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Dr. Roger Launius, Friday, 11-30-12 December 1, 2012

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Dr. Roger Launius, Friday, 11-30-12


Guest:  Dr. Roger Launius.  Topics: “Coming Home: Reentry and Recovery from Space” by Dr. Launius, space policy issues, magical thinking.  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. We welcomes Dr. Roger Launius back to the program to discuss his latest book, “Coming Home: Reentry and Recovery from Space” which is a free download at www.nasa.gov/pdf/695726main_ComingHome-ebook.pdf. During our first segment, our guest provided us with a short history of resolving challenges with reentry from space with human spaceflight.  We discussed winged vehicles and capsules from a historical, practical, and engineering perspective.  We also talked about DOD influence and the advantages as well as disadvantages of both types of space vehicles.  One listener question asked about winged vehicles evolving from suborbital to orbital HSF.  Terry called in with ballistic reentry questions about the V2 rocket & we mentioned museum locations where people can see a complete V2 on display.  Another listener wanted to know if there were any winged vehicle concepts for Mars. Here, our guest talked about some science fiction examples but nothing for real on the drawing board.  Our guest then introduced us to magical thinking and we talked about reality in space exploration as compared to fantasy.  As this segment was ending, we talked about RLVs and reentry issues.

In our second segment, we started off talking about the NASA budget and the potential impact of sequestration.  Our guest said human spaceflight is the biggest challenge and in fact at one point he said we were just one banana peel away from losing HSF!  This was in the context of access to the ISS with only the Soyuz and how fragile the access was until we had multiple ways of getting to the station.  We then discussed risk and some of the issues raised on this subject by other Space Show guests that believe we need more risk to advance human spaceflight. Risk was also discussed in the context of hypothetical ISS recue missions with HSF vehicles not yet ready for prime time. We also talked about the value and purpose of HSF, including should settlement really be the purpose of it.  We had a lengthy discussion on this subject. Both Roger and I suggested the purpose of HSF is a challenge, can be illusive, and is probably something larger and broader than space settlement.  Don’t miss his explanation behind his thinking.  We also talked about spinoffs as a reason for HSF, the we addressed the lack of needed infrastructure, radiation issues, etc.  Toward the end, we took some questions about SLS and heavy lift.  Jane asked our guest about the visitors to the Air and SpaceMuseum at the Smithsonian & if Roger could infer an increase or decline in the interest in space by the visitors or if the visitors had an awareness of the challenges facing NASA and HSF.

Please post your comments/questions on The Space Show blog.  You can email Dr. Launius through me.

Dr. Jeff Bell, Tuesday, 7-10-12 July 11, 2012

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Dr. Jeff Bell, Tuesday, 7-10-12


Guest:  Dr. Jeff Bell.  Topics:  Vintage Jeff Bell.  We discussed a wide range of space history and current space projects from Dr. Bell’s perspective.  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 the return of Dr. Jeff Bell to The Space Show.  This 2.5 hour marathon discussion with Dr. Bell was classic Jeff Bell with space history, his analysis of current projects, new space ideas, NASA, Congress and well, you name it.  Dr. Bell had lots to say about many topics and for those of you familiar with Dr. Bell & his analysis, I promise you, you will not be disappointed with this discussion.  Those of you new to Dr. Bell, hold onto your seat!  Jeff started off with the cold war space history, X-33, and DCX. In doing so, he offered up his critique of the classic space book by G. Harry Stine, “Halfway To Anywhere: Achieving America’s Destiny In Space.”  As to be expected, Dr. Bell provided a very hard hitting, factual, and critical analysis of these topics & the book.  We also talked about the new company in Florida, Project Speed, and air breathing engines for space vehicles.  Dr. Bell spent some time on this analysis including scramjets, ramjets and the National Aerospace Plane.  When asked to confirm that little progress was being made from his perspective re space vehicles & even aviation, he cited the current military games going on in Hawaii, referencing the planes being used by the Air Force, Navy, & other military services, all to illustrate by example the points he was making.  He put out the fire on nuclear propulsion based on economics & costs, & then in discussing human spaceflight (HSF), like so many others, he said the rational for it was difficult justify to Congress & the taxpayers.  A listener asked Jeff he was biased in his analysis.  Jeff said he was unbiased in his examination of the facts. This issue surfaced again later during our program.  We then talked about a Washington Post article saying that our science field was over populated by excessive PhDs that cannot find work in their discipline (www.washingtonpost.com/national/health-science/us-pushes-for-more-scientists-but-the-jobs-arent-there/2012/07/07/gJQAZJpQUW_story.html?hpid=z1).  This prompted listeners to reply and John made some excellent points about science PhDs that Jeff missed.

In our second segment, we started off with space visions, including the one from this program, followed by a discussion of the “Sputnik Panic” following theUSSR launch of Sputnik.  We both had much to say about this event & its aftermath. Returning to the HSF rational, Jeff said there were two main problems with it. First, the very high cost.  Second, the is no place to go that does not require massive technology & support to sustain life.  He spent some time elaborating on this & responding to listener comments.  Next up, Planetary Resources, asteroid mining, space telescopes, & Earth imaging.  Dr. Bell took no prisoners in sharing his analysis with us.  He did talk about several serious projects including the B612 project & Pan Starrs.  As the program was ending, Dr. Bell had many positive things to say about the recently completed SpaceX Dragon & Falcon 9 flight, & the pork as he called it, SLS.  Dr. Bell was very strong & clear in his support for SpaceX and their accomplishments.

Please post your comments/questions on The Space Show blog URL above.