Broadcast 1559 (Special Edition)

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Guest: Mark Holderman. Topics: Nautilus X exploration spacecraft, NASA, ISS centrifuge, space policy & space workforce issues. You are invited to comment, ask questions, and discuss the Space Show program/guest(s) on the Space Show blog, Comments, questions, and any discussion must be relevant and applicable to Space Show programming. We welcomed Mark Holderman to the program to discuss Nautilus X and workforce issues. His Power Point & a video on Nautilus X will be posted under this archived write up on the blog so be sure to check them both out. As Mr. Holderman worked for the CIA, I started the interview by asking him about his "spook" days with the Agency as related to space. After his brief summary as, in his own words, a "spook enabler," he told us about the Nautilus X project, his design team, how and why he designed it. He also talked about the eventual lack of interest in the project from NASA. For most of the hour long first segment, we talked about Nautilus, its mass and volume, how to launch it, and was heavy lift needed or not, plus the centrifuge that he designed to be part of Nautilus or even part of the ISS. We spent a considerable amount of time discussing the importance of the centrifuge if we ever expect to go beyond LEO. I asked about the reasons for NASA management not making the centrifuge or a variable gravity research station a NASA priority project. Our discussion about Nautilus was comprehensive as Mark was the designer of the project and he shared with us how he came up with the design and the fact that he based it on what he said was the most successful spacecraft ever made and flown, the LEM. Don't miss this discussion. Our guest fielded many listener questions about Nautilus and specifically about the centrifuge and artificial gravity. It appears that favorite questions of listeners to ask guests talking about this subject deal with showers and toilets in an artificial gravity environment. Today was no exception so we learned that in the structure Mark designed, toilets would work normally but the shower would only be partially normal. In our second segment, we focused on the space workforce issues of the day and Mark talked about the problems facing the aerospace engineering community today and the uncertain continuation of this community with ongoing college students. He suggested enrollments were going to drop off because of the lack of career opportunities in the field for students upon graduating. We talked about commercial space providing new jobs and opportunities and Mark talked about timelines for some of these changes to take place and get rooted in the industry. I asked him about his job search experience since he was required to take early retirement from NASA JSC. As you will hear him say, the opportunities in the aerospace industry today are few and far between. If you have questions for Mark Holderman, especially after reviewing his Nautilus X Power Point and video, please post them on the blog URL above. You can also email Mark at



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16 May 2011 Mark Holderman
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