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Dr. Mike Griffin, Tuesday, 9-16-14 September 17, 2014

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Dr. Mike Griffin, Tuesday, 9-16-14


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Guest:  Dr. Mike Griffin.  Topics: Human spaceflight policy, political choices, space technology, Mars, Moon, Asteroids and 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 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 back to the program Dr. Mike Griffin.  During the first segment of our 90 minute discussion, Mike talked about human spaceflight (HSF) and the commercial space market.  He said exploration would be a government project or at least with government in the lead, especially if the commercial market was not there.  He threw water on the argument that our space policy was budget driven.  Instead, he talked about it being based on choices we make. It was not and is not about the money.  His comments throughout or discussion on this topic supported his argument.  He even said the cost of space for the U.S. taxpayer was around 15 cents/day.  This discussion evolved to one on the importance of leadership which we agreed was in short supply today.  Included in this discussion was Mike’s vision for our space policy & program, plus he explained its importance and value to our nation both today and for the future.  He spoke to the issue of what society wants and the choices it makes that shape our future.  Space should be part of our national policy debate and hopefully such a debate would enable quality choices to be made that keep us on the leadership edge with all nations.   Mike was asked who he thought would be next on the Moon and he said China.  We also talked about the private sector taking us back to the Moon with HSF.  He said that the private sector could do this, capital was not an issue, but for the private sector to do it there needs to be a closing of the business case which he did not see at this time.  SLS John called in & asked about space advocacy diversity which he said seemed to be at war with NASA & whatever the program of record might be.  Mike had much to say about this, especially about inefficiencies in government organizations and projects.  He also said if the private venture or industry cannot make money, then it should be a federal project. Many times during our discussion he said that there are things that a society should do just because they are hard & they don’t have to look good on the balance sheet.  John also asked about the RD-180 engine, Mike offered us his conclusion as to why we should be a new version of the RD-180 so that we do not continue being dependent on Russia for space related hardware, etc.  Later, he was asked about cislunar space development which he said should be a public enterprise.  He cited many examples and models supporting the public development of this important space infrastructure.  SLS was discussed.  Mike very clearly articulated the case for SLS today and again repeated that SLS future missions are about choices, not the budget.  Don’t miss his comments.  As the segment ended, Randy emailed a question asking for the rational & silver bullet for HSF.  In my opinion, Mike gave an excellent response to this question so don’t miss it.

In the second segment, Mike got some questions about NASA doing more R&D and even forming a NACA-like division or program.  We talked about NASA R&D, the need for a NACA-like program and more.  Dave, our caller, commented on leadership, then Bill in Denver emailed in a question about using fuel depots and smaller launch vehicles rather than heavy lift vehicles like SLS.  Again, Mike had much to say about heavy lift, including that while possible to do smaller vehicle launches., the numbers don’t pan out for efficiency.  You need to listen to this full discussion which also addressed some bogus assumptions regarding inefficient heavy lift decision making.  Nuclear propulsion and Vasimr came up, , then we again focused on vision that takes on big challenges because we can!  More was said on lunar colonies evolving to longer BLEO missions plus cislunar commerce, especially cislunar cargo missions.  Another listener asked about being dependent on the Russians for HSF to the ISS and if shuttle was retired too early.  Mike talked about having wanted to fly shuttle at a minimum rate annually until a new vehicle was operational.  We talked about the role of the congress and White House as compared to the role of the NASA Administrator.  Later, we talked about the role of public support and individuals petitioning congress on space policy.  Listen to his story about the Hubble repair mission.  I even asked if poorly written and fantasy driven letters to informed staffers helped or hurt the cause.  Listen for Mike’s response. In summary, Mike said his wish was that people would share is view that there are important things for society to do but that don’t look good on a balance sheet.  In the end, he said he was optimistic that his positive views on space would prevail and that when policy makers realized that China was going to put people on the Moon and what that would mean for the US, it would not be allowed to happen.

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Walter Cunningham, Tuesday, 6-19-12 June 20, 2012

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Walter Cunningham, Tuesday, 6-19-12


Guest:  Walter Cunningham.  Topics:  An inside view of the American space program from Apollo to today.  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 Walt Cunningham to discuss our space program from Apollo through today’s developing commercial space industry.  For more information, visit his website, www.waltercuningham.com.  You can buy “The All-American Boys: An Insider’s Look At The U.S. Space Program” from Amazon & they will make a contribution to The Space Show/OGLF if you use this URL: www.amazon.com/All-American-Boys-Walter-Cunningham/dp/1876963247/ref=onegiantlea20.  I started the discussion by asking Walt about his perspective on Apollo 7 today, 44 years later.  Walt had some interesting things to say about perspective, especially over the past 10-20 years as compared to when he actually carried out the mission.  A few times during our discussion, questions came up about the so called “mutiny” with the crew & NASA ground control so listen to how Walt described what was mostly a non-event despite media & blog reports to the contrary.  He did talk about Wally Schirra, his head cold & the Actifed commercials, but there was far more to the mission & to the significance of Apollo 7.  Dr. Jurist asked about the ride on a Saturn 1B, professors & experiences while both were at UCLA.  We discussed risk regarding his ride on the Saturn 1B. Walt had much to say about risk during the Apollo era as compared to now.  We extrapolated from this discussion to Columbia’s foam issues. We talked about commercial space.  Walt suggested that today’s commercial space efforts were not purely commercial given government funding & missions. He also said that retiring the shuttle when we did was a big mistake.  He then took us through a cost analysis process to illustrate that space is & always will be costly.  At the end of the first segment, one way trips to Mars & reality TV show funding were mentioned.

In the second segment, Terry called with questions about Von Braun. Walt had high praise & much to say about Von Braun & his experiences with him.  Commercial space came up again & I asked him about asteroid mining.  He did not think it would be a good investment & talked about the need to pay attention to the laws of physics.  We talked about He3 on the Moon, fusion energy possibilities & more.  I read an email from a London listener asking about the Apollo rocket & mission sounds on Apollo 7.  We talked some more about the problems on board Apollo 7, this time regarding Wally & the TV broadcast delay & the wearing of the newly designed helmets during reentry.  Walt talked about climate change & global warming, urging people to do their own research & examine the data rather than believing what people had to say regardless of their position.  John in Atlanta called in about global warming & said that there was no practical mitigation strategy. Our guest shared what he perceived to be the true motivation of global warming extremists.  John also talked about having built a next gen space shuttle from the old space shuttle to avoid retiring it or having to build an entirely new & very costly program.  Walt supported that idea but history proved otherwise.  Toward the end we discussed the pros & cons of international cooperation & competition, Ares 1 as a safe rocket for HSF, & the cost of the ISS being more due to international cooperation.  Our final topic was risk versus reckless behavior & the difference between the two.

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