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Dr. Alan Stern; Open Lines, Sunday, 3-24-13 March 25, 2013

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Dr. Alan Stern; Open Lines, Sunday, 3-24-13


Guest:  Dr. Alan Stern.  Topics:  Golden Spike & the NSRC 2013 conference followed by Open Lines in the last hour.  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 back Dr. Alan Stern for the first hour of this two hour program.  Dr. Stern first talked about his new company, Golden Spike, then he told us about the upcoming NSRC 2013 Conference.  Please visit these websites for more information:  http://goldenspikecompany.com; http://nsrc.swri.org.  Dr. Stern started by telling us about the Golden Spike company plan, goals, objectives, and time tables.  He talked about the technology, their business plan, pricing, who may want to buy the two seats to go to the Moon for $1.5 billion and what they might do on the Moon though that is the choice of the customer.  He talked about the number of launches needed based the specific launch vehicle to be used.  We also talked about the lunar lander, challenges to the mission, and the company financial needs.  Return payload requirements were mentioned which are 50 kilos at this time.  Questions were asked about EVAs and spacesuits, capsule life support, radiation, etc.  Dr. Stern also received questions pertaining to the future plans for Golden Spike and potential mission expansion plans.  As we approached the end of the first segment of the two hour program, we talked about the upcoming NSRC 2013 conference to be held from June 3-5 in Broomfield, CO.  Alan went through the logistics, keynote speakers & he talked about the potential impact of sequestration on the conference.  During our hour with Dr. Stern, he also talked about two Indiegogo programs underway.  The first  campaign Alan talked about re $1 for each mile to the Moon can be found at http://www.indiegogo.com/projects/golden-spike-is-sending-nations-and-people-to-the-moon-join-in.  Later, Alan talked about naming the closest exoplanet via Indiegogo.  Check it out at www.uwingu.com.

In our second segment, we went to Open Lines.  I talked about the recent set of astronaut panels at Rocky Mountain College and when they might be archived on Space Show websites.  I also went over the coming Space Show schedule.  Doug called to talk about sequestration and he had Space X, Falcon Heavy and reusable questions per our discussion with Dr. Stern.  Later, John from Atlanta called re Golden Spike, Inspiration Mars, and the NASA budget.  He also talked about the continuing resolution (CR) and did not think there would be much blowback on Congress or NASA budget and spending issues.  In our sequestration comments, we talked about the FAA closure of some controlled airports and the political use of the sequestration.

Please post your comments/questions on The Space Show blog above  You can email our guest or any of our callers through me at drspace@thespaceshow.com.


1. John O'Sullivan (@johntosullivan) - April 17, 2013

I just listened to this show, sorry for the late post.
I think the airline/airliner analogy doesn’t hold up. Sure big customers and national flag carriers pay advances for airliners from Boeing and Airbus. But 1)Boeing and Airbus have a long history of making airliners, 2) the customers have paid for airliners in the past, and they have been delivered.
On another point, how many of the nations who have expressed an interest are democracies with accountable governments? I’d guess none.

2. Amnon Govrin - April 1, 2013

I think it was John from Atlanta who hit the nail on the head with his question that put a crack in my optimistic view of Golden Spike – he asked about the available (or pseudo-available) rockets being capable of taking a fraction of what the Saturn-V could. Dr. Stern suggested the materials and equipment were much lighter but then suggested each mission would take several launches which complicates the model. With the biggest risk being funding this would be a close second.

Dr. Stern also compared media rights to the Olympics and in the same breath stated that the markets are segmented (if Korea sends people no one will watch in Germany). I find the two statements contradicting and problematic. It is not like the Olympics as it will be a turnkey solution (as Alan presented it) so no country pride of “we did it” would actually be involved on top of “we got 1.5B to spend”.

I think that SpaceX success ignited the other companies. Like any startup industry we’ll see 1/10 succeed, and Golden Spike may or may not be the successful one out of this next wave of space exploration beyond orbit companies we’ve seen announced last year.

I wish all of them success!!!

3. AFree American - March 26, 2013

Golden Spike is pitching YAPPR (Yet Another PowerPoint Rocket) on TheSpaceShow. Unfortunately, these are a dime a dozen. I was especially amused by the business plan that generates the $7.5B YAPPR development cost from ticket pre-sales: As if anyone smart enough to have a spare $1.5B is so silly as to plunk down a significant fraction of the $1.5B on a non-refundable (by definition) YAPPR ticket. Yet another waste of time. NEXT!

Trent Waddington - March 26, 2013

Not being an anonymous coward, I’ll try to be more polite:

In the tech industry, someone holding a press conference to announce big plans would be asked “where’s your funding?” and be laughed out of the room for giving the answers which appear to be all too common in the commercial space industry.

As I understand it, correspondents were told before the press conference that they were not permitted to ask the funding question.. what I want to know is: why did anyone show up? Nothing better to do?

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