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Broadcast 1911 (Special Edition)Listen to the show!
Aired on December 10th, 2012
Guest: Robert Zimmerman
Guest: Robert (Bob) Zimmerman. Topics: Apollo 8, launch industry, HSF, SLS, Mars missions, NASA budget, & more. 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 Bob Zimmerman back to the program to summarize space for 2012, to look forward to space activities in 2013, and as you will hear, to talk about some specific issues such as SLS and the need for heavy lift. Bob started the discussion talking about Apollo 8 as we approach Christmas 2012. He told us his famous book, "Genesis: The Story of Apollo 8: The First Manned Mission to Another World" has been released in ebook format. If you buy it on Amazon using the URL provided, Amazon will make a donation to The Space Show/OGL: Bob outlined two tracks for discussion, the launch industry and manned spaceflight exploration. For the launch industry, he talked about the influence of SpaceX in lowering launch costs & what it means for other launchers in competing in pricing & market share. He also talked about negotiation issues over the continued use of the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. We discussed secondary payloads, Stratolaunch, & more. The second track involving manned space exploration, Bob talked about it from the government perspective & that of the private sector. He also brought up the recent news regarding the new Golden Spike venture on which he had much to say. Our first caller was from Terry asking about the NASA Mars program, James Webb & SLS. Bob had much to say about the JWST as well as SLS, NASA astrophysics, & SLS costs. Terry wanted to know when Bob thought SLS would be cancelled. This discussion prompted more than a passionate exchange by Bob and me regarding heavy lift, rocket mission analysis, & more. We then paused for our overdue break. Leading off the second segment, we took a call from Doug in S. California but had audio issues on his phone line. We then talked about the SpaceX mission delay to March 2013. Tim called to talk about launch rate regardless of the size of the vehicle. He also talked about Golden Spike & a potential space tug. He asked Bob about Skylon. We switched topics to get updates from Bob regarding the suborbital companies. Bob talked about Virgin Galactic & powered flight tests. He also had some things to say about Dream Chaser and XCOR. I asked Bob about using drones on Mars based on comments I've received from listeners. Near the end, I brought up a special film showing & lecture on the 1956 classic "Forbidden Planet" that I saw this past Saturday. We talked about the significance of this movie & Bob brought in the concept of human spirit, vision, & the desire for interplanetary travel even before the days of NASA or Sputnik. I talked about the two award winning speakers from Lucas Film regarding the movie & then the surprise visit after the film by Robby the Robot, the original Robby from the film. To end our program, Bob gave us an outline of what to look for in the first quarter of 2013 for space events. Please post your comments/questions on The Space Show blog. Check out Bob's blog,

About our guest...

Robert Zimmerman
Robert Zimmerman is a well known and respected space historian and author. He posts regularly at his website,, on space, science, and other matters relating to cultural and political issues. Mr. Zimmerman is also an award winning author who has written four books on the history of space exploration, all of which are still in print. This first book, GENESIS: THE STORY OF APOLLO 8, was published in 1998, and is now available as an ebook from either his webpage ( or from (, or any ebook vendor. His most recent book, THE UNIVERSE IN A MIRROR: THE SAGA OF THE HUBBLE SPACE TELESCOPE AND THE VISIONARIES WHO BUILT IT (Princeton University Press) tells the poignant tale of the men and women behind the telescope, and how many had to sacrifice careers and family to get it built. It also describes in detail the importance of Hubble both scientifically and culturally. More than any other instrument sent into space, the Hubble Space Telescope reshaped the human perception of our place in the universe. Robert's previous book, LEAVING EARTH: SPACE STATIONS, RIVAL SUPERPOWERS, AND THE QUEST FOR INTERPLANETARY TRAVEL, is a must read! It describes in detail the history of manned space flight, post Apollo. Thus, it includes a lot of information about the Soviet/Russian space program that is unknown to most Americans. In 2003 American Astronautical Society awarded LEAVING EARTH the Eugene Emme Award as that year's the best space history for the general public. Mr. Zimmerman has also authored THE CHRONOLOGICAL ENCYCLOPEDIA OF DISCOVERIES IN SPACE (published by Oryx Press, now ABC-CLIO, 2000), a detailed reference book describing what was accomplished on every space mission beginning in October 1957 with Sputnik and continuing through December 1999. His work is published regularly in such magazines as SCIENCE, SKY & TELESCOPE, ASTRONOMY, THE WALL STREET JOURNAL, FORTUNE, AD ASTRA, AMERICAN HISTORY, STARDATE, and many other major magazines. In 2000 he was co-winner of the David N. Schramm Award, given by the High Energy Astrophysics Division of the American Astronomical Society for Science Journalism. He can be reached at zimmerman at nasw dot org.

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