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Robert (Bob) Zimmerman, Tuesday, 6-11-13 June 12, 2013

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Robert (Bob) Zimmerman, Tuesday, 6-11-13


Guest: Robert (Bob) Zimmerman.  Topics:  Commercial space, regulations, climate science, becoming spacefaring.  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 Robert (Bob) Zimmerman to the program (www.behindtheblack.com).  During our 2 hour 3 minute discussion with Bob, we covered a wide area of space, policy, budget and climate science issues.  For those of you interested in the opportunity to submit feedback on the NRC congressionally mandated Human Spaceflight Study, please go to www.nationalacademies.org/humanspaceflight.  Bob started out talking about the Commercial Space Launch Act of 2004 and his warnings back then about a heavily regulated commercial and NewSpace industry coming out of this particular legislation.  He has now reported on the evolution of regulation for this segment of the industry.  See this article on his blog, http://behindtheblack.com/behind-the-black/essays-and-commentaries/the-red-tape-of-the-space-bureaucracy.  He strongly suggested that the focus was misplaced on excessive safety.  Instead, it should be on risk taking, innovation, and experimental flight.  We also mentioned possible ITAR changes in which human spaceflight vehicles are being considered for addition to the munitions list.  Were this to happen, it might prove extremely detrimental to NewSpace companies and the American space industry.  Pooley both emailed and called the show to stress starting small and with non-human spaceflight missions. Bob and Charles had an interesting exchange on this subject you will want to hear.  Later in the segment, Bob talked about SpaceX and launch rates, comparing the Falcon with the Russian Proton.  We talked about the need for reliable commercial schedules for a launcher to be considered commercial.  We also talked about the successful Orbital Sciences Antares demo flight, ULA and their schedules, plus Arianespace.  Bob then commented on the first powered demo flight for Virgin, then Tim from Huntsville called in to talk abut SpaceX, a possible IPO, Bob’s comments on NASA assimilation, and the Planetary Resources Kickstarter campaign.

In our second segment, we started with another Pooley email stressing the need to start small & without human spaceflight.  I then asked Bob what he thought of the prospect of continuing to fund & develop SLS.  He said it was on the knife’s edge and to the degree that SpaceX, Falcon 9, Falcon Heavy, Dragon, and Orbital can be successful, it will likely hasten the demise of SLS.  Bob then spoke to the bulkhead cracks with the Orion, their repairs and the recent successful Orion test.  Sequestration was next up with Bob having much to say on the subject.  Our next big topic had to do with climate science which I introduced with my perspective of it here in the U.S. and what I know about what is going on in the field in the UK and throughout Europe.  Bob talked about climate models and referenced the work by Roy Spencer who depicts in graph format all 72 climate models referenced by the industry (see www.drroyspencer.com/2013/06/still-epic-fail-73-climate-models-vs-measurements-running-5-year-means).  Bob dealt with many climate science issues so if this topic interests you, don’t miss this discussion.  Later, we talked about the Chinese spacecraft now in orbit for about a two week HSF mission.  Also discussed was the JWST and its impact on NASA astrophysics budget issues, the Kepler Space Telescope, and our on orbit repair capabilities. Both Bob & I used JWST and Kepler as examples of why we need to develop a true spacefaring capability though being able to repair hardware so far out in space is not going to happen for a very long time, if ever.

Please post your comments/questions on The Space Show blog.  You can email Bob through his blog or by using zimmerman at nasw dot org.


1. Jim Davis - June 12, 2013

As always, Zimmerman delivers an interesting and informative show. I liked the Zimmerman/Pooley interaction although I was somewhat disappointed in not getting Zimmerman’s opinion on the prospects for Pooley’s Microlaunchers scheme.

Zimmerman really needs to reign himself in somewhat. He always makes his points clearly and effectively but then continues to reiterate the point which makes followups by the host or caller difficult.

The Tuesday show is usually the only one I can listen to live and I was disappointed I couldn’t catch this one.

Great job by all involved.

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