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Earth, Moon, and beyond

The Space Capital Podcast

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June 1, 2022

In episode 2.5, we talk to Justin Cyrus, co-founder and CEO of Lunar Outpost, a robotics company w/ products serving extreme environments on the lunar surface as well as terrestrial industries including mining.

In this fifth episode of the second season of The Space Capital Podcast, we’re speaking with Justin Cyrus, co-founder and CEO of Lunar Outpost, a robotics company w/ products serving extreme environments on the lunar surface as well as terrestrial industries including mining. Lunar Outpost has two contracted rides to the Moon (both first in human history to their respective locations) and has sold thousands of sensor products on Earth.

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Earth, Moon, and beyond

This is not just a flags-and-footprint program, uh, but it is focused on creating that sustainable presence on the lunar surface, that will allow humanity, uh, to utilize the moon, uh, and utilize other planetary bodies, but then get further out to Mars.

This is the Space Capital Podcast. And today we're speaking with Justin Cyrus, co-founder and CEO of Lunar Outpost, a robotics company with products serving extreme environments on the lunar surface, as well as terrestrial industries, including mining. Lunar Outpost has two contracted rides to the moon, both the first in human history to their respective locations and has sold thousands of sensor products here on earth.

Chad Anderson:

We recently invested in Lunar Outpost and are incredibly excited about what they're building, their market traction and their vision for the future. Justin, I have been looking forward to this conversation and it's great to have you on, thanks for joining us.

Justin Cyrus:

Yeah, thanks for having me, Chad, uh, really excited to be on the podcast and excited to be here talking to you.

Chad Anderson:

Great. So, um, to kick things off, can you tell us a little bit more about your background and, you know, the history of Lunar Outpost and the story of its inception?

Justin Cyrus:

Yeah, absolutely. So I'll start with my background. Um, you know, going back to undergraduate days, electrical and computer engineering degree, and I was at University of Colorado Boulder. Uh, so University of Colorado Boulder has great aerospace community. A lot of astronauts graduated from there, but also a lot of folks that have, uh, you know, gone on to do some pretty cool things in the space industry. So started off as an intern at Lockheed Martin., uh, my sophomore year in college.

Uh, then went on to join Lockheed, uh, and you know, more positions, mostly on the military, uh, and defense side of things. So working on satellites, uh, that were, uh, focused on, you know, uh, some of those DOD applications. But then went on to grad school at Colorado School of Mines, got my, uh, two master's degrees. Uh, the first is actually in electrical engineering and I got that right after school, uh, right after undergraduate.

And then the second was in space resources, which I've gotten more recently. Um, but when I was working for Lockheed Martin, I basically got to the level, um, of, hey, here's an opportunity, you get manage, uh, some really cool RF stuff on some of these military satellites. Uh, but I wasn't really having as large of an impact as I wanted to, uh, not only at Lockheed Martin, on that program, uh, but to the broader aerospace community. So I looked at, uh, a few of the areas that were up and coming in the space industry. This is back in 2017, um, and we co-founded Lunar Outpost. So, uh, original co-founders, uh, me and then also my brother, Julian Cyrus. But the idea, the concept of Lunar Outpost has really been around, uh, you know, since, since we were kids, I grew up around the NASA, uh, Johnson Space Center.

Uh, so the aerospace community, my dad worked for Lockheed Martin back in the day. So I always knew I wanted to be in the aerospace industry. Uh, I always knew I wanted to contribute to enabling that more sustainable presence, uh, in space. So we really started off just looking at where can we provide value as a small company? You know, you, we didn't have a ton of resources. We were bootstrapped back in 2017. Um, and we ended up at, hey, we think we can do a pretty darn good job on space robotics. Uh, it was a fairly underserved portion of the market, um, and that kind of has led us to where we're at today.

Chad Anderson:

And so you are, um, one of the things that stands out the most is that you're a young, uh, company, obviously you're young founders as well, and you're in an industry that's full of, of giants established companies. You know, and the stuff that you're talking about doing, um, lunar transportation and lunar infrastructure, this is, um, historically been, uh, really reserved for the biggest, um, defense contractors with the biggest relationships with organizations like NASA. So, um, uh, but you bring more than, um, the, you know, the desire and the, the experience and, um, the academic backgrounds. You've also, um, had some real technical heritage as well, right? Um-

Justin Cyrus:

Yeah.

