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Guest: Dr. Erik Seedhouse; Topics: Erik discussed his latest book, "Tim Peake and Britain's Road to Space," the UK space history, their economic problems, technology, suborbital flights and more. Please direct all comments and questions regarding specific Space Show programs & guest(s) to the Space Show blog which is part of archived program on our website, www.thespaceshow.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.
Dr. Seedhouse started his 1 hour 27 minute two segment discussion by talking about the UK space history and the significance of their astronaut Tim Peak flying under the UK flag. Earlier British astronauts had to obtain dual nationality with the US to fly since ESA members flew based on the size of their financial contribution to ESA. Erik explained this process in detail and talked about how Tim Peake was able to fly as a British astronaut with the UK flag on his uniform. Furthermore, the Tim Peak flight was a first in many ways plus he contributed greatly to STEM and outreach education in the UK to school kids and the British population. We spent a good deal of the first segment talking about these issues and Tim Peake's accomplishment.
In addition, Dr. Seedhouse discussed the history of the British space industry from the early days through to the current period. He also explained how the UK austerity program now in place was severely limiting British space development. He mentioned great success with satellites, especially with Surrey Satellite but repeated several times that the UK human spaceflight program was probably DOA - at least for now. Possible UK spaceport locations were discussed as was the competition to select the location for a UK spaceport.
In the second segment, Erik was asked about suborbital spaceflight and a possible timeline for commercial operations. Erik had lots to say about Virgin Galactic, Blue Origin and the ticket price which needed to be lower if tourism was to be a commercial success. He pointed out that the market was uncertain and questioned the depth of the market after the current ticket holders had flown. I asked him about repeat customers but he did not think that would be a sizeable part of the market. He said there needed to be a place to go and this led us to talking about Bigelow private space stations.
One theme for both segments of the show focused on both space businesses and media using exaggerated rhetoric to over promise what could and would actually happen with human spaceflight development timelines. Both Erik and I thought this hyped up rhetoric was damaging to the industry. Several times during the discussion Erik slammed the media as helping to drive unrealistic expectations in human space development.
Erik talked about the heavy lift big rockets coming on line, SLS, BFR, New Glenn, Vulcan and maybe others. He also said that the Russian economy was weak and he did not believe their announced space plans including Mars missions. In talking about markets for the big heavy lift rockets, he was uncertain of them but suggested large military satellites would be a steady market for them. As for SpaceX timelines to Mars, he thought it would take longer than what Mr. Musk was suggesting by his recent comments. He also pointed out the lack of life support issues and resolutions as far as we know with SpaceX.
As we neared the end of the program we talked about radiation risks which Erik believes to be critical for human spaceflight. Don't miss what he said on this issue. He updated us on Vasimir and their upcoming required 100 hour test next month. His last question dealt with the impact over time of the British Interplanetary Society (BIS) dating back to the 1930s. Erik talked about the BIS saying it was a huge contributor to space in the UK and around the world. Don't miss all of his comments focusing on the BIS.
Please post your comments/questions on TSS blog. You can reach Dr. Seedhouse through me.