Broadcast 4132 Bob Zimmerman

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Guest:  Robert (Bob) Zimmerman; Topics:  Multiple topics including Starship and additional testing, the upcoming Vulcan launch, launch rate for 2023 and indications for an even better 2024 launch rate, settlement, the Moon and Mars, regulation and much more.

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We welcomed Bob Zimmerman back to the program for his last visit of 2023.  While our discussion extended beyond the 90-minute time, we mainly talked SpaceX, Starship and related matters regarding the recent tests, upcoming tests and regulations.  Once again, I ask you to note our Tags for this program as they do go into detail about all the topics discussed on the show.  For your convenience, the program tags are repeated below.

Tags:  Robert (Bob) Zimmerman, Behindtheblack.com, Starship engine tests, Vulcan Jan. 8 launch, SpaceX preliminary lunar lander designs, first Starship orbital mission, refueling tests needed, Starship timelines, Starship questions for flight termination system, FAA role if any in Starship investigations, Bob talks investigation process, Musk as an item of risk with government, Musk and SEC investigations, Texas and environmental regulations, UK spaceport problem, Kodiak as an alternative launch site, space settlement as a freedom issue, long time lines for Mars, China as a Soviet style government, Saudi Arabia exiting the Moon treaty, India and the Moon treat, exiting the OST as an option, Musk and uncertainty, Bob makes barnstorming comparisons with space, LRO high resolution pictures, Blue Origin close to flying, Firefly increases launches, 2024 forecast for launch, election indifference, Lurio and the election.

There continues to be a significant amount of interest both in SpaceX and Starship.  Bob spent much of the first half of the first part of the program talking about the recent Starship launch, timelines for additional testing, lots on the regulatory environment and what may show there that might be on the unexpected side, plus he talked about Mush having fallen out of favor with certain parts of the administration.  Musk and Starship were continually referenced throughout our discussion.

Though I included regulation in the Musk and Starship part of the discussion, Bob had much to say regarding the role of the FAA plus FAA concerns over specific regulatory issues.  Bob also mentioned concerns at Boca involving Fish and Wildlife.  Another topic of interest that Bob mentioned addressed the UK spaceport problem since Virgin went under with many saying the regulatory environment in the UK helped them in their demise.  He did mention that the launch site in Kodiak, Alaska was an alternative site but not everyone can launch from there or get to the orbits they need from that site. 

Space settlement was a topic though not a major topic of this program.  Bob said the private sector will end up doing it, not the government.  He did think it would be a long-term venture with Mars being a very long-term venture.  Bob commented on China and their Soviet style top-down government, he mentioned Saudia Arabia wanting to pull out of the Moon treat with India not far behind.  He expressed an opinion suggesting that nations pull out of the OST but not much was said about it.

Ft. Worth John, one of the callers for this program, asked Bob about Musk starting up his own university.  Both were OK with the idea but questioned why he would want to do it in Austin, TX.  Other topics included the high-resolution photos from the LRO and the quick maps from the project.  Government grants for space related activity were also talked about. 

Before we ended, Bob suggested that for 2024, Blue Origin would be flying with New Glenn and that Firefly would be increasing its fight rate.  As for the election, he suggested it would not be a major issue regarding space.

Please post your questions/comments for Bob on our blog for this show.  You can reach Bob through me or his website, www.behindtheblack.com.  

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Bob returns to close out 2023 and welcome in 2024.

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19 Dec 2023 Robert Zimmerman
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