Chad Anderson:

Last year, um, uh, people might be familiar with the Perseverance Rover on Mars, um, and there's a toaster sized experimental instrument on board, um, that's doing some pretty cool things with the red planet's, um, atmosphere turning it into oxygen. And you had a hand in that, is that right?

Justin Cyrus:

Yeah, that's correct. Um, a big part of establishing Lunar Outpost as you know, the leading space mobility provider, uh, planetary surface mobility provider was getting that heritage. Um, and not only proving out our technologies best we could here on earth, but getting some of that space flight heritage actually on another planetary body. Uh, so Dr. Forrest Mine from our team, uh, leads these MOXIE efforts on that, uh, Perseverance Rover.

And basically what it does, uh, takes the CO2 outta the Martian atmosphere, runs it over, uh, more or less reverse fuel cell process at 800 degrees celsius and then pumps out oxygen. Uh, and the future thought for that experiment is that oxygen's not only gonna be important for life support systems, but it will be important for refueling, uh, rockets, uh, you know, maybe the Starship, uh, coming back here to earth in the future. So it was an extremely exciting project, uh, for us at Lunar outpost. We're still sending code to Mars today, actually from our offices here in Golden Colorado. Uh, and it gave us, uh, some much needed space flight heritage, uh, and it really taught us quite a bit about what we need to do to enable those long term operations on those other planetary bodies.

Chad Anderson:

That's great. And then, so a little bit of context setting here too. I mean, um, the lunar is a nascent market, right? Um, and so according to our, our data, as of Q1, there's been $260 billion invested into 1700 companies in this space economy over the last 10 years. And while most of that's gone to GPS and geospatial intelligence and satellite, uh, communications companies that are servicing terrestrial markets, there has been about two billion of that, that's gone to 70 companies in the emerging, um, in, in emerging industries like lunar transportation space stations and the like. um, so this is 1% of the capital and 4% of the companies. Um, so you look at this and you think, um, uh, that this is a really risky proposition, right? Um, but a big driver of what's kick started the development in these new markets are government dollars.

Um, the Commercial Lunar Payload Services Program, for example, um, NASA's spending two and a half billion dollars over 10 years, fixed price contracts, similar to the, the types of contracts that got SpaceX up and, and started. Um, and these are robotic precursor missions for, um, uh, in support of crude missions, right? And these are the types of, of, of programs providing critical funding to companies like yours and, um, the companies that are gonna give you a ride to the lunar surface, right?

Justin Cyrus:

Yeah, absolutely. A big part of, I think, what is gonna make the next step evolution in this space economy sustainable is gonna be leveraging that infrastructure that NASA, the DOD, uh, European Space Agency, Australian Space Agency and others are spending billions of dollars to put in place. Uh, so really for the first time in human history, we have reliable, um, common, uh, and, and when I mean common, I just mean often transportation to the linear surface. Uh, there are already 70 missions planned to head to the moon, uh, in the course of the next decade and, you know, a subset of those, around a dozen or so are gonna be heading within the next two years. So when we're looking at, you know, what opportunities are being put in place, a big part of this new market is that public private partnership. Uh, when you start talking about NASA spending billions of dollars to enable this transportation, but not only the transportation, some of that next step, some of what Linear Outpost is doing, uh, providing that mobility on the lunar surface and other planetary bodies, uh, they're also spending billions of dollars to set up infrastructure on these planetary bodies.

So actually at Lunar Outpost, we have one of the first contracts for infrastructure on the lunar surface, which we're extremely excited about. Um, the, you know, start of this is actual terrestrial demonstration, that we're gonna do over at Colorado School of Mines, but it's setting up. So using our rovers on the lunar surface to build and maintain the launch and landing pads that Starship is gonna use and, you know, these other human landing systems and robotic landing systems are gonna use as well.

So I, I think the common is well placed, Chad, that, uh, a lot of that early spend to help get that infrastructure in place that enables this commercial market, uh, is coming from government agencies and organizations. But what's exciting and what hasn't happened in the past that's happening now is we have large commercial customers that are coming along and paying us to do these operations, these services, um, and allow them access to these planetary bodies, which really drives, you know, commercial revenue for us and other folks in the industry.

