Broadcast 969 (Special Edition)

26 Jun 2008 Jon Cowart, William Dowdell, Brian Mosdell
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Guests: Brian Mosdell, followed by Bill Dowdell and Jon Cowart. Brian Mosdell is the Director of Florida Launch Operations for SpaceX. We started this discussion with a brief overview and history of SpaceX, its objectives, launch vehicles, and their launch services/market that they will likely provide. We also talked about the upcoming Falcon 1 and Falcon 9 launches scheduled for this year. In response to my question having visited Space X in California, Mr. Mosdell explained "friction welding" to us, told us more about the manufacturing process being used for the Falcon 9, what it takes to "man rate" a rocket, and he provided a comparison between the Falcon 9 and the Delta heavy EELV. You don't want to miss this discussion! Brian digressed a bit and told us a little about his personal history and how he became involved in this field and what he likes best about working in the space industry. Don't miss this discussion! Getting back to SpaceX, Brian told us about the upcoming demolition of a launch tower and a listener asked about selling the debris on EBay or in some other forum as a souvenir. Don't miss Brian's reply as it may surprise you. Regarding the upcoming debut of the Falcon 9, we discussed how many launches would be required before the Falcon 9 would be a success and deemed commercially available to the market. Here, Brian talked about the Merlin 1c rocket engine, the impact of a successful launch on the market, the volume of the Falcon 9 launches, the difficulties of getting the launches approved, and much more. We extensively discussed the current launch costs and the market drivers which would bring the launch cost down to a reasonable level. If you have questions or comments for Mr. Mosdell, please email me at drspace@thespaceshow.com and I will forward them to him. Please be patient for your reply, as he is presently in Kwajalein working to ready the Falcon 1 for its upcoming launch. Bill Dowdell and Jon Cowart, both of NASA, were our guests for the second hour of this Space Show TV program. In the first half of the show, we spoke to Bill Dowdell, the Deputy Director of ISS and Spacecraft Processing, while the second half hour was spent with Jon Cowart, the Ares I-X Ground Systems Senior Project Manager. Mr. Dowdell started our discussion by telling us how he transitioned from working with the Shuttle to working with the ISS. Because the question of "Why Space?" is always asked, Bill told us why specifically the ISS was relevant to today's world. You will want to hear what he has to say regarding this issue as it's important. Mr. Dowdell gave us his best estimate for the ISS's physical state and if it can survive past its projected retirement date. This question led us an interesting discussion about what wears out in space, how NASA prepares for a launch to the ISS, how the Shuttle retirement will impact the completion of the ISS, and what type of training one needs to work for NASA on these projects. We also talked about the environmental impact of a Shuttle launch, and much more. One question led Bill to tell us about removing alligators from the hardware. Don't miss this true story. We ended our segment with Bill Dowdell telling us what he would like the American people to know about the ISS and its potential. Jon Cowart is the man in charge for the Ares I-X launch test. Since Jon had a strong background and work experience with spacesuits, we started our discussion with a comparison of on-orbit spacesuits and launch suits. I relayed an experience of mine being in a spacesuit helmet and how claustrophobic it was. Jon suggested that perhaps claustrophobic individuals may not want to join the astronaut corps and even cited other experiences, which could be much more stressing than claustrophobia. We then moved on to the Ares I-X launch test, the difference between the I-X and the actual Ares 1, including the current upper "dummy" stage, the importance of the tumble motion for parachute deployment, and much more. You will want to hear Mr. Cowart's discussion on the current Critical Design Review process which Ares will undergo in July. We then discussed the importance of the Ares program, the need to work around the Shuttle launch schedule, weather issues impacting launches, the next stage in launch tests, as well as the Ares I design vibration problems. Jon Cowart also explained the additional importance of this project in minimizing the employment hiccup or gap which will occur when the Shuttle retires. If you have a comment or question for either Mr. Dowdell or Mr. Cowart, please email me at drspace@thespaceshow.com and I will forward your email.

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