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Dr. Dwayne Day, Wednesday, 11-23-11 November 23, 2011

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Dr. Dwayne Day, Wednesday, 11-23-11



Guest:  Dr. Dwayne Day.  Topics:  The future of the U.S. astronaut corps & the Chinese space program & intentions.  You are invited to comment, ask questions, & discuss the Space Show program/guest(s) on the Space Show blog, https://thespaceshow.wordpress.com.  Comments, questions, & any discussion must be relevant & 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.  The Space Show/OGLF is now engaged in its annual fundraising drive. Please see & act upon our appeal at https://thespaceshow.wordpress.com/2011/11/21/space-show-2011-fundraising-campaign. We welcomed Dr. Day back to the show to discuss the NRC/National Academies report he directed, “Preparing for the High Frontier: The Role & Training of NASA Astronauts in the Post-Space Shuttle Era.”  You can download this report in .pdf format for free: http://www.nap.edu/catalog.php?record_id=13227.  Later in the program, Dr. Day talked about the Chinese space program based on his Space Review article from Nov. 14, 2011, “Staring into the eyes of the Dragon ( www.thespacereview.com/article/1970/1)”.  We started our discussion talking about the astronaut corps of the future.  Dr. Day told us about the study panel members,  their methodology, their visit to JSC in Houston to see the training facilities, & their discussions with many of the commercial companies working on CCDEV. Their initial assumptions that were proven wrong were that NASA had too many astronauts & the use of the T-38 were not that vital to the program. They discovered that the astronaut corps had already been downsized. Dwayne provided us with a chart which is on the blog for this program showing the astronaut corps population going back to 1959 projected to 2016.  The panel looked at three issues at the start of their task: The future role of the corps & its size; Training facilities & needs post shuttle; Training aircraft such as the T-38 for spaceflight readiness issues.  During this segment, Dr. Day discussed their work & conclusions in detail.  Several questions were about comparing the U.S. astronaut program with the Russians & the training involved with astronauts from other countries.  Many listeners wanted to know about the role of commercial launch providers & even if there might be a private astronaut corps.  One of the things Dr. Day said was that two commercial astronaut models were being examined by NASA, the rental car model & the “we are in charge” model.  He also talked about the impact on the program, planning, & development of uncertainty.  As for the T-38s, the conclusion was that they were needed for real time space situational awareness training & decision making. In our second segment, Dwayne took a few New Space focused questions.  He mentioned talking to Space X & other companies plus what his panel heard as to their suggestions for the astronaut corps.  Later, we talked about NRC reports in general, avoiding conflict of interest, & taxpayer value. A listener from Canada asked about the possibility of a private astronaut corp returning to the Moon before government astronauts. This led to a discussion about space enthusiasts & reality checks.  For the balance, we talked about the Chinese program.  Here, Dr. Day broke it down between human spaceflight & their defense, science & image satellite programs. He also talked about Chinese intentions.  I urge you to read his excellent Space Review article referenced above.  For 2012, I will do my best to offer Space Show listeners programming on the Chinese program, including webinar panel discussions, as it is important for us to understand as much as possible about the Chinese program.  Post comments & questions on the blog URL above.  You can email Dr. Day at zirconici1@cox.net.  If you do email him, please copy me so I can learn from the exchange.


Astronaut Corps Population