Chad Anderson:

Oh, that's awesome. Okay. So there's a lot to unpack there and I definitely want to, I wanna dive into each of those things, um, the, uh, Artemis program, so this is, you know, you mentioned, um, the infrastructure contract, um, which is fantastic news. Um, and we're talking about landing humans on the moon again. Artemis is that, uh, NASA program, primary goal to return humans to the moon, specifically the lunar south pole, um, which looks like the best place... is to set up and establish a, a permanent outpost. Um, and it sounds like, you know, you've got the contract to help start to lay that infrastructure. Can you tell us, um, more about the Artemis Program and, uh, how Lunar Outpost is involved?

Justin Cyrus:

Yeah. The Artemis Program, uh, with NASA, is extremely exciting. It's, uh, not only focused on getting folks back to the moon. Uh, so this is not just a flags-and-footprint program, uh, but it is focused on creating that sustainable presence on the lunar surface, that will allow humanity, uh, to utilize the moon, uh, and utilize other planetary bodies, but then get further out to Mars. So, I think it's a very well-placed program, very well-timed program, in terms of our technical capabilities, um, not only, you know, as a commercial companies, but also just as a nation and, um, as a species, but the Artemis Program is very much focused on getting those next humans to the moon. Uh, you know, we're looking around 2025 right now. Uh, but also utilizing the transportation infrastructure that's being put in place to get, uh, the robotics, the services, uh, the habitats, the roads, the communications, all that stuff put in place, so we can commercialize the lunar surface.

Chad Anderson:

Okay-

Justin Cyrus:

So, that was a bit on the Artemis Program. Um, I'm not sure if you'd like to dive in a little bit more there.

Chad Anderson:

No, that's great. I think, um, you know, I'm just, uh, given the early nature of this market, and the reliance government funding, through um the CLPS Program, Artemis, and others, uh, merging markets like this are uncertain and, and subject to changing political landscape, which is why we, um, as investors, are, are seeking out opportunities that serve both terrestrial and nascent markets like this.

Justin Cyrus:

Yeah.

Chad Anderson:

Um, clearly, you and Lunar Outpost see things in a similar way. You've mitigated those risk, um, risks, by developing a terrestrial business, which has generated early revenue for the company and, you know, dare I say, the P word, um, profitability, uh, which I imagine is pretty unique among lunar transportation companies. So, um, can you tell us a little bit about your, uh, go-to-market strategy and how, um, and, and how you've managed to pull off this off?

Justin Cyrus:

Yeah. No, excellent question, Chad. Uh, it's a big part of our success at Lunar Outpost and a big differentiator, um, we think, for our company, moving forward. Uh, back in 2017, so just to explain our thought process a little bit, back in 2017, we were coming off, uh, you know, a couple pretty ambitious projects that ended up failing. Uh, there was a couple companies that raised a lot of money, and then never actually got anything demonstrated on orbit, on other planetary bodies.

And we looked, you know, we, we did a dissection, if you will, to see why these companies failed, and the biggest thing that stood out to us was lack of revenue. Uh, these companies, you know, some people had invested 80 million. Another company had, uh, you knows tens of millions as well. They just didn't get to the point where they had sustainable revenue, and we were very focused on making ourselves a sustainable company. Uh, so we have, uh, been, not only developing these advanced technologies to enable that sustainable presence in space, but for each technology we develop, uh, we have the criteria that it has to be applicable to a terrestrial market here on Earth.

Uh, so we actually started out with, uh, an air quality sensor, an environmental sensor, that was originally meant for, you know, the next deep space gateway, to detect particulate matter from the lunar surface. Um, and unfortunately, our prime partner did not get the next step of that contract. But, due to our thought process and how we set up our own techno- uh, technological development, we already knew the markets that this was applicable to here on Earth. Uh, so we ended partnering with a City and County in Denver. They won a $1 million national prize, and we were off to the races. So, that product that came from the original, uh, you know, technology that was developed for a lunar market, uh, has collected over 35 billion data points. You need data points, here on Earth, uh, well over 99% up-time. And that has led, uh, to us being a profitable company.

Uh, and a big part of the reason, uh, we raised the investment now, is with our investment partners, uh, we are developing some more advanced technologies, uh, that, again, not only, uh, I would say, increase our leadership on the lunar surface, but that have strong applications, uh, for these terrestrial markets, some of which we're already operating in, here on Earth, and some that are gonna be new markets for us, uh, to go out and capture. But, uh, a big part of our early success and, you know, not, uh, being around since 2017. Right? We've already out- outlasted some of those more, um, you know, big-thinking companies that just were focused on raising, and not really focused on revenue-

Chad Anderson:

Yep.

