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Mark Bray, Tuesday, 2-11-14 February 12, 2014

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Mark Bray, Tuesday, 2-11-14

http://archived.thespaceshow.com/shows/2185-BWB-2014-02-11.mp3

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Guest:  Mark Bray.  Topics:  Huntsville area space update, SLS from the inside, U.S. space policy, leadership issues. 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 www.onegiantleapfoundation.org/amazon.htm.

We welcomed back Mark Bray for a Huntsville space area update and a unique view from the inside on SLS and U.S. space policy.  In the first segment of our 1 hour 49 minute discussion, Mark shared his personal assessment of the Huntsville area space economy, the moods of contractors and NASA workers, & the space IQ for the Huntsville general population.  For the most part, Mark reported stability but lots of uncertainty.  In contrast, the last time Mark did an area update for us, there were still layoffs happening, lots of uncertainty and personal stress, and stability was far from the scene.  We then switched to SLS which was a topic through most of the show because Mark is a contractor working on SLS.  Its important to note that Mark was speaking for himself on the program, not for his employer, NASA, or his fellow workers and area space employees.  Mark works in the SLS materials lab so we asked him all sorts of questions about the big rocket.  For example, I drilled him on the mood of SLS workers given they certainly had to know about the hate-love war going on over SLS within the space community.  Mark answered all these questions for us, including questions about possible competitive pressure from SpaceX.  We talked extensively about commercial space development and the need for commercial markets.  Mark spent some time on the issue of markets because without them, one has no viable commercial activity.  Mark then honed in on the problem of political leadership regarding space saying that NASA and related organizations were not the problem. This opened the door for multiple discussions during the balance of the program going after what Mark and I both thought was an absence of quality political leadership in the country and the partisan warfare between the two main parties preventing workable solutions for many if not all the nation’s problems.  Before the segment ended, I asked Mark about the Chinese lunar lander & robot and what people thought about it.  He said most were frustrated that we (the U.S.) was not doing more as we were not operating even close to our potential.

In the second segment, Doug called to ask about public/private partnerships, COTS like programs, and he talked about his Lunar Cots ideas.  Doug asked about reducing costs.  Mark seized the opportunity to again state that engineering technology & NASA management were not the real problems but that leadership issues in Washington were at the center of the problems.  John then called from Ft. Worth.  He wanted to talk about SLS cost numbers & asked Mark why it was so expensive given the assumption that much of it came from already developed projects including Ares components and more. Don’t miss what Mark had to say about this.  John then asked Mark for his personal thoughts on the news that SpaceX will build a rocket larger than the Saturn V in about ten years.  Again, don’t miss his answer.  Near the end of the show, in summary mode, Mark repeated that the biggest challenge was a market challenge.  What is the market? Is there a long term market? How big is the market?  As the show was ending, we asked Mark about the viability of human spaceflight.

Please post your comments/questions on TSS blog above.  You can reach Mark Bray through me.

Mark Bray, Monday, 12-17-12 December 18, 2012

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Mark Bray, Monday, 12-17-12

http://archived.thespaceshow.com/shows/1916-BWB-2012-12-17.mp3

Guest:  Mark Bray.  Topics:  Commercial space market development.  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. We welcomed back Mark Bray to discuss the development of a commercial space market, the applications of Geoffrey Moore’s “Crossing The Chasm” theories, space policy and the challenges of transitioning the aerospace industry to a full commercial space industry.  Our first segment began with Mark explaining how he sees commercial space development in the context of the Geoffrey Moore book, “Crossing The Chasm.”  The main idea expressed in the book and by our guest focuses on businesses that are able to leap from the very early adopter period of a product to the broader based product acceptance in the consumer markets. Mark’s quick summary suggested we were not yet there with our developing commercial space industry. He talked about the existing commercial space segment, the idea that we cater to our own community rather than finding a need in the broader consumer markets, then supplying that need through commercial space development.  Until that happens, commercial space remain hindered. He also suggested that that space tourism would not be the business that crosses the chasm as he did not see it as being sustainable.  We talked about the ISS and its potential uses, NASA science missions, and the need to transition to an actual commercial industry which he does not believe exists today.  His focus during this discussion was market driven saying the lack of sustainable broad based commercial space market today is a problem. As the segment was ending, Doug emailed in to inquire about Dragon Lab and the possibility of NASA taking on more characteristics of the old NACA were in line with his perspective commercial space, markets, and broadening the consumer user base.  Mark had interesting comments about both and as we were going to break, suggested that the issues he was talking about dealt with how we get from where we are today to where we need to be to have a viable commercial space industry.

In our second segment, Todd emailed in questions about the impact of the U.S. and global economy on commercial space development.  Later, Mark was asked what it would take to have a profitable commercial space industry.  We talked about government subsidies in space, the Falcon 9, SpaceX, and ULA with the Atlas and Delta vehicles.  Mark then addressed the issue of needing to know the real costs involved for a product or a launch vehicle saying there should be at least 5-7 successful missions before the costs can be classified as known and understood.  Mark also addressed the difficulty with human spaceflight (HSF) and commercial space, then moved on to the boom in the cubesat sector which might actually end up being a product that does cross the chasm. Michael commented about mission insurance and Mark suggested that because of liability and insurance issues, we would not have a totally pure commercial space industry.  A listener asked him about the NewSpace industry and Mark talked about this in the context of NASA and industry innovation and early adopters.  Near the end of the program, Mark assessed the suborbital industry which is commercial but questioned the sustainability of the suborbital tourist market.  As the program was ending, I asked Mark for a Huntsville space status report.  He said things were stabilizing and it appears that worst of the layoffs and setbacks are now a thing of the past.  Fiscal cliff worries exist but the situation was not getting worse. He said many were expecting new and larger projects within 2-4 years.

