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Marc Fusco, Sunday, 4-28-13 April 28, 2013

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Marc Fusco, Sunday, 4-28-13

http://archived.thespaceshow.com/shows/1997-BWB-2013-04-28.mp3

Guest:  Marc Fusco.  Topics:  Space history and presidential politics with JFK, Presidents Johnson & Nixon.  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.

We welcomed Marc Fusco to the program to discuss his masters thesis analysis of space history and presidential politics with JFK and Presidents Johnson and Nixon.  His analysis for his masters thesis earned him his MS degree at UND Space Studies.  In the name of full disclosure, Marc was one of my students and I served on his thesis advisory committee.  You can email Marc to get a .pdf of his thesis, “Presidents, Politics, And Policy: How The Apollo And Shuttle Decisions Shaped NASA.”  Please use stentor@mindspring.com.  During the first part of our 1 hour 50 minute discussion, Marc talked about the early years of our space program, President Kennedy, the Cold War, NASA Administrator James Webb, risk taking, the failed Bay of Pigs invasion, and the Soviet’s space program.  We moved around a bit in history, also talking about LBJ and President Nixon, but the first half of our discussion centered on President Kennedy and the Moon program, as well as the early days of NASA.  Listeners asked Marc about different historical perspectives about Apollo and he talked about the period, letting us know the perspectives from the best known of the space and policy historians.  Marc also started comparing the policy and the appreciation of space by JFK, Johnson, and Nixon. We also talked about the early days of the Space Shuttle program and OMB compromises in its design, plus the early expectation of up to 50 flights per year.

In our second segment, we talked about the waning public support for the Moon program, JFK and Nixon dynamics, and the fact that nobody wanted to be the one to pull the plug on the Moon program or human spaceflight though the costs were hard to absorb as there was competitive economic pressure from other priorities in the nation and government.  Marc spoke about the impact of both Vietnam and The Great Society on the space program in this segment.  Marc had much to say about Nixon’s main advisors and space as well as the NASA Administrators of the time.  He talked about the famous Earthrise photo taken on Apollo 8 and the start of the ecology movement which became the environmental movement. This picture also helped frame the new way of selling the space program which was to go to space to make a difference and improve things here on Earth.  The Space Shuttle program was a significant part of our second segment. Mr. Fusco led a very interesting discussion on The Space Show today.  His thesis is excellent and I suggest you contact him for a .pdf copy of it.

Please post your comments/questions on The Space Show blog above.

Dr. Neil deGrasse Tyson, Friday, 3-8-13 March 9, 2013

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Dr. Neil deGrasse Tyson, Friday, 3-8-13

http://archived.thespaceshow.com/shows/1968-BWB-2013-03-08.mp3

Guest:  Dr. Neil deGrasse Tyson.  Topics:  Dr. Tyson’s book, “Space Chronicles: Facing The Ultimate Frontier,” delusional thinking, space exploration, space economic power.  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.

