Broadcast 1649 (Special Edition)

06 Nov 2011 James A. M. Muncy
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Guest: Jim Muncy. Topics: Space policy, heavy lift launchers, congress, NASA budgets, human spaceflight. You are invited to comment, ask questions, and discuss the Space Show program/guest(s) on the Space Show blog, http://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 Jim Muncy back to the program for this 2.5 hour far ranging space policy discussion. I urge you to listen to the full interview as Jim had many important things to say about our current space program and our space future. We started our first segment with a short overview on where things stand with Congress and the NASA budget. Jim brought us up to date on the commercial crew funding issues now being decided in Congress. Our guest also said that more likely than not NASA will find its budgets trimmed over the coming years. He talked about the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) sucking all the funding from NASA Astrophysics and what this means for the Science Mission Directorate. Moving forward, Jim addressed the issues involved with the Space Act Agreement (SAA) and the Federal Acquisition Rules (FAR) with the return to the FAR. NASA oversight, safety, and control issues were part of this discussion. At one point, he used the term "ablative management" to describe the situation. We also talked about the Orion vehicle. Marshal asked a question about the value of NASA patents and IP and Jim said that at this time in its history NASA was more of a consuming agency than an innovative agency . There was much talk of needed NASA reforms in this segment and throughout today's interview. Next, Jim talked about segmented solid rocket boosters and why they are so costly to the detriment of the space program. You don't want to miss what Jim had to say about this important issue. This led us to a detailed discussion of the Space Launch System (SLS), a topic which was addressed off and on during the balance of the full program. Jim put forth compelling economic arguments regarding SLS, don't miss them. John from Atlanta called in as well to debate SLS issues. One of the points John made was that instead of fixed price contracting, cost plus incentive fee contracts should be used. Contractors would get a large incentive fee based on cost reductions. Listen to what the caller & our guest said for details on this idea. In our second segment, more was said about exploration, the ISS labor pool at JSC, & the lack of congressional continuity on programs year to year. Jim had much to say regarding the shuttle workforce & lessons learned from our shuttle history. Other topics included better use of the ISS, using Atlas 5/Delta IV for HSF & human rating them. Near the end of the program, a listener asked about the Futron Space Competitive Index and the U.S. decline. Another listener asked about issues stemming from congressional pork. On this topic Jim had much to say. In closing, he said we all had to fight for the space program we want. We cannot just sit back and let others do it for us and expect an acceptable outcome. He urged us to get involved. Please post your comments & questions on the blog URL above.

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