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Dr. Alan Stern, Sunday, 8-26-12 August 27, 2012

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Dr. Alan Stern, Sunday, 8-26-12


Guest:  Dr. Alan Stern.   Topics:  Uwingu space venture, updates for New Horizons, Pluto and 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 back Dr. Alan Stern to discuss a new kind of business venture, Uwingu (see www.uwingu.com).  During our first segment, Dr. Stern fully explained this new venture and showed why it was like no other.  We also talked about the start-up funding campaign on Indiegogo (www.indiegogo.com/projects/180221?c=home).  For the record, I became a supporter of Uwingu after our program.  I found the Indiegogo process to be especially simple, clear, easy, and quick.  I do recommend you support Uwingu because it does represent a completely different funding model for space ventures, college education, programs such as The Space Show, research proposals, and more.  As you will hear, Uwingu will sell space related products off their website (to be announced later), and the proceeds go to the Uwingu Fund to be used to give out awards based on review, due diligence, and in some cases, peer review.  Alan explained this process in our first segment and in parts of our second segment.

In our second segment, we asked Alan for updates to the New Horizons Mission on its way to Pluto. We learned about important New Horizon events coming up in 2013, including a full rehearsal of the mission prior to its arrival at Pluto.  I asked Alan about the Pluto postage stamp campaign and learned that it is now before the U.S. Post Office for consideration.  Alan talked about other projects he is working on, including the suborbital research flight projects with the Southwest Research Institute.  These projects include his being the PI of the LAMP instrument on NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) mission, which launched in 2009, and the PI for ALICE on ESA’s ROSETTA Mission.  Going back to Uwingu, Dr. Stern was asked about ITAR issues, the social media contacts for Uwingu, and then he was asked about other questions pertaining to the Kuiper Belt objects, .  As the program ended, Alan talked about the upcoming Next Generation Suborbital Researchers Conference, June 3-5, 2012 in Broomfield, Colorado.  For full information about this conference, visit http://nsrc.swri.org.

Please post your comments/questions on our blog.  If you want to contact Dr. Stern, send your note to me and I will forward it to him.



1. DougSpace - August 28, 2012

I appreciate your efforts to manage the costs of science programs. A NASA study of the development costs of the Falcon 9 showed that it cost NASA between 1/3 and 1/8th the normal costs had they used the FAR approach. Could you imagine any analogous approach to reducing the costs of space science missions. You mentioned about keeping the costs much lower by having people working part-time, but is there any role for a competitive, commercial-like approach to space science programs?

Also, it seems that Uwingu is focused on space science. What about space development? It seems as though there could be a large number of small development projects. My particular interests involve the harvesting of lunar ice. There are a few relatively small technology demonstrations that could be done with this, for example, finding effective ways of steaming out volatiles from regolith simulant with frozen volatiles comparable to LCROSS findings.

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