Robert (Bob) Zimmerman, Tuesday, 5-6-14 May 7, 2014Posted by The Space Show in Uncategorized.
Tags: Antares, ATK-Orbital merger, Atlas 5, commercial launch customers, commercial space, Crimea, Dragon, Falcon Heavy, government launch customers, ISS, ISS IGA agreement, Lockheed Martin, NASA-Russia space relations, national security, Orion, private sector, Putin, RD-180 engine, reusability., Robert (Bob) Zimmerman, Russia, Russian N-33 engine, SLS, solid rocket motors, SpaceX lawsuit against Air Force, U.S. economy, Ukraine, ULA
Robert (Bob) Zimmerman, Tuesday, 5-6-14
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Guest: Robert (Bob) Zimmerman. Topics: Russia-NASA space relationship with sanctions, ISS, SpaceX, Air Force & 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. In addition, please remember that your Amazon purchases can help support The Space Show/OGLF. See http://www.onegiantleapfoundation.org/amazon.htm. For those listening to archives using live365.com and rating the programs, please email me as to why you assign a specific rating to the show. This will help me bring better programming to the audience.
We welcomed Bob Zimmerman back to the program to discuss the issues facing the U.S. and Russia as a result of the Russian aggression in the Crimea & the Ukraine and in light of U.S. sanctions against Russia for this aggression. We discussed possible interruptions regarding the ISS, ongoing Soyuz flights for American astronauts, continued purchases of the RD-180 engine for the Atlas rocket and the N-33 for the Orbital Antares rocket. We discussed side issues relative to these big picture issues as well. In the first segment of this 2 hour 5 minute show, Bob explained the Russia-NASA space relationship from his perspective. We talked about there being a probable low risk that the parties we would quit cooperating with one another on the ISS but more of our attention in this segment was focused on the Atlas rocket and the use of the RD-180 engine which is a Russian engine. This focus was largely the result of our first phone call from Kelly and as you will hear, Bob and Kelly did not always see eye to eye on the issue and they both seemed to enjoy talking at the same time. For the record, when that happens, as the show host, its nearly impossible to get words or comments to stop them until at least one person stops talking. This is an artifact of the use of a cell phone and the loss of full duplex voice exchange. The issues discussed in this segment regarding the Ukraine and the RD-180 were also carried forward to the second segment as well. Bob thought there might be a silver lining in all this in that it might be waking up important segments here in America and forcing the space industry to stop being so dependent on Russia and building up our commercial space industry. Also discussed in this segment was the Orbital Antares which uses the Russian N-33 engine. The upcoming Orbital and ATK merger was part of our discussion and the possible replacement of the N-33 with an ATK solid rocket motor for the first stage.
In the second segment, John from Ft. Worth called in regarding the Ukrainian issue . He also talked about possible U.S. government waivers for the engines. Fast tracking the Dragon came up and then email listeners started asking Bob if Orion could be fast tracked. Bob made his usual comments on SLS and Orion, Lockheed. His favorite word for the night was PORK. Had it been the secret word where you win a hundred dollars every time you mention PORK, Bob would have cleaned up. Kelly emailed us to remind everyone that Putin considers the RD-180 a national treasure and may stop the sales of it anyway. Doug sent in emails asking about Falcon Heavy missions as compared to SLS missions. Bob said Falcon Heavy could do everything SLS could do and cheaper, even if it required multiple launches as he does not think SLS will fly and the flight profile for SLS at 1 launch every 3-4 years is not sustainable. Doug also inquired about reusability, ULA, Boeing, & Lockheed because using it might drop their overall price since the government would likely not pay substantially more than a commercial company for the same launch. I think I will honor Bob the next time he comes on the show with new bumper music, this time from Annie Get Your Gun with the song “Anything You Can Do I Can Do Better sung by Bette Hutton and Howard Keel. All we need is a Space Show listener with talent to substitute a few key words in the song to be relevant to Bob, Doug and others re Falcon Heavy, SpaceX, SLS, Orion, the private sector, government space, etc. For those of you too young to remember Annie Get Your Gun and this famous song, check it out at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WO23WBji_Z0. Tony called about Russian cultural issues and SpaceX, then we got the call of the night in my opinion from Ben in New Jersey. Ben pointed out that “the basic strategic driver for Russia in Crimea is that well over 90% of the fresh water and electricity needed in Crimea comes from the Kherson region of Ukraine. Fresh water supply from Ukraine to Crimea has already been shut down. Crimea has only 30 days of fresh water left. There are rolling blackouts, as the electrical supply is also low. Russia cannot allow this to continue.” Ben continued to offer his analysis which you will find most interesting. By the way, if you are not familiar with the geography of the Ukraine and Crimea, here is a good reference map of the region: http://www.businessinsider.com/map-ukraine-threats-from-russia-2014-5#!J0srL. Ben continued with his analysis and Bob and I picked his brain for his idea of the outcome of the disputes. Both Bob & Ben thought Russia has some natural constraints so they are likely only to take the easier “low hanging fruits” as they will avoid an all out and bloody conflict. At other times during the segment, other listeners suggested that the situation will ease over time and that the space issues will also be eased. Bob said over and over again that he did not believe Russia wanted to lose its commercial space revenue and this would probably be a constraint on his behavior. At different times during both segments, the SpaceX lawsuit was discussed but mostly in the context of the national security issues pertaining to Russia, NASA and our space policy and relationship.
Please post your comments/questions on The Space Show blog. Bob can be reached through his website, http://www.Behindtheblack.com.