Broadcast 1402 (Special Edition)

02 Aug 2010 Clayton Mowry
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Guest: Clay Mowry. Topics: Arianespace, Ariane 5, commercial launch industry. We welcomed Clay Mowry, President of Arianespace, Inc., the American subsidiary of Arianespace which is headquartered in France. You can find out much more about Arianespace by visiting www.arianespace.com. Special announcement: A volunteer going to the Mars Society Conference is needed to use a video camera. Email trent.waddington@gmail.com for details. In our first segment of the program with Mr. Mowry, we started out with an overview of Arianespace including its history. We talked about the Ariane 5 launch track record which is now 37 successful launches out of 51 flights. Their spaceport in Kourou, French Guiana was described, including the rain forests and more. As Arianespace is a commercial launcher, we discussed their customer, the type of satellites launched, and the orbits used. Mr. Mowry was asked to describe and compare an Ariane 5 launch to a Space Shuttle launch. You will find this discussion and comparison most interesting. Clay received several questions about human rating the Ariane 5. He said he did not know of any plans to do it, talked about needed R&D, the changes to the rocket as well as infrastructure that would be needed, and the problems with the business case for doing so. Listen carefully to what he had to say on this important issue. Toward the end of the first segment, we talked about the Soyuz which will soon launch from French Guiana and be operated by Arianespace. We started our second and final long segment with a listener question asking about Ariane 5 competing with the Falcon 9. In his response, Clay talked about the Falcon 9, commercial launch services, reliability and development issues for a commercial launcher and more. Don't miss his comments on commercial launch vehicle competition. ITAR came up and as you will hear, Arianespace has an experienced team available to help the satellite company go through the ITAR process as smoothly and efficiently as possible. They have State Dept. and regulatory experience that facilitates all the needed agreements for everyone regarding a U.S. company launching on the Ariane 5. An Indianapolis listener asked for the Arianespace assessment of the commercial launch market into the future given the reports saying the market is flat. Mr. Mowry talked about the commercial market in general and specifically to some of the types of satellite launches his company does. He said the business is stable but it is not a rapidly growing or robust business, but overall they are bullish for the future of the commercial launch industry. The issue of affordable space came up and the need to lower launch prices. He said that when all aspects of the launch and satellite are considered, launch prices are only about 10% of the total cost. Listen carefully to this important discussion. He also distinguished between the human spaceflight launch industry from satellites. Clay received several space tourism related questions and was asked if there was a killer application for commercial human spaceflight. In a related comment, he said there were not enough U.S. made components in the Ariane 5 for the rocket to be considered as a possible commercial launcher for our space policy. We talked about the ten year development program that was undertaken to launch and fly the ATV to the ISS and dock on the Russian module. His description of the process, the approvals, all that was necessary to be able to do this was interesting and informative. Toward the end of the program, we talked about the need for heavy lift and the use of propellant depots. We concluded our discussion by asking Clay about the use of business types in the launch industry as opposed to engineers that get some business training. I think you will find his comments about this to be different and very informative. If you have a question or comment for Clay Mowry, you can email him at c.mowry@arianespace.com.

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