Broadcast 3823 Doug Messier

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Guest:  Doug Messier of Parabolic Arc;  Topics:  We largely focused on the FAA and related issues to Starship being able to test and launch from Boca Chica.  Other topics and timely news were also discussed. Refer to our Tags for most of these topics.

We welcomed Doug Messier back to the program for a 90 minute wide ranging discussion on current space news stories. Doug led with the FAA-Starship story about a possible new EIR for the demo and later Starship flights out of Boca Chica.  Doug began by explaining the situation to us which dated back to the permit granted SpaceX by the FAA in 2014.  The permit did not include Starship but has morphed into Starship inclusion by the company though there are environmental and safety blowback concerns from various interest groups at this time.  Doug was explaining the wildlife and environmental issues when we took the first call of the day from Eric in Houston.  Eric introduced himself to us as one who does a lot with EIR applications, permits and studies, mostly from the energy and other industry groups in the Houston area but he said the applications to launching a rocket would be very similar.

Eric was with us for about 40 minutes.  He was detailed and thorough in how he was explaining what was going on in Boca and with SpaceX.  Rather than try to summarize Eric's call, I urge you to listen carefully to what Eric put before us.  I personally thought it was the best explanation of the Starship-FAA situation that I have heard but I realize many will dismiss what Eric said and go with the flow for SpaceX.  Others will champion what Eric as well as Doug talked about because they are concerned about wildlife and environmental issues.  I found it interesting that Eric indicated the action would be more against the FAA based on their 2014 approvals rather than against SpaceX.  This has to do with other government agencies, Fish and Wildlife and Commerce for example, claiming the FAA did an incomplete assessment and must now do a full blown environmental assessment given Starship is now the focus of the action which was not the case back in 2014.  It does get complicated so again, listen to all of what Eric said.  I did ask questions of both Eric and Doug who was also up on the situation as was clearly the case with Eric.  I was skeptical about the part of the discussion regarding Musk and risk taking behavior, possibly for power.  In fact, I am skeptical of just about all aspects of everything these days from government to media, to company statements, you name it. Being skeptical is not exactly a great place to be but it is where I am though this is not part of the story we were telling on TSS.  For sure we would like to hear your comments and thoughts on this part of our program with Doug and Eric, our first caller.  Post away on our blog.  We really do want to hear from you.  Remember, all ideas and positions are welcome.  The only requirement is a simple one. Civility toward one another.  No Cancellation, no censorship, just let us know your thoughts on this subject matter we discussed.

We moved on to additional topics though we kept coming back to Starship, FAA, Boca and the alternative Starship launch site at the Cape throughout the show.  We took in an email from Jeff from New Mexico asking Doug for his thoughts on our Russian space relationship given the situation in the Ukraine. Doug pointed out some of the space dependency Russia has with hardware coming out of the Ukraine.  He also mentioned Atlas 5 engines here in the US have Ukrainian origins plus ULA is still in a jam with the Blue Origin engine delays which has a relationship back to the Ukraine.  In the end Doug did not know for sure the impact but thought it had the potential to be serious.

Returning to Starship, Sharon in Seattle mentioned in a note that people everywhere think Starship will save humanity and the world with all its capabilities.  She mentioned hearing about new ventures even being formed because of the Starship capability.  She wanted to know if the FAA or other regulatory agencies considered any of these concerns and issues in their review process.  Doug pointed out that NASA has also built in some timeline deadlines and issues centering around Starship flying.  He did not know to what degree the FAA or other agencies would consider the growing potential dependence on Starship but should it be significantly delayed, not only will time lines slip for many potential projects, dreams might vanish as well and government projects might incur some missed timelines. 

As we were now nearing the end of the broadcast, Doug brought us up to date with the new CEO/President of Virgin Galactic who came over from Warner Brothers.   He also mentioned a possible effort to tax space tourism tickets.  He looked at that concern from many perspectives so don't miss what he said about it.  Tim sent in a note form Huntsville saying that the delay in Brownsville, if there was one, would be a blow to the economy.  Doug suggested this was why SpaceX was ramping up the Pad 39A development site for alternative Starship launch site if Boca flops for one reason or another.  In addition, Doug mentioned the renaming of the spaceport part of Mojave after the Rutan brothers, plus he talked about Greg Wyler of One Webb and his participation with Rwanda in possibly getting permits and launching up to 300,000 satellites.  You can read one of these related Rwanda stories at www.satellitetoday.com/business/2022/02/07/new-greg-wyler-startup-e-space-raises-50m-in-funding

Please post your comments/questions for Doug on our blog.  The same for any of the callers or those sending us emails.  You can reach Doug through Parabolic Arc or me. 

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Doug Messier of Parabolic Art with all the current space news

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08 Feb 2022 Douglas Messier
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