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Mark Bray, Sunday, 3-4-12 March 4, 2012

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Mark Bray, Sunday, 3-4-12


Guest:  Mark Bray.  Topics: Space industry standards, policy, politics, & space workforce attitudes. 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 Mark Bray for what was a most interesting and wide ranging 2.5 hour discussion divided into two segments.  We started off with Mark talking about the need for industrial standards both in the public and the private space sectors.  A good portion of this initial hour long segment was about design and quality standards.  Mark explained by example why there were needed and what he was talking about.  His Florida concrete company example made it very clear why the standards he was talking were and are needed.  Mark made some very good points, we had good listener participation both on the phone and with emails.  I promise that you will think differently about standards and the space industry after you listen to this segment.

We started the second segment talking about SLS as Mark works on the SLS project.  I asked him if the workforce was aware of the opposition to SLS and what they thought about it. This opened the door for Mark to talk about space workforce issues, their fears and concerns, and what is happening to the workforce given the current political, election year politics, economic condition, and the fact that they are not working on a space mission with goals and a destination.  Listen to what Mark had to say on all these issues.  While you may not like what you hear, keep in mind that Mark in engaged as part of this workforce and speaks from experience.  In response to a listener question, Mark had much to say about Huntsville, Marshall, and Alabama space politics.  Part of this discussion focused on NewSpace and why Alabama has been slow in seeing opportunities with NewSpace rather than trying to block elements of it. Jon called in from Jersey   City and had a good discussion with Mark about these & other issues and then he introduced space enthusiasts to the mix in terms of what this community wants and expects for policy.  This brought me to one of my rants on policy and my playing the Devil’s Advocate with both Jon and Mark.  Eventually, the three of us talked about how we seem to be forced into selecting one way or the other for space development and dismissing that which is not the “preferred” one way.   We also talked about congressional responsibility for how they handle taxpayer money while enthusiasts have no such responsibilities.  Next, we arrived at why we all seem to be fighting over shrinking resources and getting “our” piece of a smaller and smaller pie.  We talked about the need to grow the economy, to grow the space sector, and to grow the economic pie, not shrink it.  We agreed that while there may be many solution paths to the problems facing the U.S., space provides a clear path and solution set that seems hard to match by other possible directions and choices if economic expansion and wealth creation are to be the goals of our national policy.  Also mentioned was how NASA is not considered one of the key science and technology agencies,  Near the end, Mark got an interesting question about long duration storage requirements for SRBs.  Don’t miss Mark’s closing comments.  Finally, the paper he mentioned during this interview is on his website at http://braynstorms.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/12/Achieving-Innovation-and-Affordability.pdf.

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