Broadcast 1291 (Special Edition)

16 Jan 2010 Mr. Jim McDade
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Guest: Jim McDade. Topics: space polls, Aerospace Safety Advisory Panel, Constellation, Direct. Jim McDade was our guest for this Space Show program, discussing a wide variety of topics from recent Rasmussen space polls, the Aerospace Safety Advisory Panel (ASAP), and much more. In segment one, we jumped right into the Rasmussen poll showing 50% of Americans favor a cut in NASA spending. You can find the poll at www.rasmussenreports.com/public_content/lifestyle/general_lifestyle/janu.... In addition, check out this Rasmussen poll showing only about 40% of Americans believe the Space Shuttle has been worth the cost, www.rasmussenreports.com/public_content/lifestyle/general_lifestyle/janu.... As you will hear with listener Jack, questions were asked about the bias in the poll questions, but I also said there was bias in what Jack was suggesting. The real problem that Jim and I agreed upon is the significant disconnect in the value of space as seen and understood by space enthusiasts as opposed to the general public, even those designing and implementing the Rasmussen polls. Listen to the discussion and let us know what you think. Later in this segment, we discussed the recently released 2009 Aerospace Safety Advisory Panel Annual Report. You can find out more about this report at www.hq.nasa.gov/office/oer/asap/index.html. We also discussed some the panel's critical safety findings. As we started our second segment, Jim responded to a listener question about the future of Ares 1 and heavy lift. This led Jim to a detailed discussion which lasted throughout the two hour program regarding President Obama's potential space policy and his history on space announcements. We talked about Direct 3.0 as compared to Ares 1 and 5 and the economic impact in changing to Direct both in Alabama and Florida. As you will hear, Jim believes the impact is much greater in Florida and there is going to be significant congressional resistance to changing any part of Constellation in the upcoming space policy announcement. Jim discussed the loss of about 7,000 shuttle workers in Florida and said that if the commercial option is taken, it would only add back about 1,700 jobs on the space coast. Mr. McDade took us into some of the shuttle issues about keeping it flying, including the fact that SMEs cannot be restarted. He talked about sunk costs on Ares 1 and Ares 5 development so far and the safety issues of putting the crew on SRBs adjacent to liquids. Listen to this discussion and see what you think. I then provided my usual rant about NASA getting out of the rocket design and build industry, instead using the commercial sector to build our rockets as true commercial ventures. In segment 3, we continued a discussion on cost plus contractors, quality control, and private contractors, not just for space hardware but in general. Jack in Virginia asked for Jim's assessment of where our space program would be in 2012 and how it would track over the coming years. Toward the end of this segment, I brought up the new movie Avatar and we talked about what sells, the movie theme, and James Cameron and his space awareness. If you have comments or questions for Jim McDade, please contact him at moonshot@uab.edu.

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