Broadcast 1244 (Special Edition)

23 Oct 2009 Doris Hamill
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Guest: Doris Hamill. Topics: NASA's mission and vision, commercializing human space flight. Our guest, Doris Hamill, wrote two excellent Space Review articles that formed the basis for this Space Show program. The articles, "To Reach Ever Further: A Mission and a Vision for NASA," Oct. 12, 2009 ( and "The Second Fifty Years: Expanding Human Presence On The Space Frontier," Oct. 19, 2009 ( should be read as part of this program. In our first segment, Ms. Hamill outlined the goals and the purpose for NASA as a mandate and included from her Oct. 19th article the need for exploring space for scientific knowledge, using technology to expand the human presence throughout space, and using space to benefit humans using engineering, commercial, and operations practices. Our discussion included looking at the reasons for people going to space, asking the question if we need a human space presence for most things in space or not, and looking at the proper role of inspiration in our space policy. In the second segment in response to a listener question, Ms. Hamill commented that space was not a cure all for all our society ills and cited the space program of the 1960's as an example. We also talked about whether Mars should be the focus of our attention and the challenges and timing involved in a humans to Mars mission. Our guest said we needed lots more technology power to go to Mars. Ms. Hamill did say we have learned much and are very experienced in LEO but for elsewhere in space, we still have much to learn. She suggested the Moon was the best training ground. During this segment in response to a listener question, orbital space tourism was briefly talked about, especially the differences required over and above suborbital tourism. A phrase Ms. Hamill used to describe some of the fanciful thinking and statements on some of these subjects was the "optimism of ignorance." Make sure you listen to this complete discussion as this term was used a few times during our interview. Toward the end of this segment, I asked her to describe what she meant by the term "Valley of Death" which was used in her Oct. 19th article. Don't miss her complete discussion on this subject as part of what she had to say about Technology Review Levels. In the third segment, we talked about commercializing human spaceflight. Our guest told us about the studies and work she did several years ago when she was with Space Hab and how it was largely ignored by NASA and others. Pay attention to her commercial space model as in my opinion, it represents an excellent path to space commercialization. Doris also clarified cost versus value as used in the commercial world rather than the NASA and contractor world. In the fourth and final segment, we talked about commercial returns and the time it might take for an ROI to be achieved. Ms. Hamill said we must be prepared to allow sufficient time for commercialization to develop. Toward the end of this segment, we switched topics to discuss NASA and "green engineering." Doris went through four main areas with the last one being revolutionary technologies. Do not miss this discussion. Near the end of the show, a listener asked her about space solar power and she reported back that it was not likely to close the business case for SSP. She said the uses for SSP were within space, beaming to one satellite or another, to the surface of the Moon, eventually to Mars and more. If you have a question or comment for Doris Hamill, please send it to me at and I will forward it to her.



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