Broadcast 3442 Michael Belfiore

The Space Foundation Conference

05 Jan 2020 Michael Belfiore
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Guest:  Michael Belfiore;  Topics: All look at exciting 2019 technology developments plus a look ahead for 2020 technology changes, media reporting with Bloomberg, Michael's sci-fi books in progress.

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We welcomed Michael Belfiore to the show for this 2 hour 9 minute discussion.  For the break between segments, I read a partial list of the sponsors that I did not read at the start of the program. My first question to Michael was about the 2019 technologies that stood out for him.  He immediately referenced the private sector almost landing on the Moon with SpaceIl.  Michael mentioned other commercial lunar lander companies including Moon Express and Astrobotics.  I asked him for his thoughts on technology and Artemis re a return to the Moon. He said he was skeptical and for my opinion.  I spent a few minutes giving him my opinion. 

Michael focused heavily on the SpaceX Starlink system.  Our guest had much to say about the project, the launches so far, the number of satellites already in orbit and a possible operational date later this year.  I asked him about the competition with One Webb which he said was running a bit behind.  This conversation led to his talking about cubesats and smallsats in general and the small dedicated launcher companies such as Rocket Lab. 

Listener ken asked by email about Russian hypersonic claims, including nuclear weapons claims for their hypersonic vehicles.  Michael spoke extensively about hypersonics, reality and fantasy, plus what we know and what we don't know for sure.  The hypersonic subject came back later in the discussion but after touching on it, Marshall called to ask if ESA was spending money on European commercial space ventures.  Marshall and Michael had some words about SLS and based on a comment by Marshall, I challenged him to be accurate plus I asked Michael if using the same criteria he seemed to be using to say that SLS was a boondoggle, was the JWST also a boondoggle.  Don't miss both what Marshall said back to me and Michael's reply re the JWST.

Turning back to hypersonics, Michael talked about weapons, Russian and China, plus our own hypersonic research.  Ft. Worth John called to get on the hypersonic discussion and had much to discuss with our guest.   With John on the phone, we drifted into a Tic Tac discussion for several minutes.

Freemont John called to talk about power beaming and several demo SSP projects with AFRL, Caltech and others.  Multiple projects were eventually discussed.  What do you think about the beaming projects, military or unique environmental usage and overall SSP?  This would be a good topic for you to sound off about on our blog.  Note that I have already reached out to many of those mentioned during the show to see if they will come on the program and talk to us about their projects.  I will keep you posted. 

During the second segment, we talked about AI and Elon Musk.  Gene from Pasadena called to pick up the discussion on SSP with the mentioning of more projects and possible Space Show guests.  Following Gene, the subject changed to suborbital flight and technology.  Pushing our guest to the wall, he finally said his gut hunch was 50-50 that suborbital would happen in 2020. 

Listener Terry emailed a question for Michael based on his writing articles for Bloomberg. Terry wanted to know about Bloomberg bias and editing bias given the orders from Michael Bloomberg to not cover his presidential campaign or any of the Democratic candidates and their campaigns. They were to cover Pres. Trump to help remove him from office.  Terry suspected this type of bias might show up in even the work Michael does for the outfit.  Don't miss how Michael responded and what he said about Bloomberg bias and constraints and standards. 

Rick called to pick up the discussion about AI with Google/Coral products.  Michael and Rick had quite the AI discussion so don't miss it.  I used the opportunity to talk about an upcoming Space Show program on Tuesday, Jan. 28 with Deep Prasad regarding quantum computing and his new type of Silicon Valley SETI organization. 

While summarizing the program, I asked Michael about new books in the works. He talked about a time travel book, another about a flight to Alpha Centauri in a sleeper ship with nuclear power plus some other ideas he was kicking around.

Please post your comments/questions for Michael Belfiore on our website for this show.  You can reach Michael through me or his website https://michaelbelfiore.com

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