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Rand Simberg, Friday, 11-14-14 November 15, 2014

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Rand Simberg, Friday, 11-14-14

http://archived.thespaceshow.com/shows/2356-BWB-2014-11-14.mp3

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Guest:  Rand Simberg.  Topics:  Test flights, space tourism, policy, recent accidents,  rockets, rocket motors, heavy lift & 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 Rand Simberg back to the show for a wide ranging discussion on top space news items, the SS2 accident update, space policy issues, and more.  During the first segment of this 96 minute program, Rand led off with the mentioning of the 45th anniversary of the Apollo 12 launch.  Next up was a short discussion about Comet 67P and the Philae lander, then Rand mentioned his current article in PJ Media, http://pjmedia.com/blog/commercial-spaceflights-terrible-horrible-no-good-very-bad-last-week-of-october.  Rand talked about what is currently known about the SS2 accident, the NTSB investigation, & that nothing has been ruled out as a cause or partial cause for the accident.  When asked if he thought the accident would cause the FAA to start regulating the industry, he did not think so but listen to his reply.  This topic also came up in the last segment of our show. Rand mentioned that XCOR was moving ahead & there technology is different from the one employed by Virgin.  He also made a point of explaining multiple times that a test flight was not a commercial flight.  Rand got some listener emails about investment in Virgin and if it was waning.  Helen emailed in asking about a possible lapse in the Virgin safety culture.  Carl emailed in about the impact of the SS2 accident on Spaceport America.  We switched gears and talked about Antares, the Orbital-ATK merger, & the use of Russian rocket motors.

In the second segment, Rand was asked about the possible impact on Virgin’s customer base.  Rand said that the bigger risk was the investment risk.  The RD180 came up again as did the Atlas 5, Delta 4, and the Falcon 9.  We talked about possible midterm election impact and here Rand thought there might be more impact on the DOD side than NASA.  We discussed projects that might be cancelled as a result of the election and the ARM topped the list.  he did talk SLS and thought that eventually it would be shut down, especially if SpaceX gets Falcon Heavy flying.  Rand also mentioned the NRC Pathways Human Spaceflight Study but was critical of it, especially the part that said there had been no and will be no launch vehicle advances for the past 30 years.  Dr. Lurio was our first caller & he wanted to discuss possible FAA regulations, his understanding of the test flight vs. commercial flight policy application & more.  They talked about hybrid rocket motor vibrations and the unknowns regarding the current test flight.  Toward the end of their discussion they joked about using SLS to launch many many cubesats.  Kirk emailed us with a question about methane engine.  Rand had much to say about methane rocket motors so don’t miss his reply.  Rand talked about hybrid rocket motors and some of their problems, specifically for SS2 and Dream Chaser.  I asked our guest about the upcoming Orion test flight and the heat shield comments offered earlier in the week by Bob Zimmerman.  I then asked if he thought there would be a surge in return to the Moon projects.  Michael Listner called in regarding the likelihood of safety regulations coming to pass as a result of the accident.  Rand and Michael had an active discussion about this possibility.  As the program was ending, Rand talked about his book, “Safe Is Not An Option” which is available online and in the ebook format.  Remember, if you buy it through the OGLF Amazon portal, Amazon makes a contribution to TSS.  Rand mentioned he might update the book once the NTSB report on the accident is finalized.  Read Rand’s blog, Transterrestrial Musings at  http://transterrestrial.com.

Please post your comments/questions on TSS blog above. You can reach Rand through his blog or through me.

Michael Belfiore, Monday, 10-21-13 October 22, 2013

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Michael Belfiore, Monday, 10-21-13

http://archived.thespaceshow.com/shows/2108-BWB-2013-10-21.mp3

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Guest:  Michael Belfiore.  Topics:  XCOR, space tourism, commercial space, DARPA, robotics, 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 www.onegiantleapfoundation.org/amazon.htm.

