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Broadcast 1892 (Special Edition)Listen to the show!
Aired on November 12th, 2012
Guest: Dr. George Sowers
Guest: Dr. George Sowers. Topics: United Launch Alliance, Atlas 5, Delta IV, human rating Atlas and Delta. 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 Dr. George Sowers, VP of Human Launch Services at ULA back to the show for a special one hour report on Atlas, Delta, human rating rockets, and much more. Dr. Sowers started off by letting us know that ULA recently created the Human Launch Services Division with Dr. Sowers as the Vice-President. Dr. Sowers then updated us on some of their more visible ULA activities since his last visit to The Space Show in January 2011, including probable SLS and Dream Chaser time lines, commercial crew participation and Orion tests in 2014. We talked about the ULA role in commercial crew and what was needed to human rate the Atlas as well as the Delta IV. I also asked about needed pad modifications for HSF with an Atlas and Dr. Sowers told us about modifications to Launch Complex 41 at the Cape for the upcoming crewed flights. Listeners asked our guest lots of questions about safety, pad modifications, range safety issues, and the difference in human rating the Atlas as compared to a Delta. Another question asked of our guest was to understand the contributing factors to the impressive launch success and safety rate for the Atlas rocket. Dr. Sowers answered this in some detail with attention being paid to what is known at the 3 P's. Charles wanted to know about the Russian RD-180 engines & another listener wanted to know if ULA was feeling competitive "heat" from SpaceX. Yves in Montreal asked about the dual centaur having uses other than for commercial crew and Barbara wanted to know about the role of an Atlas for possible orbital tourism with a Bigelow space station module. We talked about ULA's potential interest in new spaceports which seem to be developing around the country, then I asked Dr. Sowers about what constituted a commercial space project. Here, we learned that commercial implies largely financed by private funds, not government money. He said that EELV was developed by 80% private sector funding. We also talked about the Arianne family of rockets and their pricing which is subsidized by European governments. Dr. Sowers explained why it was so hard to compete against government subsidized pricing. Another topic of interest in our discussion was launch vehicle market and pricing elasticity and how to drive up launch rates and lower launch costs. We also talked about human spaceflight having the government as the primary leader for the market and cargo as having only an ISS market at this time. On orbit propellant depots were discussed as was SLS and heavy lift. As we neared the end of the hour, we talked about SRBs for the human rated Atlas. In our brief second segment, I went over the near term Space Show schedule and our last caller John from Florida called in to wonder if a real emergency came up if we would launch a crewed rocket/vehicle to try to save the ISS for example or would we be unwilling to take the risk and let the ISS deorbit in the example given. Hopefully such a predicament does not arise. If you have comments/questions about our discussion with Dr. Sowers, please post them on The Space Show blog.

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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