Broadcast 1669 (Special Edition)

The Space Foundation Conference

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GuestSearch: Dr. Jeff Bell. Topics: Phobos Grunt mission, space policy, commercial crew, rocket reusability & more. You are invited to comment, ask questions, and discuss the Space Show program/guest(s) on the Space Show blog, Comments, questions, and any discussion must be relevant and applicable to Space Show programming. Transcripts of Space Show programs are not permitted without prior written consent from The Space Show (even if for personal use) & are a violation of the Space Show copyright. The Space Show/OGLF is now engaged in its annual fundraising drive. Please see & act upon our appeal at . Please note that this program was recorded live on Nov. 30, 2011 and is being archived today, Dec. 9, 2011. We welcomed Dr. Jeff Bell back to the show for a wide ranging discussion on multiple topics starting with the troubled Russian Phobos Grunt Mission. This Space Show program is vintage Jeff Bell with something to say about most everything, hard hitting, critical, take no prisoners, and of course, thought provoking. Dr. Bell started our discussion talking about the Phobos-Grunt Mission. To put it in context with Russian lunar & planetary missions, he gave us a brief history of the Russian exploration program starting in 1958. This is an interesting history lesson you do not want to miss. In bringing the history current to Phobos Grunt, the problems faced by the Russian program seem a bit clearer. We then talked about some of the many space blog comments with suggestions for rescuing or saving the mission and he totally debunked them. Jeff mentioned shuttle rescues, X-37B rescues, even Virgin suborbital rescues. He also mentioned some of the conspiracy theories out there (he spent more time on them later in our discussion), finger pointing the blame for the mission problems. Next, Dr. Bell addressed the recent SpaceShipTwo drop test that was a problem and he wasted no time in stating what is wrong with the SS2 design as well as what he said was a problematic track record for the project. He also had much to say about the use of composites and fundamental design flaws. Space debris issues came up and Dr. Bell referenced USA 193. Terry called in to ask about the hydrazine and nitrogen tetroxide (NTO) or nitric acid on board Phobos Grunt. When we started the second segment, Dr. Bell again went over the conspiracy theories re Phobos Grunt that appeared in some news articles. One he mentioned was the HARP theory which he debunked as well as the biological warfare theory. We then talked about commercial crew and Dr. Bell said Congress does not want it to be successful and he explained why. Near the end of this discussion, Trent called in from Australia. He wanted to know at what point Jeff thought commercial crew was changing from maybe working out to going down for the count. What was the turning point for our guest? During their exchange, Jeff said that space travel was not politically important anymore, instead political pork was the priority. Trent mentioned his blog, QuantumG, Check it out for his comments on Space X, Commercial Crew and more. Jeff read his Space X comments and then started discussing the Space X reusability plan. As the program ended, we talked about the JWST and I asked Dr. Bell what part of the space program he liked, if any. He did have something he liked, the science and robotic missions. If you have a comment/question for Dr. Bell, please post it on the blog URL and I will make sure he sees it.



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09 Dec 2011 Dr. Jeff Bell
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  • The Space Foundation Conference

  • The Space Foundation Conference

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