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Rick Searfoss (Col, USAF RET.), Monday, 6-18-12 June 19, 2012

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Rick Searfoss (Col, USAF RET.), Monday, 6-18-12


Guest:  Rick Searfoss (Col., USAF, RET.).  Topics: Rocket Flight, XCOR, Lynx, flight safety, leadership.  You are invited to comment, ask questions, and discuss the Space Show program/guest(s) on the Space Show blog, https://thespaceshow.wordpress.com. Comments, questions, and any discussion must be relevant and applicable to Space Show programming. Transcripts of Space Show programs are not permitted without prior written consent from The Space Show (even if for personal use) & are a violation of the Space Show copyright.  We welcomed back to The Space Show Rick Searfoss to discuss spaceflight flying, XCOR Aerospace, the Lynx, and much more.  You can learn more about Rick Searfoss by visiting his website, www.astronautspeaker.com.  For more about the Lynx and XCOR, visit www.xcor.com.  We started our discussion with an overview of a successful test flight program.  During this discussion, our guest made it clear that flight tests are supposed to detect the unknown and to catch problems in time for them to be fixed prior to surfacing during commercial operations.  The test pilot is prepared for the unknown and this is why he later said that future XCOR pilots would need to have U.S. military test pilot school experience along with their military flight experience.  Also, the testing starts out very slow and escalates based on the progress and analysis of the tests.  One crawls before one runs, so to speak.  I asked him to compare a spaceship test flight program to information I had on a new Boeing 747-8 Intercontinental Jetliner that Boeing was putting through 600 flight hours of flight tests (www.examiner.com/article/new-boeing-747-8-intercontinental-maiden-flight).  Don’t miss this discussion, its interesting, important, & relevant.  Col. Searfoss received an email from Jeremy asking about humans riding on solid rocket boosters (SRB) and the safety in doing that.  This resulted in another interesting discussion.  We then talked about piston pump technology, suborbital flight, turbo pumps, and the XCOR program working with ULA regarding hydrogen pumps.  I asked Rick to describe the Lynx flight from the passenger perspective.  Doug wanted to know about the first flight timeline for later this year and then Christine wrote in asking if the Lynx cockpit would have dual controls similar to an airplane.  A question came in about the Chinese rendezvous & docking per their current mission & Rick’s take on the process given his space shuttle pilot experience.  Rick talked about this with the shuttle in some detail.

In our second segment, Terry called in to ask about the XCOR flight software.  As you will hear, XCOR flight software means humans.  Listen to what he had to say about this, including issues with space shuttle software.  Our guest then talked more about the flight readiness process including the Technical Review Board and Safety Review Board process.  Other topics discussed included citizen science on board the Lynx, ITAR issues, additional Lynx pilot qualifications, and defense dept. applications for Lynx and the suborbital industry.  Lee called in to ask about an evolution to an orbital vehicle, other questions came in regarding runway requirements, passenger height & weight requirements, and spaceports.  Near the end of our discussion, we talked about an emergency exit from the Lynx, spacesuits and bailout.  Also discussed throughout the program were suggestions for the passenger to better prepare for his/her flight.

If you have comments/questions, please post them on The Space Show blog.