Broadcast 1542 (Special Edition)

08 Apr 2011 Robert Zimmerman
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Guest: Robert (Bob) Zimmerman. Topics: Space X, commercial space, human spaceflight, government regulation, government space programs. Please note that 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. Bob began our discussion with a reference to the Space X announcement about Falcon 9 Heavy made by Elon Musk on Tuesday, April 5, 2011. The entire first half of the first segment which was an hour long focused on Space X, its vision, its accomplishments, and Bob's assessment of how it is influencing, even driving the market. We had many questions come in about man rating and Bob said that Space X was in such a strong leadership position that it could resist excessive NASA paperwork killing requirements. What do you think about Bob's analysis on this issue? Later in the segment we talked about the looming federal government shut down and what it might mean for NASA and the space program. Questions came in regarding Congress directing NASA to build the heavy lift rocket and Bob definitely had much to say about this about this matter. We also talked about the possibility of foreign markets for Space X, Bigelow options and ITAR. In our second hour long segment, Bob updated us on how the James Webb Space Telescope was consuming the NASA astrophysics budget due to delays and cost overruns. In this discussion, he mentioned that announced earlier today NASA was pulling out of the joint project with ESA regarding the Laser Interferometer Space Antenna (LISA) project to measure gravitational waves, all because of budget issues (http://news.discovery.com/space/a-farewell-to-lisa-110408.html). Bob provided additional examples of the science budget being crowded out the Webb cost overruns. Later on in this segment, space tourism was discussed, as well as the idea to do something useful with the ISS like a simulated humans to Mars mission. We switched to research and development discussions and Bob again suggested that the private sector could handle and historically has handled R&D and that this should necessarily be a function provided by government. I then asked Bob if he thought academia was in sync with the trend away from government spaceflight programs to commercial and private sector programs. This prompted a passionate discussion with Bob, caller John, and myself. Toward the end of the program, I did my best to get Bob to tell us if the government would shut down tonight but he straddled the fence and would not take a position. That said, throughout the program he argued for a much smaller government, very serious budget cuts, and a largely private sector driven commercial space program, not a government program. He frequently cited our economic condition and that cutbacks were needed to avoid taking the nation into bankruptcy. This was an overriding theme our guest brought up throughout our two hour program. Please post your questions and comments for Bob Zimmerman on the blog URL above. You can also contact Bob through his website, www.behindtheblack.com. He accepts email at zimmerman at nasw dot org. All of Bob's books are available at www.onegiantleapfoundation.org/books. If you buy them from OGLF, Amazon makes a contribution to The Space Show/OGLF.

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