Broadcast 1445 (Special Edition)

16 Oct 2010 Dean E. Davis
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Guest: Dean Davis. Topic: The future of American Human Space Flight. Please note that you are invited to comment, ask questions, and rate this program on the new Space Show blog, http://thespaceshow.wordpress.com. We welcomed Dean Davis, Senior Principal Scientist/Engineer and Senior Study Leader for the Boeing Advanced Phantom Works. In our first segment, Mr. Davis said that our space program was like a ship without a rudder and the flexible path from Augustine allowed us to do anything we want but in reality meant we will do nothing. Much of the first segment related back to his opening statement. He did outline his plan for what he believes our space policy should be, including a Shuttle C type of heavy lift vehicle, that we stop dismantling one of the existing shuttle launch towers and infrastructure, we continue with the external tanks and in fact use them as orbital propellant depots. He said that doing this saves lots of money, lots of time, and provided us with a 110 metric ton heavy lift vehicle. He then explained his concept in the context of benefitting the taxpayer and getting more life out of the Shuttle Main Engines (SMEs). During this initial segment, we also talked about the need for technology advancement and R&D, especially by NASA which would then be used to fully support the commercial industry in going after new markets and being profitable. As an example, he cited the possibility of government carrying on power satellite research to facilitate the SSP industry. As a result of listener questions, Dean talked about the risks inherent in relying on the Russians for rides to the ISS, citing examples from the recent past. Near the end of the first segment, a listener asked him about the space workforce and that with any new change, the status quo holds on for dear life, but in reality, change is disruptive and we have to accept that. Dean called this the flash and burn mentality and explained why from his perspective, it was and still is destructive for our nation, not just the aerospace industry. You won't want to miss what he had to say about this often heard approach to new space policy and the space workforce. Our second segment began with listener John calling in from Billings, MT talking about leadership issues with politicians and within the business community. Dr. Jurist asked Dean to prioritize what he would do were he in charge. The top three things Dean said he would address would be 1) Make sure Congress does not directly or indirectly design our rockets. 2) He would build the heavy lift rocket but would stop destroying existing infrastructure at great cost to the program and taxpayer. He would make use of existing infrastructure. His third point was to build a propulsion system that could get us to Mars within four years. Our guest also spent much time in this segment talking about the greatness of America and our capability to adapt. A listener asked him about the WIG transport and the Caspian Sea Monster along with the Hot Eagle project. Hypersonics were also discussed in this and the earlier segment. John from Atlanta called in to ask about Orion and Dragon. Toward the end of the segment, I asked Dean to answer the Ohio high school student's four questions that I brought up on the last Open Lines show. Dean and I had much to say in response to these questions. If you have comments or questions for Dean Davis, please post them on the blog address above. You can also contact Dean or send him copies of your blog post using quarkstar13@aol.com.

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