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AIAA Space 2013 Taped Interviews, Friday, 9-13-13 September 13, 2013

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AIAA Space 2013 Taped Interviews, Friday, 9-13-13


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Guests:  AIAA Space 2013 Taped Interviews. Topics:  Recorded interviews from AIAA Space 2013 including Dr. Doug Plata; NASA Press Conference;, Michelle Evans.  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. In addition, please remember that your Amazon purchases can help support The Space Show/OGLF. See www.onegiantleapfoundation.org/amazon.htm.

Welcome to this 2 hour 14 minute set of three interviews recorded at AIAA Space 2013 in San Diego (except for the last interview).  Please note there were audio issues as there was background noise both at the San Diego Convention Center and the restaurant where I met Michelle Evans for her interview regarding her X-15 book.  The NASA Press Conference, while conducted in a private room, also consisted of a conference call through NASA with media reps not at the conference.  Some of the participants at the table and on the phone spoke with a very low voice.  The interviews follow one another with about five seconds of dead air space between each one.  When the interview with Michelle Evans ends, so does our recording.

We started with Dr. Doug Plata who presented two papers at an AIAA Technical Committee Meeting Monday night.  His two presentations covered space advocacy unification ideas and his Lunar Cots and Cislunar transportation ideas.  Doug reports interesting and sometimes challenging feedback from those listening to his presentations.  And it was not all supportive of his idea.

Next, we have the NASA Press Conference.  As part of the background to this press conference, the keynote at lunch was a panel moderated by NASA’s William (Bill) Gerstenmaier with four other NASA participants charged with leading different parts of the NASA Asteroid Redirect Mission.  At lunch, these individuals made a presentation, showed animation and video of the mission, charts and graphs, then took questions from the AIAA lunch audience.  The NASA participants got tough questions about SLS, mission dependency on SLS, the use of large quantities of Xenon, and even if the civil space program for human spaceflight would disappear if this mission failed for any reason given the dysfunction many see in NASA at this time.  I think you will find Bill’s response to my question about SLS issues and dependence on it for the mission to be interesting. I learned a few things about SLS and I suspect you will also learn a few things about this program.  Let us know your thoughts on both SLS and the asteroid redirect mission by posting on The Space Show blog.

The last interview was at a Fuddruckers Restaurant off I-5 as I was driving through Orange County on the way back to Hollywood.  I met Michelle Evans and Cherie for a different type of discussion about Michelle’s excellent book, “The X-15 Rocket Plane: Flying the First Wings into Space.”  Michelle was recently a guest on the program about her book.  We talked about those she interviewed for the book and their thoughts on today’s current space program.  I also asked if Michelle thought a program such as X-15 could be initiated today.  Michelle also told us about the global interest in the X-15 as she has heard from people in Nepal, Austria, and many other faraway places.

Please post your comments/questions on The Space Show blog.  If you purchase Michelle’s X-15 book, please do so though The Space Show/OGLF Amazon portal.  You will find instructions on all archive summaries and the blog.


1. rocketscirick - September 23, 2013

Gosh, my editing skills are degrading… On my previous post, there is a missing semicolon toward the end of the very first sentence.

“When people ask me why don’t we just rebuild the Saturn V, my standard reply is, there are new manufacturing technologies that didn’t exist when the Saturn V was built; you would want to take advantage of them.”

2. rocketscirick - September 23, 2013

When people ask me why don’t we just rebuild the Saturn V, my standard reply is, there are new manufacturing technologies that didn’t exist when the Saturn V was built you would want to take advantage of them. I’m not a manufacturing guy, but I keep hearing things like “composites” and “stir-friction welding”. I’m not even sure if CNC was around at the time of the Saturn V. But I agree, these will bring manufacturing costs down. I hope they succeed; I desperately want to be wrong about SLS.

The comments from the panel about the asteroid retrieval mission were very intriguing. Getting experience with new electric propulsion and improving solar panel performance are indeed important goals. They need to be done. They will ultimately be useful in future human missions.

But I think the quick comment that Bill Gerstenmaier made about robotics is not quite correct. I believe you can inspect and remove parts of an asteroid with a tele-operated robotic mission; I would agree you can’t do it with an autonomous robotic mission. A tele-operated mission would give you cameras and manipulators on the object with human decision-making in the loop. The closer the humans are to the object, the better the images and manipulation can be. In fact, you could have a human-occupied spacecraft with manipulators on it right at the asteroid; conceivably, the humans wouldn’t even need to leave the the spacecraft. They could still pick samples and bring them back to Earth.

But it isn’t really humans touching an asteroid. Then again, I think it was made clear in the press conference, this is *not* Obama’s original asteroid mission. This is threading a legal loophole. Doing the asteroid retrieval mission is important. But the human part is accomplishing less than a return of humans to the Moon. Somehow, I doubt that the President’s advisors are telling him this. If he were warned, I don’t think Mr. Obama would want to go down in history as “the president who lost the solar system”; but I think there is now a very real danger of that.

3. Jeffrey Smith - September 15, 2013

I just heard your recent Space Show interview and liked the discussion. I’ve sign your Lunar COTS petition and believe it’s a great concept.

Please continue with your united approach to space exploration. I believe it is a great way, and maybe the ONLY way, we are going to move out into the solar system. Obviously no one organization has been able to move us outward (NASA, NSS, Mars Society, CSF, etc.) so getting every voice to sit down at the table is the only way to get a large enough voice to set the policy direction and keep it on track. If one of the major organizations is going on the nightly news or the blogs to complain at every turn, it will create the anarchy that has scuttled every other effort to move forward.

Your concept of a limited, but persistent funding, rather than a budget-buster prohect has worked very well recently and is a good model for a selfsustaining effort like this.

Keep up the good work,

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