Broadcast 1643 (Special Edition)

25 Oct 2011 Sy Liebergot
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Guest: Sy Liebergot. Topics: Apollo & Skylab flight controller history and traditions. Space policy and the political problems associated with it. 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 Sy Liebergot back to the program to discuss the history & traditions of the Apollo & Skylab flight controllers & the "back room boys" that the flight controllers worked with on all missions. We also discussed the current status of our space policy as seen by our guest so brace yourself because Sy is outspoken & many of you will not like what he says is going on today in space policy. In our initial segment, Mr. Liebergot mostly focused on the history of the flight controllers along with their rich set of traditions & amazing loyalty to one another, their work, the mission, & NASA. I asked Sy about the training he needed to go through to be a flight controller, how candidates were recruited for the positions. We went back & forth with the flight controller history & traditions throughout our two hour interview. When not discussing flight controllers, Sy provided us with a comprehensive look at today's space policy through his filters. We addressed the SLS, a listener asked him why it was not considered a program to have as goals a NEO & Mars flyby in the coming years/decade. Sy talked about the position of NASA Administrator & said that he too had heard that Dr. Griffin wanted to return to the position should the administration change in the coming election. I wondered why Dr. Griffin or anyone would want to work in that type of argumentative & stressful environment, especially since the economic problems are so obvious & on the front page in bold lettering. Sy suggested we had no space program because of the lack of a national will. He said that the news media editors largely control national will & they are not interested in space. John in Atlanta called to argue for SLS as a placeholder program. I challenged both Sy & John by presenting alternative views for them to consider, including the New Space view. Sy argued about their being a difference in LEO & deep space & said commercial could have LEO but that deep space could not be the domain of the commercials. There is certainly enough polarization of views about space policy among space enthusiasts to last as long as the sun will keep burning! Sy brought up the need for space to be exciting & said LEO does not excite anyone. In our second segment, he said we needed to push the window with deep space missions and visions. John from Montana called in about his human factors, microgravity, & medical comments, including surgery in space. Sy talked about the space station they wanted but was killed as it would have addressed these issues. Sy had interesting things to say in this segment about the lectures he gives & what he says to students about a future career in the STEM fields, specifically the space fields. He told us his message was not optimistic. Later he talked about issues with Skylab 1, space as an R&D project, not a factory, suborbital space research, & more. He closed with a quote by Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchinson, July 20, 2005: "Great nations discover and explore. Great nations cross oceans, settle frontiers and continually renew their heritage and spirits and create greater freedom and opportunity for the world. Great nations must also remain on the front edge of technologically advanced programs to maintain their security edge." Please post your comments on the blog URL above. If you want to email Sy, do so using drspace@thespaceshow.com.

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