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Robert (Bob) Zimmerman, Tuesday, 9-15-15 September 16, 2015

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Robert (Bob) Zimmerman, Tuesday, 9-15-15

http://archived.thespaceshow.com/shows/2553-BWB-2015-09-15.mp3

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Guest: Robert (Bob) Zimmerman; Topics: Space news & industry updates, commercial space happenings & more. Please direct all comments and questions regarding Space Show programs/guest(s) to the Space Show blog, https://thespaceshow.wordpress.com.

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We welcomed back Bob Zimmerman for a two hour discussion plus updates on the space industry, including commercial space and NASA’s planetary science program. Bob started out by saying that the commercial space industry was heating up and getting more competitive, citing two significant stories. First, he mentioned the Blue Origin announcement about opening up a Florida launch site. Next, he addressed the SpaceX news regarding new commercial launch contracts with ARAB SAT and also the Falcon Heavy (FH) with demo launches to start in 2016. Bob spoke for some time on the FH, plus he talked about recent Russian Proton successes with their having said they found a systemic flaw in the Proton system but now that it was repaired, they expected more successful Proton flights. Virgin Galactic was next up for discussion and here Bob said the news was confusing. He spoke to the recent company announcements about Launcher One, then upon my asking, said that SpaceShip 2 seemed to be getting less attention for now. Bob mentioned the possible NASA use of a low cost Dragon capsule, then Jonathan Evans started in asking a series of questions, the first inquiring about what makes more business sense, Blue Origin’s expansion plans in Florida at Kennedy or SpaceX’s expansion plans in south Texas near Brownsville? After responding to Mr. Evans, Bob had much to say about ULA, the proposed Aerojet Rocketdyne buyout bid of ULA, plus the overall competitive nature of ULA in today’s rocket environment. Bob got a question from Jim who wanted to know his thoughts on XCOR given what he had said earlier about Virgin Galactic. Bob was not that positive about XCOR, joking that Charles Lurio would probably call in to rebut his comments. This prompted Dr. Charles Lurio to call in to “correct the record” and the mistakes Bob was making regarding XCOR and their progress. When Charles called in, he had much to say to set things straight.

 

In the second segment, our first call was from Dave in the Chicago area. Dave spoke about Blue Origin and ULA deals plus the ACES upper stage. Later, Bob went after the SLS again, mostly on its costs being too high. John from Ft. Worth called and the two of them had an interesting exchange on several related topics. Bob next mentioned the Rosetta mission and the Philae Lander, then he switched to the planetary science missions and programs. Bob had much to say that was positive on these missions including Cassini, New Horizons, and Curiosity. Later, Jane asked when space policy would enter the 2016 presidential race. Bob did not think it would enter the race, plus he did not want it to become a campaign issue. Listen to his comments and see if you agree with him. Tim called and mentioned that not everyone believes that SLS is bad as Bob had been expressing all night. Bob talked about SLS and science missions, the Decadal Survey, and its high operating and launch costs which hurts planetary scientists. As our program was drawing to a close, I asked Bob about the future of the ISS, Arianespace & what to look out for regarding private/commercial space.

 

Please post your comments/questions on TSS blog above. You can reach Bob Zimmerman through me or his website, www.behndtheblack.com.

 

 

Comments»

1. B John - September 18, 2015

Robert Zimmerman is always enlightening. He thinks a step or two further than I do about space policy and such. I’ll make it a game to try to anticipate him in my mind before his next show.

2. Jim Davis - September 16, 2015

Robert Zimmerman is one of my favorite guests and luckily for me he always gets the desirable Tuesday night slot so I can listen live.

This was another fine show. There was some unintentional irony on display as Dr. Livingston makes his usual appeal for call in questions but Zimmerman will rarely let callers engage him in a dialogue. Zimmerman is off to the races once he hears the caller’s initial question and is difficult to rein in. Livingston may not like email questions but with a guest like Zimmerman they’re probably as effective as phone questions.

The initial call from Charles Lurio could have been much more informative and entertaining than it actually was if Zimmerman could restrain himself somewhat. Lurio is not nearly as articulate as Zimmerman, and Zimmerman took full advantage of Lurio’s grasping for the right word to take off again.

I encourage Zimmerman to listen to these shows to see just how long winded he can be. Yes, he is the guest, and we do want to hear what he has to say, but dialogues are generally more interesting than monologues.


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