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Dr. Perry Ballard, Friday, 1-13-12 January 13, 2012

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Dr. Perry Ballard, Friday, 1-13-12

http://archived.thespaceshow.com/shows/1689-BWB-2012-01-13.mp3

 Guest:  Dr. Perry Ballard.  Topics:  Space Test Program, Secondary payload capacity and more.  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 Dr. Perry Ballard, Chief Engineer, DOD Manned Spaceflight Payloads Office, Space and Missile Systems Center, JSC.  Dr. Ballard began our discussion with an overview of the DoD Space Test Program (STP), why it was created, its purpose, and some of the experiments that have flown with great success because of STP efforts.  Dr. Ballard also spoke about the Hyperspectral Imager for the Coastal Ocean (HICO) imaging spectrometer mission which with the help of STP flew on the Japanese Experiment Module Exposed Facility (JEM-EF) on the ISS.  Dr. Ballard responded to listener questions about the impact on STP of budget cuts as well as payload capacity downgrades due to the retirement of the shuttle.  You might be surprised by his response to these questions.  Another issue that was addressed was the NASA two year integration period for ISS missions.  Lots of questions came in about this, most wondering if a private company such as Bigelow could substantially reduce the two year period.  This prompted a more thorough discussion about integration and each rocket’s environment as well as the way it rides.  Professor Fevig from UND Space Studies asked about opportunities for student-built spacecraft to be launched as a secondary payload into GTO.  Launching to GTO, specifically cubesats, also turned into a significant discussion that you will not want to miss. At the end of this segment, Perry received some questions about assisting with payloads for sounding rockets.  In his response, he said they also work with balloon launches and sometimes even with high altitude aircraft. 

In our second segment, we talked about secondary payload capacity and the need for the payloads to be ready when the capacity is ready.  If the payloads are not ready, the capacity can go elsewhere.  This is quite a challenge for the university and cubesat community.  When you listen to what Dr. Ballard had to say about this issue, some of the challenges, the relationships with payloads, integration, timing, missions, and orbital dynamics, will become much clearer.  Later in this segment, Perry was asked about STP using foreign launchers and also finding rides for foreign payloads. 

In our final segment, we talked about the work of his office with the amateur satellite network, the challenges to provide ground stations for schools, and to increase broadband capacity.  He talked about the mission priority list he gets that he has to work with and the priorities for science missions above all else. Later in this segment, he put forth his own idea of getting sponsors, Space Grant, and others to supply rocket motors to student groups, classes, organizations, to help inspire students by actually doing things rather than just hearing a lecture or reading a book.  See what you think of his idea and run with it if you like it.  His idea is centered around getting students to build spacecraft, to bend metal so to speak.  Since the rocket motor may be the most expensive part needed, if it can be furnished by a sponsor, he believes it can be a driver for STEM education at different grade levels through college.  If you have comments or questions for Dr. Perry Ballard, please post them on The Space Show blog URL above.  Any notes you have for Dr. Ballard can be sent through me at drspace@thespaceshow.com.

 

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