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Doug Messier, Monday, 6-16-14 June 17, 2014

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Doug Messier, Monday, 6-16-14

http://archived.thespaceshow.com/shows/2263-BWB-2014-06-16.mp3

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Guest:  Doug Messier.  Topics:  Space news reporting, suborbital, Virgin Galactic, XCOR & lots more.  Please direct all comments and questions regarding Space Show programs/guest(s) to the Space Show blog, http://thespaceshow.wordpress.com.  Comments and questions should be relevant to the specific Space Show program. Written Transcripts of Space Show programs are a violation of our copyright and are not permitted without prior written consent, even if for your own use. We do not permit the commercial use of Space Show programs or any part thereof, nor do we permit editing, YouTube clips, or clips placed on other private channels & websites. Space Show programs can be quoted, but the quote must be cited or referenced using the proper citation format. Contact The Space Show for further information. In addition, please remember that your Amazon purchases can help support The Space Show/OGLF. See http://www.onegiantleapfoundation.org/amazon.htm.  For those listening to archives using live365.com and rating the programs, please email me as to why you assign a specific rating to the show. This will help me bring better programming to the audience.

We welcomed Doug Messier back to the show to discuss featured news articles of late on his blog, http://www.parabolicarc.com.  Please note that Doug used a cell phone and we did have audio issues at various times during the show.  During the first long segment of our 1 hour 38 minute program, Doug talked about the Mojave Air &Spaceport, Stratolaunch and then Doug got called to task by listeners for his recent reporting & comments regarding Virgin Galactic per his blog, his recent Space Show program and his appearance on the Hotel Mars John Batchelor segment last week.  The gist of the hard questions asked Doug centered around asking him if he had a conflict of interest reporting on other companies given the XCOR book he is writing.  They asked this because to them, his reporting seemed unfair to Virgin while giving XCOR a pass on many of the same issues he talked about with Virgin.  We spent most of the first segment talking about these issues.  Doug spoke freely and talked about how he reports on these issues and why he reports the way he does.  He mentioned several Virgin stories as examples but he also made it very clear that he wants all the companies to be successful and for the industry to develop.  As you will see in the last segment, this particular type of question was asked of him as the program was drawing to a close.  Doug was in the hot seat for much of the first segment so you listen and you decide.  Let Doug know your thoughts on his Virgin reporting by posting on TSS blog or emailing him.  I then moved us to other topics & other companies at Mojave, the FAR for amateur rocketry, but the forces to be kept drawing us back to Doug, his Virgin reporting and XCOR comparisons.  Doug managed to talk about recent SFF and Space Access alerts about language in the Senate NASA funding bill that these organizations and others believe to be a poison pill.  Listen for details.  Also, I asked about Congress planning to fund at least $200 million for a new engine replacement for the RD-180.  We also talked about the Falcon 9 & AF SpaceX certification.  Dr. Doug called near the end of the segment.  During his call, he was sent an email question about the Moon by Tony in Seattle.

In the second segment, we talked about the NASA budget for FY 2015 in some detail.  Doug talked about SLS, Orion, commercial crew funding issues and SpaceX possibly expediting some flights prior to the 2017 schedule.  Doug went into detail about the Sen. Shelby amendment which many believe to be the poison pill mentioned in the first segment.  I took us through several of the top stories being reported on Parabolicarc.com including changes to the Arianne launcher, the Decelerator Flight Test, the NASA Centennial Challenge for Cubesat Deep Space, plus we talked about the Google acquisition of Skybox Imaging and their global broadband plans with Worldview.  Also mentioned as the show was drawing to a close was the GLXP, Doug’s visit to the Dragon V2 unveiling, & then Sally’s final email question asking Doug if he wanted Virgin Galactic to fail given how he reports on the company.  Don’t miss his response to Sally, plus my related comments.

Post your comments/questions on TSS blog above. You can reach Doug through his website or me.

Comments»

1. Alan M - July 1, 2014

Dave and Doug,

So schedule slips are just part of the industy one minute, but……
then we slam any and every company that has a slip? really? make up your mind

Seems the only companies with no schedule slips are pure govt contractors with an unlimited budget and flying the same vehicle for decades, one goal ….. on time

These new companies have to stay in business. Rather than being propped up like ULA, they have real budget constraints. They all could be perfect too, with unlimited budgets!

As far as any of these new companies not releasing info, or not the info you want, is kinda funny. They are private companies, they dont have to tell you anything, they are beholden to their investors and customers, that is it! All these ‘blogger jounalists’ are just ants to them, its not like they are Tom Brokaw or something. If they want the info, they need to pay for it – invest or buy a ticket! And if its the govt money your concerned about, they are still private companies, the govt has to do the due diligence, they should have the expertise to do so.

And I agree, none of them exist until they fly, but anyone in need of launch has to prepare with whatever info they can get, in case they succeed.

