Broadcast 1619 (Special Edition)

12 Sep 2011 Robert Zimmerman
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Guest: Robert (Bob) Zimmerman. Topics: Space science missions, NASA budget constraints, civil space policy issues, commercial space, space politics. You are invited to comment, ask questions, and discuss the Space Show program/guest(s) on the Space Show blog, http://thespaceshow.wordpress.com. Comments, questions, and any discussion must be relevant and applicable to Space Show programming. Transcripts of Space Show programs are not permitted without prior written consent from The Space Show (even if for personal use) & are a violation of the Space Show copyright. We welcomed Bob Zimmerman back to this two hour program. We took a break at the end of one hour so there are two segments to our discussion. In addition, there was an audio glitch at the start of the second session so you will notice some rough editing cuts. All of the substance is there but I had to cut out segments that were dominated by background noise to the point that the discussion was unclear at best. Finally, while The Space Show works very hard to avoid partisan politics, with Bob as the guest, that is not always possible and that was the case with this interview. That said, Bob was largely going after incumbents of all parties in his policy and economic comments, saying people wanted a change from do nothing members of Congress to those that support the status quo. He did talk about the two special elections being held today in NY and in Nevada, saying that people are changing how they vote due to their unhappiness with things in the country. When I tried to pin him down about space being a major component of the unhappiness, as you will hear, even from the NY caller who got in just before we shut down the program, space is simply not a factor. Our first discussion topic was the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) and its funding problems. Bob had much to say on this issue, the fights within NASA and he referenced the excellent Space Review article of this week by Jeff Foust which zeroed in on the issue: http://www.thespacereview.com/article/1926/1. We then talked about space workforce issues. Bob thought this was a false issue. Since he does not believe in gov. space programs nor does he want them, he thinks the space workers will go to work for the privates & be unleashed from NASA & gov. constraints so their creativity & productivity will be substantially greater. Throughout the program, Bob expresses his displeasure about gov. space programs, repeating that he did not want a gov. program, not even for basic research. We talked about the ISS and the Soyuz rocket failure. Bob had much to say about this and said the policy leading up to this was idiocy spread over many administrations & congressional sessions. Caller Tim asked why NASA was a failure (he assume it was) & if we would get back to the Moon soon. Bob responded to both questions, see what you think of his answers. Our first topic in the second segment was the bat situation with the white nose fungus. Bob is an expert on this issue & I always get a bat update from him. The news is not good & you will hear him say we are seeing natural selection at work and the species extinction process. Tony asked about funding SSP & a pilot energy plant at the Canton Atoll in the South Pacific and Trent called from Australia to talk about the recent Falcon 9 engine anomaly. Near the end of the program, I asked Bob what he thought space policy would be like if we actually elected a space enthusiast president. He said he did not want that because he does not want a government space program. As the program was nearing its end, we talked about specific & very successful science missions, Blue Origin, space tourism, & suborbital spaceflight. Bob brought up the special elections & how people wanted change. Post your comments/questions on the blog URL. You can contact Bob through his blog, http://behindtheblack.com.

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