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Broadcast 1493 (Special Edition)Listen to the show!
Aired on January 10th, 2011
Guest: Dr. George Sowers
Guest: Dr. George Sowers. Topics: EELV for human rating, commercial space topics, space policy issues. Please note that you are invited to comment, ask questions, and discuss the Space Show program/guest(s) on the Space Show blog, Comments, questions, and any discussion must be relevant and applicable to Space Show programming. In our first segment, Dr. Sowers began with an assessment and description of the Atlas rocket & its role over the years, then moving to discussions with Bigelow and commercial crew with NASA re CCDEV. We talked about what would be required for human rating an EELV and then we talked about the testing program that would be used for such the new systems. Dr. Sowers explained this process in some detail so make sure you listen carefully to this segment. We talked about launches from Vandenberg as well as the Cape to the ISS and even beyond the ISS. I asked Dr. Sowers about the launch price increases I have been mentioning on air that were mentioned at the recent AGU conference in San Francisco. He explained this matter in some detailed. Here, we talked about the NASA Launch Services (NLS) and the new NLS 2. As you will hear, the price increase story is correct but Dr. Sowers cleared up lots of confusion surrounding the issue. As the segment ended, we talked about launch service being treated as a commodity. Don't miss what Dr. Sowers said about this. Our second segment started with a more detailed description of what Dr. Sowers meant by referencing our industrial base. As you will hear, this is a concise and excellent overview of our aerospace industry as of now. I then asked Dr. Sowers for his take on what constituted commercial space. We had a comprehensive discussion about this, including the types of contracts used, the nature of the customer, space markets, and more. A listener suggested that SpaceX was more commercial than ULA because of some misunderstandings of the origins of EELV so don't miss what Dr. Sowers had to say about this matter as ULA and EELV are absolutely commercial. Another topic that came up was the perceived but incorrect competition with Orion and CCDEV. CCDEV is really about going to LEO and the ISS. Orion is being built for beyond LEO and the ISS. He said it was a false competition. We then talked about the private sector capabilities for doing safe and reliable human spaceflight to the ISS. Not a problem but listen to the discussion. Later in the segment, space tourism came up as a subject followed by a listener asking about reusability. Toward the end of the program, I asked about new commercial markets and business opportunities arising form the commercial space policy debate in 2010. I wanted to know if our guest was seeing new opportunities coming to the forefront, even if just in the Power Point format. Here, Dr. Sowers referred back to Bigelow as the most real near-term opportunity. Please post your comments and questions on The Space Show Blog URL above. If you want to send a comment or question to our guest, please do so through me at

About our guest...

Dr. George Sowers
Dr. George F. Sowers is vice president of Human Launch Services for United Launch Alliance (ULA) headquartered in Denver, Colorado. In his previous role as the VP of Business Development, Sowers was responsible for strategic planning, advanced technology development, advanced concept development and new business acquisition efforts. Before joining ULA, Dr. Sowers was director of Business Development & Advanced Programs for Lockheed Martin Space Systems Company, Space Transportation line of business located in Denver, Colo.Dr Sowers previously served as director of Mission Integration for the Atlas launch vehicle program.In this role, he was responsible for all activities to integrate and fly satellites on Atlas launch vehicles. This included interface requirements development, mission design, dynamics and systems analysis and flight software development.Prior to this assignment, Dr. Sowers was the Chief Systems Engineer and director of the Systems Engineering and Integration Team (SEIT) for the Atlas V development program. This group was responsible for systems requirements development and verification, systems test, systems integration and systems analysis. Dr. Sowers served on the Atlas V development program from near itsinception through the first flight in 2002. Dr. Sowers began his career in the aerospace industry with Martin Marietta in 1981 on the Titan program as a flight design engineer. He left the company in 1983 to obtain his PhD. Upon his return to Martin Marietta in 1988, Dr. Sowers assumed a number of increasingly responsible positions on the Titan program culminating in the role of Deputy Chief Engineer.Dr. Sowers received his Bachelor of Science degree in physics from Georgia Tech in 1980, and obtained his PhD in physics from the University of Colorado in 1988..

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