We welcomed backed Dr. Neil deGrasse Tyson to this 60 minute discussion about the new release of the paperback version of his current book, “Space Chronicles: Facing The Ultimate Frontier.”  If you buy the book with this Amazon link, Amazon will make a contribution to The Space Show/OGLF:  http://www.amazon.com/Space-Chronicles-Facing-Ultimate-Frontier/dp/0393343626/ref=onegiantlea20.  The book is a collection of all of Dr. Tyson’s thoughts about the past, present, and future in space.  It consists of essays, tweets, op-eds and more, plus an appendix with important documents such as the original agreement creating NASA in the late 1950s.  Neil said that some of the points he made in the book were that space was expensive and that we do things in space for one of two reasons: 1.  As a result of military threat or war; 2: In support of economic growth of the country.  He then supported his argument with historical facts, making the point that we do not explore for the sake of exploring, that exploration is not in our DNA, that we do not go into space to inspire future generations of kids, and then he even mentioned that the famous JFK Rice University speech which he said was a lie in that weeks before in a speech before Congress, President Kennedy put forth the real reason we were going to the Moon which was to show the world a path of freedom over tyranny.  Dr. Tyson documents this on p. 192 of his book by saying that “Kennedy did adopt a military posture in his speech to Congress.”  Neil stressed this point during our discussion in support of the above reasons for developing.  More about this speech can be found at www.history.com/this-day-in-history/jfk-asks-congress-to-support-the-space-program.  The actual text of the speech can be seen at www.jfklibrary.org/Asset-Viewer/xzw1gaeeTES6khED14P1Iw.aspx.  Dr. Tyson also talked about the problem of delusional thinking among space enthusiasts, a theme we went back to several times during our discussion.  Another point he made was about the importance of innovation and having a culture of innovation with space goals supporting the economic growth of an innovative nation.  Kelly asked a question about the best way to increase NASAs budget in bipartisan support of space for STEM, inspiration, spin-offs, etc.  Our guest said all of the reasons cited in Kelly’s question were irrelevant.  Don’t miss what he said.  We also talked about the need for infrastructure and Neil said that governments have to pave the way for the frontier and the private companies follow and economically develop it.  He said the commercial companies do not and will not be able to open the space frontier with the needed infrastructure.  I then depicted government as sort of an advance man in space with the privates being able to capitalize that infrastructure development for profit & national wealth. A listener asked about China, a space race, and a possible space war.  Dr. Tyson also said that we should have launch vehicles that go everywhere for research and innovative reasons and we needed to shift our culture to seeing space as a long term national investment for creating wealth for the nation, far beyond the term of our elected officials.  He talked about SpaceX and the need for a rich and fertile collaboration between government and the commercial companies regarding space.  I asked our guest about testifying before Congress. You will want to hear what he had to say about that based on his experiences in do so.  We talked about space and grass roots movements. He talked about GDP economic growth during the Apollo period and then what happened each decade after that through the current period.  Jim sent in a question pointing out possible contradictions in his comments & suggested fuel depots as a way to minimize the quantity of rockets and launches. Dr Tyson said he was hardware agnostic and that in developing infrastructure and paving the way for the privates in space, fuel depots might very well be part of infrastructure but that government would be doing them, especially early on.  Later, Dr. Tyson talked about our system being a political system and that it was not going to change.  He used this as one of the examples of delusional thinking given many enthusiasts who don’t accept this reality & believe they can bypass or work around the political nature of our government and systems.  Near the end of our discussion, he was asked about the Inspire Mars mission which he said was probably a stunt but that it might serve the purpose of showing the government that lots of people are interested in an HSF to Mars.  Another listener wanted to know if the Inspire Mars mission turned out bad, would it derail human spaceflight.  He did not think it would do that given other space accidents with the loss of crew.

Please post your comments/questions on The Space Show blog and I will call them to the attention of our guest.

Sara Howard, Friday, 12-30-11 December 30, 2011

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Sara Howard, Friday, 12-30-11

http://archived.thespaceshow.com/shows/1680-BWB-2011-12-30.mp3

Guest:  Sara Howard.  Topics: Sara’s experiences being one of two women who worked on the Saturn V rocket.  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.  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. HAPPY NEW YEAR TO EACH AND EVERYONE ONE OF YOU!  We welcomed Sara Howard to the program, author of “Something Funny Happened on the Way to the Moon” which is her personal story about her experiences being one of only two women engineers who worked on the Saturn V rocket.  Later on Sara worked on the Trident submarine but most of our discussion today focused on her Saturn V experiences.  Sara was motivated by JFK’s Rice University speech, she was a math major at LSU, and got the chance to work at Michoud, Louisiana as a Boeing contractor on the team that worked on the Saturn 1-C.  Sara tells us about her team, the security for those working on the Saturn V and Apollo programs, and the need to get everything right and be 100% safe.  She talked about her team completing the first stage of the Saturn and the static firing tests of the 1-C in Mississippi.  Her stories about the security the workers went through to enter the workplace did not seem that unusual given we were in the midst of the Cold War and our experiences with air travel today.  But back then, as you will hear, this was all new to those working on the rocket.  She also told us some interesting stories about what the workers did when the program was cancelled.  Static tests, the love of their work, and their mission clearly drove these teams.  When we started the second segment of our program, Sara responded to questions about the F1 engine tests and she relayed to us what it was like firing all five of the engines for the static test at the same time.  We talked about not going beyond LEO and our guest questioned the purpose of the ISS several times during our discussion.  A caller wanted to know if she ever met Von Braun and the answer was yes.  Sara then told us some personal Von Braun stories.  She also told us about taking a family trip as a youngster to New Mexico and seeing a rocket launch from White Sands but not knowing what it was.  During our discussion she talked with us about the importance of studying math and physics and she repeated this several times over during our interview.  Later in the second segment, Sara was asked for her thoughts on the private sector taking over the building of the human spaceflight spaceships and she was very supportive of it, saying government was just messing things up.  I questioned her on safety issues with the private companies since she made strong comments about safety during the first segment.  As you will hear, she supports the move to privatization.  Toward the end, we talked about some of the chapters in her book and learned that she was never able to see a live Saturn V launch.  Near the end, John called in from Atlanta about the 2.5 minute engine test firing with several questions about the burn and the engine readiness.  At the end, Sara returned to questioning the purpose of the ISS & John and I attempted an answer. Please post your questions and comments on the blog URL above. You can contact Sara Howard at sara1861@gmail.com.