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Guest: Dr. Namrata Goswami; Topics: India's space history & program, China space & lunar policy, US return to the Moon, deterrence as a goal, Space Force, commercial space development, international cooperation and more.
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We welcomed back to the program Dr. Namrata Goswami for this two segment one hour forty minute discussion on India's space history, policy, lunar & Mars missions, the relationship with China, the Chinese space program including their lunar plans, US lunar plans, international cooperation, public opinion, and much more. To lead off our program, Dr. Goswami started with updates to the Indian space program with a bit of Indian space history going back to the beginning in 1969. Among our discussion topics were Indian missions to the Moon and to Mars plus several upcoming missions already scheduled and their future human spaceflight plans. Listeners had several questions for Namrata about India's human spaceflight plans, goals and timelines, plus we learned about the Indian heavy lift launcher program. Another topic in this first part of our program included a detailed discussion of space solar power with potential Indian partners including Japan. SSP came up in the second segment of the program through listener emails.
Our guest spent time talking about the ISRO Vision 2025 which Dr. Goswami talked about later in the first half of the program. Our guest introduced us to the robotic interest evidenced by India and their space agency, ISRO or the Indian Space Resource Organization (https://www.isro.gov.in). By the way, visit the site to get more specific information about the missions our guest mentioned and talked about during our program tonight. Before the first segment ended, our guest was asked if Pakistan had a space program. Be sure to hear what Namrata said in response to this question. While they don't do much in space , they do work with China on some space related activities.
In the second segment, I asked our guest about public support in India for their space program. Our guest provided us with additional relevant India space history plus she told us there were those in India like in the US that thought money was better spent on helping others. At the same time, she described examples of strong population enthusiasm for recent India space program successes. That led to our mentioning a recent AP and the NORC Center for Public Affairs Research poll which showed questionable US support for various parts of the space program from various sectors in our population. I have brought up this poll on TSS before but once again, here is the link for the research and analysis in question: www.apnorc.org/projects/Pages/Space-Exploration-Attitudes-toward-the-U-S--Space-Program.aspx. Before moving on to other topics, Dr. Goswami referenced the 2013 Dream China Speech regarding how China sees space and the Moon as part of their wanting China to be the number one nation in the space world plus in the world order. This was an introduction to a major theme in the second segment.
Early in the second segment, we talked about why America wanted to return to the Moon and why there is a focus on Mars. Our guest compared this to how China sees space and the Moon which is to benefit China through resources and development activities. Unlike China, The US sees the Moon as path to go to Mars. This was a very important discussion which I urge all of you to listen to with great attention. Fortunately, it was a detailed discussion and our guest had plenty of time to clearly articulate a very important message.
During this discussion, we had callers and several listeners with emails. The calls and emails formed a critical part of our discussion topics so do pay attention to them. Many of you might find what our guest said to be controversial. We certainly would appreciate your letting us know what you think on these subjects by posting on the blog. Several times during this discussion, I challenged our guests with comments I heard at ISDC to many Space Show guests and listeners in that we should not fear what China does and will do in space. In fact, many suggest we should stop using China to drive fear against China. See how Dr. Goswami responded to these challenges. Pay attention to what said regarding the difference of what China plans on doing with the Moon and human spaceflight compared to what we seem to be doing. Our guest did a great job of clearly explaining these differences. Again, let us know your thoughts by posting on our blog. Several times during this discussion I stepped in with my own views and short rants. I also said that I would be using some of this material in my upcoming panel discussion comments at the Griffith Observatory next week as part of celebrating the 50th anniversary of Apollo.
Part of this discussion zeroed in on a US Space Force with many suggesting a space force was about militarizing space. Note what our guest said about military space, national security space, Indian realizations, Chinese behavior and US statements about a Space Force. I will leave it to you to listen but for a hint, make sure you understand the objective of deterrence as compared to having an objective to use the warfighter in space.
Returning to talking about American lunar plans, especially the 2024 timeline and then the later 2028 plan with the Gateway, Namrata was skeptical as was I. Listen to what we both said about those timelines. Once again, listen to what our guest said was the difference in how China views the Moon and intends to use as compared to the same by the US. Which usage do you prefer? As we neared the ending of the program, John Hunt called wanting to know how well the Chinese had lived up to their timeline predictions. In addition, he said they were not innovators. Our guest strongly disagreed with what he said about China not being innovative. She cited examples to support what she was saying. Don't miss it. Namrata also documented several of the challenges facing China's space timeline predictions. SSP returned as t topic as did the Spudis-Wingo plan developing up to and having a permanent human presence in space and the Moon. Don't miss what our guest had to say about the need for a sustainable process.
To conclude the discussion, Namrata addressed the idea that we are in a space race with China. She said to have a race, the contestants have to have similar goals but since the Chine goals with space and the Moon are so different from the US goals, it is hard to see that we are in a race. Let us know what you think about this by posting your response on our blog.
Please post your comments/questions on TSS blog for this program. You can reach Dr. Goswami through me. Don't forget that I posted her congressional testimony to the blog per what she said about it during the show.