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Open Lines, Sunday, 5-18-14 May 19, 2014

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Open Lines, Sunday, 5-18-14


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Guest:  Open Lines with Dr. David Livingston.  Topics:  The passing of Roger Easton, father of GPS, Russia, ISS, NASA, Ukraine, sanctions, space policy.  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.

Welcome to this 2 hour 1 minute program.  In our first segment, we started with the first caller, Richard Easton who told us about the passing of his Dad, Roger Easton, the father of GPS.  Richard has been a guest on the show several times &we were most fortunate to have Roger as a guest as well several years ago.  We took this opportunity to honor Roger Easton & talk about the early days of Roger’s timing work which formed the backbone of GPS.  Richard went through some of the early history with us as he has done on previous shows. I urge you to listen to this call plus go back and listen to Richard’s earlier shows, including his first one when Roger was with him. You will hear oral history at its best & from the major scientist/engineer who brought us GPS.  After Richard’s call, we took our first break.

In the second segment, I read a NASA PR announcement about the successful recovery of Dragon bringing back 3,500 lbs. of cargo from the ISS.  Congratulations to SpaceX and NASA!.  John from Ft. Worth called to talk about the U.S. sanctions on Russia regarding the Crimea/Ukraine, the Atlas 5, the RD-180 engine and various straggles that might unfold for the ISS.  John was asking thought provoking questions which neither of us could answer but we do know the situation is largely political rhetoric and posturing right now but could easily change.  I asked John if he thought we might fast track the development of HSF and Dragon.  As he said, we wait and see.  Next, I took a very short break to return with my attempt to respond to the questions about Russia, the ISS, and sanctions asked by Kelly in his email which I read on air.  Our next caller was first time caller John from New Jersey who took us through to the end of the program.  John’s call was an excellent one & I urge you to listen to what he had to say.  We talked about the old shuttle policy, the possible use of depots, lunar settlement & using the Moon for training and experience to go further out in space.  We also talked about Mars and asteroid mission, then the issue of leadership came up regarding policy & in particular, space.  Like so many of us frustrated by our current situation, John was unable to find answers to how to advance policy.  I asked him if the militarization of space by another state actor might be a driver for the type of space activities we had been talking about.  He did not think so but listen to his answer.  One of his favorite comments  was to the effect that “we are having Star Trek dreams in a wagon train universe!”  Prior to ending our program, I went over our upcoming Space Show schedule.

Please post your comments/questions on The Space Show blog above.  You can reach any of our callers/participants through me.


1. Andy Hill - May 21, 2014

I believe that Mark Sirangelo stated on the Space Show that Dream Chaser was not launcher specific and could be launched on any suitable booster. Atlas V was chosen for its safety record but if it was not available then there should be no reason why a Falcon 9 or Delta IV (assuming they have the lift capacity) could not be used.

The conversation about the ISS and whether the US would be able to operate their part separately was interesting. If the Russians are going to terminate the program in 2020 then I see no reason why the US cant produce the needed extra modules in the remaining six years to enable autonomous operation. This would leave Russia with a pile of useless modules they would have to allow to drop out of orbit, remember they would probably not have the Canada robotic Arm to reconfigure them. What about the problem of reboost though, can Dragon or any of the other commercials do this? If not then ESA might have to produce some additional ATVs.

2. Dwayne Day - May 20, 2014

Listening to the show right now on podcast and heard David suggest that a foreign policy expert call in and he mentioned my name. That’s flattering but I’m not much of an expert on that. I think that John answered the question about why the administration is sanctioning individuals rather than the Russian government pretty accurately–the goal of the sanctions is to hurt the people making the decisions, AND the people around them, rather than the Russian people.

My suspicion, based upon what I know about how this stuff works, is that the administration probably has an intelligence report on the Russian government. It probably lists all of Putin’s close buddies and their assets and what they control. And then it probably concludes that his friends are more important to him than the condition of the Russian people. The administration would not base its sanctions policy on thin air, it would have some kind of supporting evidence. They got the idea from somewhere, and that is probably a classified assessment (with data from lots of places, including State Department observations) that indicates that the best way to influence Putin is through his friends.

My limited information on this is that the Russian economy is in poor shape. They still have an economy that is very heavily based upon natural resources (when was the last time you went to Wal-Mart or Best Buy and saw a consumer product that was made in Russia?). Economic sanctions against them would have to focus on their natural resources. That might not be very impactful because things like oil are so fungible. It also might simply hurt the Russian people.

Sanctions can work. They can influence behavior (not always in the ways you want or expect). They had an influence on Iraq under Saddam, and they appear to have had an effect against Iran. But they can also fail. We have no way of knowing if they will work this time against Russia. And it is possible that they may have an effect but we will never know it, because the Russians will decide not to do something that they were planning to do.

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