant on the government. And here we are, we focus on the billionaires and their rockets and the competition between them, but that's not all of what the space market is. In fact, a lot of the money has to do with satellites and remote sensing. And there has been this revolution in satellite technology that just, it's personal computing has taken off. And instead of having these huge mainframe computers, and now you've got more power in your iPhone in your pocket, satellites used to cost hundreds of millions of dollars and were as big as a garbage truck and had to last 20, 30 years because they're so exquisite and so expensive.

Christian: Now you can have satellites the size of a loaf of bread that aren't that expensive to manufacture and are incredibly robust in what they can do. And that's another area where you're seeing the space economy take off. And you're seeing, for example, SpaceX putting up a constellation of satellites, they have more than a thousand now. They have permission to launch several thousand satellites as part of their Starling program that would beam an internet signal to ground stations to help serve the estimated 4 billion people on earth who are not served or underserved by broadband. Amazon wants to do that as well. They have permission from the FCC to launch their own constellation of satellites. Another company called OneWeb is getting into that. So you're seeing there are multiple facets to the space economy, and it's not just all about launch all the time.

Jack: Is the private space industry, Chris, going to inevitably lead to the outsourcing of defense of nations, maybe planets and moons as well? I mean, will industry gets so far out in front of governments that only they will be able to meet the task of protecting assets on asteroids, floating in the cosmos, what have you?

Christian: That's an interesting question. I mean, you're seeing in certain areas for sure, where the technology is outpacing regulation. And there are efforts to reign that in. For example, with the satellites. The Pentagon will track satellites, but if there's going to be a collision of two satellites, if you've seen the movie Gravity, you know how damaging that can be, these objects are moving at 17,500 miles an hour. So even a very small piece of debris can cause enormous damage. And yet we're putting up all these satellites, but there's no one who has the authority to say, "You have to move your satellite." The Pentagon will track that and warn you, but they don't have the ability to make you move. And what you're seeing NASA recently put out a series of accords called the Artemis Accords that try to govern space behavior and create norms of behavior in space as more and more players are going into space.

Christian: So that if you're a private company and you land on the moon, you need to be transparent about where you're going, what you're doing, sharing your scientific research, making sure you know that others, if you're mining, for example, that if you need to keep out zone you're telling people where you are and where you're operating so that everyone can be safe. But those are getting all of these countries together to sign and to agree to these sorts of principles is obviously very, very difficult. And what we're seeing is the capabilities of the private sector are moving very, very fast and much faster than what the government has been able to provide. So that erosion of government's long held monopoly on space could have serious consequences for how we access space. And as to your point, how we defend space and how we defend the nation.

Rafe: Chris, last question. I get that Jeff Bezos is, many steps removed, your boss, but I know you as an independent, hard-nosed, objective guy. So I ask you this in that spirit. If you could ride on one of these companies rockets as a journalist taking a mission to write a story about one of these early trips, would you accept that ticket on any of them? Do you have a preference? Who do you think is doing this best?

Christian: Yes. The answer is yes. I would go on any of them. Jeff and Richard Branson have the suborbital space tourism companies that they have people who are signing up to fly to the edge of space and back, they don't go to orbit. Virgin has charged $250,000 for that. We don't know what Blue Origin is going to charge. But when I interviewed Richard and Jeff for my book, I handed them the application from NASA and people forget that NASA had a journalist in space program that was canceled after Christa McAuliffe was killed in the challenger disaster. And you'll remember she was the teacher who was chosen. Well, after the teacher, NASA was going to fly a journalist and they had already whittled down the group of applicants to 40 journalists. So you had Walter Cronkite and Tom Brokaw, and some of the big names of the day, this was in the mid-eighties.

Christian: And I went back and I got that application that NASA had the journalists fill, and I gave it to Jeff and I gave it to Richard. And now you're seeing SpaceX, they have two missions signed up, one to fly in September, one to fly in January, that are all civilians. And in the second one, they'll spend a week on the International Space Station and for the tidy sum of $55 million. So I'm not quite there yet. I would love to be able to go to orbit and press those guys whenever I see them and whenever I interviewed them. But yes, I would love to go. I think it's important for journalists to go. And I mean that sincerely, that if we're going to open up space to the masses, we need to have somebody covering it. And I'm more than happy to do so.

Jack: Wow. Boldly marching forward here. You can always feel like you're a bit behind in keeping up with this wild pace into The great unknown. Christian Davenport, he is a staff writer at The Washington Post covering the defense and space industries for their financial desk and is also the author of Space Barons, taking a look at some of the minds behind this push in our subject du jour here on Double Take. Christian, thank you so much for joining us and good luck in the rest of your work.

Christian: Yeah, thanks. That was a lot of fun.

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