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Dr. Roger Handberg, Monday, 1-16-12 January 17, 2012

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Dr. Roger Handberg, Monday, 1-16-12


Guest:  Dr. Roger Handberg.  Topics:  Space policy, leadership, Asia space, ISS, & more.  You are invited to comment, ask questions, and discuss the Space Show program/guest(s) on the Space Show blog, https://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. Roger Handberg to the program for a comprehensive space policy discussion.  During this program, several of his recent Space Review articles were referenced and I urge you to read them.  See Dec. 19, 2011 “ISS Next: chasing humanity’s future in space and the ‘next logical step” (www.thespacereview.com/article/1993/1).  Also Nov. 21, 2011, “American human spaceflight and future options, short-and long-term” (www.thespacereview.com/article/1974/1. Our discussion started with a brief overview of U.S. space policy for the new year 2012.  Dr. Handberg said our policy was in a state of confusion and described the situation around the Kennedy Space Center as practically in shutdown mode. We talked history and what it was like in 1970 before shuttle.  Dr. Handberg then talked about our robust science missions and projects but  they don’t get the attention like HSF & it is the HSF missions that are the problem.  Dr. Handberg referenced the Augustine report and SLS. He also said the Chinese were moving ahead though they were still several decades behind the U.S.  We then talked about the need to think beyond the SLS & beyond the existing ISS which has a limited remaining lifespan.  In fact, thinking big and beyond the ISS is a major theme in his Dec. 19, 2011 Space Review article. We spent considerable time discussing what was next for the U.S. after the ISS.  Our guest said we were at risk of repeating one of the major failures of Apollo, that is, what to do after the program ends.  In this case, what does the U.S. do after the ISS ends?  His analysis of the problem pointed to our having no clear vision and a strong need to reorganize the political system because NASA budgets are done yearly so no budget is ever finalized.  He confirmed what many others have said and that was that president’s don’t care about space. We addressed commercial and private space, both for space stations and launch vehicles.  Anthony in the UK asked him what he thought the single event might be for people to say we’ve now been overtaken. Dr. Handberg suggested that point might come when the ISS ends its life and there is nothing else while the Chinese have their own space station and are still going forward. 

In the second segment, I asked our guest for his thoughts on how college students have changed over his long teaching career.  Don’t miss this discussion.  You might be surprised by what he had to say.  Listeners asked him if and when he thought SLS would be cancelled for budgetary reasons.  His response was most interesting.  Other listeners asked more questions about SLS, the shut down of Constellation, the private HSF effort, and space markets.  Near the end of the program, Maria asked him how to get Congress to consider space as an investment, not an expense.  He said that today, all government spending is considered an expense and while space is an investment, thinking it will be treated that way  by congress is to be in political denial.  As the program was ending, I asked our guest how to make space advocacy more effective. He said we needed to get space conscious (not necessarily advocates) in key positions within government & the administration.  He named a few positions as examples.  Finally, we talked about the Outer Space Treaty, the EU Code of Conduct, & bringing back the National Space Council. 

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1. Kelly Starks - January 24, 2012

The comments about how narrowly educated current students are educated is something I run into a lot. Students who were shocked to hear about Kent state and hadn’t considered anything like that possible.

I also noticed space advocates are amazingly ignorant about space. I’m shocked that though they advocate a lot of stuff in space, they often enthusiastic advocate research into “cutting edge technologies” that have been used operationally for decades, or phased out as obsolete. Listing critical new technologies that need to be developed, that have long commercially available – or unnecessary in the first place. Talk about public political enthusiasm for space like in the ‘60’s, but that’s not what the public was enthusiastic about even then.

One other thing.

When answering the question about when will SLS be canceled the Dr. assumed Obama supported – or could cancel – the SLS. Obama has always tried to kill it, but congress and senate (Dem and Rep) refused.

And of course, Constellation wasn’t killed, it was renamed. Orion and Ares-V are MPCV and SLS. The eliminated the completely unnecessary Ares-I.

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