Broadcast 1239 (Special Edition)

The Space Foundation Conference

13 Oct 2009 Dr. David Livingston
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Guest: Open Lines. Topics: why human spaceflight, NASA, Fox News, making the case for space, different paths to space development. In the first segment of this Open Lines program, I talked about making the compelling case for human spaceflight. I mentioned a blog article on this subject on where blogger Ken said that the case was being made all the time. I talked about my responses and those of a few others commenting on Ken's article saying it was not so. I then told about hearing comments on Fox News broadcasts regarding LCROSS by Shepard Smith and Neil Cavuto saying that with that was going on in the country today, all of this money spent on space seemed inappropriate. I used these Fox News commentator comments to illustrate that we were not doing a good job of making a compelling case for space let alone human spaceflight to the general public. Before going to the phone lines, I brought up some questions sent me by listener Kelly asking why it costs NASA so much more to do various things today as compared to doing similar things years and decades ago. I threw Kelly's four specific questions to the audience to comment on during the show. Caller Douglas Mallette called in to talk about the compelling reason for human spaceflight and he mentioned his new book, "Turning Point." I disagreed with much of what Doug talked about but we had a good discussion that you don't want to miss. This topic became the program theme for the rest of the show. We started the second segment with a call from Charles Pooley saying that the path to space development was with his Microlaunchers concept, a concept he has spoken about before on The Space Show. He suggested we table human spaceflight until we work our way back to it through the microlaunches step by step process that eventually takes us back to putting humans in space. He compares the microlauncher idea to the start of the computer industry with micro computers serving as the business model. When asked what he would do with NASA in his plan, he said it should become like the old NACA butt that it would be largely irrelevant. Charles then updated us on the Lunar Lander Challenge with the four contestants in the Mojave area. In the third and final segment, listener Kelly called in to argue that NASA being a jobs program is not something we want to see happen but we are at risk of that being the purpose of NASA at this time. We had phone line noise with Kelly's call, but he was on long enough to take issue with some of the statements made by the other callers. I read several of the listener emails regarding their having seen the Fox News videos regarding the Cavuto comments or the actual live broadcasts. The listeners agreed that we needed to do a much better job in making the case for space than we have been doing. Toward the end of the show, I read the new lunar development proposal by Buzz Aldrin, a copy of which I had received earlier in the day from The Moon Society. You can see his full proposal on lunar development by visiting the websites I mentioned on air. If you have a question or comment for any of the callers to this Open Lines show, please send it to me at and I will forward it to the person of your request. I welcome your general comments and feedback as always.



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