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Ken Davidian, Friday, 5-4-12 May 5, 2012

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Ken Davidian, Friday, 5-4-12


Guest:  Ken Davidian.   Topics:  Commercial Space, FAA AST, space industry development, theories, and markets.  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 Ken Davidian back to The Space Show to discuss the FAA Center of Excellence Program, commercial space industrial development, markets, and theories.  We started our discussion with Ken’s overview regarding the Center of Excellence Program.  He talked about the participating schools and the four research areas and goal targets:  space traffic management; vehicle safety and operations; human factors and safety; and space transportation industrial development, markets, and theories.  We talked about the FAA budget and compared it in some ways to the NASA budget.  Ken also talked about the coordination between the FAA AST and NASA, along with the primary responsibilities of the FAA which are focused on the aviation sector much more so than space.

In the second segment, we switched focus to commercial space and here I suggest you visit the commercial space WIKI website, http://commercialspace.pbworks.com. Ken talked about material on the WIKI throughout this segment, especially the Commercial Space Market Model Papers and the Calendar of Commercial Space Conferences And Events.  Both of these links can be found at the top of the home page.  For the most part, Ken focused in on theory as compared to hard data detailing results from behavior, timing, policy, “bending metal,” and other elements associated with space industrial development. He mentioned many of the books he has read, the theorists, their work, and papers he has written and presented at conferences on the subjects we discussed.  The best way to follow along is visit the Commercial Space Markets page with the authors and papers listed, http://commercialspace.pbworks.com/w/page/30789604/Market%20Models%20-%20Papers%20and%20Reports.  Rather than describe the theory of the authors Ken discussed, this summary will focus on some key take away points from our conversation.  Hard data seems to rule rather than theory alone.  Data is based on real time feedback and solid information, even if assumptions are made from the data.  That said, we did learn that what is needed is a balanced approach that maximizes the best usage of both hard data and theory.  For a new industry such as space, this is harder to do than for an existing or a mature industry.  Also, the more that theory is relied upon over hard data, the more skepticism there will probably be in the discussion or planning subject.  As for policy making, actually accomplishing what is talked about goes a long way in the policy world, much more so than the rhetoric and theory not yet backed up by actual facts.  We also talked strategic planning and again, it is important to have a balance with hard data and theory, but in a developing industry such as space, the risk is that the data is just simply insufficient.  Ken cited several examples of this and talked about the various approaches to resolving and addressing conflicts within these areas.  Most of the authors, professors, and researchers mentioned in this segment are listed on the WIKI site so again, it is best to follow along with the discussion and read Ken’s presentation papers.  As the topic of space industrial development is of interest to me and many listeners, Ken and I talked about future Space Show programs/panels targeting how best to develop the emerging commercial space industry.

If you have comments/questions, please post them on the blog. You can email Ken at ken.davidian@faa.gov.