Justin Cyrus:

... uh, but a big part of our success since 2017 has been that ability to bring those technologies back here to Earth, drive profitability on those product lines, and reinvest that back into the growth of our company.

Chad Anderson:

Well, that was certainly one of the most, um, compelling things, one of the more compelling things, that we saw about the company, um, you know, this dual-world use cases. So, um, that product that you were talking about, um, that's your Canary, um, product, which is driving a lot of your terrestrial, um, uh, revenue. You've also got, um, MAPP, M-A-P-P. Um, it's a line of rovers that you've adapted to support customers on the Earth, moon, and beyond. Can you tell us more about that product?

Justin Cyrus:

Yeah. So, that the MAPP products, uh, you know, we really kicked that off in 2017, almost in tandem with the Canary product line. Um, really, we're, we're gonna be the first Rover at the lunar South Pole. Uh, this a 10 kg class rover. Um, uh, MAPP is, and I'll talk a little bit about some of our other robotic systems here in a second, but 10 kg Class rover that can travel kilometers, uh, multiple kilometers, tens of kilometers, on the lunar surface. And when you start talking, uh, similar to SpaceX. Right? When you, when you look at Launch, what was available with Launch, at what price point? Um, SpaceX was able to bring that cost down by orders of magnitude, and that's the thought behind the MAPP product line.

Uh, so if you are looking at the Mars Perseverance rover, which is an absolutely amazing piece of technology, but it still costs $3 billion. Uh, NASA's VIPER rover, $500 million. Um, so we're really m- looking at bringing that cost point, um, that access point, down by orders of magnitude, so we can get to the point that we have a sustainable presence on the moon. So, this rover line, 10 kg Class is the first one that we're sending up, about 60% uh, you know, payload mass ratio, which is industry-leading, and we have Lunar Night Survival. And the reason that's important, uh, when we start looking at setting up and maintaining that infrastructure, is now we go from A) we're just gonna sell one rover for one mission on the lunar surface. And that's all well and good. That's kinda how it's been done in the past, but now we're switching that paradigm to, "We have a rover that can survive and operate for years at a time on the lunar surface. Now, we can provide those services, like setting up the launch-and-landing pad that I was talking about earlier, like maintaining habitats, uh, like establishing a power infrastructure, road infrastructure, on the lunar surface."

Uh, so, first rover at the lunar South Pole. Uh, the next rover, uh, in line, you know, it's ... We call it a HL-MAPP We'll probably come up with a, uh, another fun acronym for it. But it's a 300 kg Class rover that's a bit more technologically advanced, uh, and a bit more robust. So, that is really, uh, uh, about the size of the rover. And you're gonna have swarms of these rovers that are operating on the lunar surface, to set up and maintain that infrastructure.

Chad Anderson:

How interesting. Okay. And, so, this is how you're gonna get started. Um-

Justin Cyrus:

Mm-hmm.

Chad Anderson:

... I'm also i- interested to hear, um, from you on the long- term outlook. Um, so, you've got ... You know, your, your product road map is, um, starting with these payload services, um, then moving on to this lunar infrastructure, which, actually, you've already, you're already starting on, and you've already getting contracts for, as you mentioned. Um, and then getting into space resources. Can you talk us through that, that big vision, that you have for the company?

Justin Cyrus:

So, yeah. And, you know, as you mentioned, where we're starting, you know, right now launch providers provide access to certain points in space. Lunar Outpost, we provide access to planetary bodies. That's where we're starting. Uh, that's a big part of our commercial revenue in space. As you said, we already talked a little about the infrastructure. But that big vision for the company, uh, what we're going to accomplish, uh, is basically ending scarcity. Uh, I don't know a better way to say it, but ending scarcity, uh, for all people, through the utilization of the infinite resources of space.

And when you start looking at what space can provide humanity, uh, there's two things that space has an infinite amount of, and the first, is materials and resources. And we're already starting to see, uh, shortages here on Earth and certain markets, and there are still accessible resources here on Earth. But when you really start lookin' at, um, what is the long-term plan for humanity, we are going to have access resources from other planetary bodies to keep growing and evolving, uh, as a society.

In addition, when, you know, E- Elon Musk talks about, or Jess Bezos talks about, thousands of people living and working in space, that's all well and good, but you can't launch all those materials from Earth. It's just not, uh, commercially-viable. It costs too much money. Um, and we do have a very limited amount of resources here on Earth. So, if you're able to utilize those resources. Let's say, you know, let's take Mars, for example, um, you know, utilizes those resources that are available on the Martian planet, then you can actually start looking and talking about a sustainable presence on Mars in the long term.

