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James Schier, Sunday, 8-5-12 August 5, 2012

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James Schier, Sunday, 8-5-12


Guest: James Schier.  Topics:  U.S. space policy, NASA and human spaceflight goals, hardware, programs, and upcoming test flights, commercial space development. 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 NASA’s James Schier to the program to discuss the future of human spaceflight.  As the NASA Chief Architect and Planning Systems Manager plus a team member of the NASA Commercial Space Team, Mr. Schier spent two hours with us discussing our human spaceflight programs & future in detail.  In our first segment, we started back at the Columbia accident when a year later, it was announced that we needed a “bold new approach” to our HSF program.  Constellation was being developed, we changed administrations and then the Augustine Commission concluded that either NASA needed more funding to accomplish the program in place or it had to be stretched out if the budget remained the same or shrunk.  A flexible path was adopted and funding was left as is.  Our guest said there were three goals of the program including private sector development & participation in our HSF program, operating a fully developed & functioning ISS to 2020 and possibly beyond, & implementing a crew flyby of a NEO around 2025 with a humans to Mars mission around 2030.  This was the flexible path with a multi-program approach.  Our guest talked about the ISS becoming fully operational as an exciting national lab and he received several listener questions asking him why so many have said or written that our space program is at best in a state of confusion & at worst in a state of deterioration as we were not hearing anything like that with our guest.  Don’t miss this important discussion.  When Jim talked with us about SLS, he got similar listener questions that differed from what we were hearing about the program, the commitment to it, and its progress. Again, don’t miss what our guest had to say about the SLS program, its mission, capabilities, & the ongoing planning with the project.
In our second hour, we took a call from John about SLS as well as the program being more a congressional program rather than the President’s program.  SLS was compared to the cancelled Aries V, then we talked about the biggest risk to the program, ongoing congressional support & funding. Jim talked some more about Orion heat shield testing and reentry speeds, plus the upcoming heat shield test flight. Other Orion & SLS test flight programs were reviewed in this segment.  Listener Terry wanted to know if Orion could be flown on the Falcon 9 Heavy if SLS got cancelled.  Dr. Rowe called in to talk about specific cardiac stress issues for the returning astronauts. Mr. Schier then summarized many of the human spaceflight medical challenges facing us as we move out toward a lunar base, NEOs, and Mars. In this discussion, our guest did say that so far they were not seeing any show stoppers for extended long duration human spaceflight.  Near the end of our discussion, we talked about future missions under study, deep space habitat elements & large in-space transportation systems plus faster space travel with nuclear & possibly solar propulsion.  Standardized docking issues were mentioned along with international cooperation, citing the importance of the Russian support after the Columbia accident, highlighting the need for diverse crew space transportation.
Please post your comments/questions on the blog.  You can email Mr. Schier through me & I will forward your note to him.