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Open Lines, Sunday, 10-7-12 October 7, 2012

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Open Lines, Sunday, 10-7-12


Guest:  Dr. David Livingston.   Topics:  Open Lines discussion on various space topics per the choice of the listeners calling today’s show.  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. Welcome to today’s two hour 15 minute Open Lines discussion.  The program was in three segments but as we focused on just a few topics for the entire discussion, this summary will not be divided by segments.  I started the discussion by describing upcoming Space Show programs, then putting out a few discussion topics.  As it turned out, the dominant topic discussed by the listeners had to do with astronaut safety and the recent program with guest Rand Simberg from Monday, Oct. 1, 2012. Rand talked about our being too risk averse, the need for more lives to be at risk to do valuable space missions, etc. You can hear his program at http://archived.thespaceshow.com/shows/1863-BWB-2012-10-01.mp3. Several callers took issue with much of what Rand said and for the most part thought that space missions were valued and that human spaceflight was already risky.  Listeners went back and forth on this topic across all segments of the program, talking about shuttle accident rates, proposed accident rates for Constellation, Orion, Dragon, and more.  Some listeners even talked about aviation safety rates, military jets, and the track records of the Atlas 5, Delta IV, and Arianne V rockets.  For part of this discussion, we also talked about the liability limitation laws passed in spaceport states including California which recently signed into law its version of law. We talked about what this might mean for the industry, for spaceflight participants, and even if the would hold up in an accident.

As part of the HSF safety discussions, we also talked about launch abort and escape systems.  We took a call at the first of the second segment from Charles in Oregon who  wanted to talk about the lunar space elevator, SLS and propellant depots, our second most talked about topic for the day.  Charles is a strong proponent of the lunar space elevator and depots, but others called in from the skeptical side of things which was my position.  At times the discussion switched to the space elevator here on Earth but everybody agreed that the lunar space elevator was much more doable. I kept challenging Charles and proponents of this and the depots to show me the complete and thorough financial analysis and trades for these missions with assumptions as that would be the only way to know if these concepts had legs to stand on.  If Charles does get me some of this documentation and its viable, I will use it in a future Space Show program.  Tim in Huntsville wanted to know my thoughts on various alternative launch systems & my preferences for which type of space missions.  There were other topics scattered throughout our program including the 23 mile skydive by Felix Baumgartner with Red Bull scheduled for Oct. 8th, fusion propulsion, and the SpaceX launch going to the ISS later today.

     If you want to email any of the callers to this program, send your note to me and I will forward it for you.  Please post your comments/questions on The Space Show blog URL above.