We welcomed Michael Belfiore back to the show to discuss his recent XCOR Aerospace article (see www.airspacemag.com/space-exploration/The-Lynxs-Leap-223968551.html).  For more information, visit Michael’s website,  http://michaelbelfiore.com.  During the first segment of our 1 hour 44 minute program, Michael talked extensively about XCOR Aerospace and the Lynx per his above Air and Space Magazine article.  Michael has been a long time follower of XCOR and it shows in this discussion.  We also talked about the other suborbital companies and space tourism in general.  Michael was asked about XCOR’s plans to go orbital from suborbital which was another topic Michael had much to say about.  He said his preference was to fly on a Lynx for the more personal and intimate space experience, including wearing a space suit.  Michael said he was bullish about the overall space tourism industry, he is attracted to the growing small satellite industry but remains partial to human spaceflight.  We talked about SLS which he tends to ignore and discount, SpaceX and Orbital Sciences.  The topic of Cislunar space development came up and while Michael said he was supportive, he is drawn to asteroid economic development.  Before our segment ended, he updated us on the Google Lunar XPrize and I congratulated him for winning the NewSpace Journalism Award this year.

In the second segment, Michael was asked about DARPA which he follows. We talked about Starship 100, the DARPA management style & out of the box operations, the Dec. 20th robotic competition that Michael will attend, plus other important attributes of DARPA.  He mentioned upcoming magazine articles he will be writing for Popular Mechanics and AEON Magazine.  Michael was asked about other national space programs including China’s, Russia’s, and more. Doug called to talk about interstellar DARPA activities, and his cislunar economic ideas.  We also talked about returning to the Moon for settlement.

Please post your comments/questions on The Space Show blog above.  Michael can be reached through is website.

Rick Searfoss (Col, USAF RET.), Monday, 6-18-12 June 19, 2012

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Rick Searfoss (Col, USAF RET.), Monday, 6-18-12

http://archived.thespaceshow.com/shows/1798-BWB-2012-06-18.mp3

Guest:  Rick Searfoss (Col., USAF, RET.).  Topics: Rocket Flight, XCOR, Lynx, flight safety, leadership.  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 back to The Space Show Rick Searfoss to discuss spaceflight flying, XCOR Aerospace, the Lynx, and much more.  You can learn more about Rick Searfoss by visiting his website, www.astronautspeaker.com.  For more about the Lynx and XCOR, visit www.xcor.com.  We started our discussion with an overview of a successful test flight program.  During this discussion, our guest made it clear that flight tests are supposed to detect the unknown and to catch problems in time for them to be fixed prior to surfacing during commercial operations.  The test pilot is prepared for the unknown and this is why he later said that future XCOR pilots would need to have U.S. military test pilot school experience along with their military flight experience.  Also, the testing starts out very slow and escalates based on the progress and analysis of the tests.  One crawls before one runs, so to speak.  I asked him to compare a spaceship test flight program to information I had on a new Boeing 747-8 Intercontinental Jetliner that Boeing was putting through 600 flight hours of flight tests (www.examiner.com/article/new-boeing-747-8-intercontinental-maiden-flight).  Don’t miss this discussion, its interesting, important, & relevant.  Col. Searfoss received an email from Jeremy asking about humans riding on solid rocket boosters (SRB) and the safety in doing that.  This resulted in another interesting discussion.  We then talked about piston pump technology, suborbital flight, turbo pumps, and the XCOR program working with ULA regarding hydrogen pumps.  I asked Rick to describe the Lynx flight from the passenger perspective.  Doug wanted to know about the first flight timeline for later this year and then Christine wrote in asking if the Lynx cockpit would have dual controls similar to an airplane.  A question came in about the Chinese rendezvous & docking per their current mission & Rick’s take on the process given his space shuttle pilot experience.  Rick talked about this with the shuttle in some detail.

In our second segment, Terry called in to ask about the XCOR flight software.  As you will hear, XCOR flight software means humans.  Listen to what he had to say about this, including issues with space shuttle software.  Our guest then talked more about the flight readiness process including the Technical Review Board and Safety Review Board process.  Other topics discussed included citizen science on board the Lynx, ITAR issues, additional Lynx pilot qualifications, and defense dept. applications for Lynx and the suborbital industry.  Lee called in to ask about an evolution to an orbital vehicle, other questions came in regarding runway requirements, passenger height & weight requirements, and spaceports.  Near the end of our discussion, we talked about an emergency exit from the Lynx, spacesuits and bailout.  Also discussed throughout the program were suggestions for the passenger to better prepare for his/her flight.

