Broadcast 1460 (Special Edition)

15 Nov 2010 Dr. David Livingston
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Guest: Open Lines with Dr. David Livingston. Topics: NASA, air launching rockets, commercial space, human space flight regulations, what the public thinks of space and more. Please note that you are invited to comment, ask questions, and rate this program on the new Space Show blog, http://thespaceshow.wordpress.com. Our first segment was about 70 minutes and the second was about 75 minutes so this is a longer than usual program. Initially, I put on the table several possible discussion points: 1) Flakey space projects and having a Crackpot Week on the show; 2) The Wayne Hale blog article, "The Coming Train Wreck for Commercial Human Spaceflight," 3) The Space News article by Dr. Joan Johnson-Freese: "Reality Bites: The 2010 National Space Policy," 4) Topics suggested by listener Tom Hanson including air launch, selling space based on the hoarding of rare earth elements by China, the rocket equation and relativistic mass increase, and his version of Crackpot Week. I urge listeners to read both the Wayne Hale article and the Space News article by Dr. Johnson-Freese. In addition, Wayne posted an update to his Coming Train Wreck article and I urge all of you read the updated post and keep it in mind as you hear the listener comments regarding NASA human spaceflight rules. You can find these two articles at http://waynehale.wordpress.com/2010/11/14/the-coming-train-wreck-for-com... and http://waynehale.wordpress.com/2010/11/17/trying-to-clean-up-a-mess. You can read the Space News article by Dr. Johnson-Freese at www.spacenews.com/commentaries/101115-blog-reality-bites.html. These topics and a few others were the drivers behind tonight's Open Lines program. Dr. Jurist called in to discuss air launch and relativistic mass, and then told us his UPS horror story. I commented with a UPS story of my own, but also went out of my way to applaud Federal Express with a story I have told before on the program about their going the extra mile to deliver refrigerated meds to my son. This discussion resulted in a broader discussion about customer service in both the public and private sectors. Many regular callers were predictable letting us know that they agreed with Wayne's comments though I wish his second post had been available to us at air time. I also read parts of the Johnson-Freese article on air as I found it to be right on the money addressing important issues we frequently discussed on the program. Trent from Australia updated us on space activities in Australia, he commented on the upcoming Falcon 9 launch, the Discovery problems, a reentry license, and the SpaceX plan for tugging Dragon back to shore. Mark called in from Huntsville to give us an update on the situation there as he is a NASA contractor. We talked about the need for space infrastructure and markets which if in existence could change the dynamic of human spaceflight. The issue of the entrepreneurial and commercial companies taking federal money and being culturally changed in the process was again discussed and many listeners believe this is a risk. Charles called in to repeat his mantra that we need to bypass NASA in our commercial space development efforts. Near the end of the program, Tim called in from Huntsville to talk about air launch along with the RLV and SSP. We spent some time on RLV economics, launch rates and demand, and on the economics of SSP. I'm sure my comments will be viewed as heresy by many in the space community so I've battened down the hatches in anticipation of being raked over burning flames for not worshiping at the RLV and SSP alter. John Jurist called back to go over some of the financial and economic considerations of RLVs and to point out that the saltwater recovery of a liquid rocket motor and turbo pump is no easy thing to do. He also pointed out that governments already interfere in the energy market place and cited terrestrial solar tax credits as an example. Its my personal belief that both the articles by Wayne Hale and the article by Dr. Johnson-Freese are must reads for listeners and the broader space community. Understanding reality is essential for us to move forward with real space development and policies that serve our nation and our own space interests. If we don't grasp the basics, how can we move forward on solid ground? While this program is extra long and comes with essential reading assignments, I believe it to be an important Space Show program. While many listener comments may be thought of as whining about this or that or even NASA bashing, I believe they reflect the wide spread frustration with our space program and the uncertainties in today's space policy today. Your comments and thoughts are welcome. Please post them on the blog URL above.

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