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Guest: Jim Muncy; Topics: Ukraine, Russian space industry impact & decline, China & Russia mutual support, economic risks, misguided space policy advocates, SSP, government safety regulations, commercial industry strength and lots more during this nearly two hour program.
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We welcomed back Jim Muncy for a 1 hour 48 minute wide ranging discussion starting with the Russian invasion of Ukraine. For a good part of the first segment, Jim talked about the impact of Ukraine on the Russian space program, the decline, what this would mean for future international cooperation, the ISS, plus how it would like bring China and Russia closer together with China being the leader between the two. Jim also discussed the impact on the American space program, NASA and the commercial industry. Several emails were received with questions about the invasion ranging from would the adverse impact on Russia be good for the U.S. program. Don't miss Jim's response which addressed the complexity of the issue. Other questions were about international cooperation, the impact on the Artemis Accords and other space fairing nations continuing their commercial approach to space. In addition, Jim address the strength of today's commercial U.S. space industry suggesting it would be highly resistant o potential upcoming impacts, both economic and political.
Dr. Doug was the listener who asked Jim about the Artemis Accords. Part of what Doug wanted to know was how the Accords might change over the next few years should commercial continue to grow. What would this do to SLS and Orion. This discussion became another large part of our overall program. Much was said about Elon and SpaceX but to go for the bottom line in this summary, much depended on Starship being successful. The success of Starship goes a long way toward diminishing hopes of sustainability for both SLS and Orion. This led to additional discussions about the robust commercial industry around the world with Jim pointing out several other growing national commercial space agencies. Fremont John called to confirm and offer more discussion regarding the new IG report that said SLS was not sustainable with its costs. Jim had lots to say during this part of the discussion so don't miss his commentary.
Ajay called to inquire about Russia moving closer to China. Jim said yes and then he talked about why China would be the leader in that relationship with Russia being a type of supplier. It was a most interesting discussion. From there, we pivoted to regulatory concerns Jim expressed regarding the U.S. commercial industry and the FAA for this year. Part of what Jim talked about focused on misguided but somewhat effective advocacy by those opposed to space that while totally off base with the science, technology, environmental and other factors, have a voice inside the government and the FAA. Once again, this is a must segment to hear. Jim expressed concern about government mandated safety for parts of the commercial industry including HSF. For example, he was and is supportive of continuing with the existing light touch policy which soon expires and will be up for renewal. Some are advocating a more hands on FAA approach rather than enabling the commercials to maintain safety in their industry. He explained all this very clearly so when you listen, post your thoughts on what Jim suggested by using our blog. We would like to hear from you on this subject. As we were approaching the end of the show, Jim supported his arguments by referencing the satellite constellations with misguided input claiming too many satellites were being put into space. Jim pointed out that space junk was not the same, i.e. debris, and that junk or debris is not being controlled. The satellites being launched are controlled with very advanced collision avoidance technology plus deorbit tech so they won't add to debris but often this is lost in the discussion. Especially by the misguide advocates.
Jim got a few questions asking about the competence of government people in policy negotiations. He praised the Biden Administration on some elements of space industry work but overall, well, just listen to what he said as you might find some surprises in his comments. Before ending, Fremont John contacted Jim about the Alliance for Space Development and March Storm re their push for space solar power (SSP). Jim said it was a good idea, it needed bipartisan support and it was a maybe.
Please post your comments/questions for Jim on our blog for this show. You can reach Mr. Muncy through his company, PoliSpace or through me here at The Space Show.