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Robert (Bob) Zimmerman, Tuesday, 9-17-13 September 18, 2013

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Robert (Bob) Zimmerman, Tuesday, 9-17-13


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Guest:  Robert (Bob) Zimmerman.  Topics: This was a wide ranging discussion starting with climate change & ending with budget, CR, & commercial crew issues.  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.

We welcomed Bob Zimmerman back to the show for this one hour 55 minute discussion starting with the announcement regarding climate change and the upcoming IPCC report which has been leaked to the press.  The primary topic for this first segment was climate change, the leaked IPCC report and an analysis of it.  Bob fielded listener comments and questions including Marshall’s who had hands on experience with the very first computer climate model in the early 70’s.  Bob summarized all his comments saying that science needed to be skeptical and he was optimistic that skepticism was coming back to the field of climate science.  We then switched to space and NASA for the balance of this program.  As a transition, Bob talked about solar activity and the solar max.  In response to a listener question, he commented that if Mars or anyplace in space were developed using the Antarctica model, it would doom commercial space activity.  He stated over and over again that the model needed was the profit model for space and planetary development.

In the second segment, we talked about new commercial contracts for Arianne 5 recently announced, and how important these were to Arianne who needs to show a profit for the first time.  I asked Bob about NASA’s Redirect Asteroid Mission given all the attention it got last week at AIAA Space 2013.  Bob had much to say about this mission, most of it not supportive or positive, and then I mentioned the NASA press conference which is archived as part of the Space 2013 taped interviews and the fact that it is to be SLS dependent. This started Bob and others on SLS rants, mostly not supportive of it, and also Orion.  Bob was emphatic that Orion with SLS would not be a deep space mission & at one point he cited comments by Russian that their next generation Soyuz would have bathroom facilities on board and Bob said with Orion, it was strictly diapers for the crew.  We talked about Inspiration Mars and Mars One.  Bob was skeptical about both happening. Listen to the reasons he cited for his perspective.  Bob also talked about Bigelow Aerospace and its potential, listeners asked about Planetary Resources and the Redirect Mission, then we talked about the need to lower the launch costs to LEO.  Bob brought us current with SpaceShip2 & the latest powered demo flight, then John called in to argue about SLS with Bob.  This was an interesting give and take.  As Bob has done on other programs, he continued saying he does not want a space program which is a government program which in his eyes is doomed to failure.  He wants the private sector to prevail.  As the show was ending, I asked Bob for this thoughts on the budget, CR, and future commercial crew funding .

Please post your comments/questions on The Space Show blog.  Check out Bob’s website, www.beyondtheblack.com.  You can email bob through is website or using zimmerman at nasw dot org


1. Space-for-All at HobbySpace » Space policy roundup – Sept.19.13 [Update] - September 19, 2013

[…] Robert (Bob) Zimmerman, Tuesday, 9-17-13 – Thespaceshow’s Blog. […]

2. John Hunt - September 18, 2013

Zimmerman makes a strong case for the power of the private sector which can’t be denied. But, I can see how private companies can make a progress exploring space. Space can supply the ISS with its Falcon 9 and Commercial Cargo Dragon but this is only because the government is paying for it. With out Mr. Zimmerman’s despised NASA space program there wouldn’t be commercial cargo market for Falcon and Dragon to service.

The point that I was trying to make was that one should be able to construct a heavy-lift vehicle using currently available component cheaper and faster then is projected for the SLS.

It is possible that a new start space company might have developed an alternative to the ULA, Ariane rockets, etc. But, in fact it was the goal of space exploration that motivated Elon Musk. But, unless a super billionaire donates his fortune to space exploration, commercial space with just be launching satellites unless government money is paying for exploration.

Mr. Zimmerman’s enthusiasm for SpaceX is apparent. For a company just starting, their achievements are impressive. However, the Falcon 9 has flown only five times in the last year and yet their manifest says that they will fly five more by the end of the year. And, fly12 times next year including the first flight of the Falcon Heavy. This seems very unlikely. I’ve long thought that where SpaceX will get into trouble is when they try to scale up their production rates. They had better have a lot of rockets moving down the production line if they are going to meet these goals.

3. Jim Davis - September 18, 2013

As always, Zimmerman really delivers. He is a delight to listen to even if one doesn’t agree with everything he says. A good thing too because the man can talk…and talk…and talk… A man that truly was “vaccinated with a phonograph needle”.

Just once I would like a space pundit to just admit “I have no idea what the Chinese plans are in the long term, if they even have any”. Zimmerman, like many others, somehow seems to know exactly what the Chinese are up to. And it’s always exactly what Zimmerman would be up to. The Chinese are something of a Rorschach’s Blot where the viewer always sees exactly what he wants to see.

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