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Broadcast 1127 (Special Edition)Listen to the show!
Aired on March 23rd, 2009
Guest: Dr. S. Pete Worden
Guest: Dr. Pete Worden for the first hour followed by Open Lines. Topics: Space Solar Power (SSP), NASA Ames Research Center. Dr. Pete Worden, Center Director for the NASA Ames Research Center, was the guest for the first hour of the show. The last segment was an Open Lines discussion primarily geared to our space solar power discussion with Dr. Worden. Our discussion with Dr. Worden followed the business case discussion on SSP stemming from the debate at the ATWG Conference in early December 2008 at Ames. During that debate, Dr. Worden explained why there was no business case for space solar power and he brought that discussion to this Space Show program. In discussing space solar power, we talked about launch and geosynchronous orbit access costs, systems engineering including the operating environment for the space solar power satellites, the cost of getting the power back to the ground, and ongoing maintenance and repair issues. Pete contrasted these categories with what is needed for obtaining terrestrial power and he showed the cost differentials indicating that at a minimum, SSP is five orders of magnitude more costly than using terrestrial sources of power. He talked about how terrestrial solar is used today and how much more terrestrial solar is available that would take us well past a hundred years from now. Listener questions were bunched together and merged given we only had one hour with Pete and there were many emails, most containing between five and ten questions. Some of the listener questions asked Pete about a NASA agenda that purposely omits SSP from discussion or consideration, some asked for his thoughts on the mix of energy sources we should strive for in an energy policy for our future, and still others inquired about promising new alternative energy technologies, especially those in the bio disciplines. While most of the time spent with Pete related to SSP, we did find out about new and interesting NASA projects. This included a discussion about Google, Cisco, the Ames Pleiades supercomputer, the ISU Summer Session coming to Ames, the Singularity University, and the economic value of Ames in Northern California. The final segment was Open Lines dedicated to discussing what Dr. Worden said about SSP. Most, if not all, of the listener feedback supported Dr. Worden in that there is no business case for SSP. I was asked about education which resulted in many minutes being devoted to this subject with my telling some stories to illustrate weaknesses in our present educational system. I also talked about the Astropolitics article that is out now regarding possible ozone damage as a result of a large number of chemical rocket launches going through the atmosphere. Toward the end of the Open Lines, I offered my "Pearl of Wisdom" suggesting that advocates of SSP understand the serious criticisms of SSP and learn how to negate or rebuke them, showing that there is a legitimate business case for SSP as in the case of the Pete Worden discussion. If you have a question or comment for Dr. Pete Worden or me from the Open Lines segment, please send your email to me and if for Dr. Worden, I will send it to him. If you email Dr. Worden direct, please copy me on it as I would like to see your questions and any response he offers. The Space Show address is .

About our guest...

Dr. S. Pete Worden
Dr. Simon Pete Worden (Brig. Gen., USAF, ret.) is the new NASA Ames Research Center Director. Prior to becoming Director, Dr. Worden was a Research Professor of Astronomy, Optical Sciences and Planetary Sciences at the University of Arizona where his primary research direction was the development of large space optics for national security and scientific purposes and near-earth asteroids. Additionally he worked on topics related to space exploration and solar-type activity in nearby stars. He is a recognized expert on space issues—both civil and military. Dr. Worden has authored or co-authored more than 150 scientific technical papers in astrophysics, space sciences, and strategic studies. Moreover, he served as a scientific co-investigator for two NASA space science missions. In addition to his former position with the University of Arizona, Dr. Worden served as a consultant to the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) on space-related issues. During the 2004 Congressional Session Dr. Worden worked as a Congressional Fellow with the Office of Senator Sam Brownback (R-KS), where he served as Senator Brownback's chief advisor on NASA and space issues. Dr. Worden retired in 2004 after 29 years of active service in the United States Air Force. His final position was Director of Development and Transformation, Space and Missile Systems Center, Air Force Space Command, Los Angeles Air Force Base, CA. In this position he was responsible for developing new directions for Air Force Space Command programs and was instrumental in initiating a major Responsive Space Program designed to produce space systems and launchers capable of tailored military effects on timescales of hours. Dr. Worden was commissioned in 1971 after receiving a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Michigan. He entered the Air Force in 1975 after graduating from the University of Arizona with a doctorate in astronomy. Throughout the 1980s and early 1990s, Dr. Worden served in every phase of development, international negotiations and implementation of the Strategic Defense Initiative, a primary component in ending the Cold War. He twice served in the Executive Office of the President. As the staff officer for initiatives in the George Bush administration's National Space Council, Dr. Worden spearheaded efforts to revitalize U.S. civil space exploration and earth monitoring programs. Dr. Worden commanded the 50th Space Wing that is responsible for more than 60 Department of Defense satellites and more than 6,000 people at 23 worldwide locations. He then served as Deputy Director for Requirements at Headquarters Air Force Space Command, as well as the Deputy Director for Command and Control with the Office of the Deputy Chief of Staff for Air and Space Operations at Air Force headquarters. Prior to assuming his current position, Dr. Worden was responsible for policy and direction of five mission areas: force enhancement, space support, space control, force application and computer network defense. Dr. Worden has written or co-written more than 150 scientific technical papers in astrophysics, space sciences and strategic studies. He was a scientific co-investigator for two NASA space science missions.

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