Broadcast 2880 Open Lines

  • The Space Foundation Conference

  • The Space Foundation Conference

  • The Space Foundation Conference

  • The Space Foundation Conference

The Space Foundation Conference

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Guest:  Open Lines discussion; Topics:  UK space law, upcoming budget and NASA, Bob Zimmerman's research paper, caller space projects & ideas.  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

Welcome to our two hour plus Open Lines discussion.   Before I summarize this Open Lines program, I have two things I want to say up front.  First, I offer my apology for going way off topic near the end of the show in the call with John Hunt when I went into a healthcare rant that had nothing to do with space or any of the topics being discussed on this or for that matter any other Space Show program.  Caller John Hunt does have a way of getting me off topic and today, I offered up quite the extensive and unprofessional rant on the state of healthcare legislation in this country per my perspective  dealing with chronic illness and such.  It is a passion for me given the circumstances in my family but I do believe my rant was not appropriate for the program.   At one point near the end of the rant I suggested I might edit out my comments but I decided to leave them because of several listener emails that I got after the program telling me to leave the rant alone and let it remain on the archives. I am still not sure if these listeners had my best interest at heart but I decided to leave my healthcare rant in - at least for now.  The rant was totally bipartisan so come on, people supporting one side or the other, while I understand you might have lots of reasons for disagreeing with me and maybe being offended by my comments, being partisan is not such a reason. To those I may have offended with my comments, I do apologize.

Another point I want to make is this:  After the program ended, I was criticized for suggesting to callers (and others on the show) that they take their various space ideas and present them to policy makers, congress and such as it was a sign I was endorsing their projects, even the whacky projects that only deserve the circular file.  Briefly, do not take my challenge to advocates with ideas to pursue them as my endorsement of those ideas. I almost never endorse people's ideas. That said, regarding the advocates coming up with the best space policy or project or launcher or settlement plan ever, I merely tell them in my own way to walk the talk.  If you think you have discovered the Brass Ring, then put your money where your mouth is and go fight to make it happen, otherwise don't bother us on TSS and waste your time preaching to the choir.  Honestly, if someone calls the show or sends me an email with the project to end all projects relating to space, and they want to be a guest on TSS, call an OL show or have me announce it somehow, and they won't lift an inch to fight for their project with people that can help make it happen or make a difference, why should I give them a forum to promote their stuff to our audience.  It seems to me if one thinks they have a good enough idea for TSS, then by all means figure out how to make it happen and go fight for it.  Be accountable for your ideas and theories, don't just want a few minutes of behind the microphone fame on TSS.   There are lots of ways people can do things besides talk to a member of congress.  However, if a person is in the US, there should be no reason why they can't at least make the effort to visit their local office of the MOC and talk to a staffer.  Present your ideas at advocate or other conferences. Write substantive articles supporting with facts your ideas and theories and see if you can get them published in magazine, credible blogs, etc.  The list of opportunities for one to advocate for their work beyond the usual choir members is almost unlimited.  So when I tell them to go do something like this, it is not me endorsing their project, it is me telling them that if they have such a hot idea or cool technology, go fight for it with people that can make a difference.  This also serves a wake up type of peer review for them which most do need.  Otherwise, how can we take you seriously if you won't even advocate and fight for your own work.  This is why I urge people to advocate their ideas among those that can potentially make a difference.  Otherwise, why should I take an interest in or help promote your project?  Especially since I am not endorsing it.  And by the way, being on The Space Show or talking about it as a caller or a blog post does not mean that TSS endorses the project.  I trust in our audience and their discernment and they can decide what they want to endorse or ignore.  Listeners do not need me to endorse this or that idea, concept, project, or theory.

Our first caller for the day was Eagle from S. California who has an idea for a better launch system.  You can get information about his idea and his tethered skyhook concept by looking over the Combination Launch System which he talked about during his call.  Visit for more information.  You can also read about his skyhook concept which he talked about during his call.  I see that listener Kim has already engaged him in a blog discussion so check out their back and forth.  If you are so inclined, give Eagle your feedback on the blog.

Michael Listner was the next caller. He talked about the recent UK space law that was recently passed. When I asked him if it was significant, he said it was. Don't miss what he said about this.  He also referenced an excellent Eric Berger article regarding the replacement options for the ULA use of the RD180 engine.  You can read his article here:  I also asked Michael if he had read Bob Zimmerman's new research document which I mentioned up front during the announcement portion of the show.  There are links to his paper posted in comments on the blog.  Michael had glanced over the paper but had not read it in detail.  He did offer some tentative comments.

Our next caller was Blaze who talked about Mars and made some announcements about new video games by SpaceVR, a specialty space virtual reality company. He talked about some of their new projects and upcoming programs which he will tell us about in details later in the year. 

In the second segment, we took a call from Chris in the UK.  Chris talked about SpaceX and programs relating to commercial space and going to the Moon,  As you will hear, he strongly advocates these projects and programs and I think he considers that which might actually happen as already being reality based.  We had some give and take these subjects.  He talked about SLS, SpaceX rockets, the Moon versus Mars and more. I asked for his thoughts on the UK space law mentioned earlier in the show but that did not appear to be his focus.  He concluded his comments by talking about large cluster small sat launches to LEO by SpaceX, plus the large to be built SpaceX rocket for going to Mars. 

Out last caller of the day was John Hunt from Ft. Worth.  Besides getting me sidetracked into my health care rant near the end of the program, John had much to say on the Zimmerman paper as he had read it.  Remember, we affectionately refer to John as SLS John so that might help you understand the perspective that guided John and his comments.  He had much to say about rocket comparisons in the paper and why they may not be accurate, the cult of Dragon and other private sector projects, and fixed cost contracting which he has had personal experience with on the A12 and P7 military aircraft.  He then switched topics a bit to talk about the upcoming budget later this week and what it might mean for both NASA and space though for now all of this is unknown.  He talked about the agency cuts that have been announced in the press and we both could not help but wonder how space and in particular NASA might end up in the budget proposal.  John had some very interesting comments and thoughts regarding the budget and the Zimmerman paper so don't miss his discussion.

John's call was the last one for the day.  I noted that this was a show with far more calls than emails which as you know, is unusual for The Space Show.  Please post your comments/questions on TSS blog.  If you want to comment on Bob Zimmerman's paper, please read it first.  It is an information filled 44 page report/study and worth your time to read and consider.  We do want your feedback on it as well.  Bob will be on the show later this month for an in-depth discussion about his paper and recommendations.  Your comments/questions on other guest calls and topics for today's show are welcome. You are even welcome to comment on my healthcare rant though as I said, it was way off topic for today's program.

You can reach any of the callers through me at as all of the callers have communicated with me by email.  I will be happy to forward to emails to them or get their permission to give you their address.  I will make sure that callers check the blog if there are comments posted on it applicable to their call.  Our blog is the archived show for this program and date on our website.




Open Lines Discussion - All space topics welcome. Note the change to Daylight Savings Time

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12 Mar 2017 Dr. David Livingston
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