Broadcast 1128 (Special Edition)

24 Mar 2009 Dr. Stein Cass
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Guest: Dr. Stein Cass. Topics: Surrey Satellite, NPOESS, Earth science, risk management, economics, socialism. Dr. Stein Cass from Surrey Satellite Technology-US was our guest for this program. We started our discussion with The National Polar-orbiting Operational Environmental Satellite System (NPOESS) and how its cost overruns by the government have drained funds from other much needed Earth science projects. This is an eye-opening discussion that you will not want to miss. Our discussion took us into the world of risk aversion in space hardware and financing and how government tries to insure against failure by what is known as "requirement creep." Again, you won't want to miss this part of our discussion. Dr. Cass talked about NOA, NASA, and DOD projects and the pitfalls of their joint management. Listeners asked him for his thoughts on the desired balance of how to allocate the NASA budget with Earth science, planetary missions and the human spaceflight program. He had some very interesting thoughts and suggestions on this subject. When asked about how to prioritize the Earth science missions, he talked in detail about the Decadal Survey ( http://www7.nationalacademies.org/bpa/Astro2010.html ) which does prioritize Earth science missions/projects. Stein spent considerable time explaining the Surrey business model and how it differs from the usual way of conducting business with the government and even the private sector. Surrey is well known for its student participation in this UK company and a listener asked if the US company would also have student programs. The short answer was yes, but you will want to hear about them and these activities as they might be of interest to you or a student you know. This discussion went to two hours so you will find many more discussion topics, listener comments and questions than what I am summarizing in this brief program description. If you have comments or questions for Dr. Stein Cass, please send them to him at SCass@sst-us.com .

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