Broadcast 2140 (Special Edition)

The Space Foundation Conference

Feedback: What did you think of this show?: 

Guest: Dr. Wendell Mendell. Topics: His 50 years at NASA, the Moon, lunar base work, congress & more. Please direct all comments and questions regarding Space Show programs/guest(s) to the Space Show blog, 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 We welcomed Dr. Wendell Mendell back to the show for this two hour discussion (no break) about his 50 years at NASA JSC, lunar bases, commercial space, return to the Moon, the value of the Moon, our space program, space advocacy, commercial space, and lots more. Dr. Mendell came to work at JSC in 1963 &will be retiring at the end of this year, culminating 50 years at JSC. During our discussion, Dr. Mendell used lots of stories from his NASA and lunar base work experience to illustrate issues with space policy, NASA, our Congress, and space advocacy, & advanced technology. Listeners had lots of specific questions for Wendell about lunar bases, water on the Moon and its commercial exploitation, commercial lunar programs, and NASA having a lunar program which Dr. Mendell said it did not. Dr. Mendell spoke to some of the NASA organizational issues, congressional micromanagement issues and problems, and the nation's overall economic problems as a reason for not doing this or that in space. He cited such economic problems as a rational excuse for not doing something meaningful in space in almost every year of his 50 years of NASA experience. The same for threatened, proposed, or even real NASA budget cuts. Later in the segment when caller Doug called in with his lunar water and development ideas, Dr. Mendell pointed to conflicting LCROSS analysis as to water being on the Moon. Russian instruments do not say the same thing as the Los Alamos instruments and he said this was & still is a hotly debated topic in the lunar community. As Doug continued talking about his plan, Dr. Mendell backed him up, took him step by step through the process of accomplishing his many goals. This turned out to be a very valuable instructional discussion that all of us can and should benefit from. Make sure you hear how Wendell breaks down Doug's points to show the complexities and challenges of each incremental step in what Doug was proposing. Our guest even showed Doug where some of his steps needed commercial technogly which does not exist! Doug's rocket of choice is the Falcon Heavy, a rocket which does not yet exist, nor does it have real numbers behind it. Wendell used this discussion to distinguish true believers from investor and commercial analysts. He then said when the believer is also able to bring his own money to the venture, things can get done and he cited SpaceX as an example. Later Doug asked by email if NASA could help private companies develop cislunar transportation as they have helped private companies provide launch services to LEO/GEO. The simple answer was yes but make sure you hear Dr. Mendell's complete answer to this question. Another issue discussed was the needed timeline to do a human Moon mission. Wendell described the times of Apollo as compared to the times of NASA today. We talked about the importance of a better and different NASA and RTM story and again, Dr. Mendell illustrated his points with stories from his past experience. Spanning 50 years of history and experience was not easy to do in even a two hour Space Show program. As you listen to the program, you will hear many more subjects, stories, and issues discussed than stated in this summary. In the end, I believe NASA, our nation, and the effort to develop space has been served incredibly well by Dr. Wendell Mendell and his creativity, his drive, his analysis, his commitment, and his work will be genuinely missed by all. The Space Show wishes Wendell all the best for his coming retirement, gives him a hearty THANK YOU for his service, and we will remain in contact with him and hope to have him back with us at a future time. Post your comments/questions on The Space Show blog above. You can email Dr. Mendell through me.



WARNING: Using Disqus Comments on the Space Show:

To ensure your comments do NOT get caught in the Disqus automatic spam filter systemplease login to your Disqus account or create a verified/approved Disqus account.

Posting multiple URL links WILL TRIGGER the Disqus automatic spam filter system.

10 Dec 2013 Dr. Wendell Mendell
Your Amazon Purchases Helps Support TSS/OGLF (see

The Space Show Toll Free Number is only available on live broadcast programs. Please call 1-866-687-7223

  • moonwards-logo

  • The Space Foundation Conference

  • The Space Foundation Conference