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Frank Van Renesselear, Tuesday, 6-10-14 June 11, 2014

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Frank Van Renesselear, Tuesday, 6-10-14


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Guest:  Franklin (Frank) Van Rensselaer, Jr.  Topics:  Schafer Corp Aerospace & Strategic Business Development, commercial space, markets, capital.  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 Frank Van Rensselear to the program to discuss Schafer Corp and various commercial space topics and issues.  Our program was an hour long so we had only one segment.  We started our discussion with by talking with our guest about his experience as an Apollo Flight Controller and he described his position as The Booster.  He shared some of his experiences with us, especially for Apollo 8 and Apollo 12 which was hit by lightening shortly after launch.  Frank was also on the job through Skylab and the ASTP.  Listen and enjoy the history.  We then jumped into his experiences in commercial space and his having developed over $300 million in new business when he was with the Harris Corporation.  Our guest was asked about the newly released NRC Pathways Human Spaceflight Study and he said he basically agreed with it in that we do not have enough money, we can’t do meaningful and inspiring projects, and overall he suggested this was demeaning to the country.  We talked for several minutes about tight budget issues for NASA and the way congress and the American people set priorities which do not seem to include human spaceflight.  I suggested this is a choice & asked how we get policy and budget pros within the system to make different choices in support of HSF. Frank was asked if Constellation had not been cancelled if we would be in a similar position today with our dependency on Russia and related issues.  He did not think so but listen to his full response.  We talked about the RD-180 engine and the likelihood that congress will appropriate funds to make a U.S. replacement engine.  This brought up the need for such an engine if we have Delta and soon will have Falcon 9 which still gives us two independent launchers for high value national security payloads.  Frank had lots to say on this subject, on SpaceX and ULA, along with the importance of these national security satellites and launches.  John in Tucson emailed him about SLS on which our guest also had much to say.  But as long as we are focused on tight budget issues, the program has been & will be disappointing. Again, you don’t want to miss all of his comments on this issue.  Military space was a discussion topic as was public opinion suggesting space is not that relevant any more. We talked about Inspiration Mars being able to inspire but we both doubted it would happen.  Tony called in to ask about reusability & why the space shuttle was compromised and reusability taken out. In the end, our guest suggested that reusability would be key to our space future.  Next, we talked about Schafer Corp and its activities.  We learned that they consult and work with several NewSpace companies and they are hiring but typically they go for experienced engineers, not fresh out college grads.  I asked Frank for his perspective on the recently announced Google purchase of Skybox Imaging for $500 million.  This too was a most interesting discussion you do not want to miss.  Other topics during our program included billionaire space investors, suborbital tourism, space settlement, and commercial space growth by sectors.  Here we talked markets, needed infrastructure and capital acquisition for lunar projects and the like.  Our guest talked about the need for government sponsored infrastructure in advance of lunar commercial projects and suggested only government was capable of footing the bill for the needed  infrastructure.  He said raising the actual capital was a challenge and that at this time, it would really be uphill for lunar ventures.  In his concluding remarks, he said he was bullish for commercial space and private space companies and that going commercial was a good thing as it has & will bring in fresh ideas & projects.  His final question was about 3D printing for space.

Please post your comments/questions on TSS blog.  You can reach our guest through the Schafer Corp website, http://www.schafercorp.com or me.