Broadcast 685 (Special Edition)

14 Mar 2007 Dr. Jeff Bell
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Dr. Jeff Bell returned for this special Space Show program to discuss his March 7, 2007 article. "Rocket Plane Roulette." This article has caused quite a storm in certain New Space and blog circles. Dr. Bell has been criticized for his argument on the basis of his research methodology to his actual argument about possible safety and liability issues with companies making suborbital spaceplanes for tourists. If you have not yet done so, you can read his article at During the show, Jeff explained not only his methodology but also his point of view. He received several listener emails and chats that disagreed with him on his choice of vehicles, on his methodology and his basic argument about potential safety issues in this developing industry. Dr. Bell went on to make his case so listen to the discussion and make up your own mind as to issue of safety and the New Space rocket companies. He also talked about liability and the need for protection but without it, he stressed the possible negative consequences of an accident. Listeners emailed and chatted in that both supported what he was saying and disagreed with him. Again, you decide. We talked about spaceports and the seeming proliferation of them across the country. We had very interesting informed and expert listener commentary about the claimed economics of spaceports. It seems many of them may be far out in advance of the market. Dr. Bell did make strong statements such as saying that the companies were not concerned enough about safety. Listen to the show to his why he says this. He also said many in the industry and especially the activists are immature and a host of other adjectives. This sparked an uproar of sorts with the listeners and I fielded several questions taking Dr. Bell to task for his comments. Again, listen to his explanation for why he used strong descriptive words for activists and why he has his concerns about companies and spaceplane safety. We also talked about capitalization of small companies, undercapitalization, public discussion of safety plans and much more. At the end of the two hour program, Dr. Bell talked about the new Aviation Week article regarding Dr. Michael Griffin looking forward five years or so for NASA's and the VSE's future. You can download Dr. Griffin's paper at and I urge all of you to do this. He also talked about his upcoming piece of Yuri's Night celebrations, another article sure to cause a spirited discussion. I believe this to be an important program and discussion about important issues that investors, participants and companies all need to be concerned about. You can send your additional questions or comments to Dr. Bell through me at



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