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Robert (Bob) Zimmerman, Tuesday, 9-15-15 September 16, 2015

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Robert (Bob) Zimmerman, Tuesday, 9-15-15


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Guest: Robert (Bob) Zimmerman; Topics: Space news & industry updates, commercial space happenings & 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 Bob Zimmerman for a two hour discussion plus updates on the space industry, including commercial space and NASA’s planetary science program. Bob started out by saying that the commercial space industry was heating up and getting more competitive, citing two significant stories. First, he mentioned the Blue Origin announcement about opening up a Florida launch site. Next, he addressed the SpaceX news regarding new commercial launch contracts with ARAB SAT and also the Falcon Heavy (FH) with demo launches to start in 2016. Bob spoke for some time on the FH, plus he talked about recent Russian Proton successes with their having said they found a systemic flaw in the Proton system but now that it was repaired, they expected more successful Proton flights. Virgin Galactic was next up for discussion and here Bob said the news was confusing. He spoke to the recent company announcements about Launcher One, then upon my asking, said that SpaceShip 2 seemed to be getting less attention for now. Bob mentioned the possible NASA use of a low cost Dragon capsule, then Jonathan Evans started in asking a series of questions, the first inquiring about what makes more business sense, Blue Origin’s expansion plans in Florida at Kennedy or SpaceX’s expansion plans in south Texas near Brownsville? After responding to Mr. Evans, Bob had much to say about ULA, the proposed Aerojet Rocketdyne buyout bid of ULA, plus the overall competitive nature of ULA in today’s rocket environment. Bob got a question from Jim who wanted to know his thoughts on XCOR given what he had said earlier about Virgin Galactic. Bob was not that positive about XCOR, joking that Charles Lurio would probably call in to rebut his comments. This prompted Dr. Charles Lurio to call in to “correct the record” and the mistakes Bob was making regarding XCOR and their progress. When Charles called in, he had much to say to set things straight.


In the second segment, our first call was from Dave in the Chicago area. Dave spoke about Blue Origin and ULA deals plus the ACES upper stage. Later, Bob went after the SLS again, mostly on its costs being too high. John from Ft. Worth called and the two of them had an interesting exchange on several related topics. Bob next mentioned the Rosetta mission and the Philae Lander, then he switched to the planetary science missions and programs. Bob had much to say that was positive on these missions including Cassini, New Horizons, and Curiosity. Later, Jane asked when space policy would enter the 2016 presidential race. Bob did not think it would enter the race, plus he did not want it to become a campaign issue. Listen to his comments and see if you agree with him. Tim called and mentioned that not everyone believes that SLS is bad as Bob had been expressing all night. Bob talked about SLS and science missions, the Decadal Survey, and its high operating and launch costs which hurts planetary scientists. As our program was drawing to a close, I asked Bob about the future of the ISS, Arianespace & what to look out for regarding private/commercial space.


Please post your comments/questions on TSS blog above. You can reach Bob Zimmerman through me or his website, www.behndtheblack.com.




Dr. Jeff Bell, Friday, 12-9-11 December 9, 2011

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Dr. Jeff Bell, Friday, 12-9-11

(Note: This interview aired live on 11/30/11)


GuestSearch:  Dr. Jeff Bell.  Topics:  Phobos Grunt mission, space policy, commercial crew, rocket reusability & more.  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. The Space Show/OGLF is now engaged in its annual fundraising drive. Please see & act upon our appeal at https://thespaceshow.wordpress.com/2011/11/21/space-show-2011-fundraising-campaign . Please note that this program was recorded live on Nov. 30, 2011 and is being archived today, Dec. 9, 2011.  We welcomed Dr. Jeff Bell back to the show for a wide ranging discussion on multiple topics starting with the troubled Russian Phobos Grunt Mission.  This Space Show  program is vintage Jeff Bell with something to say about most everything, hard hitting, critical, take no prisoners, and of course, thought provoking. Dr. Bell started our discussion talking about the Phobos-Grunt Mission.  To put it in context with Russian lunar & planetary missions, he gave us a brief history of the Russian exploration program starting in 1958.  This is an interesting history lesson you do not want to miss. In bringing the history current to Phobos Grunt, the problems faced by the Russian program seem a bit clearer.  We then talked about some of the many space blog comments with suggestions for rescuing or saving the mission and he totally debunked them.  Jeff mentioned shuttle rescues, X-37B rescues, even Virgin suborbital rescues.  He also mentioned some of the conspiracy theories out there (he spent more time on them later in our discussion),  finger pointing the blame for the mission problems.  Next, Dr. Bell addressed the recent SpaceShipTwo drop test that was a problem and he wasted no time in stating what is wrong with the SS2 design as well as what he said was a problematic track record for the project.  He also had much to say about the use of composites and fundamental design flaws.  Space debris issues came up and Dr. Bell referenced USA 193.  Terry called in to ask about the hydrazine and nitrogen tetroxide (NTO) or nitric acid on board Phobos Grunt. When we started the second segment, Dr. Bell again went over the conspiracy theories re Phobos Grunt that appeared in some news articles.  One he mentioned was the HARP theory which he debunked as well as the biological warfare theory.  We then talked about commercial crew and Dr. Bell said Congress does not want it to be successful and he explained why.  Near the end of this discussion, Trent called in from Australia.  He wanted to know at what point Jeff thought commercial crew was changing from maybe working out to going down for the count.  What was the turning point for our guest?  During their exchange, Jeff said that space travel was not politically important anymore, instead political pork was the priority.  Trent mentioned his blog, QuantumG, http://quantumg.blogspot.com.  Check it out for his comments on Space X, Commercial Crew and more.  Jeff read his Space X comments and then started discussing the Space X reusability plan.  As the program ended, we talked about the JWST and I asked Dr. Bell what part of the space program he liked, if any.  He did have something he liked, the science and robotic missions.  If you have a comment/question for Dr. Bell, please post it on the blog URL and I will make sure he sees it.