Broadcast 943 (Special Edition)

The Space Foundation Conference

12 May 2008 Robert Zimmerman
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Guest: Robert Zimmerman was the guest for this program to discuss his new book about the Hubble Space Telescope (HST), "The Universe In A Mirror: The Saga of the Hubble Space Telescope and the Visionaries Who Built It." This is an excellent book, a must read for those of you who want to know more about the HST. Having read the book and after talking to Bob, it's easy to realise that there is still much to learn about HST's history, from CCD cameras to mirrors and NASA contracting. The information in the book about the mirror error and how it got so far through the system is fascinating. We talk about this on air. Bob also talked about the personalities involved, Spitzer, O'Dell, and others. Listeners asked questions about the upgrades that will soon be made to Hubble and the likelihood of the project being cancelled at some point in the future. Listen to why Zimmerman thinks Hubble is bullet-proof and see if you concur. During our discussion about Hubble and his excellent book, Bob spoke about the inspiration derived from Hubble and he received some listener questions about this issue. You will want to hear this discussion. His early history of Hubble, some of the engineering issues and even comparisons with NASA issues that led to the Challenger accident are all there and you will want to hear what he has to say because the mirror problem was part of the same system that led to Challenger. Later in the show, we talked about presidential space policy and politics, the private sector versus NASA for space transportation and advancements in the field, market makers such as Bigelow, and the need to have human exploration over virtual reality or anything else. Bob kept repeating over and over during this show how the debate has already been concluded. The answer is Americans want to go to space. Do you agree? Listen and let us know your thoughts. In response to listener questions, Bob did not think that the space policy of either of the presidential candidates could kill the space program and he even went so far as to say that even a President Obama would find it very difficult and challenging to dismantle NASA or substantially weaken the space program. Among the many reasons for his thoughts included the jobs involved in various congressional districts which would not be put at risk by members of Congress. You can learn more about Bob Zimmerman at his website, http://members.bellatlantic.net/~vze3cxxp/zimbib.htm. If you want to send him questions or comments or inquire about his book, use zimmerman@nasw.org.

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