Broadcast 884 (Special Edition)

03 Feb 2008 Dr. David Livingston
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The Marshall Spaceflight Center took Charles Schollenberge and I on a tour of some of their facilities and I recorded each part of the tour. Sometimes the audio is challenging because of background equipment noise and the soft voice or proximity of the speaker. However, you should have no real problems hearing what was being explained to us. While Charles and I experienced this in person, I hope you can see using your mind's eye what we saw, or at least have a good visual idea of what was being shown to us. We started out in the X-Ray Calibration Lab which supports Chandra. Here we saw the x-ray testing devices, the cleanroom, the control center and more. In addition, we received the boiler plate update regarding Chandra. From Chandra, we went to the R&D Lab for Propulsion. Prior to the announcement of the VSE, this lab worked on matter and anti-matter research, but it now focuses almost exclusively on the Ares and the human engineering behind the making and servicing of Ares. This is a fairly comprehensive tour with engineers working the on the Ares program. For sure, NASA is spending lots and lots of money on Ares, bending metal, and striving to make it work. With all the Ares problems that were made public, our speakers assured us lots of people were working on the problems and would come up with fixes and solutions. The team we met with was most impressive! The Space Show has some upcoming programs regarding Ares problems, plus I am working to get the Ares Program Director to be a guest on the show. Assuming these programs pan out, you can decide for yourself if you think Ares will fly or not, with what payload, and at what cost. This is a very important project and all of us need to be concerned and supportive of success in getting back to the Moon/implementing the VSE. Our third stop was the operations center for ISS payloads. We listened to a short video and you will hear the audio. We then had a presentation about the room, the equipment, and the people we saw. There were lots of questions, even questions about the space tourists who have visited the ISS, and their thoughts on the tourists. You will surely want to hear this discussion. Our final Marshall stop was the R&D Environmental Lab. Here they have a working model of part of the ISS and astronauts and other test subjects come here, exercise on equipment identical to that on the ISS and have their sweat and urine collected and made into potable water. They are working on basic, very early closed loop systems. We discussed this and much more during this segment, plus you will hear a surprise which was a first for this Marshall division and a first for The Space Show and me! Listen and laugh along with those of us in the lab. We then left Marshall and did a driving tour through the Redstone Arsenal with civilian personnel serving the Army. If you have questions or comments, please send them to me at drspace@thespaceshow.com.

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