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Guest: Leonard David; Topics: Leonard discussed a variety of space topics ranging from public to commercial to planetary to human spaceflight. He included lunar return, Starship, SLS, Artemis, national security space issues, China and Russia and lots more.
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We welcomed back to the show Leonard David for news and updates on a variety of commercial, public, national security and foreign space issues and concerns. Our first topic was the Artemis 1 mission with SLS. I asked Leonard for his thoughts on SLS, the mission, delays, and SLS sustainability. He indicated that the very high cost per launch it was likely not sustainable, then he asked if any of us knew the Saturn 5 unit cost over the various flights as a comparison to SLS and a lowering of prices if it launches more often. Leonard did talk about being anxious to get back to the Moon and suggested some additional online sources of quality information and videos on the subject. While we talked about Starship later in the discussion, he did say that he thought it was a good idea to have two viable systems for the Moon and heavy launch.
Next up, I asked Leonard for his thoughts and analysis on space solar power given this has turned into a Space Show frequently discussed topic. Leonard mentioned DOE reviews of SSP, the X-37B, the Naval Research Lab studies along with corporate studies and work, the same from ESA, the UK and other nations. He questioned the economic viability of SSP for common terrestrial power but thought some of the military special uses would pan out. Leonard suggested that in space SSP would be useful and then he talked about beamed energy both from space to Earth and efforts to beam energy to spaceships and to space for other uses. He thought there might be a Catch 22 regarding the weaponization of SSP hardware and processes. Don't miss our full discussion on this topic. Let us know your thoughts by posting them on our blog.
Following our talking about SSP, I asked Leonard for his thoughts on space settlement. He talked about the ISS as a possible model, also the work being done on private space stations by commercial space companies. He thought we should have a lunar base which would be a type of settlement and probably over time an actual settlement. Once again he raised some sustainability issues and questions. We briefly talked about space tourism and then Leonard brought up the Space Force and the need to develop space rescue. Don't miss all of what he had to say on these topics.
Additional topics and commercial companies were mentioned but then we took our first call from Marshall. In response to what Leonard said about SpinLaunch, one of his mentions, Marshall talked about commercial space companies doing well in salesmanship. Leonard then briefly touched upon the space elevator. Technology was a big part of their remaining conversation.
After Marshall's call, I asked Leonard about the UAP issue and congressional hearings. Leonard had much to say and also indicated he liked the Galileo Project by Dr. Avi Loeb. Bringing up this topic sparked a call from Ft. Worth John who as you know, follows this topic in detail. We talked about the congressional hearings, my commentary re my skeptical view that I would find it hard to believe what anyone from congress my say on the subject but John jumped in and said since the topic was typically a career killer, why would anyone lie to support their coming from beyond Earth. Leonard commented on this as well. They went on to discuss going to the Moon, the use of commercial human and cargo landers, plus Leonard even lightly questioned the common belief that there lies abundant water ice at the South Pole of the Moon. Once again, listen to all of what Leonard was saying, the let us know what you think by posting on our blog.
We got an email from Dr. Doug raising the question of impact on SLS and Artemis if Starship was successful or somehow failed. Leonard commented that Elon learns as he goes so a Starship failure early on would just be part of the SpaceX R&D program. As for SLS, it was not just an economic and cost issue but there were outside politics at play. I suggested those outside politics would have more impact and influence on congress than economics regarding keeping or canceling SLS.
We got a few additional questions, one in particular from Bill, suggesting that NASA human rating an HLS-specific version may cause problems and delays. He thought that 2026 might be a challenging year. Don't miss what Leonard said in response to Bill's email plus once again up came the topic of space rescue. Before ending the program, Leonard mentioned the use of artificial gravity and an artificial gravity company, a listener asked him about cattle mutilation and then at the end, he was asked what he thought the impact on commercial space would be of a declining US economy and recession. In his response to the economic question, Leonard mentioned supply chain issues even with JPL and some suborbital flight issues with Blue Origin and Virgin Galactic. He added in some closing comments about the Chinese space station, human spaceflight, ESA, and even the B-21 by N-G.
Please post your comments/questions on our blog for this show. You can reach Leonard David through me or his own website, www.leonarddavid.com