Uh, and that goes back to our space flight heritage, why, why MOXIE is so important, if I can get oxygen out of Martian atmosphere, I don't have to ship it all the way from Earth. Uh, so that's the big vision. That's where we're headed, um, at Lunar Outpost, but we're very much aware that we are going to have to drive, uh, revenue, and we're gonna have to help set up the infrastructure to make that a reality.

Chad Anderson:

Well, that is a pretty big TAM, um, and a pretty massive opportunity, um, from a, a enterprise and, and, and revenue perspective, but also from an impact perspective. Um, you know, and as you're talking, um, this is, uh, really great, really inspiring stuff. Um, we have heard other folks say similar words before, um, at other companies. And as you've mentioned, many of those aren't around anymore. Um, what is really compelling, I think, about Lunar Outpost and what you're doing is, your progress and the traction that you've had so far. So, um, MOXIE is, um, a, is a big first. Right? This is the first time, um, that we have, um ... This is the first instance of, of, what you call, uh, in-situ resource utilization. Right? Using the resources that you have, um, on a distance place, and in, in a re- in a remote location for, um, uh, a specific use there. Right?

Um, you also have several other pretty, pretty, um, interesting, um, uh, milestones that you've hit. Right? So, hh, I think it was last year. Uh, you were selected by, um, Nokia and Intuitive Machines to operate the first, uh, rover at the lunar south pole human history.

Justin Cyrus:

Yeah.

Chad Anderson:

Um, but you're also, Nokia is working with NASA to roll out an LTE 4G, um, communications network, um, again in anticipation for having an outpost there, and having a sustained human presence there, and you're involved in that as well, right?

Justin Cyrus:

Yeah. That's correct. It's, uh, actually our first mission. Uh, most people don't know this, but our first mission is fully commercial. Um, so we do have one, literally $1 from, (laughs), NASA going into that, uh, first rover at the lunar south pole. And, you know, that's actually gonna be the first sale of space resources in human history, which, uh, we're extremely excited about. So that's a big milestone. Uh, we were part of the first demonstration, uh, for creating space resources on another planetary body. It's a proof point, it's a milestone that shows this is a, uh, this is more than possible.

Uh, but also as you were talking about, um, these commercial customers, they're very focused on helping get this infrastructure in place. And with Nokia specifically, they're looking at high bandwidth, intra-lunar surface communications. So what that means is not only will swarms of our robots be able to talk to each other, but an astronaut will be able to FaceTime, uh, people back here on earth. And that's a pretty darn cool. Uh, that's a pretty darn cool concept if you talk about like real time video streaming of some of the NASA Artemis astronauts. So, uh, being a part of that on our first mission and having that be a, uh, solely commercial, uh, solely commercial contract, that's of course enabled by NASA and the CLPS program, but a solely commercial contract is a huge milestone for our industry. Uh, so, you know, as, as, uh, I think we talked about a little bit earlier, we do have government payloads on board, but very similar to the launch, uh, business case. And, you know, SpaceX is business case where they'll send up a government payload, but they have ride share opportunities for those commercial customers like Nokia. Um, I think is an important en- enabler, not only for our company, uh, but the larger commercial industry on that lunar surface.

Chad Anderson:

Um, we have a pretty broad audience, um, for this podcast. And I think, you know, some of this stuff is gonna be, um, uh, good for, um, for expanding some people's minds and understanding, you know, how, um, how big of an opportunity this is. That it's not just government, that it's also commercial, um, uh, dollars and enterprises that are interested here. Um, I think another thing that would, that is going to surprise a lot of folks is, um, how quickly this is happening. So what's, you, you said that you're gonna be the first, um, rover to the, to the south lunar po- uh, uh, pole, what's the latest on the date for that launch?

Justin Cyrus:

Yeah. Latest on the date we're actually, um, coordinating with NASA and Intuitive Machines. Uh, original date was, um, you know, December 2022. Um, most likely just due to, uh, some of the shortages, uh, that I think our lander providers are facing, it'll probably be pushed back a month or two. So I'm expecting very early 2023, uh, when that actually launches. But the most exciting part about that is, again, this is not just one launch, we have another launch, uh, less than 12 months after that. Uh, so we have mission one, mission two that are headed to the lunar surface within the next, uh, within the next 18 months. Um, and we're quickly lining up, uh, additional missions after that as well.

