Broadcast 3049 Davide Sivolella

  • The Space Foundation Conference

  • The Space Foundation Conference

  • The Space Foundation Conference

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The Space Foundation Conference

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Guest:  Davide Sivolella; Topics: Davide's new book, "The Space Shuttle Program plus in the second segment his vision for building a space industry for us on Earth and more.  Please direct all comments and questions regarding specific Space Show programs & guest(s) to the Space Show blog which is part of archived program on our website,   Comments and questions should be relevant to the specific Space Show program. Written Transcripts of Space Show programs are a violation of our copyright and are not permitted without prior written consent, even if for your own use. We do not permit the commercial use of Space Show programs or any part thereof, nor do we permit editing, YouTube clips, or clips placed on other private channels & websites. Space Show programs can be quoted, but the quote must be cited or referenced using the proper citation format. Contact The Space Show for further information. In addition, please remember that your Amazon purchases can help support The Space Show/OGLF. See   

We welcomed Davide Sivolella back to the program to discussion his new book, "The Space Shuttle Program: Technologies and Accomplishments" plus his vision for exploiting space for the benefit of humanity on Earth.  During the first segment of our two segment 1 hour 29 minute program, we focused on Davide's new book.  I started the discussion by asking Davide why his fascination with the Space Shuttle.  Don't miss his answer as this fascination has led Davide to write two exceptional books on the subject (see his first Space Show appearance at  I then asked Davide about his favorite shuttle missions.  He cited STS 46 and 75, both of which dealt with tethered systems.  Don't miss his comments on both tethered systems and these shuttle mission. He was asked if the shuttle was retired early.  He thought it should have kept flying.  Again, don't miss all of what he said on this subject. 

In terms of the shuttle as a spacecraft, he said nothing will approach its capability for a very long time.  He said it would stand alone among the various spacecraft so far and those that might be coming on line soon.  Jumping ahead, his summary in the book clearly states why he thought the shuttle was a great success story.  He also did a great benefit comparison with the shuttle and Apollo.  For sure you don't want to miss that discussion at the end of the program. 

Davide pointed out that the shuttle having wings was a mistake given they were not used in space.  He was also asked about totally remote piloted unmanned shuttle missions.  While he said the potential was there for that, it was never done though ascent and descent were often fully automatic.  He said the unmanned version would have on the order of the planned Shuttle C that never happened.  Before the first segment ended, BJohn asked him about the Soviet Buran which was a sort of knock off of the shuttle.  Davide had much to say about Buran so again, don't miss his comments.  Another point he made was that it ended up being a compromise vehicle due to costs, technology, different agencies wanting it to do a specific mission.  This compromise hurt its performance and may have contributed to its early retirement.

In the second segment, Davide said it was time to go forward with a new era of space development by building a new space industry that benefited the people on Earth.  He spent most of the second segment talking about his vision for space future for everyone.  He said that most people were not that interested in space because it did not benefit them. He wanted to make sure that space development exploited space for all of humanity  In fact, he referenced the recent Jim Keravala program for a model that he liked.  Jim's program can be heard here:  Davide also cited the Jeff Bezos vision which he talked about extensively.  Davide wants to see factories in space with their products coming back to Earth.  He had much to say about this during the second segment so don't miss his comments.  He kept repeating that space development had to be beneficial for human kind. When listeners asked about space settlement, going to Mars or even developing a lunar colony, he was not that supported.  He stuck by his vision that space development had to benefit human kind here on Earth and he said settlements, Mars, the Moon do not really do that and won't connect with most people outside the space advocacy community. 

One mission that Davide liked was the Asteroid Redirect Mission (ARM) but he was sorry it was cancelled.  He had much to say about the benefits of going to an asteroid, even moving it toward the Moon.  Not only did he say going to an asteroid was easier even than returning the Mon, he touted the resources that one could get from them to bring back to Earth. I asked him about the economics in paying double the transportation cost to return something to Earth.  Don't miss what he said in response to my space transportation cost and economic question.  Dawn asked Davide if how the projects that benefit all human kind would be paid for, i.e. government, private or what?  Davide suggested they would be public private partnerships.  He commented that what we were doing on Earth with resource consumption and depletion was reaching a tipping point so the type of space development he was visualizing was now essential.  He cited making lithium batteries in space from asteroids as an example of something that could benefit all human kind and that would interest everyone, not just space advocates.

Our guest concluded the discussion by returning to his book and telling us why he thought the shuttle was a very successful space project.  It flew 135 times, had larger crews than Apollo and NASA managed a fleet of somewhat reusable spacecraft which provided essential experience to NASA for moving forward with the new era of space development he spoke about in the second segment.  Don't miss all of his concluding comments.

Please post your comments/questions on TSS blog for this show.  Davide can be reached through me or our blog.  Remember, if you do buy his book, and I highly recommend you do that, please do it through one of the Amazon Space Show programs.  Just click on the big Amazon link near the center of our home page for details.  




His new book, "The Space Shuttle Program: Technologies and Accomplishments"

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12 Jan 2018 Davide Sivolella
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