Broadcast 2185 (Special Edition)

11 Feb 2014 Mark Bray
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Guest: Mark Bray. Topics: Huntsville area space update, SLS from the inside, U.S. space policy, leadership issues. Please direct all comments and questions regarding Space Show programs/guest(s) to the Space Show blog, http://thespaceshow.wordpress.com. 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. In addition, please remember that your Amazon purchases can help support The Space Show/OGLF. See www.onegiantleapfoundation.org/amazon.htm. We welcomed back Mark Bray for a Huntsville space area update and a unique view from the inside on SLS and U.S. space policy. In the first segment of our 1 hour 49 minute discussion, Mark shared his personal assessment of the Huntsville area space economy, the moods of contractors and NASA workers, & the space IQ for the Huntsville general population. For the most part, Mark reported stability but lots of uncertainty. In contrast, the last time Mark did an area update for us, there were still layoffs happening, lots of uncertainty and personal stress, and stability was far from the scene. We then switched to SLS which was a topic through most of the show because Mark is a contractor working on SLS. Its important to note that Mark was speaking for himself on the program, not for his employer, NASA, or his fellow workers and area space employees. Mark works in the SLS materials lab so we asked him all sorts of questions about the big rocket. For example, I drilled him on the mood of SLS workers given they certainly had to know about the hate-love war going on over SLS within the space community. Mark answered all these questions for us, including questions about possible competitive pressure from SpaceX. We talked extensively about commercial space development and the need for commercial markets. Mark spent some time on the issue of markets because without them, one has no viable commercial activity. Mark then honed in on the problem of political leadership regarding space saying that NASA and related organizations were not the problem. This opened the door for multiple discussions during the balance of the program going after what Mark and I both thought was an absence of quality political leadership in the country and the partisan warfare between the two main parties preventing workable solutions for many if not all the nation's problems. Before the segment ended, I asked Mark about the Chinese lunar lander & robot and what people thought about it. He said most were frustrated that we (the U.S.) was not doing more as we were not operating even close to our potential. In the second segment, Doug called to ask about public/private partnerships, COTS like programs, and he talked about his Lunar Cots ideas. Doug asked about reducing costs. Mark seized the opportunity to again state that engineering technology & NASA management were not the real problems but that leadership issues in Washington were at the center of the problems. John then called from Ft. Worth. He wanted to talk about SLS cost numbers & asked Mark why it was so expensive given the assumption that much of it came from already developed projects including Ares components and more. Don't miss what Mark had to say about this. John then asked Mark for his personal thoughts on the news that SpaceX will build a rocket larger than the Saturn V in about ten years. Again, don't miss his answer. Near the end of the show, in summary mode, Mark repeated that the biggest challenge was a market challenge. What is the market? Is there a long term market? How big is the market? As the show was ending, we asked Mark about the viability of human spaceflight. Please post your comments/questions on TSS blog above. You can reach Mark Bray through me.

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