Chad Anderson:

That's amazing. Okay. So tell wha- what's the plan with the second lunar, lunar mission?

Justin Cyrus:

Yeah. The second lunar mission is going to a magnetic anomaly. Um, and I should clarify this is actually, uh, a NASA mission. So first mission is fully commercial, second mission is, uh, second mission is NASA funded. Uh, but this mission is going to a magnetic anomaly on the lunar surface called Reiner Gamma. Um, it's these magnetic swirls around an equatorial region on the moon, and our job with Johns Hopkins University APL, uh, applied physics laboratory, is to go investigate these magnetic anomalies. So the reason we're actually headed there is we wanna learn more about the formation of the moon, which will tell us more about the formation of the earth and our solar system.

Uh, so very much a science focused mission, uh, but it is for us, again, a profitable mission where Lunar Outpost is providing mobility services on, uh, another planetary body in this case, the lunar surface. So very excited about that mission. Um, and I think it provides a good contrast, right? First mission is, you know, fully commercial, more focused on some of the infrastructure, the resources piece, but there's still a lot of really cool science and exploration to do not only on the moon, uh, but Mars and beyond. So that's, that's a NASA mission that we're very excited to be a part of.

Chad Anderson:

And it also gives you a sense of what the first astronauts are gonna be doing, you know, and how they're gonna be spending their time when they're up there, which is pretty, pretty cool too.

Justin Cyrus:

Yeah. Yeah.

Chad Anderson:

Um, okay. So something we kind of glossed over, but the first sale of lunar resources, part of the, your first mission. Um, you got a check from $1 from the NASA administrator, um-

Justin Cyrus:

Mm-hmm.

Chad Anderson:

... which is obviously symbolic, but, um, what is the significance of this? This seems like, um, a very important step, um, something that's never been done before, establishing a framework for what's to come. And so, um, you know, how significant is this and what, how does this open, open up the opportunities for, for Lunar Outpost?

Justin Cyrus:

Yeah, Chad, you hit it right on the head. Um, this contract, which again, the NASA administrator himself, Senator Jim Bronson... Excuse me, uh, Senator Bill Nelson, uh, handed us the first check in human history to buy space resources. So as you said, very much symbolic, uh, for that $1. But we were already going to lunar south pole anyway. We already had commercial customers. We're already profitable in this mission. For us, this is about being part of a precedent setting moment. Um, and not only the legal, but the procedural frameworks, uh, that are gonna be put in place for companies like ours moving forward.

So what this says, what NASA is stating through this, and, you know, o- obviously NASA's, (laughs), more well equipped to talk about NASA than I am, but they're saying that commercial companies, uh, can go out, collect these resources from another planetary body and sell them. Uh, and what that allows for us as a commercial company is that legal backing, that procedural backing, um, that enables our long term vision plan, uh, our long term business plan and our long term vision, uh, for humans being able to sustainably use these resources from space. So it's an extremely important contract. Uh, we actually are on track to be the, uh, first people in human history to sell these resources. And I think the United States and actually the Luxembourg government as well have done a great job of putting these laws in place that allows companies like ours to operate. But now we're actually demonstrating these laws for the first time, which is why this contract, uh, and the simple act of picking up material from the moon and selling it to NASA is so important.

Chad Anderson:

Very cool. Um, okay. So is it, um, fair to say that, uh, when you get your first mission, uh, launched and, uh, when you successfully land and have a rover on the south pole of the moon, you are going to be in select company, uh, you're gonna be having, uh, technology operating on three planetary bodies at the same time?

Justin Cyrus:

Yeah. Yeah. Very few organizations can say that. Um, still, you know, blows my mind a little bit. It, it almost doesn't quite seem real yet. And I think it'll finally hit home once we have something operating on the moon. But we're already operating on Mars and earth, which is, you know, good company to be in. But once we land and operate on the lunar surface, this is a small company, which is, you know, quickly, quickly growing, a successful company, but a company, uh, that nonetheless was founded only five years ago, uh, in 2017 that is operating simultaneously on three planetary bodies. Uh, so the earth, moon and Mars. Uh, which I think is a pretty big proof point, uh, in the future, um, for these future markets, for these future plans, for this future vision that not only, uh, folks like Elon Musk, Jeff Bezos have, uh, but companies like ours have. Uh, and Lunar Outpost will be an important part of the space ecosystem moving forward.

