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Guest: Robert (Bob) Zimmerman; Topics: Recent space news and policy events and happenings, commercial launch industry, aerospace industry, competition and more. Please direct all comments and questions regarding specific Space Show programs & guest(s) to the Space Show blog which is part of archived program on our website, www.thespaceshow.com. Comments and questions should be relevant to the specific Space Show program. Written Transcripts of Space Show programs are a violation of our copyright and are not permitted without prior written consent, even if for your own use. We do not permit the commercial use of Space Show programs or any part thereof, nor do we permit editing, YouTube clips, or clips placed on other private channels & websites. Space Show programs can be quoted, but the quote must be cited or referenced using the proper citation format. Contact The Space Show for further information. In addition, please remember that your Amazon purchases can help support The Space Show/OGLF. See www.onegiantleapfoundation.org/amazon.htm.
We welcomed Bob Zimmerman back for a two segment 1 hour 58 minute discussion regarding current news and events impacting space policy, commercial space and several sectors of the space industry including launchers and private actors. We started the first segment by talking about the recent cabinet meeting held by President Trump and his comments about private space companies, SpaceX, the recent Falcon Heavy launch and commercial rockets coming on board that were cheaper than government rockets, specifically SLS. Bob had much to say about the significance of Mr. Trump's comments so don't miss Bob's analysis. Bob talked about competition, a competitive fear in big aerospace and related topics. Several times he talked about competition in the context of freedom. Freedom coupled with capitalism as frequent Space Show listeners know, is a familiar theme with Bob when he is on The Space Show. Tonight he was not shy about letting us know his perspective many times over during our discussions. Tonight was no exception.
Other topics in the first segment included Bob's take on the lack of a NASA Administrator so far including the coming retirement of Mr. Lightfoot, the Acting Administrator plus the failure to get Rep. Bridenstine confirmed for the position by the Senate. Bob had a particular perspective on this matter so listen and let us know if you agree with him by posting your thoughts on our blog. Another topic was the Lunar Orbital Platform-Gateway which used to go by the name Deep Space Gateway. The new name is a mouthful so it is usually referred to LOP-G! Bob was not supportive of this project and spent time dissecting it to let us know why he was not supportive of it. Like many of our listeners and myself, going to the surface of the Moon was and is preferable. Let us know what you think of LOP-G. Before the segment ended, Paul sent in a note reminding Bob that Dr. Nield was retiring from AST. Bob had lots to say about this retirement, the debate over policy control with the NSC and others, perhaps wanting some of the functions to be handled by the Dept. of Commerce in the name of regulatory reform. Again, listen to what Bob had to say and then share your thoughts with us on the topic by posting on our blog.
For the second segment, we led off talking about the recent comments by President Trump in support of a space force. These comments came as a surprise as the Air Force was not supportive of it and the comments seemed to represent a change in position by the president. Bob provided us with his take on the matter. He also thought the Space Force was pork and not needed at this time. He explains his position and then suggested it might have been a negotiating tactic to give up the space force for congress to relent on SLS.
Tom who identified himself as being within the Beltway sent in a note about ESA, rocket booster reusability and the recent statement made by the ESA top dog who sort of repented bad choices that were turning out to be unproductive. Don't miss the entire discussion on this topic as Bob talked about it in detail. Later in Bob's comments, he cited the ULA experience which ultimately brought in the new CEO Tory Bruno.
Listener Wayne in Michigan sent in a note saying the times now remind him of 1968 all over again given the current political climate. Bob talked about Wayne's comments at length so don't miss them. One thing Wayne wanted to know was if there would be a grand uniting event. Take a guess on what Bob said in response to this question.
Jeff from Tucson called in to point out that should SLS have successful missions, it would be harder to cancel. He noted the track record with rockets as well as military aviation regarding the difficulty in canceling an operational vehicle as compared to one that was not yet operational. Bob agreed but thought SLS might be different because an alternative existed making SLS a special situation. The alternative would be the BFR and other big heavy lift rockets from Blue Origin and SpaceX coming on line about the time of SLS. Jeff also talked about LOP-G.
We took another call, this time wanting to know Bob's thoughts on the big aerospace companies joining forces with the commercials like Blue and SpaceX. Bob had much to say on this issue so don't miss the discussion. Bob also mentioned the possibility of Dream chaser entering the market and what that might mean for competition, the big aerospace industry and launchers.
Listener Linda sent an email wanting to know if he thought there was actually a commercial market for these big heavy lift rockets. Bob was skeptical as was I and as was Linda. Don't miss what Bob said about commercial markets for the big heavy lift rockets.
Inside the Beltway Tom called and told us about seeing the FH launch in person. His question to Bob dealt with China and Russia. He wanted to know that should they make progress in their space plans, would this impact the mood in Congress. Don't miss what Bob had to say about this. Kim then called from Mexico. She was inquiring about regulatory issues and the very large pending satellite constellations as proposed by SpaceX and OneWeb. Kim was concerned about satellite frequency and other types of interference and how so many satellites would be controlled. What government agency or agencies would be involved. I'm sure Bob's response will not surprise you but be sure to listen to it. As before, let us know if you agree or disagree with Bob by posting your thoughts on our blog for this show. Kim also talked about Asian space activities, robots and more. Bob brought up the plans by Orbital ATK to start testing robotic satellite repair projects and missions.
Bob did offer closing comments that you will want to hear. He also mentioned that the global launch industry was on track for a record number of launches this year with leading contributions from the private launchers. Don't miss what he said about this in his closing comments.
Please post your comments/questions on TSS blog. You can find out more about Bob and contact him through his website, Behind The Black (www.behindtheblack.com).