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Robert Sackheim, Monday, 4-1-13 April 2, 2013

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Robert Sackheim, Monday, 4-1-13


Guest:  Robert (Bob) Sackheim.  Topics:  Commercial space, propulsion, U.S. space policy & more. 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 Robert Sackheim to the program to discuss NASA, commercial space, the current state of rocket propulsion and advancements in the field.  During our first segment of this 1 hour 47 minute discussion, Mr. Sackheim talked about his background and experience at TRW, NASA MSFC, and his current consulting.  I asked him several questions about the current state of rocket propulsion. Bob had much to say about this, focusing on chemical rocket propulsion, satellite propulsion, electric propulsion, and the need for nuclear propulsion.  He talked about booster rockets, various rocket stages and their propulsion, rocket engines, and even SRBs.  Several questions came in asking him if we had the current technology for HSF to Mars or even the Inspiration Mars flyby mission talked about so much in the recent press.  Listeners wanted to know if our current levels of propulsion were up to the task.  After a rather thorough propulsion discussions, Bob turned to commercial space, lowering total space mission costs, regulatory policy, and commercial spaceports.  He also talked about budget issues and raised the question a few times as to why ten NASA centers were needed given their often overlapping, competitive, and duplicate work.

In our second segment, commercial space took the lead with a discussion on public/private partnerships & the belief that Americans can do anything if we set our mind to it, including space travel.  Of course here the problem as we know lies in leadership and today it appears that leadership in space & other areas is sparse at best.   Bob then focused on geo satellites and the increasing development and capabilities applicable to cubesats.  HSF came up for discussion as did the robotic missions. You might be surprised by what our guest had to say about HSF.  Other issues in this segment included the lunar space elevator, the congressional and NASA track record in canceling ongoing projects & taking lessons from history, SSP, & ways to reform & move NASA forward.  Bob spoke about evolving toward the old NACA model.  I asked about the impact of space advocacy from his perspective given his leadership experience and past positions in leading organizations and projects.  We also asked him about space tourism and hybrid rocket engines. He had much to say about hybrids, don’t miss the discussion.  Bob talked about the Falcon rockets, testing including static fire tests, and SRBs as related to the Constellation project and safety.  Toward the end, our guest was asked about NewSpace, fuel depots, & cryo transfer.  For closing comments, he talked about commercial space being the way to go & the path to our space future.

Please post your comments/questions on The Space Show blog. You can reach Mr. Sackheim through me at drspace@thespaceshow.com.

Charles Pooley, Sunday, 7-15-12 July 15, 2012

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Charles Pooley, Sunday, 7-15-12


Guest:  Charles Pooley.  Topics: Microlaunchers, LLC, focusing on the means to achieve space development, not the end result, and his action plans for launching microlaunchers. 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 Charles Pooley back to the program to discuss his Microlaunchers concept in detail.  You can follow along and learn more about the program from visiting www.microlaunchers.com.  Charles started the discussion with his comments on the NANOSAT Challenge and the logo design winner.  From there, he directed us to his website and began talking about the initial project, the ML-1 launcher.  Charles spent most of the first segment talking about his Microlauncher plans.  Callers asked him about the technology, RC airplanes, liquid fuel motors, amateur launches, FAA AST rules, his three stage design, and even his having wanted to use irrigation tubing for his launchers.  I asked Charles for his time line for getting Microlaunchers off the ground and he talked about this on and off for the entire discussion.  Funding idea were tossed around, including the use of crowd sourcing and Kickstarter.  The Small Sat Conference came up with lots of pressure on Charles to attend.  Guidance systems and ITAR came up and there was more discussion about FAA AST launch rules, range fees and tracking.

In our second segment, a listener called in to suggest that Charles start writing articles for The Space Review and use social media including Facebook and Twitter.  A listener asked about tracking and data collection for his rockets, and more comments came in directing Charles to learn & start using Twitter to help get the word out about his ideas.  I then asked Charles to give us his step by step action plan.  In response, he outlined the first four or five steps of his plan.  Charles got more feedback for the usage of Twitter & social media and then Charles took us through ML-1 through ML-3.  Near the end of the show, Charles was asked about Google Lunar X Prize as compared to his model. He had much to say about this comparison.  We talked about N-Prize and Charles offered us a good summary of the Microlaunchers concept for his closing comments.

Please post your questions/comments on The Space Show blog.  You can email Charles at ckpooley@microlaunchers.com  Follow him on Twitter at Charles Pooley@microlaunchers.

