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Guest: Dr. Tom Jones; Topics: We discussed Tom’s new book, “Space Shuttle Stories” plus we talked safety, commercial space, spacesuits, the Overview Effect and more.
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We welcomed Dr. Tom Jones, retired astronaut, to discuss his new book, “Space Shuttle Stories plus much more. As we have been doing lately, please use the Tags for a guide and summary to our discussion topics for today’s program. For your convenience the Tags are repeated below:
Tags: Dr. Tom Jones, Space Shuttle Stories, firsthand accounts of all 135 Space Shuttle missions, space shuttle oral history, astronaut memoirs, lessons learned, unique voices for the story, team work lesson, beauty and fragility for space, space risks, technical challenges and difficulties, ground experiences, cockpit experiences, Tom’s favorite shuttle flight, Hubble servicing missions, ISS, micromanagement, commercial safter greater than shuttle, Orion design target is 10X safer, commercial 100X safer, escape modes, humor in the book, human space settlement, profit from space, planetary defense, defending the Earth, pandemics, viruses, Dart Mission, Overview Effect, NASA as a political product, SLS, China’s Long-March 9, space geopolitics, Artemis, commercial partnerships with government are essential, space debris regulation, space shuttle museums, Endeavor, Discovery, Enterprise, Columbia shuttle, public domain photos and materials, microgravity, shuttle space suits, SpaceX spacesuits. Each
We started the program talking about Tom’s book which has more than 500 photos in it, all from the NASA archives making this an excellent book for space history advocates. Tom said each shuttle mission profile was an astronaut narrative loaded with the astronaut’s personal experience of the mission in question. Each mission story contains mission data plus special rare mission photos. The more and more we talked about the book, it was clear that this would make an excellent special holiday gift book for space history folks and others wanting to know seldom before details re our orbiter mission. As you will hear, Tom was both uniquely qualified and position to be the one that documented this important space missions. Tom stressed the personal side of the stories in the book which make it far more than just another space book or space shuttle book.
Later in our program as you can tell from the tags, we talked settlement and commercial space in addition to needing to expedite space development and our lunar programs to avert China being on the Moon with its own culture and legal influences. Tom expressed concern about China and its space program so don’t miss all of what he had to say on this subject.
Listener Todd from San Diego sent in a note asking Tom to tell us some of the lessons learned by the shuttle crews. Tom mentioned team work, seeing space as both beauty but with frigidity among other lessons learned. He was asked a question, perhaps a more spiritual question but he said the listener was talking about the Overview Effect which he did not see much evidence for with the shuttle missions. Don’t miss all of what he had to say about the Overview Effect. While not experiencing it himself, he did comment about many of the profound effects space has had on the shuttle crews.
Before ending, Tom was asked about commercial space safety and if he would ride on a SpaceX or commercial vehicle. He said they would be much safer than the shuttle given they would have launch escape for the crew. He suggested commercial would be ten times to a hundred times safer than the shuttle. He shouted out to both Orion and SLS for safety along with SpaceX. He then followed this discussion by saying he supported the idea for settlement and being a multi planet species. Before we signed off, we talked about one of Tom’s favorite subjects, planetary defense or defending Earth.
As part of the program summary, Tom talked about the remaining shuttles, their museum locations, plus the upcoming changes planned for Endeavour in Los Angeles. Before ending, Tom was asked a few questions about the orange commercial space suits worn by the shuttle astronauts. He then said the SpaceX spacesuit would be much more comfortable than what they wore on the shuttle.
Please post your comments/questions for Dr. Tom Jones on our blog for this show. You can reach our guest through me.