Broadcast 1199 (Special Edition)

The Space Foundation Conference

01 Aug 2009 Brent Sherwood
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Guest: Brent Sherwood: Topics: Options for human spaceflight, NASA, life support factors, destinations. Brent Sherwood was our returning guest for this Space Show program to discuss his recent White Paper which addresses various options for human spaceflight. Brent will make his paper available to me so if you would like a copy, please send me an email requesting it and I'll forward it to you as soon as possible. In Segment 1, we started off the show with Brent telling us something about JPL. Did you know they have seven business lines? I believe you will find this interesting and instructive as our guest explains to us the way in which JPL works and the types of projects and missions it undertakes. As we moved toward our main topic of discussion, Brent made it clear that he was speaking for himself and not JPL and I want to be sure that disclaimer is present in this archive write-up for his interview. As we launched into this discussion, we learned that Mr. Sherwood is supportive of a second generation shuttle but also less concerned about destinations for human spaceflight than he is in making spaceflight more relevant to us all. As the discussion continued, we talked about a new role and vision for NASA and the VSE, one that actually helps create a true space economy and new space industrial base. In Segment 2, among the many topics discussed, Brent zeroed in on the existing NASA budget, around$18 billion a year of which 2/3 of that is dedicated to human spaceflight of about $12 billion/year. As you will hear when he discusses options for how this money could be used, we could use it to accelerate commercial public space travel. Later in this segment he introduces us to the concept of also doing a large scale commercial and needed project in space, space solar power for example. The introduction of SSP brought in several listener questions about the economics of SSP and the possible need to subsidize any electricity produced by an SSP project given the costs would likely be much higher than terrestrial power costs. We also talked about the cost benefit analysis for an SSP project in terms of helping to industrialize space. This is a discussion you will not want to miss and it continued on into Segment 3. As we got into Segment 3, SSP economics and subsidies were center stage. Brent then talked about the coming findings of the Augustine Panel, some past history of blue ribbon panels and the usual acceptance of their recommendations, and the fact that space today and the vision seems to have lost the attention of most of the public. In this segment, we talked about restating NASA and human spaceflight. Later in this segment, a listener asked how the status quo is changed given the power of senators and members of congress. As Brent explained, getting these members of congress to work with the type of programs he suggests actually benefits their areas with more jobs, economics, etc. Industrializing space creates jobs and wealth not just for the country but for the NASA centers and the heavy space districts across the country. We started Segment 4 with a question asked at the end of the previous segment about what other nation's space programs were doing. A listener wanted to know if any other national space agencies were following a different path such as what we had been talking about on the show or were they all more or less following the existing NASA pattern. Brent had much to say about various national space agencies, don't miss his comments. Toward the end of this segment we asked about the progress being made in developing fully closed loop systems for long duration spaceflight or space settlement. He said we were still a long ways off from having a real closed loop system. This is also a discussion you will want to hear and remember. He said the two biggest Mars or human factors issues involve radiation and microgravity deconditioning. If you have a question or comment for Brent Sherwood, please send it me at and I will forward it to him right away.



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