Friday, September 22, 2006


This is my first post and I wanted to frame the topics I plan to blog about as best as possible. I am an unabashed fan of entrepeneurial space companies and even own stock in some like SpaceDev. My pen name "Van Humphries" is the central character of Ben Bova's book "Venus", about a manned mission to our sister planet. In Bova's vision of a space-faring humanity of the near future, the major powers of the solar system are the colony of Earth's moon, an Earth consortium of religious institutions known as the New Morality and the mega rich (and often corrupt) corporations running all space operations. Bova's Grand Tour novels create a near complete picture of the world of tomorrow, and if you are a space junkie, I highly recommend them.

This blog's title comes from the first episode of my favorite anime of all-time: Cowboy Bebop. The jazz-infused series is about listless bounty hunters traversing the solar system in search of meaning (and criminals)-- Surely you're familiar with this series!

I spend most of my time on the internet researching space companies and cool near-horizon technologies, and so will try to provide intelligent commentary on any future developments. My interests are partially monetary, so be aware that I'm also looking to identity potentially "disruptive" developments at publicly traded companies.


Dear Van,

Thank you for the mentions of SpaceDev in your blog.

Being a pioneer is not always easy! :-)

I was the first successful high tech guy to start an entrepreneurial space company, now pretty successful with $25 million in revenues, over 200 employees in three states, and growing fast.

Now I see that others are jumping on the space resources bandwagon, the very reason I started SpaceDev in 1997 with our Near Earth Asteroid Prospector (NEAP) mission concept.

I hear that copying is a form of flattery, so I am flattered.

Ok, let's stop talking and PowerPointng, and really make space happen.

My favorite slogan: "If we want to go to space to stay, space has to pay." Space has not and will not happen on the backs of taxpayers.

Onward and upward,

Jim Benson

Thank you for the post! My hands are shaking as I write this! I had the honor of hearing Mr. Benson speak at ISDC 2006 in L.A. this past spring. If you haven't been to ISDC and are interested in space, you MUST go! It's awesome. It'll next be in Dallas 2007, next May.

One of my favorite companies is SpaceDev. I happen to be an individual investor in the company, so I probably have a more subjective viewpoint towards this company. I see buying this stock as an opportunity to go along for the ride. The way I see it is that commercial operations in space is a certainty. I think SpaceDev is in it for the long haul.

A the little known secret of this company is its ability at branding and merging with other small space companies. They are currently integrating with Starsys . . . who's next? :). My impression after listening to many of the conference calls over the past few years, is that one of the (perhaps unsung) heroes of this company is the Chief Financial Officer Richard Slansky. He strikes me as selfless, hard-working, and very disciplined. Overall, Mr. Benson seems to have assembled a very impressive team. My only slight worry is of the management structure becoming top heavy, and that they maintain their commercial aspirations.

But thank you for the post and for mentioning your favorite slogan. I dug up a posting by Mr. Benson containing some of his slogans, posted in 1999. Way back :).

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