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Editor’s note: This is the first in an occasional series of profiles of the people who helped lead the commercial space industry, which NASA Deputy Administrator Pam Melroy called “the envy of the world.” Everyone knows who Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos are. But many others are working to usher in a future in which space flight is sustainable and economic activity in space is profitable. Here are some of his stories,

Dylan Taylor almost seemed in shock when we spoke on the telephone at the end of October.

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“This,” he said, his voice cracking, “has been a dream of mine for almost my whole life.”

Taylor called to say that the crew lineup had been finalized for the third manned flight of Blue Origin’s New Shepard flight, and that he was among four paying passengers. The flight, starting Saturday from West Texas, will include high-profile crew members. Notably, Laura Shepard Churchley, the eldest daughter of Good Morning America co-anchors Michael Strahan and Alan Shepard, is both flying in as guest appearances with Taylor, Evan Dick, Len Bass, and Cameron Bass.

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But for commercial space, Taylor is one of the most consequential space entrepreneurs to go to space, perhaps second only to Blue Origin founder Jeff Bezos and Virgin Galactic’s Sir Richard Branson, which flew earlier this summer. Was.

Flying on New Shepard this week is an important step in Taylor’s personal journey, and she looks forward to sharing the experience with others. In 2017, he founded Space for Humanity, which is buying seats on New Shepard and Virgin Galactic’s VSS Unity spacecraft to create opportunities for “citizen astronauts.” The goal is to sponsor people around the world to go into space, experience the observation effect, and return to Earth to share it with their communities.

But their impact goes far beyond simply spreading awareness about spaceflight. In recent years, Taylor has had a significant, if quiet, impact on the growth of the business space. He is the chairman and founder of Voyager Space Holdings, which has built a portfolio of new space companies. A smaller Voyager company, NanoRacks, recently won a $160 million contract from NASA to develop a commercial space station in low Earth orbit.

For Taylor, it was a hugely valid moment. He counts himself as one of the “Children of Gerry”, a group of idealistic Space Cadets who believe that humans should settle in space and that the best place to do so is at large O’Neill. The cylinders have – first theorized by physicist Gerry O’Neill – orbiting the Earth and the Moon. Privately developed space stations represent a solid first step towards this goal.

“I’m a true believer,” said 51-year-old Taylor. “If the end condition is O’Neillian, how does my brain work – what are the obstacles and what are the obstacles, and how do we overcome them?”

He believes there are already too many companies making rockets. So now the biggest obstacle is the development of economic activities in space, thereby giving man the purpose of going there.

His answer has ultimately come in the form of Voyager, which he describes as a “sustainable and philanthropic” operating company. It also seeks to acquire promising small space companies focusing on activities in space, such as habitat, orbital debris reduction and satellite servicing. Taylor looks at the new space industry and sees that a lot of companies are struggling, even though they have great ideas. Maybe they lack capital or can’t scale easily.

Through Voyager, Taylor wants space entrepreneurs to do what they do best: innovation. So Voyager acquires their companies, provides them with the funding they need, and helps with the business side of things. As such, Taylor can be seen as someone who helps new space companies avoid the “death valley” most startups go through.

get into business

Taylor grew up in Idaho and is the son of a metallurgical engineering professor at the University of Idaho. He was an avid baseball player and enjoyed the social side of the school more than academics. Still, he got good enough grades to go almost anywhere in the country, eventually choosing the University of Arizona because he liked the sun. Taylor followed in his father’s footsteps and studied engineering, but he knew he wanted to eventually become a lawyer or businessman.

After graduating from college in 1993, Taylor took a job at Sia-Burgess, a Switzerland-based electronics company in Chicago. He arrived at the right time as one of a handful of employees in North America. Seven years later, Taylor was general manager at a company with a few thousand people in the United States. By the turn of the century, he was not yet 30, and he was already a bright young engineer with an MBA degree and a grasp of the fundamentals of global business.

At that time, Saya-Burgess moved its North American operations to Troy, Michigan to be closer to its automotive customers. Taylor disliked the new location and moved back to Chicago to live with his friends and a girlfriend who became his wife. He landed a job with LaSalle Partners, which offered investment banking and real estate services. Taylor received several promotions and was eventually hired in 2009 with Colliers International, a private equity firm in Toronto.

Again, he caught a company on a boom. Over the next six years, Colliers’ annual revenue grew from $400 million to nearly $3 billion. Taylor also became the CEO of America. In 2015, the company went public, and Taylor owned “a significant portion” of it. “That was a beautiful life-changing event for me,” he said.

But then, in 2019, Colliers fired Taylor for “insider trading.” He was serving as the CEO of its Real Estate Services Division. This could have been another life-changing event, even if not in a good way. However, subsequent investigation found that there was no unfair treatment. “Long story short, I had decided to leave,” Taylor said. “And then as I was leaving, there was a disagreement that was completely resolved.” Taylor and Colliers issued a joint statement, to settle the matter amicably.

Taylor wanted to leave Colliers after almost a quarter century in the business world because he became increasingly interested in and passionate about spacecraft. He first began engaging in space in 2007, when he met Space Adventurers co-founder Eric Anderson at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.

By then, Taylor was already financially ready for life. “I’m sitting on the World Economic Forum, and you’re supposed to be the king of the world,” he said. “You have more money than you need. Still, you’re not feeling full. I started thinking about my purpose.” Taylor soon realized that his purpose was to help humanity expand its reach in space so that it could become an astronaut species. Taylor ended up investing in Anderson’s ventures, and the aerospace engineer began introducing Taylor to his network.

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