Broadcast 4004 Bob Zimmerman

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  • The Space Foundation Conference

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Guest: Robert (Bob) Zimmerman;  Topics:  SpaceX and Starship plus FAA launch license delay, Blue Origin, ULA, U.S. launchers, 3 D printing, ice on Mars, Boca Chica launch site, Bloomberg's article on Musk and the Administration plus much more.

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Bob Zimmerman was back with us for a nearly two hour discussion starting off with the FAA delay in getting Starship its launch license.  Bob spent a good part of the early program on this subject, answered listener questions and commenting on the delay.  Bob mentioned ongoing work on Starship and the engines while the delay was in place so the delay time was not wasted time. Bob spent a substantial amount of the time talking about the motivation behind the delay - at least from his perspective.  Please comment on our blog on what Bob had to say about the delay.  In addition, Bob read from a Bloomberg News Article suggesting that the government might be overly concerned about the independence of Musk and SpaceX.  You can easily find the article on the Bloomberg News website.

Moving away from the SpaceX-FAA launch license subjects, Bob talked about what was going on in the UK with Virgin Orbit given delays with the UK and their license which has destroyed company cash flow.  Marshall called to suggest NASA would have a problem were the delay political as they have selected SpaceX for their Artemis lunar lander.  Bob and Marshall had a nice chat about that topic which you will certainly want to hear.  Bob then talked about a new S. Korean rocket startup, Innospace (the article is on his Behind The Black blog).  Check out the company website in English,  This is a hybrid rocket with a successful launch.

Another topic that came up was the potential sale of ULA, then the ULA Smart Reverse recovery process for their Vulcan rocket.  Bob had much to say about Jeff Bezos and Blue Origin so don't miss that part of the discussion.  Let us know on the blog if you concur with Bob regarding the status of Blue Origin.  From here, Bob talked about Martian ice in the mid-latitudes of Mars and water stations needed for humans on Mars.  When asked about timelines for Mars and humans, he thought it would likely be somewhere between 100-200 years until first economic basis or settlements were on Mars.  Don't miss all of what he said on this topic.

As for rocket companies, Bob shouted out and talked about RocketLabs, then was asked about Vector which he talked about along with the new startup by Jim Cantrell who used to head Vector, Phantom.  We also talked about the upcoming Relativity 3D printed rocket launch which did take place Wednesday evening, March 22. It was a successful launch but it failed to get to orbit.  Bob was asked if a successful launch would be a game changer and he said no.  Don't miss his explanation.  Before shutting down, Dr. Lurio called to talk about Relativity and other matters. Bob and Charles had a good discussion, again, one you will want to hear. Before ending, Tim sent in a note the use of nuclear reactors for Mars and spaceflight.  Bob said he hoped it would happen but it would be down the road.

Please post your comments/questions for Mr. Zimmerman on our blog for this show. He can be reached through me, our blog, and his own website,




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21 Mar 2023 Robert Zimmerman
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