Broadcast 2622

12 Jan 2016 James A. M. Muncy
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Guest:  Jim Muncy;  Topics:  The recently passed commercial space law, resource extraction and utilization, presidential candidates & space.  Please direct all comments and questions regarding specific Space Show programs & guest(s) to the Space Show blog which is part of archived program on our website, www.thespaceshow.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.  For those listening to archives using live365.com and rating the programs, please email me as to why you assign a specific rating to the show. This will help me bring better programming to the audience. 

We welcomed Jim Muncy back to the show to discuss the newly passed U.S. commercial Space Launch Competitiveness Act of 2015 (see https://www.congress.gov/bill/114th-congress/house-bill/2262).  During our one hour program, Mr. Muncy focused on Title II pertaining to resource extraction.  This is commonly referred to as the asteroid mining part of the bill but actually the Act is far broader than just asteroid mining.  Mr. Muncy went into quite a bit of detail in the discussion to explain this.  He also pointed out why it does not conflict with the Outer Space Treaty, nor does it grant any property rights to the business or resource user.  Jim talked about the balance of the bill, the fact that it was bipartisan, and the work that went into it by Congress and others to accomplish this legislation which Jim said was the most significant commercial space legislation since 2004, the Remote Sensing Act, and even the Launch Act of 1984. 

In the process of talking about the rest of the legislation, he mentioned an exemption by NASA from using commercial launchers to be able to use the SLS for specific SLS type missions.  This led to an SLS/Orion discussion, appropriate payloads and missions for SLS, the cost involved, alternatives using fuel depots which would leave more money available for exploration missions. He also used the planned SLS upper stage as an example of the high costs and limited application which makes the hardware even more expensive. This part of our discussion sparked several listener emails including one from the UK and BJohn from Sweden. 

In the last ten minutes of the program, I asked our guest about the space policy positions of the presidential candidates of both parties.  Jim said that both Senator Cruz and Senator Rubio played important parts in the commercial space law that we have been discussing.  He said in the 2008 campaign, Hilary had made positive statements about commercial space.  When specifically asked about Donald Trump, he told us what we knew already in that he has said we need to fix infrastructure first but Jim said he had no idea what he would do as president or if he might include space as part of an infrastructure improvement program. 

Jim's summary stressed the point that the bipartisan commercial space law shows what congress can do to better the nation by working together. This piece of legislation was a good role model for congress moving forward.

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Asteroid mining & presidential candidate space views

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