Please post your comments/questions on The Space Show blog.  You can email Mark Bray through me.

Mark Bray, Sunday, 3-4-12 March 4, 2012

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Mark Bray, Sunday, 3-4-12

http://archived.thespaceshow.com/shows/1726-BWB-2012-03-04.mp3

Guest:  Mark Bray.  Topics: Space industry standards, policy, politics, & space workforce attitudes. 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 back Mark Bray for what was a most interesting and wide ranging 2.5 hour discussion divided into two segments.  We started off with Mark talking about the need for industrial standards both in the public and the private space sectors.  A good portion of this initial hour long segment was about design and quality standards.  Mark explained by example why there were needed and what he was talking about.  His Florida concrete company example made it very clear why the standards he was talking were and are needed.  Mark made some very good points, we had good listener participation both on the phone and with emails.  I promise that you will think differently about standards and the space industry after you listen to this segment.

We started the second segment talking about SLS as Mark works on the SLS project.  I asked him if the workforce was aware of the opposition to SLS and what they thought about it. This opened the door for Mark to talk about space workforce issues, their fears and concerns, and what is happening to the workforce given the current political, election year politics, economic condition, and the fact that they are not working on a space mission with goals and a destination.  Listen to what Mark had to say on all these issues.  While you may not like what you hear, keep in mind that Mark in engaged as part of this workforce and speaks from experience.  In response to a listener question, Mark had much to say about Huntsville, Marshall, and Alabama space politics.  Part of this discussion focused on NewSpace and why Alabama has been slow in seeing opportunities with NewSpace rather than trying to block elements of it. Jon called in from Jersey   City and had a good discussion with Mark about these & other issues and then he introduced space enthusiasts to the mix in terms of what this community wants and expects for policy.  This brought me to one of my rants on policy and my playing the Devil’s Advocate with both Jon and Mark.  Eventually, the three of us talked about how we seem to be forced into selecting one way or the other for space development and dismissing that which is not the “preferred” one way.   We also talked about congressional responsibility for how they handle taxpayer money while enthusiasts have no such responsibilities.  Next, we arrived at why we all seem to be fighting over shrinking resources and getting “our” piece of a smaller and smaller pie.  We talked about the need to grow the economy, to grow the space sector, and to grow the economic pie, not shrink it.  We agreed that while there may be many solution paths to the problems facing the U.S., space provides a clear path and solution set that seems hard to match by other possible directions and choices if economic expansion and wealth creation are to be the goals of our national policy.  Also mentioned was how NASA is not considered one of the key science and technology agencies,  Near the end, Mark got an interesting question about long duration storage requirements for SRBs.  Don’t miss Mark’s closing comments.  Finally, the paper he mentioned during this interview is on his website at http://braynstorms.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/12/Achieving-Innovation-and-Affordability.pdf.

Please post your comments/questions on The Space Show blog URL above.

Mark Bray, Monday, 12-12-11 December 12, 2011

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Mark Bray, Monday, 12-12-11

http://archived.thespaceshow.com/shows/1671-BWB-2011-12-12.mp3

GuestSearch:  Mark Bray.   Topics:  Aerospace engineering standards.  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. The Space Show/OGLF is now engaged in its annual fundraising drive. Please see & act upon our appeal at http://thespaceshow.wordpress.com/2011/11/21/space-show-2011-fundraising-campaign.  We welcomed Mark Bray back to the program to discuss standards for NASA and the aerospace engineering field.  You can also check out Mark’s blog at http://braynstorms.com as was mentioned near the end of this two hour discussion.  Also, The White Paper referred to in our discussion, “Achieving Innovation and Affordability Through Standardization of Materials Development and Testing” can be downloaded from  http://braynstorms.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/12/Achieving-Innovation-and-Affordability.pdf.  NOTE THAT MR. BRAY IS SPEAKING FOR HIMSELF DURING THIS INTERVIEW.  HE IS NOT SPEAKING FOR NASA, ANY CONTRACTOR OR ANY OTHER PARTY.  As we began our discussion with Mark, we talked about the situation at Marshall Space Flight Center (MSFC) and Huntsville in terms of projects, employees, moods, morale, etc.  Mark was comprehensive in his perspective, even talking about ATK, New Space and government procurement as well as the FAR.  Mark then shifted to standards and talked quite a bit about testing methods and why standards are needed.  Listeners asked about Space X and standards as well as Dr. Mike Griffin and standards at NASA when he was the administrator.  Later in the segment, we backed up and got Mark to explain the problems regarding standards or the lack thereof.  Later, a listener asked Mark for some examples.  One example he gave us was Henry Ford and standards at the early Ford Motor Company.  Toward the end of the segment, Mark started addressing liability issues along with fielding a question about the Dream Chaser vehicle.  In the second segment, we talked about government contracts and some oversight.  Mark explained testing in greater details and we asked why there would be opposition to standards.  Mark also raised the issue of why there was no PE title for aerospace engineers. You might be surprised by what he had to say about this.  During this segment, we again discussed liability protection for the developing companies.  Mark was very critical of putting energy into liability shielding and protection over standards. I supported Mark in his comments.  Make sure you hear this discussion which may prove controversial for many of you.  Near the end, I asked Mark about his fellow employees at MSFC and how they processed the economic news regarding the US and from around the world.  I wanted to know how the teams understood and applied to their jobs and profession the economic information and conditions in the country.  Don’t miss his pearls of wisdom closing comments.

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