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Robert (Bob) Zimmerman, Monday, 12-10-12 December 11, 2012

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Robert (Bob) Zimmerman, Monday, 12-10-12


Guest:  Robert (Bob) Zimmerman.  Topics:  Apollo 8, launch industry, HSF, SLS, Mars missions, NASA budget, & more.  Please direct all comments and questions regarding Space Show programs/guest(s) to the Space Show blog, https://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 Bob Zimmerman back to the program to summarize space for 2012, to look forward to space activities in 2013, and as you will hear, to talk about some specific issues such as SLS and the need for heavy lift.  Bob started the discussion talking about Apollo 8 as we approach Christmas 2012.  He told us his famous book, “Genesis: The Story of Apollo 8: The First Manned Mission to Another World” has been released in ebook format. If you buy it on Amazon using the URL provided, Amazon will make a donation to The Space Show/OGL: www.amazon.com/Genesis-Apollo-Mission-Another-ebook/dp/B00A1EZJ6U/ref=onegiantlea20. Bob outlined two tracks for discussion, the launch industry and manned spaceflight exploration.  For the launch industry, he talked about the influence of SpaceX in lowering launch costs & what it means for other launchers in competing in pricing & market share.  He also talked about negotiation issues over the continued use of the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. We discussed secondary payloads, Stratolaunch, & more.  The second track involving manned space exploration, Bob talked about it from the government perspective & that of the private sector.  He also brought up the recent news regarding the new Golden Spike venture on which he had much to say.  Our first caller was from Terry asking about the NASA Mars program, James Webb & SLS.  Bob had much to say about the JWST as well as SLS, NASA astrophysics, & SLS costs.  Terry wanted to know when Bob thought SLS would be cancelled. This discussion prompted more than a passionate exchange by Bob and me regarding heavy lift, rocket mission analysis, & more.  We then paused for our overdue break.
     Leading off the second segment, we took a call from Doug in S. California but had audio issues on his phone line. We then talked about the SpaceX mission delay to March 2013.  Tim called to talk about launch rate regardless of the size of the vehicle.  He also talked about Golden Spike & a potential space tug.  He asked Bob about Skylon.  We switched topics to get updates from Bob regarding the suborbital companies. Bob talked about Virgin Galactic & powered flight tests.  He also had some things to say about Dream Chaser and XCOR.  I asked Bob about using drones on Mars based on comments I’ve received from listeners.  Near the end, I brought up a special film showing & lecture on the 1956 classic “Forbidden Planet” that I saw this past Saturday. We talked about the significance of this movie & Bob brought in the concept of human spirit, vision, & the desire for interplanetary travel even before the days of NASA or Sputnik.  I talked about the two award winning speakers from Lucas Film regarding the movie & then the surprise visit after the film by Robby the Robot, the original Robby from the film. To end our program, Bob gave us an outline of what to look for in the first quarter of 2013 for space events.
     Please post your comments/questions on The Space Show blog.  Check out Bob’s blog, http://behindtheblack.com.


1. Roland - December 14, 2012

I heard Bob talk about how many companies should be competing for business to provide alternatives for SLS.
To compare it with something else.
How many companies are competing for building aircraft carriers or submarines. Those kind of items and numbers is what we are talking about. A few very specialized items to be built for a government with specs that don’t make sense anywhere else. It is always going to be expensive and specialized work to construct something that the rest of the world doesn’t need (yet).

In my opinion space development will be costing a lot of money for a long time to come before money will be made.
The internet was under development for 24 years before it was available to businesses and people started making money with it. It cost a lot of money until then. Space is worse because there will never be billions of Earthings that will go to space, so far less money available to develop a far more expensive infrastructure.

Where it comes to development of hardware, what I would like to see is a manned research station on the moon and grow from there. Bring along fish, veggies and all that, the necessary ecosystem to keep it going, and learn to live on another world step by step.

2. Dwayne D - December 13, 2012

I’ve created the Bob Zimmerman Drinking Game:

Every time Zimmerman talks over the host: drink!
Every time Zimmerman talks over a caller: drink!
Every time Zimmerman says “freedom”: drink!
Every time Zimmerman states something with great confidence: drink!
Every time Zimmerman whispers in his conspiratorial voice: drink!
Every time Zimmerman says that he thought of something long before everybody else did: GULP!
Every time Zimmerman says that somebody who has a different opinion than he does only believes that because they don’t understand the issue, or are otherwise ignorant: drink!
Every time Zimmerman says that everybody except him is delusional: drink!
Every time Zimmerman talks dismissively of people who do not share his political philosophy: drink!
Every time Zimmerman says that somebody complaining about a budget cut is “squealing”: drink!

3. rhinocratesBrett Davidson - December 12, 2012

I’m currently listening to you latest Space Show (and just after the Zimmerman episode). I’ve a quick note on the issue of Xcor Lynx’s square windows – in short, they are not in my mind a problem.

The reason is they are part of a hinged aerodynamic canopy that by necessity is not part of the continuous structural fabric of the vehicle and so will not be subject to stresses as the old Comet airliner’s windows (actually, a skylight at the top of the fuselage, not the passenger ports) and there is in fact the actual pressurised vessel that holds the crew underneath which has a rounded bubble canopy. It can be seen in this illustration:


The inner canopy is also visible, less clearly in Xcor’s own publicity material:


Under the faceted outer canopy you will see the bubble of the pressure cabin.

This doesn’t strike me as the most efficient design in terms of mass, but… well, I’m not aware of all of the design considerations involved of course.

4. Joe - December 12, 2012

Bob Z. is spot on as usual. I enjoyed listening to the program.

As long as the word “space tourist” exists, the cat is out of the bag so to speak. NASA is going to pour all of their resources into putting astronauts in the seats reserved for space tourists; even if this means taking money from the overpriced SLS.

Why? Because they can. It is easy for the space access buyers to say “You cost too much. We cancel your contract and re-compete it with cheaper space access providers.”

The existence of space tourists raises the price to access space from zero tourists to $60M per seat; not lower it. Because space tourists are in the mix of who is allowed up there, it will increase competition between the Russians and commercial space companies for buyers who are government and private.

The Russians are showing signs of weakening compared to commercial space. Their rocket and launch pad are showing their age.

Imagine for just 10 seconds that you are a millionaire obsessed with going into space before you die. The money becomes unimportant compared to the overwhelming desire to achieve something so few humans have ever achieved. No government is going to get in your way of achieving your dream. The dream is alive in more people that you know and once another space tourist slips in a seat vacated by a NASA astronaut because they just overruled NASA with their money by paying say $80M to go, the next millionaire is going to pay $100M and so on until millionaires are paying $120M per seat to go into space just 5 short years from now. There is no way NASA can compete with that and pay for the overpriced SLS and survive the impending hyperinflation after the fiscal cliff and sequestration all combined into one super storm of cataclysmic budgeting events.

Extrapolating this out results in small commercial space taking over LEO space access for astronauts and millionaires that pretend to be astronauts by putting a NASA meatball on their suits. Everything that goes up must come down and once SLS falls down, small commercial businesses (small warm blooded mammals) are going to thank the space tourism business for growing their company’s share value from zero while the dinosaurs and white elephants (SLS/Moon-Obsessors) become extinct.

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