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Guest: Gregory Cecil. Topics: Reflections on the Space Shuttle and human spaceflight on the day of the final shuttle launch. 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. Transcripts of Space Show programs are not permitted without prior written consent from The Space Show (even if for personal use) & are a violation of the Space Show copyright. Visit Mr. Cecil's website for more information at www.rv-103.com. Toward the end of the program, Mr. Cecile mentioned CBS 60 Minutes with Scott Pelley. Check out part of the CBS interview @ www.cbsnews.com/video/watch/?id=7372705n. The Pew Research Organization URL for the U.S. space leadership survey discussed at the end of this 2.5 hour interview is @ http://pewresearch.org/pubs/2047/poll-space-exploration-shuttle-program-.... We welcomed back Greg Cecil to share with us his space shuttle experience, stories & thoughts on this day of the final shuttle launch with Atlantis. During the first 45 minute segment, Greg talked about having worked on the shuttle, fielded questions on the thermal protection system (TPS) tiles and ablative heat shields, & said how this day was bittersweet. Several times during the full interview, Greg mentioned that he thought it would be ten years or so before American astronauts again rode to space on an American rocket & as you will hear throughout the 2.5 hours, our guest had much to say about space policy, the direction the country is now headed, the need for identified missions, including destinations, and more. He was asked questions about the astronauts visiting the shuttle workers before a flight and he told a few stories about such visits. At the start of the much longer second segment, John called in from Atlanta to talk about the TPS question he had sent in earlier by email. Greg spent some time discussing TPS, advances, & the different parts of the shuttle needing thermal protection. One of the points he made was that most of the shuttle tile replacement after a flight was due to the need for rust inspections of the shuttle body so tiles were removed & destroyed in that inspection process. The life expectancy of a shuttle came up given that the orbiters had only flown a third of their rated number of missions. Human spaceflight was discussed & here Greg talked about the need for mission identification & destinations. He also said he thought it would be much harder and riskier for the commercials to be successful that most think. I asked Greg about the proposed NASA FY 2012 budget which was recently made public & we talked about the NASA budget in the context of the U.S. economy. Tim called in & said it was a sad day reflecting back on the shuttle without a replacement. He was also critical in that shuttle failed to bring down the cost of space access. He had much to say about both NASA and congressional administrations. Later, we talked about shuttle contributions, specifically some of those involving telemedicine and EMR ambulance equipment. Elliott wanted to know the general public reaction to Greg when mentioning to people that he worked on shuttle. Greg had much to say about this including the fact that the space literacy level of the general population is low. This led me to bring up the recent Pew Research Organization's survey on U.S. space leadership being essential for our country. Check out the survey at the Pew URL I listed earlier in this summary. Visit Greg's website, you can sign up for his free newsletter & join his Facebook group. Post comments & questions for Greg on the blog URL above.