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Guest: Casey Dreier; Topics: Planetary Science Congressional Caucus, policy, robotics & HSF, JWST delays, SLS, FH, BFR, LOP-G, NASA and more. Please direct all comments and questions regarding specific Space Show programs & guest(s) to the Space Show blog which is part of archived program on our website, www.thespaceshow.com. Comments and questions should be relevant to the specific Space Show program. Written Transcripts of Space Show programs are a violation of our copyright and are not permitted without prior written consent, even if for your own use. We do not permit the commercial use of Space Show programs or any part thereof, nor do we permit editing, YouTube clips, or clips placed on other private channels & websites. Space Show programs can be quoted, but the quote must be cited or referenced using the proper citation format. Contact The Space Show for further information. In addition, please remember that your Amazon purchases can help support The Space Show/OGLF. See www.onegiantleapfoundation.org/amazon.htm.
We welcomed back Casey Dreier of The Planetary Society back to the show for this one segment 68 minute discussion on policy, the newly formed Planetary Science Congressional Caucus, JWST delays, SLS, the need for a NASA administrator and SpaceX rockets. We started our discussion with Casey telling us about the new Planetary Society support of the newly formed Planetary Science Congressional Caucus. Casey explained congressional caucuses to us, talked about the bipartisan nature of the new space caucus and why it was needed. It is expected that this particular caucus will grow in numbers and support as well as influence on space policy.
I asked Casey if there was a focus on human spaceflight or was it all about science missions. Don't miss what he said in response. He did note that HSF dominates the NASA and space discussion but the planetary and science missions are doing very well. We then discussed how both planetary and human missions support one another as both advance. Later, Mark called to make the point that it was not one or the other. Look for Mark's call and note what he said.
Jack sent in a note wanting to know if the impact of the Falcon Heavy launch and success was fully understood by members of congress. Casey talked about the high visibility of SpaceX and noted that the president often talks of SpaceX and the private launchers. This discussion then evolved to one focusing on SLS. Make sure you listen to this discussion because Casey focused on NASA risk certification for rockets and specific missions. This puts the usage of the Falcon 9, Falcon Heavy and someday the BFR in a different light. Let us know what you think of the risk assessment for the new rockets and missions that can fly on the new rocket. Post your comments and thoughts on our blog.
The James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) and continued delays was our next topic. Casey had much to say about the potential value and use of the telescope and the cause of the ongoing delays. He talked about the NASA Joint Confidence Level needing to be around 70%. Casey also explained the development and implementation of engineering changes and requirements. Again, don't miss this most interesting short discussion pertaining to JWST and the process used by NASA for something new and important like the JWST. At this point, we took the call from Mark that I mentioned earlier. He said human and robotic flight and missions, development, engineering, and such were the same. One needs the other.
Marshall was out next caller. Marshall wanted an update on SLS and doubted its success. He cited Saturn 5 development stats and time lines, comparing them to SLS so far. Casey had much to say about SLS, the need for it, what congress thought about it, and the ultimate success of the project. Marshall wanted to know the likelihood of congress canceling it, especially if the BFR started to fly. Casey talked about the "congressional love affair" with SLS and explained in detail why he did not think SLS would be cancelled. Listen carefully to what he said about SLS, congressional support and elections, high quality middle class jobs spread all over the place. Casey did say it was not the most efficient way to design and build a rocket but he talked about national needs, desired social outcomes plus the limitations for the BFR in terms of national needs and priorities. Again, post your comments on this on our blog for this show.
Our next topic dealt with the NASA 2018 budget. Casey had some very good things to say about it but did put forth the caution flags for following year NASA budgets. The budget discussion was followed by a question or two about the lack of a NASA administrator and what that actually means for the agency. Casey talked about a recent interview he did with Lori Garver on this issue. Don't miss what he said about the agency not having an administrator. What he said might surprise you. We then took a call from SLS John in Fort Worth who offered support for SLS over the BFR. Don't miss his call and the points he made in support of SLS.
As the program was about to end, an 11th hour question came in regarding the LOP-G project. Casey said a lot about it which can be summarized by the need for NASA to clarify many issues around the LOP-G. We also talked about humans going to the surface of the Moon but as you will hear, it sounded as if the choice was going to be one or the other. Don't miss our discussion which in many ways seconded what Marcia Smith said when she was recently a guest along with what others have said given there is not enough money to fund all the projects NASA has as its goals and says it will do.
Please post your comments/questions on TSS blog for this show. Casey can be reached through his site at the Planetary Society and his blog. Check it out at www.planetary.org/blogs/casey-dreier and at www.planetary.org/about/staff.