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Dr. Wendell Mendell, Tuesday, 12-10-13 December 11, 2013

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Dr. Wendell Mendell, Tuesday, 12-10-13

http://archived.thespaceshow.com/shows/2140-BWB-2013-12-10.mp3

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Guest:  Dr. Wendell Mendell.  Topics:  His 50 years at NASA, the Moon, lunar base work, congress & 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. In addition, please remember that your Amazon purchases can help support The Space Show/OGLF. See www.onegiantleapfoundation.org/amazon.htm.

We welcomed Dr. Wendell Mendell back to the show for this two hour discussion (no break) about his 50 years at NASA JSC, lunar bases, commercial space, return to the Moon, the value of the Moon, our space program, space advocacy, commercial space, and lots more.  Dr. Mendell came to work at JSC in 1963 &will be retiring at the end of this year, culminating 50 years at JSC.  During our discussion, Dr. Mendell used lots of stories from his NASA and lunar base work experience to illustrate issues with space policy, NASA, our Congress, and space advocacy, & advanced technology.  Listeners had lots of specific questions for Wendell about lunar bases, water on the Moon and its commercial exploitation, commercial lunar programs, and NASA having a lunar program which Dr. Mendell said it did not.  Dr. Mendell spoke to some of the NASA organizational issues, congressional micromanagement issues and problems, and the nation’s overall economic problems as a reason for not doing this or that in space.  He cited such economic problems as a rational excuse for not doing something meaningful in space in almost every year of his 50 years of NASA experience. The same for threatened, proposed, or even real NASA budget cuts.  Later in the segment when caller Doug called in with his lunar water and development ideas, Dr. Mendell pointed to conflicting LCROSS analysis as to water being on the Moon. Russian instruments do not say the same thing as the Los Alamos instruments and he said this was & still is a hotly debated topic in the lunar community.  As Doug continued talking about his plan, Dr. Mendell backed him up, took him step by step through the process of accomplishing his many goals. This turned out to be a very valuable instructional discussion that all of us can and should benefit from.  Make sure you hear how Wendell breaks down Doug’s points to show the complexities and challenges of each incremental step in what Doug was proposing.  Our guest even showed Doug where some of his steps needed commercial technogly which does not exist! Doug’s rocket of choice is the Falcon Heavy, a rocket which does not yet exist, nor does it have real numbers behind it.  Wendell used this discussion to distinguish true believers from investor and commercial analysts.  He then said when the believer is also able to bring his own money to the venture, things can get done and he cited SpaceX as an example.  Later Doug asked by email if NASA could help private companies develop cislunar transportation as they have helped private companies provide launch services to LEO/GEO. The simple answer was yes but make sure you hear Dr. Mendell’s complete answer to this question.  Another issue discussed was the needed timeline to do a human Moon mission. Wendell described the times of Apollo as compared to the times of NASA today.  We talked about the importance of a better and different NASA and RTM story and again, Dr. Mendell illustrated his points with stories from his past experience.  Spanning 50 years of history and experience was not easy to do in even a two hour Space Show program. As you listen to the program, you will hear many more subjects, stories, and issues discussed than stated in this summary.  In the end, I believe NASA, our nation, and the effort to develop space has been served incredibly well by Dr. Wendell Mendell and his creativity, his drive, his analysis, his commitment, and his work will be genuinely missed by all.  The Space Show wishes Wendell all the best for his coming retirement, gives him a hearty THANK YOU for his service, and we will remain in contact with him and hope to have him back with us at a future time.

Post your comments/questions on The Space Show blog above.  You can email Dr. Mendell through me.

Robert (Bob) Zimmerman, Tuesday, 9-17-13 September 18, 2013

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Robert (Bob) Zimmerman, Tuesday, 9-17-13

http://archived.thespaceshow.com/shows/2088-BWB-2013-09-17.mp3

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Guest:  Robert (Bob) Zimmerman.  Topics: This was a wide ranging discussion starting with climate change & ending with budget, CR, & commercial crew issues.  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 www.onegiantleapfoundation.org/amazon.htm.

We welcomed Bob Zimmerman back to the show for this one hour 55 minute discussion starting with the announcement regarding climate change and the upcoming IPCC report which has been leaked to the press.  The primary topic for this first segment was climate change, the leaked IPCC report and an analysis of it.  Bob fielded listener comments and questions including Marshall’s who had hands on experience with the very first computer climate model in the early 70’s.  Bob summarized all his comments saying that science needed to be skeptical and he was optimistic that skepticism was coming back to the field of climate science.  We then switched to space and NASA for the balance of this program.  As a transition, Bob talked about solar activity and the solar max.  In response to a listener question, he commented that if Mars or anyplace in space were developed using the Antarctica model, it would doom commercial space activity.  He stated over and over again that the model needed was the profit model for space and planetary development.

