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Guest: Gwynne Shotwell; Topics: We covered multiple topics concerning SpaceX launch vehicles, plans, focus, projects, a most informative discussion. 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.
We welcomed Gwynne Shotwell back to the program for a 64 minute one segment discussion about all things SpaceX. I started the discussion by asking Gwynne about their having the capability to launch coast to coast launches within 48 hours of each other. With a launch Friday from the Cape and one on Sunday from Vandenberg, this is am impressive capability. Don 't miss what Gwynne said about it. I also have a correction to make as I said the Friday launch from the Cape involved a Polish satellite. I misspoke as the Friday launch is for the launch of Bulgariasat, the first ever Bulgarian geo satellite. Note that Bulgariasat will be using a previously flown Falcon 9 first stage.
Most of the additional questions and comments given Ms. Shotwell came to us via email. We covered multiple topics including reusability, Falcon Heavy progress, demo flights and timelines, Raptor engine development, meeting USAF requirements, SpaceX satellites, SpaceX Mars plans, lunar tourism, SpaceX inventory management for previously flown F9 fist stages and Dragon capsules, production line management for the Falcon 9, SpaceX company priorities, the likelihood of our seeing SpaceX astronauts soon, Vandenberg launches including fog issues, F9 1st and 2nd stage cost comparisons, crew safety standards, lunar tourism, SpaceX publicity good and bad, the National Space Council, the Mars 2020 landing timeline, ITAR for going to Mars, the Mars rocket, second stage recovery, the SpaceX use of and plans for carbon fiber, nuclear propulsion. Some of these topics were more extensively discussed than others.
One such question asked by a listener wanted to know Gwynne's idea of what might be the most important step to take to develop a healthier space program than the one we have right now. Gwynne suggested we needed to expand industry by having lots of opportunity and commercial things for the space industry to do. This would including having space missions to fly, hardware manufacturing and such. I asked why she did not include going to the Moon or Mars as part of her answer. Don't miss how she responded to my add on question.
BJohn asked an interesting question relating to the Elon Musk enterprises including solar, batteries, electric cars, comsats and of course rockets, wonder if they were all designed to converge at one point in terms of a grand plan to go to Mars. Gwynne said this was a good question so don't miss how she responded to it.
Yet another question you will want to hear dealt with SpaceX hiring of Liberal Arts types, not just scientists and engineers. As you will hear, there are such non-technical positions at SpaceX so if you are a degreed person outside the science and engineering communities and are interested in SpaceX, check into it and give a shot. She said lots of the support staff comes from the Liberal Arts fields. Don't miss out on an opportunity.
One question that we definitely expanded upon was the one about crew safety. Linda, the listener asking the question, wanted to know if there might be a crew safety standard for NASA type missions but another standard for private or commercial missions. Gwynne talked about the flight hardware, systems, and protocols all being the same but the mission director for a commercial flight might specify a different standard than say NASA. Also, a specific commercial payload my require a different standard. That said, the specs and testing and flight safety systems for operations and hardware and systems would be the same. I personally thought this was an interesting question and answer so don't miss it.
Another question I liked came from a listener in Detroit wanting to know if and when SpaceX would have its own astronauts. Gwynne had much to say on this question so again, don't miss what Gwynne had to say about SpaceX astronauts.
As our program was ending, we took an additional email from listener Beth. Beth wanted to know if Gwynne had any information on the yet to be formed National Space Council. Beth also wanted to know if Gwynne would be on the Council, hoping that she would be asked to join it. Again, don't miss what Gwynne said in response to this question.
Please post your comments/questions on TSS blog for this show. Ms. Shotwell can be reached through SpaceX or me using drspace AT thespaceshow dot com.