Broadcast 1260 (Special Edition)

The Space Foundation Conference

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Guest: Dr. Jim Vedda. Topics: Space policy and goals. We were most fortunate to have as our guest for this program, Dr. Jim Vedda. Our two hour discussion was wide ranging over many aspects of both U.S. and global space policy. In our first segment, Dr. Vedda talked about the "why" of space policy in the final chapter of the Augustine Commission Report but suggested this information relating to the goals of our space program should have been at the front of the report given its importance. This opened up our discussion on space goals being about our capability, not a destination. He suggested we go where resources are and where we can solve problems. Thus, the goal is about being capable to do something that is meaningful and important, not about the location or destination. He provided us with several examples form Apollo, JFK himself, the early days of communication satellites, and robotic space exploration. I also brought up Mars by 2019 for his commentary so you will certainly want to listen carefully to what Dr. Vedda had to say about the importance of space goals. As we started our second segment, we talked about the need for good public and private partnerships for space exploration and development. Dr. Vedda referred to the old NACA model, saying NASA should enable us to go to the stars, not necessarily lead us to the stars. We talked about the NASA workforce and jobs, infrastructure assets and more, all in the context of the NACA model. Opportunity costs were brought into the discussion and fusion power served as an illustration of this concept. Dr. Vedda introduced us to long term thinking and strategy in this segment. In the third segment, Dr. Vedda was asked to identify good policy/programs. The ISS was referenced and he said we need to be fully using it and that since it exists and is largely paid for, policy and programs using it would probably make more sense than a new program going to the Moon taking away resources targeted for the ISS. Dr. Vedda talked about the need to harvest space resources and learn to use them as another good program-policy idea. Another listener asked him about the goals and plans of space agencies from other countries. This proved a very interesting discussion, especially about Europe. Don't miss it. Our fourth segment talked about space solar power and making the most from NASA spinoffs. Space tourism was a topic as was the issue of space futurists. Don't miss this latter discussion. It's a good one and its important. Toward the end of the program, Dr. Vedda quoted from a book by Dandridge Cole, "Beyond Tomorrow;: The next 50 years in space." This quote served as the pearl of wisdom and I urge you to remember it. If you have questions or comments for Dr. Jim Vedda, please email them to me at and I will forward them to him.



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20 Nov 2009 Dr. James A. Vedda
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  • The Space Foundation Conference

  • The Space Foundation Conference