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Guest: Robert (Bob) Zimmerman. Topics: Space Act Agreement, private compared to government space, Kepler planet discovery, bats. You are invited to comment, ask questions, and discuss the Space Show program/guest(s) on the Space Show blog, http://thespaceshow.wordpress.com. Comments, questions, and any discussion must be relevant and applicable to Space Show programming. Transcripts of Space Show programs are not permitted without prior written consent from The Space Show (even if for personal use) & are a violation of the Space Show copyright. The Space Show/OGLF is now engaged in its annual fundraising drive. Please see & act upon our appeal at http://thespaceshow.wordpress.com/2011/11/21/space-show-2011-fundraising.... Merry Christmas to all of you from The Space Show. We welcomed Bob Zimmerman back to the show for policy, news, and bat updates. Make sure you visit his blog for interesting and timely news and posts, http://behindtheblack.com. We started our two hour discussion with Bob saying that NASA reverting back to using the SAA instead of the FAR was perhaps the most significant moment in space since the Apollo landings. Listen to his explanation which he talked about multiple times during the program. Do you agree? In talking about the SAA, we also talked about the new NASA budget of $406 million for crew, including the amounts already allocated, leaving about $100 million less for the companies. We talked about the need to have launch competition with at least two companies. In addition, since NASA will "certify" the private HSF vehicles, we talked about what that might be like and the continued control over the companies by NASA. As you will hear over and over again, Bob does not look favorably on government space programs and believes the future is to be found within the private sector. Do you agree with Bob? Another point Bob made in discussing the SAA was that it probably sounded the death knell for SLS. Again, listen to what he had to say on this subject. Kelly called in and sent us information about another effort to commercialize the remaining two space shuttles. We talked about this and similar plans in detail. The new Stratolaunch concept came up and Bob got a few questions about air launch and the performance gain from doing an air launch. Our discussion closed in the management team involved in the project as being a "dream team." In the second segment, we talked about the new Earth-like planet discoveries by the Kepler Space Telescope, including two in the habitable zone. Later, we talked about human rating the Atlas and Delta rockets, and the DOD-ULA deal which may not happen. Listeners asked Bob about the Russian space program in light of Phobos-Grunt, about SETI, and even possible one way missions to Mars. Alistair asked about the possible impact on US policy makers if China was about to go to the Moon & establish a lunar base. Later we talked about Telstar, ATT, airmail, and space politics.. We concluded with a bat update on White Nose Syndrome. Bob suggested three areas to look for in 2012: the Falcon 9 launch, the test flight of Antares, and Virgin Galactic SS2 engine tests and flights. Please post your comments and questions on The Space Show blog URL above.