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Small Sat Conference 2013, Friday, 8-16-13 August 16, 2013

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Small Sat Conference 2013, Friday, 8-16-13


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Guests:  Robert (Bob Meurer; George Torres.  Topics:  Two separate interviews from Small Sat 2013 on ATK commercial space & ATK Aerospace Group.  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 www.onegiantleapfoundation.org/amazon.htm.

Our first interview is with Robert (Bob) Meurer, Director of the ATK Business Development Division in Beltsville, MD.  During this 33 minute segment, we talked about how the small satellite market has changed and evolved since we talked with Bob at last year’s conference, plus we got updates on the DARPA Phoenix project, ViviSat, commercial opportunities and issues, the hot new market for on-orbit satellite servicing and the leadership role of ATK in this rapidly developing industry.  For this interview, Dr. John Jurist was co-host.  We focused on commercial development and related issues such as space tugs, even Moore’s Law as a metric, distributive satellite networks, the need for competitive ROIs, and more.  Bob spent more time with us regarding ViviSat and geo telecommunication two ton satellites.  We also addressed the emerging competition, the impact of sequestration and lots more.   ITAR came up as did the relevance on the ATK business of the Small Sat Conference.

Our next segment featured George Torres, Vice President of Communications for the ATK Aerospace Group in Salt Lake City, UT.  George talked about the announcement for ATK being awarded the ALV first and second stage contracts for the boosters for the Stratolaunch project.  George described the boosters, their proposed capability, and more.  We also talked about the high energy solid rocket propellant used by ATK for this project, then I asked George about the five segment booster from the Aries 1 which was cancelled a few years ago.  The five segment booster is interchangeable with the sections of the four segment booster used by the shuttle and now these boosters are being used for the SLS.  We talked about the upcoming static firing tests for the new SRBs for Stratolaunch and SLS.  George then talked about the ATK work in the field of composites and how they are a leader in the industry, doing the composite work for many other companies.  He described the ATK Aerospace Group which includes two launch groups, two satellite groups, and the composite group.  Before our segment with George ended, we returned to the subject of the five segment booster and SLS, focusing on the previous development motor static tests and the upcoming static firing tests actually being qualification motor tests.  Near the end of the segment, George updated us on the Liberty Launch Vehicle. ATK is now positioning Liberty for the cargo market but this will depend on the market for the capacity Liberty offers.

Please post your comments on The Space Show blog per above. You can email either of our two guests through me.

SmallSat Conference Interviews, Tuesday-Thursday, 8-17-12 August 17, 2012

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SmallSat Conference Interviews, Tuesday-Thursday, 8-17-12


Guests:  Robert (Bob) Meurer of ATK; Dr. Peter Wegner of ORS; Fred Slane of Space Infrastructure, Inc.  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 welcome you to this series of three recorded interviews from the SmallSat Conference 2012.  After each interview is completed, there is about a ten second pause followed by the next interview.  The program concludes when the final interview with Fred Slane is completed.  I was assisted with all three interviews by Dr. John Jurist who was also present for the SmallSat Conference.  Our first interview was with Robert (Bob) Meurer of ATK.  Mr. Meurer is the VP of Business Development in the Commercial and International Programs, Space Mission Systems with ATK Aerospace in Beltsville, MD.  During our half hour with Bob, we discussed the ATK series of small satellite buses, ITAR & international business issues, customer responsibility as opposed to manufacturer responsibility, LEO as compared to GEO satellites and much more.  While The Space Show has featured many ATK programs, this programs focused on the ATK satellite business rather than the launch and SRB side of the business.  I am sure you will find it to be a most interesting & informative discussion as did Dr. Jurist and I.

Our second interview was with the Director of the ORS Office, Dr. Peter Wegner.  Dr. Wegner was first on The Space Show in 2009 so we asked him for updates with ORS. We discussed their funding status, what constitutes an ORS satellite or ORS mission, national security and ORS, plus I asked about other space nations and their advances in operationally responsive space capabilities.  I was a bit surprised to learn that the U.S. definitely has competition and others may actually be making more progress than we are. You don’t want to miss this discussion.  We talked about student projects, internships, and even garage innovators submitting projects to Dr. Wegner’s office or by chance stumbling on classified technology.

Our final interview was with Fred Slane as I asked Fred for an annual update on the progress toward adopting space standards.  We discussed the need for space standards, the role of the U.N. in promoting space standards, and why adopting standards is important, even for the small entrepreneurial start-up space company.  Fred was asked the difference between a standard and a specification, who the various international players are in the process, and just who gets a seat at the table.  I think you will agree with both Dr. Jurist and myself that having operationally sound space standards are important for everyone.  Post your comments on the blog and let us know what you think about space standards.

If you want to email any of the guests for this special SmallSat program, please send your note to me and I will forward it to the guest of your choice.  Also, do post general comments and questions on The Space Show blog for all to see and comment on if they so desire.