Dr. Allan J. McDonald, Wednesday, 6-20-12 June 21, 2012

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Dr. Allan J. McDonald, Wednesday, 6-20-12


Guest:  Dr. Allan J. McDonald.  Topics:  “Truth, Lies and O-rings: Inside the Space Shuttle Challenger Disaster.”  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.  We welcomed Dr. Allan McDonald to the program to discuss the Challenger accident from the inside.  Visit his website for more important information, http://ethicskeynotespeaker.com.  If you order his book from Amazon with the following URL, Amazon will make a donation to The Space Show/OGLF:  www.amazon.com/Truth-Lies-O-Rings-Challenger-Disaster/dp/0813041937/ref=onegiantlea20. During our fist segment, Dr. McDonald provided the background on why he wrote the book & his information sources.  He mentioned some of the difficulties he faced getting it published & his decision to work with the famous historian & author, Dr. James Hanson.  During the remaining part of this segment, he went over the real story of what happened before, during, & after the Challenger accident.  He told us about the three part conference call the night before to determine if Challenger should be launched, the requirement by NASA management for the engineers to prove that what they were saying about the o-rings & cold temperatures would cause failure rather than asserting it was unsafe to do the launch given the prevailing temperatures & winds.  We learned about NASA management intimidation & compromises eventually made by Thiokol to support NASA management contrary to the engineering data that existed.  Dr. McDonald explained what was behind launch “go fever” & the most probable source for it.  Our guest talked at great length about the temperature parameters, the evidence they had from recovered SRBs leading to severe cold weather safety concerns, all of which NASA management ignored.  We also learned about extremely cold temperatures, 6-7 degrees at the launch site, & that it was not reported by NASA personnel the morning of the launch.  We fielded several listener emails & phone calls.  Some questioned NASA management about their engineering knowledge & competence.  We also talked about the lack of accountability for decision making within NASA at the time.

In the second segment, questions about liquid rocket engines as compared to solids were answered, supported by facts.  For those of you who disagree with Dr. McDonald on this issue, why not post questions for him on the blog?  Later I asked about making the SRBs without segments & if they were segmented only to please theUtah delegation back in the day.  Our guest had much to say on this, talked about the very large un-segmented SRBs that were made & ground tested near theCape, & he explained several of the trade decisions that must be evaluated were we to go to one large booster without segments.  Dr. McDonald explained his redesign & the fix implemented after the accident. He also talked about the oversight involved in the redesign process & why it was nearly impossible to come up with an approved & effective fix for the o-ring problem.  We talked some about the Challenger litigation, then our guest was asked for the new SRB cold weather operating parameters.  In his closing comments, he pointed out the lessons to be learned with one of the main points being that many people against the launch for solid engineering reasons never spoke out given they were intimidated by NASA management wanting to do the launch no matter what.  He said that it was an ethical obligation to speak out in these matters.  People must not remain silent & that was & is today an essential lesson to be learned from Challenger.

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

Rick Searfoss (Col, USAF RET.), Monday, 6-18-12 June 19, 2012

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Rick Searfoss (Col, USAF RET.), Monday, 6-18-12


Guest:  Rick Searfoss (Col., USAF, RET.).  Topics: Rocket Flight, XCOR, Lynx, flight safety, leadership.  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 to The Space Show Rick Searfoss to discuss spaceflight flying, XCOR Aerospace, the Lynx, and much more.  You can learn more about Rick Searfoss by visiting his website, www.astronautspeaker.com.  For more about the Lynx and XCOR, visit www.xcor.com.  We started our discussion with an overview of a successful test flight program.  During this discussion, our guest made it clear that flight tests are supposed to detect the unknown and to catch problems in time for them to be fixed prior to surfacing during commercial operations.  The test pilot is prepared for the unknown and this is why he later said that future XCOR pilots would need to have U.S. military test pilot school experience along with their military flight experience.  Also, the testing starts out very slow and escalates based on the progress and analysis of the tests.  One crawls before one runs, so to speak.  I asked him to compare a spaceship test flight program to information I had on a new Boeing 747-8 Intercontinental Jetliner that Boeing was putting through 600 flight hours of flight tests (www.examiner.com/article/new-boeing-747-8-intercontinental-maiden-flight).  Don’t miss this discussion, its interesting, important, & relevant.  Col. Searfoss received an email from Jeremy asking about humans riding on solid rocket boosters (SRB) and the safety in doing that.  This resulted in another interesting discussion.  We then talked about piston pump technology, suborbital flight, turbo pumps, and the XCOR program working with ULA regarding hydrogen pumps.  I asked Rick to describe the Lynx flight from the passenger perspective.  Doug wanted to know about the first flight timeline for later this year and then Christine wrote in asking if the Lynx cockpit would have dual controls similar to an airplane.  A question came in about the Chinese rendezvous & docking per their current mission & Rick’s take on the process given his space shuttle pilot experience.  Rick talked about this with the shuttle in some detail.

In our second segment, Terry called in to ask about the XCOR flight software.  As you will hear, XCOR flight software means humans.  Listen to what he had to say about this, including issues with space shuttle software.  Our guest then talked more about the flight readiness process including the Technical Review Board and Safety Review Board process.  Other topics discussed included citizen science on board the Lynx, ITAR issues, additional Lynx pilot qualifications, and defense dept. applications for Lynx and the suborbital industry.  Lee called in to ask about an evolution to an orbital vehicle, other questions came in regarding runway requirements, passenger height & weight requirements, and spaceports.  Near the end of our discussion, we talked about an emergency exit from the Lynx, spacesuits and bailout.  Also discussed throughout the program were suggestions for the passenger to better prepare for his/her flight.

If you have comments/questions, please post them on The Space Show blog.