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ISU Space & Media Panel, KSC VIP Tour Report, Friday, 7-6-12 July 6, 2012

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ISU Space & Media Panel, KSC VIP Tour Report, Friday, 7-6-12


Guests:  Dr. David Livingston; Jim Lewis & Bill Allen in the second segment.  Topics: ISU Space & Media Panel, KSC special VIP tour report.  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.  During the first segment of this program, I talked about my recent experience as moderator of the International Space University (ISU) Summer Session Space and Media Panel.  I would also like to refer you to an article on the panel with pictures at www.americaspace.org?p=22002.  Panel members were Irene Klotz, Bill Harwood, Leonard David, & Jim Lewis.  We talked about various journalistic, media, alternative and new media issues, science and space reporting issues for 90 minutes, then took questions from the ISU students &visitors for half an hour.  I highlighted many of the questions asked of the panel, some of the discussion topics, & student questions.

In the second segment, I was joined by Jim Lewis & Bill Allen.  Jim commented on the earlier media panel discussion, but we focused on the KSC tour.  We described what we saw on Pad 39 A, the shuttle control room, and in the Vehicle Assembly Building (VAB) with the crawler, the mobile launcher, & the shuttle bays.  We went inside Endeavour where astronaut Nicole Stott kindly showed us around, answered our questions, explained the crew cabin & taught us Space Shuttle 101. We commented on just how tight the living conditions were in the shuttle & how hard it was to sit in the command & pilot seats.  Doing so in a space suit & with the shuttle in the vertical position for launch seemed an impossible task.  Much of the equipment had been removed on both decks, especially the seats (other than the command & pilot seats) plus the galley was gone, so we actually saw Endeavour with room to spare than when outfitted for flight & seven crew members.  We walked around Endeavour, inspected the tiles, the payload bay, the SMEs (they had been removed) & I must say that despite seeing shuttle launches in person & on television, seeing it in person as we did gave us all a different perspective on current HSF policy issues.  Jim, Bill & I talked about the human cost because winding down this program did & still does have a human cost & face to it.  We also talked about the capacity shuttle gave us that we have given up since none of the new space vehicles can compare to what shuttle was able to do.  I commented on the engineering marvel of much of the HSF infrastructure I saw & stood on, in the VAB, Pad 39A, the escape chutes to the Rubber Room & more. We saw the brand new Constellation control room which was finished, & is now in stand down mode pending possible modifications for commercial opportunities.  We saw the shuttle & Apollo control rooms of which the latter is being remodeled for the changing program. An amazing NASA workforce team showed us around.  We were all very impressed by this space workforce, making it even more difficult to think about so many exceptional people who have lost their jobs & more. While I know many of you will disagree with some of my shuttle & space workforce comments, seeing it in person & talking to the people involved, well, its very different from hearing about it on TV, reading an article, an op-ed, or hearing people talk about it at a space conference.

Post your comments/questions on the blog. If you want to email Jim, Bill, or anyone from our media panel, send the note to me & I’ll forward it on your behalf.