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Robert (Bob) Zimmerman, Tuesday, 12-16-14 December 17, 2014

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Robert (Bob) Zimmerman, Tuesday, 12-16-14


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Guest:  Robert (Bob) Zimmerman.  Topics: Space news projects and updates, end of the year review, looking to 2015.  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. In addition, please remember that your Amazon purchases can help support The Space Show/OGLF. See http://www.onegiantleapfoundation.org/amazon.htm.  For those listening to archives using live365.com and rating the programs, please email me as to why you assign a specific rating to the show. This will help me bring better programming to the audience.

We welcomed Bob Zimmerman back to the program for a wide ranging discussion of space news, space companies, projects, programs and more.  During the first segment of our two hour seven minute show, Bob started off promoting his book on Apollo 8, “Genesis” as we are coming up on the anniversary of this famous flight orbiting the Moon on Christmas eve at a distant time in our past.  After Bob’s infomercial was complete, he did have much to say about the everlasting importance of the Apollo 8 mission.  I asked Bob for end of the year space events to keep our eyes on so we talked about the upcoming SpaceX Falcon 9 launch and the attempt to recover the first stage on a barge as part of the SpaceX reusability plan.  We also talked about the Russian Angara rocket test flight.  A listener asked Bob for updates on the NTSB accident investigation for Virgin Galactic.  Bob also talked about SLS (it was yet another recurrent theme throughout the program) and as predicted, he had nothing good to say about it or Orion.  BJohn emailed us to ask about nuclear propulsion.  Both Bob and I responded and while we support it, there does not seem to be a business case for it or demand for it so there is no significant push to make it happen.  Marshall called to talk about the impact of falling oil prices on the space economy.  I had much to say about this as did Bob who in the end talked about trusting capitalism, freedom, and private enterprise to do the right thing.  We also talked about the impact of falling oil prices on the Russian economy, specifically their space program.  I then brought up the interest rate risk which is a huge potential danger for the US economy.  Luis emailed in about Falcon 9 prices of $5-7 million per a January 2014 Parabolic Arc article.  Note that this was clarified early in the next segment.

In segment two, Dr. Charles Lurio called to explain more about the SpaceX launch cost referenced by Luis in the previous segment.  Charles also talked about the Orbital effort to replace the Antares  rocket motor with another Russian motor, the RD 181.  Joe emailed in a note about the compact fusion plans for Lockheed.  Bob used the opportunity to criticize the large companies, their projects, pork, you name it.  Doug emailed in about some Boeing YouTube videos which Bob completely dismissed as having zero relevancy on anything.  Bob also took some slams at Orion and the recent test flight.  Next, we talked about the new announcement about Curiosity finding methane on Mars.  Bob added more to the story and said it was a wait and see situation but ultimately we would have to there to really answer questions about it.  SLS John called and said the program of record was going forward and made the point that for private enterprise to do something in space as Bob kept talking about, there needed to be a profit motive and he doubted that existed other than for some orbital and comsat missions.  Bob disagreed leaving the door open for a private company to pursue something not previously considered, again saying he trusted in the ingenuity of the private sector.  John reported that he had modeled the Falcon Heavy and could show it would take 53 metric tons to LEO.   Bob then talked about Falcon Heavy being cheaper than SLS (planned that is) so there really was no need for SLS.  Henry emailed a question about a possible Europa mission & Bob suggested if they would kill SLS, money could be directed to the planetary science department for things like a Europa mission plus they could still reduce the NASA budget.  In his concluding comments, Bob said he was skeptical about the suborbital industry and that its time had come and gone given the emerging orbital capsules and flight plans.  He concluded saying he was looking forward to the upcoming SpaceX launch abort tests.

Please post your comments/questions on TSS blog.  You can reach Bob through his website http://www.behindtheblack.com or me.