Wow, suggesting Elon should spend more time launching instead of sueing in court, is really rich for a backseat blogger like Messier. If launch is so easy, why isnt Messier doing it? I guess blogger criticism is alot easier than space launch!

And yes, Messier has a real issue with Virgin Galactic. It is blazingly obvious. He thinks they should bow down to his every informational whim. No wonder people think he is slaming VG and lite on XCOR, …..Until Messier scoops something mindboggling, he has nothing. Just like paper rockets.

And for the questionable info from companies, perhaps sadly, it is called MARKETING. Thats what you have to do, when you dont have an unlimited govt budget.

Sorry for the rant but the comments in the show were ridiculous.

Alan M

Johnny Lately - July 7, 2014

He writes the truth. If u can’t handle the truth there are lots of websites that raise no questions and cheer lead.

2. James wood - June 20, 2014

Some hard questions for Doug. Is it right for him to go after Virgin.
I will leave the xcor for you to decide.
I think everyone wants virgin to fly but about virgin and Brandon himself.

Richard’s style. If you put yourself in the public arena the press say your fair game. After Branson finished his transpacific hot air balloon flight with per linstrand..(per designed built piloted and pioneered the route) Richard on the post flight press conference tried to steal the show himself and upstage per linstrand. He said I have flown the Atlantic I have flown the pacific with my copilot .at which stage per an ex Swedish air force test pilot lost his cool and steps forward Richard I designed built flew these you ARE the money.
The reason is for the quote is to show branson personality

2\no one can take away from Brandon he has become a successful billionaire with a global brand. Some thoughts Virgin music was bought for a massive amount by EMI the value went down and Richard bought the company back at a lower price. Singapore airlines paid $649 million for a 49% stake in virgin it was sold to Delta last year fo around $250 million. Why bring this up. Virgin put in $100 million dollars Abu Dabui $350 million.

Virgin and Richard’s or and approach as indicated above makes me feel that yes Virgin are fair targets for Doug to report on . He is reporting on the frustration around Virgins and Richards style on commenting on virgin galactic in the face of plain facts.

Again I am British I want virgin to succeed but agree sit needs to be real. Great show thank you

3. Dwayne Day - June 19, 2014

Towards the end of the show Doug talked about the research market. Many of these companies claim that there is a research market, but I don’t know of any studies that indicate what that research market is, and how big it is. I also suspect that many of these companies do not even understand it. For instance, most of the “research market” is going to consist of educators who get all of their research funding from the U.S. government, primarily NASA, NSF, and maybe a few other places (like DoD). Simply put, what these companies are ultimately going after is government money, not private money (channeled through educators/university professors).

Several years ago at a workshop held in conjunction with the American Geophysical Union, several company reps kept referring to “university funding” and similar things until a university professor got up and corrected them, telling them that “universities” did not have money to pay for this, only professors who received government grants would do so. “Universities don’t spend their own money,” he said.

I also suspect that unless there is _dedicated_ NASA or other funds for these purposes, the money will not exist on its own. In other words, unless NASA specifically designates money to go to commercial suborbital research, it won’t happen. Researchers will have to spend their money in other ways.

Douglas Messier - June 25, 2014

NASA is funding the Flight Opportunities Program at about $17 million per year. So, they basically buy flights for researchers for both microgravity experiments and technology demonstrations. So, the have bought flights with Zero G, Masten Space System (landing technologies), high altitude balloons, UP Aerospace sounding rockets, etc. The suborbital vehicles will tap into that when they’re operating.

The price points on the suborbital will help determine how big the markets become. Virgin charges $50,000 for an experiment in what they call shuttle mid-deck locker equivalents. They’re basically what the name implies. They also have cargo transfer bags at the same cost. That’s for a very simple experiment that doesn’t require anything extra. Prices go up from there depending upon power needs, integration, safety checks, etc. Those flights go with two pilots and a payload specialist in the back.

The XCOR Lynx can fly experiments in a small module behind the pilot’s seat, meaning extra income on tourist flights. They can also remove the passenger seat and carry up an experiments rack. It looks a bit like an airline serving cart in size and design.

The XCOR prices a lot lower for experiments. In fact, a program called Citizens in Space has bought 10 flights on which they will fly experiments and an experimenter. So, private funding on some of these experiments is possible. The prices would be low enough for universities and high schools to fly experiments.

For XCOR, they have to fly the Lynx and be able to do that at the operating tempo and costs they are projecting. They want to be able to eventually fly four times per day, with quick turnarounds, the main costs being fuel and personnel. They do that, and the market really opens up. There’s a lot of potential for STEM related activities.

4. Whitesides Appearance on John Batchelor Show Now Online at Parabolic Arc - June 19, 2014
5. My Space Show Appearance Archived; George Whitesides to Appear on Hotel Mars at Parabolic Arc - June 18, 2014

[…] Space Show blog: http://thespaceshow.wordpress.com.  Here, listeners can ask questions, post comments, […]


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