Broadcast 1454 (Special Edition)

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Guests: Leonard David, Mark Mayfield. Topics: Human spaceflight history, commercial space, NASA policy. Please note that you are invited to comment, ask questions, and rate this program on the new Space Show blog, Mark Mayfield's book, "The Spaceflight Vault: A History Of NASA's Manned Missions," is available from the One Giant Leap Foundation website as an Amazon partner. If you buy the book from OGLF, Amazon makes a contribution to The Space Show. Please use In our first segment, Mark started off by telling us about his book which is unique among space books, especially given the inserts and interactive approach so very well done in this book. I loved it and strongly recommend it for everyone. You will hear me say several times during the show that this book is a terrific holiday present idea for your favorite space cadet or even yourself. Mark Mayfield's book is exceptional! Leonard joined in with similar praise for the book and then we started talking about our space future. The three of us came to a consensus that the space future is at this time, unknown. Of course one does not have to be a rocket scientist to figure that out but as you hear the discussion unfold, you will get the inside story on the details behind our unknown future in space. Leonard talked about his growing up in the San Diego area, rocket town, to the noise of Atlas engines being tested and more. He, like the rest of us, thought we would have a different space program than what we have. Mark suggested that people were frustrated with the lack of direction and Leonard even offered that many people feel "betrayed." Our guests said that on the positive side, the international space community is gearing up and making great strides forward. It may not be the US that leads us into space in the future but both said we are going forward, even if other nations lead the way. Commercial space came up and our guests said it still needs to be proven but they held very high regard for proven vehicles such as Atlas and Delta. SS2 and Sir Richard Branson came up and our guests talked about the contribution of Virgin to the movement. Mark has a section in his book on SS2 and Virgin as well. As we started the second and final segment of this 2 hour 25 minute discussion, we talked about external events that could come about that have the potential to both jump start the US human spaceflight program or destroy it. You do not want to miss the wildcards that our guests pointed out as being out there that could impact our space program in either direction. Leonard brought up SETI and Project Dorothy and Mark talked about how political our program has become. Several listener questions asked about the shuttle program and its pending retirement. Don't miss what Leonard and Mark had to say about shuttle, its capabilities, and its retirement. Our guests were asked about heavy lift and jobs were introduced into this discussion. New technology was talked about including electromagnetic launch. I asked about private R&D as compared to government financed R&D. Our guests thought joint participation in public private partnerships were the way to go. Near the end of the program, I asked them for a rating of their optimism for a five year period. Some final questions about innovation and Technical Readiness Levels (TRL) came up and both our guests said that our government cannot just walk away from space. We concluded by saying there were terrific opportunities developing and we all hoped that America would be properly positioned to take advantage of them. You can post your comments and questions on the blog URL above and also by sending them to Leonard David at Mark Mayfield can be reached at You can also send your comments to me at and I will forward them to our guests.



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06 Nov 2010 Leonard David, Mark Mayfield
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