Broadcast 3664 Leonard David with Barbara Sprungman-David

  • The Space Foundation Conference

  • The Space Foundation Conference

  • The Space Foundation Conference

  • The Space Foundation Conference

The Space Foundation Conference

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Guests:  Leonard David, Barbara Sprungman-David;  Topics: Leonard addressed many important space topics in the news today and also forming our space policy.  See the tags and key words for a general list of discussed topics.  Barbara talked about space education during the pandemic & the Zoom impact on school kids.

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We welcomed both Leonard and Barbara back to the show. Leonard started us off with a discussion about Sen. Nelson being the next probable NASA Administrator.  Leonard was supportive of the nomination but listen to all of what he had to say about Sen. Nelson for the job.  Both Leonard and listeners seemed to agree that we may be entering a time when a quality political navigator is the right choice to lead NASA.  From talking about Sen. Nelson, Leonard went on to say that competition will kick in with regards to China.  He then related this to China in space, a topic we came back to several times during the discussion.

Leonard mentioned Perseverance on Mars as being very impressive.  He was especially excited about the coming helicopter trial flights.  Leonard then mentioned the strength of the private sector in space and the use of Public Private Partnerships.  He also talked about China's recent lunar samples mission and said he hoped US lunar scientists would be able to examine some of the samples brought back by China.  He was not sure this would happen given limitations on US interaction with China regarding space. 

Bill sent in an email asking about the Mars Sample Return mission.  Leonard was bullish on it but did express concerns on the fetch rover to be built by ESA.  He pointed out the parachute problems ESA has had regarding the EXOMARS mission.  In addition, our guest expressed concern that the Mars costs might dwarf funding for other planetary missions. 

Another listener asked Leonard about Elon Musk and the planetary protection policy. We had an interesting discussion with Leonard about the Mars Sample Return, safety considerations and more.  Next up were comments about SLS and the possible cancellation of the project.  Leonard said he liked having multiple options so he was not yet ready to extinguish SLS.  Don't miss all of what he said on this issue. 

Kim called to ask Leonard about public activities and China in space. Kim and Leonard had a great discussion that you will for sure want to hear as they covered many topics.  Even what China might do if they lost a human spaceflight crew.  India and human spaceflight also came up as did the rescue crews in space.  Kim inquired about Columbia and both Leonard and I had much to say about a possible rescue mission for Columbia that was never tried.  This was a topic heavily covered on TSS at the time and not just with Leonard.  Space markets came up and Leonard was asked if he thought the new commercial space industry was in a type of bubble.  I suggested one way to get a glimpse of the quality of the space markets was to check out who the customers were for all the goods and services being produced by the new breed of commercial space companies.  Were they strong customers evidencing strong demand for the goods and services being produced?  Was the government the primary customer?  Taking a look at the commercial space customer mix and strength would likely be an informative exercise. 

SLS came up again with listener Jack asking about the impact on the rocket's development given the coming retirement of Sen. Shelby.  Leonard did not see much impact but listen to what he had to say.  Leonard was then asked about the JWST and other possible commercial activities.  Listener Ben from Dallas brought up the coming congressional release of UAP and UFO data talked about quite a bit on news shows along with The Space Show.  Leonard was tracking it and had several things to say about it.  Later, Ft. Worth John called to talk about it too. One thing Leonard pointed was the formation of a task force but he said he could not find out who was on the task force or what it would do.  Fremont John let us know that Bigelow was suing NASA for breach of contract.  He posted an article on this on the blog for this program.  Additional topics included LEO space stations with the private sector, Dr. Scott Pace being back at GWU, and the Scientific American article Leonard co-authored with Dr. Martin Ross of the Aerospace Corp as mentioned earlier in this summary. 

Leonard spent significant time talking about private launch space pollution in the atmosphere.  I urge you to download and read his paper per the above link I provided.  Let us know what you think about this matter.  I will be inviting Dr. Ross to be a guest on the show so we will hear more about it in the coming weeks.  Before talking about space education with Barbara, Leonard got a question about the dust-off between Bernie and Elon Musk over the Tweet issued by Bernie about this is not the time to be doing anything in space.   You can read more about this here though the story is everywhere on the net:

Barbara talked with us about space education for school age kids during the pandemic which she said was problematic.  She mentioned Zoom and other issues.  She also mentioned her educational outreach group, and some of the recent programs and guests.  One thing that was mentioned was the aggressive discussion with Jill Tarter and Avi Loeb regarding Avi's extraterrestrial opinions per his new book which he has discussed on The Space Show.  You can read about this spirited discussion here:

Both Barbara and then Leonard offered concluding commentary about the continued viability and necessity of government space plus Leonard pointed out a sleeper story about the power beaming experiments from the X-37.  We will soon be covering this story on The Space Show so stay tuned.

Please post your comments/questions on TSS blog for this show.  You can reach Barbara or Leonard through me or




Special commercial space & news stories Only Leonard and Barbara can cover and tell us

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28 Mar 2021 Leonard David, Barbara Sprungman-David
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  • The Space Foundation Conference

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