Chad Anderson:

So that's kind of my next question. This is obviously a, a massive opportunity. Um-

Justin Cyrus:

Yeah.

Chad Anderson:

... you know, undefined, um, opportunity, uh, potentially, you know, massive, um, infinite resources of space, you've said. Um, Lunar Outpost is not gonna do everything, there's other players here. Um, it's obviously going to take more than one company, more than one, uh, agency or organization-

Justin Cyrus:

Mm-hmm.

Chad Anderson:

... to, to pull off something of this magnitude. Um, there's a lot of things, a lot of technologies, a lot of, of business, um, uh, enterprise developments that have come together, you know. There's a convergence of, of the regulatory environment and everything sort of coming together all at once that is enabling this. Um, it's a lot of work that's all kind of coming to a head. So I'm curious, you know, um, kind of a two part question, how big do you think that the opportunity could be for Lunar Outpost? Um, you know, if you peer five, 10 years, um, into the future, how do you see Lunar Out- Outpost fitting into that, um, that, that new industry, when it's, when it's more established and mature? And, you know, what are your competitive advantages? What are the things that you've done that have helped you, um, carve off a piece for yourself?

Justin Cyrus:

Yeah. No. Excellent question. I think, you know, to state clearly, this will be the largest market opportunity in human history. There is no doubt about it when you start looking at what is available in space and what commercial companies will be doing to get humanity sustainably out into space and how we will utilize these planetary bodies. So, uh, very clearly this is the largest market. The key for Lunar Outpost and how we've been able to succeed, and, you know, I'll, I'll dovetail this into our competitive advantage as well, is by finding technologies that are immediately applicable to large markets already today. Uh, and as you discussed earlier, like our technologies, uh, between the lunar surface and, uh, our technologies in space actually have about an 80% overlap with the technologies that we're deploying, um, on these markets on earth today. So when we develop these new technologies, we are, uh, further enabling our capabilities, uh, out in space that is headed towards, uh, this, you know, this large market, this huge market opportunity.

So to, I would say, address your question directly, what are Lunar Outpost's competitive advantages? You know, uh, one, uh, just timing, uh, to be perfectly honest. I think, uh, we started the company when we saw these landing, um, and launch opportunities coming forward, when the transportation was starting to be put in place. Uh, and so it's very well timed for this opportunity. And companies five years from now aren't gonna have, um, the ability to catch up as quickly, 'cause Lunar Outpost, uh, will have already proven our capabilities on these other planetary bodies by then. Uh, so timing is number one. Number two, the business plan, the focus on those dual use technologies and accessing

Those large markets today, I think allow us to be more sustainable, uh, and allow for a much higher degree of growth, uh, than we would otherwise have if we just shot straight for space resources right off the bat. And then number three, you know, of course, uh, I think it's very important to highlight our technical chops, our, our technical capabilities. Right now, we are the only rover, um, that, you know, we've tested this in thermal vacuum, we've tested this, um, you know, vibration shock, all that fun stuff to make sure we not only survive launch, uh, but we are the only rover that can survive and operate during the lunar night. Uh, so a huge competitive advantage for us is the reliability of our robotics and the capability of our robotics, um, in some of these extreme environments, including at the lunar south pole. Uh, so it really comes down to timing, business plan, technology. Um, I'm happy to dive further into the tech, um, if you'd like to go there, but it's gonna be a really cool, really cool feeling once we demonstrate this on the lunar surface.

Chad Anderson:

Yeah. And this is kinda bringing the conversation full circle as well, um, you know, where we started. We, when we were evaluating our investment, uh, we spoke, uh, to some of your enterprise partners, um, and they said a lot of really great things about your team. Um, it really impressed with the quality of the team, uh, very talented technically, um, they mentioned your leadership and interpersonal skills. So, um, and it sounds like, you know, you've highlighted that as one of your, your key differentiators. Can you tell us a little bit more about the team and, um, and, and how you've managed to pull together such a great group of folks?

Justin Cyrus:

Uh, absolutely, Chad. And I do think it's very important, uh, when looking at some of these younger companies, of course, to look at the team. And I think with our team, it took us, uh, a little while to find the right people. Uh, it wasn't immediate. You know, I was fortunate enough to have a brother that grew up in aerospace as well that was willing to quit as nice six figure job enjoyment in the garage for a while.

Chad Anderson:

Hmm.

