Broadcast 1580 (Special Edition)

The Space Foundation Conference

21 Jun 2011 Dr. Bruce Cordell
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Guest: Dr. Bruce Cordell. Topics: Future trends in space exploration and technology as determined by Maslow Windows looking at the past 200 years. You are invited to comment, ask questions, and discuss the Space Show program/guest(s) on the Space Show blog, 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. For more information, do visit Dr. Cordell's website, The article referred to near the end of our discussion is part of an email I got from Dr. Cordell after the program which I have uploaded to The Space Show blog. We started with Dr. Cordell giving us a brief overview of Abraham Maslow and his famous Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs & how it can be applied to space exploration. As Dr. Cordell's research looks at long term trends over 200 years, he has been able to identify great exploration booms, including space exploration booms tied to economic booms. He cited many examples including our exploration of the north and south poles, Lewis & Clark, and more recently the decade of the 1960's. He also pointed out that the economic booms followed great recessions, citing the 1890's followed by a very large economic boom only to be ended by World War 1. Dr. Cordell pointed out that these economic booms changed the mood of the people who became drivers for the great explorations & technology developments. These periods of great economic booms created ebullience within the population & that made all the difference in the world. You will hear Dr. Cordell speak to the needed ebullience throughout our discussion as that awesome feeling is a key ingredient needed to launch a great exploration like space exploration. During our discussion, Bruce had much to say about the economic cycles, including the one we are in now. Leadership was a major topic of our discussion. Bruce said our leaders are forced into prosperity leadership regardless of who gets elected. According to his trend analysis, the next Maslow Window will be the 2012 election but could also be in 2016. Listen to his explanations for his trend analysis both in this first segment & in the second segment. In our second segment, Marshall asked about his wish lists of space projects & how each fit into the Maslow Window, wondering which one might be the driver for the others. Our guest had much to say about the type of project that drives the great exploration, including a discussion of Macro-engineering projects (MEPs) like the Panama Canal & the ISS. He then pointed out that usually something huge like war terminates the Maslow Window period. Among the wish list projects Marshall mentioned was space solar power. We got sidetracked into an SSP feasibility discussion when I asked our guest how the economics of a project as well as needed technology impacted a project as a driver. This led to a digression on SSP and a subsequent phone call from Tim wanting to take me to task for my comments on SSP projects not being able to close a business case. Eventually we got back on topic with Dr. Cordell who indicated that when there is needed technology advancement for an MEP, it comes about automatically as part of the project being developed. Another listener asked about the Moon and a future Maslow Window, especially given the discover of water on it. We had much to say about leadership in this segment. We also talked about the stimulus money & investment in projects like SSP. Tim called back to ask about economic theories. In concluding, Bruce said we have no choice but to engage in long term thinking & planning. If you have questions or comments, post them on The Space Show blog. You can email Dr. Cordell at



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