Feedback: What did you think of this show?:
Guest: Mike Gold. Topics: Bigelow Aerospace. 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 Mike Gold of Bigelow Aerospace to the program for a one hour discussion. Following Mr. Gold, we did a brief Open Lines discussion but more about that later. We started with Mr. Gold providing us with an overview of Bigelow Aerospace with a focus on having an affordable means of crew transportation to LEO. This was followed by my asking him about crew safety issues and the commercial launch industry. As you will hear, Mike was very positive about the crew safety issues for commercial space and put them in context alongside government programs. You do not want to miss what Mike said about this issue. He then discussed safety with a Bigelow Space Station and noted their testing against debris hits and radiation. He explained their ballistic tests and said that because of their construction, they were as safe or safer than the ISS, saying that a fatal collapse of a rigid structure was more likely than with an inflatable structure as one would typically have time to initiate repairs with the latter. Radiation was mentioned as well, comparing the expandable material to metal. Caller John had three questions, the first one was about ITAR reform. Mike went into some detail explaining ITAR and the Bigelow experience with ITAR. You do not want to miss what he had to say about this important policy. He talked about the exemption from ITAR that Bigelow got and explained that it was for the passenger experience. He then explained what exactly this meant and how they got the exemption. John's second question dealt with the potential Falcon Heavy launcher and wanted to know if the BA2100 or something even larger would be using this heavy lift rocket. Mike said that such a heavy lift rocket offered many possibilities to both Bigelow and the industry and they were looking at how best to take advantage of these coming opportunities. The last question posed by John dealt with converting a Bigelow module to a space ship, asking if there were plans to go from a station to a ship. Don't miss his reply to this question. Crew safety came up again with a listener email wondering if a space ship accident with the loss of a non-government astronaut crew would have any greater lasting impact than the crash of a Federal Express jet with the loss of crew. Another question asked about Bigelow being on the Falcon manifest for 2014 and wondered if that was for Sun Dancer. Jack asked about Bigelow & the Mid Atlantic Regional Spaceport (MARS). Mike had very positive things to say about the potential offered Bigelow at Wallops and MARS. Yet another listener inquired about micro gravity R&D and then Mike was asked about the model that would be used for buying/selling, leasing, or controlling a Bigelow station. He said they would follow the terrestrial lease model & we discussed this in some detail. I asked about activities in space that would be illegal on Earth given the absence of space law on such issues. He said typically such a lease has a list of prohibited activities in it and the same would hold true for their station leases. Remaining questions addressed the European Code of Conduct, more on commercial crew, then our guest suggested we write our members of Congress to support commercial crew development. During the last segment, we did a brief Open Lines discussion. I summarized upcoming Space Show programs, Trent called to comment on the Sunday program, and Gerry called regarding the current Space Review article by Victoria Samson addressing India & space security. If you have comments or questions for Mike Gold, please post them on the blog. I can also forward email to him. Do visit their website, www.bigelowaerospace.com.