Broadcast 2811 Marianne Dyson

Feedback: What did you think of this show?: 

Guest: Marianne Dyson;  Topics:  Ms. Dyson's new book, "A Passion For Space," space shuttle, commercial spaceflight, NASA, Moon, Mars & much 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 Marianne Dyson back to the show to discuss her new book, "A Passion For Space: Adventures of a Pioneering Female NASA Flight Controller."  Remember, if you buy this book from Amazon, please use one of the two Amazon support methods so Amazon will donate a portion of the purchase price back to The Space Show/OGLF.  You can learn about our Amazon support options at  In addition visit Ms. Dyson's website for much more information, her other books and papers plus her services she offers in support of those of us in the space industry or doing advocacy work,

During the first segment of our 1 hour 46 minute discussion, Ms. Dyson told us about joining NASA, first being a timeliner and then a NASA Flight Controller for Shuttle.  Don't miss her telling us what a timeliner did at NASA.  Regarding her being a Flight Controller, she was there for the first several flight of shuttle.  Note that the first four shuttle flight were actually test flights.  Also note what she told us about "paying customers" on these flights. 

During this segment, we talked about Mission Control, including fielding many email questions from listeners.  Not only did she describe mission control but she took us through some of the problem resolutions for the early shuttle flights.  Our guest also talked about supporting the crew on those flights, including when they got sick with space sickness.  I asked Marianne what type of support Mission Control provided for a space sick astronaut.  This turned into a very interesting discussion so don't miss it.  Our guest also talked about some of the effects of microgravity and extreme fluid shifts to the upper body. 

We also talked about the shuttle's retirement which our guest thought happened too early, plus the gap in developing US spaceships to get to the ISS.  Later in the segment, I asked about the risk of flying the first shuttle missions and the astronauts acceptance of that risk. 

In the second segment, Dr. Doug sent in a note asking for Marianne's opinion on a government versus a private sector Mission Control Center.  Our guest had much to say on this topic.  Later in the discussion when I mentioned that private companies seem to be able to do things more efficiently with less people, our guest talked about the importance of having an appropriate team size, especially for early flights of a new vehicle.  Doug's question was a good one and it was an important discussion so again, don't miss it. 

Marianne talked about the problems on the early shuttle flights.  As a result of this, Larry in Los Angeles asked her why the problems existed since all the flight hardware and systems got an OK before launch.  He wanted to know what happened to cause the problems that were missed in the pre-launch checks. Again, another very good question which our guest discussed in detail with clarification examples.  At one point Marianne even mentioned the "Rent-A-Trailer" Mission Control concept. 

B John asked about systems becoming more and more autonomous re the ISS and with recoverable systems.  Doug sent in another question asking our guest if she had seen the video of mission control after the Columbia accident.  As the program was ending, we talked about ending the shuttle too early and the gap that has existed from end of shuttle to a return of American human spaceflight spaceships.  Also near the end of the program, I asked our guest to discuss space settlement as compared to space exploration.  In addition, we talked about the Moon or Mars and our guest said that going to the Moon was essential for going to Mars.  Other topics discussed before the program ended included a lunar radio telescope, the Aldrin cycler and the National Geographic mini series on Mars which started on Monday, Nov. 14.

Please post your comments/questions in the comments section of The Space Show website archives for this program.




Marianne's new book, "A Passion for Space"

WARNING: Using Disqus Comments on the Space Show:

To ensure your comments do NOT get caught in the Disqus automatic spam filter systemplease login to your Disqus account or create a verified/approved Disqus account.

Posting multiple URL links WILL TRIGGER the Disqus automatic spam filter system.

14 Nov 2016 Marianne Dyson
Your Amazon Purchases Helps Support TSS/OGLF (see

The Space Show Toll Free Number is only available on live broadcast programs. Please call 1-866-687-7223

  • The Space Foundation Conference

  • moonwards-logo