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Guest: Gary Oleson; Topic: Gary's August 18, 2020 SpaceNews article "A critical mission for human spaceflight: a quest for value."
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We welcomed Gary Oleson back to the program to discuss the central thesis of his SpaceNews Op-Ed, "A critical mission for human spaceflight: a quest for value." There is a link to the article on our blog for this show but I have taken the liberty of repeating the link here: https://spacenews.com/commentary-a-critical-mission-for-human-spaceflight-a-quest-for-value. I urge you to read Gary's article before listening to this interview as almost all of our discussion was based on what Gary wrote in this excellent op-ed. Briefly, Gary argues that for the most part, our space program has been and is based on political patronage with political value, not economic value. He suggests we need real economic value with goals and actual results or performance to assure space being relevant for the population and our future. We spent most of our discussion talking about economic value, government space as compared to private space, costs, human spaceflight concerns, values and economics and lots more.
As with other Space Show program, perhaps the best way to summarize the discuss is to simply repeat the key words and tags here in the body of the summary. The tags are listed in the order discussed during the program.
Tags/Key Words: SpaceNews Op-Ed, "A critical mission for human spaceflight: a quest for value," Apollo program, Chinese Treasure Fleets, political patronage, ISS< space advocacy, political clout, population top priorities, lack of space interest, Earth Science, SpaceX, Artemis, human spaceflight lacking value, Starship, Blue Origins, space based retirement communities for value, space tourism, radiation challenges, microgravity, propellant, lunar surface vs. free space, solar observation satellites, ISS and economic value, sustainability compared with economic value, commercial space stations, cost reductions for HSF & more, expanded big vision, TRLs, NASA research value, SSP, Decadal Survey, Chinese space program, human lunar mission, opposition to space program due to no value, international relationship value, space settlements.
We had multiple listener phone calls which led to several excellent discussion. Our first call came from Dr. Doug who talked about adding real value with the success of Starship. Gary agreed but they covered other topics as well. Following Dr. Doug, Marshall called to discuss economic value coming from the solar observation industry including the solar satellites. Gary talked about Earth Science as creating direct economic value along with SpaceX and other commercial entities. They did mention that at this time human spaceflight had no economic value as almost all of the economic value comes with humans in space comes from the ISS. During the balance of the first segment to the beginning part of the second segment, we had multiple email listener comments and questions that you will want to hear as I read all of them on air. I added the email comments and main topics to the tags and key words.
Later in the second segment, Ft. Worth John called. He suggested things took a turn downward as to creating economic value when the Soviets did not go to the Moon. He said there was a possibility that the Chinese might spark a competitive space race with the US which would result in the public seeing and realizing economic value from space, particularly with a human mission. Listen to their discussion on Artemis, returning to the Moon to stay, the Chinese space program with potential impact and consequences on our space program and nation.
Before the program ended, I mentioned to Gary some of the negative space articles saying that space was of no importance and value that I have seen and mentioned on The Space Show since the lockdowns and the pandemic started. I referenced this material because in a way these articles and authors supported what Gary was saying in that the public was not seeing economic value from what we were doing in space. While the articles are small in number and likely represent a very small part of the population, depending on how things play out with space in the coming weeks and months ahead, such articles and thinking might suggest a dangerous or at least risky trend for space development and exploration.
In summarizing our program, Gary mentioned that international partners and relationships add to the value stream but not necessarily to patronage. He again mentioned options and opportunities for having commercial space stations once the ISS has been retired. Gary quickly mentioned space settlement which he thought would have excellent economic value for the population plus he said our TRL for space settlements was close at hand. Don't miss all of his concluding comments, especially those pertinent to space settlements.
Please post your comments/questions on TSS blog for this program. You can reach Mr. Oleson through me or our blog.