In the second segment, we talked about new commercial contracts for Arianne 5 recently announced, and how important these were to Arianne who needs to show a profit for the first time.  I asked Bob about NASA’s Redirect Asteroid Mission given all the attention it got last week at AIAA Space 2013.  Bob had much to say about this mission, most of it not supportive or positive, and then I mentioned the NASA press conference which is archived as part of the Space 2013 taped interviews and the fact that it is to be SLS dependent. This started Bob and others on SLS rants, mostly not supportive of it, and also Orion.  Bob was emphatic that Orion with SLS would not be a deep space mission & at one point he cited comments by Russian that their next generation Soyuz would have bathroom facilities on board and Bob said with Orion, it was strictly diapers for the crew.  We talked about Inspiration Mars and Mars One.  Bob was skeptical about both happening. Listen to the reasons he cited for his perspective.  Bob also talked about Bigelow Aerospace and its potential, listeners asked about Planetary Resources and the Redirect Mission, then we talked about the need to lower the launch costs to LEO.  Bob brought us current with SpaceShip2 & the latest powered demo flight, then John called in to argue about SLS with Bob.  This was an interesting give and take.  As Bob has done on other programs, he continued saying he does not want a space program which is a government program which in his eyes is doomed to failure.  He wants the private sector to prevail.  As the show was ending, I asked Bob for this thoughts on the budget, CR, and future commercial crew funding .

Please post your comments/questions on The Space Show blog.  Check out Bob’s website, www.beyondtheblack.com.  You can email bob through is website or using zimmerman at nasw dot org

AIAA Space 2013 Taped Interviews, Friday, 9-13-13 September 13, 2013

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AIAA Space 2013 Taped Interviews, Friday, 9-13-13

http://archived.thespaceshow.com/shows/2086-BWB-2013-09-13.mp3

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Guests:  AIAA Space 2013 Taped Interviews. Topics:  Recorded interviews from AIAA Space 2013 including Dr. Doug Plata; NASA Press Conference;, Michelle Evans.  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 www.onegiantleapfoundation.org/amazon.htm.

Welcome to this 2 hour 14 minute set of three interviews recorded at AIAA Space 2013 in San Diego (except for the last interview).  Please note there were audio issues as there was background noise both at the San Diego Convention Center and the restaurant where I met Michelle Evans for her interview regarding her X-15 book.  The NASA Press Conference, while conducted in a private room, also consisted of a conference call through NASA with media reps not at the conference.  Some of the participants at the table and on the phone spoke with a very low voice.  The interviews follow one another with about five seconds of dead air space between each one.  When the interview with Michelle Evans ends, so does our recording.

We started with Dr. Doug Plata who presented two papers at an AIAA Technical Committee Meeting Monday night.  His two presentations covered space advocacy unification ideas and his Lunar Cots and Cislunar transportation ideas.  Doug reports interesting and sometimes challenging feedback from those listening to his presentations.  And it was not all supportive of his idea.

Next, we have the NASA Press Conference.  As part of the background to this press conference, the keynote at lunch was a panel moderated by NASA’s William (Bill) Gerstenmaier with four other NASA participants charged with leading different parts of the NASA Asteroid Redirect Mission.  At lunch, these individuals made a presentation, showed animation and video of the mission, charts and graphs, then took questions from the AIAA lunch audience.  The NASA participants got tough questions about SLS, mission dependency on SLS, the use of large quantities of Xenon, and even if the civil space program for human spaceflight would disappear if this mission failed for any reason given the dysfunction many see in NASA at this time.  I think you will find Bill’s response to my question about SLS issues and dependence on it for the mission to be interesting. I learned a few things about SLS and I suspect you will also learn a few things about this program.  Let us know your thoughts on both SLS and the asteroid redirect mission by posting on The Space Show blog.

The last interview was at a Fuddruckers Restaurant off I-5 as I was driving through Orange County on the way back to Hollywood.  I met Michelle Evans and Cherie for a different type of discussion about Michelle’s excellent book, “The X-15 Rocket Plane: Flying the First Wings into Space.”  Michelle was recently a guest on the program about her book.  We talked about those she interviewed for the book and their thoughts on today’s current space program.  I also asked if Michelle thought a program such as X-15 could be initiated today.  Michelle also told us about the global interest in the X-15 as she has heard from people in Nepal, Austria, and many other faraway places.

Please post your comments/questions on The Space Show blog.  If you purchase Michelle’s X-15 book, please do so though The Space Show/OGLF Amazon portal.  You will find instructions on all archive summaries and the blog.