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Guest: Dan Mosqueda; Topics: Universities Space Research Association (USRA), nuclear propulsion, human factors, OTAs, and much 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.
We welcomed Dan Mosqueda to the program for this 64 minute one segment discussion regarding the Universities Space Research Association (USRA) organization. To learn more about USRA and the space related disciplines it works with, check out their website at www.usra.edu. Dan started out with an introduction to USRA as we have not focused on this organization on The Space Show and as you will hear near the end of the show, the organization puts the spotlight on its university partners, not itself. After explaining the USRA structure, he mentioned some of the space related projects or organizations familiar to Space Show listeners. This included SOFIA, the Lunar & Planetary Institute (LPI), the Arecibo Observatory and others. He also said that USRA was the keeper of the Apollo moon rocks. Don’t miss what he said about this.
In advance of the program, Dan had sent me USRA documentation. On Page 8 of the PPT slide presentation he sent me, I noted several areas of involvement for USRA. I asked about a few of them including nuclear propulsion and the space life sciences human factors. We discussed space nuclear power and learned that they have worked with the Idaho National Labs. Dan talked about challenges with nuclear propulsion plus the safety issues. Regarding the space life sciences, he said they were not doing much in that area at this time. Don’t miss all of what he said regarding what USRA does.
Michael Listner called the show to inquire about USRA activities with space policy and law, focusing in on nuclear propulsion by way of example. Dan said USRA had a mostly technical focus and was not heavily involved in policy. USRA wanted to advocate for their universities. He did say they deal with ITAR issues but do not generally provide policy advice.
Listener Jody in Silicon Valley sent in three excellent questions as replicated below:
1. How do you see other transaction authorities enabling speed of capability for the Department of Defense?
2. Can you comment on how requirements are generated and how they might drive a prototype acquisition strategy?
3. How do corporate business models impact speed and agility of acquisitions?”
Dan responded to each of Jody’s questions starting with the second one. This discussion was most interesting, especially the part about other transaction authorities (OTA). You definitely want to listen to what Dan said in response to Jody’s questions, agency response time issues, and the OTA.
Next, we talked about the AF Space & Missile Systems Center (SMC) Space Enterprise Consortium still being considered as USRA was one of the applicants for the position of consortium manager. Dan explained the purpose of this effort, how winners would be selected, the creation of White Papers and more. Dan took us through the Space Enterprise Consortium which you will find interesting so again, don’t miss this part of our discussion.
Listener Beth asked Dan about a potential role by USRA in the creation of a Space Guard should that happen. She also asked if their work supported our allies or just US national security agencies. Dan talked about a possible Space Guard , the probable role of the Air Force Academy were a Space Guard created, plus he said they would likely offer their support to developing the Space Guard. Regarding working with US allies, he said they are US focused only but that may change in the future. That said, they do work with our allies and there are a number of foreign universities that are part of the USRA universities program.
As we were winding down the program, I asked about USRA and publicity as it seemed to me that they had been flying under the radar. Dan said that was true as they focus the limelight on their university partners. In his concluding statement, he talked about USRA work with weather patterns, research (he cited fire in space as an example when I stopped and asked him to elaborate on fire when he mentioned it), resupply and much more.
Please post your comments/questions on TSS blog for this show. You can reach Dan through the USRA website above or me.