If you have comments/questions, please post them on The Space Show blog.

The John Batchelor Show “Hotel Mars,” Wednesday, 3-14-12 March 15, 2012

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The John Batchelor Show “Hotel Mars,” Wednesday, 3-14-12

John Batchelor, Andrew Nelson, Dr. David Livingston

http://archived.thespaceshow.com/shows/1735-BWB-2012-03-14.mp3

Guests:  John Batchelor, Andrew Nelson, Dr. David Livingston.  Topics:  XCOR Aerospace and suborbital spaceflight/research.  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. This program is archived on The Space Show website, podcasting, and blog sites with permission from John Batchelor. Please visit the John Batchelor Show website for more information about this fine program, www.johnbatchelorshow.com. The topics in this 11 minute plus segment focused on XCOR Aerospace, their Lynx vehicle, space tourism, and suborbital research missions.  Mr. Nelson, the COO of XCOR, spoke about their wanting to fly up to four times a day, vehicles that go to 200,000 feet as well as to 350,00 feet, the views that can be seen from the edge of space and much more.  We talked about the great success XCOR has had in gaining international interest and partners with their Lynx and their business model.  In response to questions, Andrew talked about microgravity and oncology research.  At one point he suggested that research revenues might come in around 60-70% of their total gross revenues.  Andrew also talked about ticket sales and prices and said that the $95K price includes the training, testing, and the flight.  If you have comments or questions, post them on The Space Show blog URL above.

If you want to email either Andrew Nelson or John Batchelor, please send your note to me and I will forward it to the person of your choice.

Dr. Alan Stern, Tuesday, 2-7-12 February 8, 2012

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Dr. Alan Stern, Tuesday, 2-7-12

http://archived.thespaceshow.com/shows/1710-BWB-2012-02-07.mp3

Guest:  Dr. Alan Stern.  Topics:  The upcoming Next Generation Suborbital Researchers Conference 2012 followed by a New Horizons and Pluto update.  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 back Dr. Alan Stern for this special one hour program to discuss the upcoming Next Generation Suborbital Researchers Conference to take place in Palo Alto, CA from Feb. 27-29, 2012.  Note that registration rates increase after Feb. 10th so for those of you interested in attending, you should register before the cut off date if possible. To find out more about this conference and suborbital scientific research, visit http://nsrc.swri.org.  During the first half of the program, Dr. Stern told us about the conference and fielded many questions about suborbital flight and science research.  Not only did we go through the keynote speakers, the conference format, and the possibility of winning a ride on an XCOR Lynx once you register, we talked about the NASA Flight Opportunities Program (https://flightopportunities.nasa.gov), foreign interest in suborbital spaceflight and research, international spaceports, and the leasing of the vehicles much as is done in the airline industry.  In the last half of the program, we talked about the New Horizons Pluto mission as Alan is the P.I. for the mission.  As you will hear, the spacecraft is doing well and on its way to Pluto.  Alan was asked about the actual New Horizons Pluto mission and then what happens to the spacecraft after the Pluto mission is finished.  He said it would continue on into deep space, leave our solar system and become an interstellar mission much in the way of Voyager.  He also said it had power on board for perhaps 25-30 more years and that it would study objects in the Kuiper Belt which it would transit.  A listener asked him about the possible need to change course for New Horizons due to debris. Alan talked about this problem and the contingency plans to put New Horizons on a different approach to Pluto if necessary.  We also learned that the New Horizons team started a petition drive at Change.org to have the U.S. Post Office issue a Pluto stamp for the mission. I signed the petition, perhaps you will want to do so as well.  You can read about it on Alan Boyle’s Cosmic Log and he has a link in the article that will take you to the petition ;  http://cosmiclog.msnbc.msn.com/_news/2012/02/01/10284883-petition-pushes-for-a-pluto-stamp.  There were 4,000 signatures for the Pluto stamp at the time of my archiving this program.

If you have questions or comments about this program, please post them on The Space Show blog. If you need additional information on the conference, use the contact information from their website.