Justin Cyrus:

Uh, but when we were putting together the team of the rest of our co-founders, um, really, we, we were going to conferences. Uh, we were having these interactions and we were looking for the best entrepreneurial, uh, space folks that we can find. And I ended up talking to, you know, probably well over a hundred people before we brought, uh, one of the first co-founders on board, AJ Gammer, and he's coming out of eight years at laboratory of atmospheric space physics, worked on eight different space flight projects. And then, although he's earlier on his, his career, there's not too many young entrepreneurs that have that kind of, um, operational expertise built in.

Uh, and then additionally actually, AJ was making a presentation first time I met him on, uh, the market's, uh, for space resources on what resources will be viable and there was this whole huge study that was backed by very solid data. And just the thought process behind that presentation, I was like, "Wow, you know, this, this guy's impressive." So I approached him after the presentation, we met up for drinks and we just got along really well. Uh, so, uh, and then of course we have joined Sirius coming from the Orion program where he's a certified principal engineer, uh, for displays and controls. And having that human space flight experience has helped us.

Actually, one thing we haven't even mentioned so far is our role, uh, as part of the LTV program, so human rovers on the lunar surface. But having that human space flight experience has definitely contributed to our success. Uh, and then Dr. Forrest Meyen. You know, expert in space resources, one of the best young space entrepreneurs there is, period. Uh, and he had co-founded previously successful startups, uh, including Raptor Maps which is still ongoing, doing quite well. Um, and having not only, uh, the space resource heritage, uh, and mindset coming from the MOXIE program, but also having that previous successful, uh, entrepreneurial endeavor, uh, was a key indicator for us and a big part of the reason we brought 'em on the team as a co-founder. Uh, so all of our C-suite executives, all of our co-founders have either space flight operations, uh, or space flight development experience. So although again, young team, highly motivated, uh, we are coming at this, uh, from having, uh, previous entrepreneurial and space flight experience which has allowed us, uh, to not only get those commercial customers, help build our heritage as a company, uh, but really get ourselves in a mindset where we're ready to grow, we're ready to scale.

Chad Anderson:

As always, it comes down to the talent and the people on the team. So, um, that's great to hear. Um, another thing that you mentioned was timing and the benefit of timing that you had. Um, you have great traction. Um, as we've discussed, you've closed around recently to execute on these customer contracts. Um, what does it mean for you given that on the one hand there's a lot of momentum in this emerging lunar market, but at the same time, the capital markets are tightening up?

Justin Cyrus:

Chad, (laughing) it all, all comes down to the team and timing. And I, I think this is a very well placed question. Um, you're correct, capital markets are tightening up. I think our raise was very well timed. Uh, we, we closed the raise before, um, some of those capital markets were becoming more difficult, but even when we've seen capital markets, uh, tighten up in the past, I think some companies have taken that as an opportunity. Uh, some companies have really pressed their advantage, and now instead of, you know, the capital, uh, kinda just going to, uh, kind of their potential competitors, if these companies are able to differentiate themselves, um, in a strong way, and I, I think we're doing that, um, and if they're able to grow their revenue even in a, uh, potential down market, that just is, uh, in my mind, another strong proof point to investors and to the broader, um, you know, capital market that these companies are gonna be around for the long term.

Uh, one thing that isn't commonly known that I'm happy to share, actually, during the last market downturn, granted, it was a bit shorter. Uh, but during COVID, the supply chains, Lunar Outpost was able to pretty, uh, pretty notably grow our revenue and our company. Uh, so we see this as an opportunity to prove that our business plan, uh, is sustainable, it's strong, and we can be high growth regardless of the market conditions.

Chad Anderson:

Love to hear it. Um, Justin, how can listeners learn more about Lunar Outpost?

Justin Cyrus:

Yeah. Uh, listeners can learn more about Lunar Outpost if you visit our website, lunaroutpost.com, uh, or give us a follow. Uh, we have Instagram accounts. Uh, we love showing off our progress, our technology. We have LinkedIn accounts if you're looking for a new job, new career, uh, and we have Facebook accounts as well. So please follow us @thelunaroutpost on any of those social media sites. Uh, and you could always contact us directly as well on info@lunaroutpost.com.

Chad Anderson:

That's great. Justin, it's been great chatting with you. Uh, best of luck on your upcoming launch. I know that we will be watching, uh, very, very closely. Um, thanks again for coming on the show.

Justin Cyrus:

Yeah, thanks again for having me, Chad. This was a lot of fun.