Broadcast 1403 (Special Edition)

05 Aug 2010 Robert Zimmerman
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Guest: Robert Zimmerman. Topics: Space policy, economics, bats, telecommunications satellite history, commercial space. We welcomed back Bob Zimmerman for this 2.5 hour program in two segments. It was volatile so hold on while listening to it. We started out with Bob telling us how he got the name for his new website, Behind the Black (http://behindtheblack.com). He said the focus was on information and facts, what we know and don't know. We then started discussing the stats of our sun and the solar cycle which led Bob into a climate change discussion which lasted the first half hour. We talked about the recent CME, sun spots, the claim that the sun was waking up, tree rings as proxy data, high temperatures in Moscow, Climate Gate, "Hide the Decline," and more. The solar wind was mentioned as was solar radiation. Bob then updated us on the ISS cooling system repairs and the pending space walk to start the repairs scheduled for tomorrow morning. As the segment was about to end, Bob said that the private entrepreneurs, Bigelow, Musk, and Branson were the hope for getting beyond the bottlenecks caused by the space policy discussions now going on between the administration and the congress. Here, Bob talked about the old NACA model for NASA, commercial crew and the Commercial Space Amendments Act and government regulation of the private industry. Our next segment started with a listener question about the status of the Space Ship 2 engine based on rumors the listener had heard. Next, Bob brought us current with the bat fungus issue. He had much to say so listen and then by the time the program ended, the embargo had been lifted so he closed the show with more detailed bat fungus information. For most of this segment we talked space policy, economics and the fact that the US is running out of money if it has not already done so and that space will likely be a funding casualty. Much was said about this, lots of listeners sent in comments and questions and Bob kept saying that the privates were the best hope for a robust future in space. We talked about heavy lift, the congressional comments on it, possible compromises with the administration, and what the private sector could do in this area. Tax cuts came up as a listener wanted to know if we could use the increased tax money, assuming the cuts expire, to target fund NASA programs. Bob said no but listen to his explanation. Later in the segment, Karen asked about our being handicapped by the Apollo legacy. This opened a can of worms and consumed most of the balance of the show. Don't miss what Bob and several listeners had to say about this. It even took us to a discussion of the early history of the telecommunications industry with ATT, COMSAT and unregulated private space as opposed to what we have now which is government regulated space. Not all listeners agreed with what Bob said so listen carefully, especially to the call from Dwayne. We talked about the COTS program and the need for a real commercial space industry for ISS crew and cargo. We concluded the program with the bat info and by agreeing that the next six months in space policy will be most interesting and very hard to predict. If you have a comment or question for Bob Zimmerman, please email him at zimmerman at nasw dot org.

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