Broadcast 1548 (Special Edition)

26 Apr 2011 Dr. Michael D. Griffin
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Guest: Dr. Michael (Mike) Griffin. Topics: This interview is a comprehensive space policy & program discussion with our former NASA Administrator. Please note that 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. We welcomed Dr. Mike Griffin to the program, our 11th NASA Administrator from 2005-2009. This program was also co-hosted with Dr. John Jurist. First, I want to again than Mike for being a guest on The Space Show and for his openness and comprehensive discussion on many topics and listener driven questions. I do apologize for not getting to all the listener email questions but there were so many coming in that it was simply not possible to work them all into the discussion. If your question was not asked, I do apologize. We started our nearly two hour discussion with Mike making an opening statement about where we are with space policy today. He did say that today the policy was confused. Mike then clearly articulated the broader issue not being discussed which was about the justification for a publicly directed space program. This is a discussion you must hear. After Mike's opening statement, a part of which addressed NASA oversight if a private company takes gov. money, Dr. Jurist asked him about such oversight for human spaceflight. He followed that up by asking how one sets the priorities within NASA for the various types of space programs NASA administers. I then opened the phone lines up and there were non-stop callers with questions for our guest. One of my early questions pertained to the bi-partisan support Constellation had with both a Republican and Democratic congress, asking Mike what happened to that support? Mike had much to say about the 05 and 08 Congressional Authorization Acts and bi-partisan congressional support. In our long second segment, we continued talking about the 05 and 08 Acts and space normally being non-partisan. The space workforce issue was brought up by Trent and then I consolidated several email questions to ask about heavy lift. Mike explained why heavy lift was necessary for going beyond LEO and he took us through the economics comparing launching smaller vehicles many times to one larger heavy lift vehicle. He did this a few times during the remainder of the discussion, including with our final caller from Hong Kong. As you will hear, this issue may be more of a policy issue than a technical or economic issue. Listen to his discussion on this point. What policy is best for the American space program. A listener asked about affording Constellation in the context of the Augustine report. Mike had much to say about Augustine, the parameters required for the report, and how budget numbers were used which he said did not track with the reality of the budgets in place when he was Administrator and that NASA was using for the out years before he left office. The ISS came up in our discussion as did international cooperation and partnerships. Mike also talked about the congressional process and in particular committee chairmen and the realities of space politics. Do not miss this discussion. Other topics in this segment included suborbital tourism, CRuSR, and our tolerance for accepting risk. The Ares 1X came up as did the five segment SRB. Near the end of our discussion, a caller who said he was Gen X talked about budget problems and what we could and could not afford. Mike refuted what he said and talked about why and how we could continue investing in space. Space X was discussed as was the risk of being dependent on a sole source anything. If you have questions or comments, please post them on the blog URL above.

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