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William (Bill) Mellberg, Tuesday, 1-31-12 February 1, 2012

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William (Bill) Mellberg, Tuesday, 1-31-12


Guest:  William (Bill) Mellberg.  Topics:  Comparing aviation to commercial space regarding markets, safety, and more. Explorer 1 54th anniversary.  You are invited to comment, ask questions, and discuss the Space Show program/guest(s) on the Space Show blog, http://thespaceshow.wordpress.com.  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.  We welcomed Bill Mellberg to the program to compare the early days of aviation with today’s commercial space industry. We also honored the 54th anniversary of Explorer 1.  Mr. Mellberg started the discussion with Explorer 1 by talking about the early history of Vanguard, Explorer 1, Werner Von Braun, Ernst Stuhlinger & more. Richard Easton called & we talked about timing, GPS, clock synchronization, his Dad’s work, and Vanguard early history.  Turning to our main topic, comparing the early days of aviation history to the commercial space industry today, our guest said it was a flawed comparison.  During the first segment, he explains in detail his reasoning which has to do with commercial markets, what the government is paying for regarding commercial space as compared to what it paid for with aviation, specifically the Kelly Air Mail Act of 1925.  We also talked about the early history of Fokker Aircraft Company which he tied into our discussion on markets, market timing, and production capabilities.  Mr. Mellberg addressed human spaceflight safety from the point of view that it would be extremely hard for the commercial companies to master safety given the complexities & costs of human spaceflight & the potential damage or even ruination of the company should there be a fatal accident.  Before the segment ended, our guest drove home the lack of commercial markets for human spaceflight.  There must be HSF markets other than the government market for the ISS.  

In our second segment, our guest cited some airplane examples that were ahead of the market and suffered from bad market timing.  He then used the SST as an example of the points he was making about high operating costs, no or limited markets, government subsidies, etc.  He went over the economics of why the Boeing SST was killed by our congress and what happens when the ticket price is so high that a broad market cannot be realized.  Listeners and callers asked about government regulation crippling innovation.  Bill then suggested the path to commercialization was with a program such a what Dr. Spudis and Dr. Lavoie have proposed in their paper “Using the resources of the Moon to create a permanent, cislunar space faring system” as well as on The Space Show. You can read their paper at www.spudislunarresources.com/Bibliography/p/102.pdf.  Bill said that eventually as cislunar economic develop evolves, so would commercial markets and opportunities.  He also recommended the NASA reorganization plan proposed last year by Dr. Harrison Schmitt. You can read his plan at www.spaceref.com/news/viewsr.html?pid=37176.  Our guest suggested that we should use the money being invested in commercial human spaceflight to do space exploration projects because commercial space today is an unnecessary diversion of scarce resources in a tight economy.  Throughout our discussion, he talked about government contracting and why it is different today, not commercial, and unlike what was done in early aviation and with airmail.  At the end of the program, our guest treated us to some of his political humor and impersonations per his program, “An Evening With The Presidents.”

Post your comments/questions on our blog URL above. You can hear his humor at www.aneveningwiththepresidents.com/live


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