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Broadcast 1886 (Special Edition)Listen to the show!
Aired on November 2nd, 2012
Guest: Josh Hopkins
Guest: Josh Hopkins. Topics: Stepping Stones for affordable human exploration missions & lunar far side exploration at Earth-Moon L2. Please direct all comments and questions regarding Space Show programs/guest(s) to the Space Show blog, Comments and questions should be relevant to the specific Space Show program. Written Transcripts of Space Show programs are a violation of our copyright and are not permitted without prior written consent, even if for your own use. We do not permit the commercial use of Space Show programs or any part thereof, nor do we permit editing, YouTube clips, or clips placed on other private channels & websites. Space Show programs can be quoted, but the quote must be cited or referenced using the proper citation format. Contact The Space Show for further information. We welcomed Josh Hopkins back to the show to discuss his Stepping Stones approach to affordable human spaceflight from Earth orbit to the Martian moons. We also discussed exploring the lunar far side from the Earth-Moon L2 point. In our first segment, Mr. Hopkins introduced us to a potential list of missions in sequence from LEO to the Moon and beyond. We zeroed in on the lunar farside, both from the L2 Earth-Moon point and from the lunar surface. Our guest focused our attention on the Aitken Crater Impact Basin and rock sampling for lunar and solar system science regarding different theories about the age and origins of the universe, all of which can tell us much about the Earth, the possibility for life elsewhere, and provide valuable science to further our understanding of the universe. Mr. Hopkins was both detailed and comprehensive in this discussion, then we switched to robotic as compared to human missions, orbiting missions as compared to lunar surface missions. Callers inquired about how such missions would be paid for and from which part of the NASA budget. For example, does the NASA science budget fund the mission, does the cost come from the human spaceflight side if humans are involved, how would they share costs, & is there international cooperation. One of the important issues brought up in this discussion dealt with the fact that in the science part of NASA, missions are competed for against one another, a process that seems to work well. Inquiring about mission competition with human spaceflight involvement is yet to be determined. Telerobotic missions were discussed and communication latency concerns were brought to our attention. Josh talked about planned ISS telerobotic demos back on Earth at NASA Ames & with ESA. In our second segment, Josh talked about orbital telerobotic cost issues as compared to being on the lunar surface. A listener wanted to know about traversing the Moon from a habitat to the farside & Josh explained the challenges in doing that. Josh talked in some detail about a radio astronomy observatory at the L2 point & on the lunar surface. He talked about noise issues at each location & the advantages each brings to the table. Josh was asked about lunar tourism & its potential impact on a radio telescope observatory on the farside. A listener asked about the Google Lunar X Prize for sample return, another inquired about the lunar space elevator, and yet another called in to ask about Stepping Stones as part of the Flexible Path. ISRU lunar development was also a discussion topic. Please direct your comments/questions to The Space Show blog URL above. If you want to email Josh, you can do so through me. Visit for more information on the Stepping Stones concept.

About our guest...

Josh Hopkins
As one of Lockheed Martinís most forward thinking principal investigators, Josh Hopkins leads a team of engineers who develop plans and concepts for a variety of future human exploration missions, including visits to asteroids and Lagrange points. He is responsible for the Plymouth Rock mission study for human exploration of Near Earth Asteroids using the Orion crew exploration vehicle. In a similar capacity he previously led Lockheed Martinís technical team to determine mission capabilities for the Altair lunar lander. During his 14 years with Lockheed Martin, Hopkins has focused most of his efforts developing space transportation systems and launch vehicles. He began as a trajectory analyst, first on the Athena commercial launch vehicle program, and then in a similar role for the Atlas V launch vehicle. Later, he became responsible for vehicle sizing and system design for a variety of reusable launch vehicle design projects for NASA and the United States Air Force. He has since helped design a variety of expendable and reusable launch vehicles, government and commercial crew transportation spacecraft, and robotic and human exploration vehicles such as lunar landers. Hopkins has been recognized as an innovative leader in the space industry, receiving the AIAA Summerfied Book Award in 2003 and the Rotary National Award for Space Achievement Stellar Award in 2007. Mr. Hopkins has his Bachelor of Science in Aeronautical and Astronautical Engineering, University of Illinois.

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