Broadcast 1679 (Special Edition)

The Space Foundation Conference

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Guest: Tom Olson. Topics: The year 2011 in review regarding all space issues. 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. The Space Show/OGLF is now engaged in its annual fundraising drive. Please see & act upon our appeal at We welcomed Tom Olson back to the show for his annual yearly summary of space events. We had much to cover in this 105 minute program. Tom started out reminding us that 2011 was the 50th anniversary of human spaceflight. He told us about the banner year for Yuri's Night parties around the globe celebrating this important milestone and specifically about the even he attended in New Your City. Next, he pointed out the recent National Press Club talk given by Elon Musk on going to Mars and building the rockets to take us there, plus his recent New Scientist interview which you can read in full on the Mars Society website. Tom commented that the sky was actually falling in 2011 with two large junk satellites coming back to Earth. We also talked about the return of Phobos Grunt to earth probably in early to mid-January 2012. One of the big events we discussed for 2011 was the retirement of the shuttle. This led us to discussing the recent Chinese space rendezvous and the fact that China is now the number two launching country behind Russia having overtaken the U.S. this year. Planetary missions were part of our year in review with Vesta and Dawn, the Kepler Space Telescope, MSL with Curiosity. New Horizons continued its journey to Pluto and Explorer 1 continued beyond our solar system. Tom talked about SLS and the ORION MPC Vehicle, plus the James Webb Space Telescope and its cost issues in the context of its impact on the NASA budget. Soyuz rocket problems along with all the Russian rocket failures this year were fair game for our discussion. I asked Tom what he thought of the idea of SLS as a place holder for skill sets and technology until our space program improves. Don't miss his answer. He brought up Virgin Galactic's drop tests this year, especially the last one where trouble showed up. Making news for 2011 were NASA and space industry workforce layoffs and the successful Falcon 9 and Dragon launch. At the end of the first segment, Bigelow Aerospace was in our spotlight. In segment two, Tom led off with XCOR news, Terry called wondering about CCDEV3 and Tom suggested program winners! Don't miss his prediction. He also was asked to predict the cancellation year for SLS. Don't miss this prediction as well. We talked about the upcoming New Space Business Plan Competition for 2012, the prizes which are the largest ever, and the timing. If this interests you, make sure to stay tuned for more information. Later in the segment we began a summary of our discussion and 2011. Tom was asked about the space elevator and the Lunar Space Elevator. We wrapped up our discussion talking about growth in the space conferences even in the tough economic year of 2011. Post your comments and questions on The Space Show blog URL above.



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27 Dec 2011 Thomas A. Olson
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  • The Space Foundation Conference

  • The Space Foundation Conference