Broadcast 2357 (Special Edition)

The Space Foundation Conference

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Guests: Webinar with Rick Boozer, John Hunt. Topics: Our guests debated the merits of the SLS rocket. 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 For those listening to archives using and rating the programs, please email me as to why you assign a specific rating to the show. This will help me bring better programming to the audience. We welcomed Rick Boozer and John Hunt to the program for our special WEBINAR SLS Debate. You can hear the audio only for this debate as you would any Space Show program. The video can be found on our Vimeo Space Show Channel, Regarding the video, my microphone lock was not working so you will see the mic swing to in front of my face from time to time. Also, I look down a bit as I take notes to be able to summarize the discussion. These issues will be corrected for the next webinar. Rick's book on the subject, "The Plundering of NASA: An Expose" is available on Amazon. If you purchase the book and I hope you do, please use the OGLF/Space Show Amazon portal so Amazon will make a contribution to TSS. Instructions are on the website, the blog, and all program archive summaries. During the first segment of our two hour webinar, both John and Rick made five minute opening statements followed by a 2.5 minute rebuttal of the position statement by the other guest. Rick Boozer does not support SLS and John Hunt does support it. John went first, putting forth a good summary of why he supports SLS, the benefits it provides, and the importance of the project. Rick's opening statement outlined why he opposes the SLS rocket, calling it an "existential threat." He also said SLS was a "rocket to nowhere." The opening statements provided the basic positions for both guests as they debated all aspects of SLS so do carefully listen to their respective position comments. We took both calls and emails from listeners. Evon emailed in wanting to know what the money saved from SLS would best be spent on. John pointed out that there was no assurance that any savings would even be spent on space let alone his priorities. While Rick agreed, he did list several projects he felt far more deserving of funding, including using the funds to speed up the commercial crew program since it has never been funded to the level requested by the President. Rick took the opportunity to bring up cost plus contracting and why it was not suitable for a more mature manufacturing project, instead being best suited for R&D projects. He said that was a driver in the high cost of SLS. In contrast, John cited his aviation experience with the A12 and P7 aircraft using fixed price contracts, cancellations, and more. Dr. Doug sent in a note asking about the fundamental need for a heavy lift rocket. Our guests had a different take on Doug's question so listen to how they answered it. Rick pointed out the advantages of the SpaceX Falcon Heavy as compared to the initial SLS version. In fact, comparisons to Falcon Heavy plus future SpaceX plans and public remarks made by Elon Musk were cited frequently by Rick throughout the program. John, while applauding the SpaceX accomplishments so far, strongly suggested that we see what the performance actually is on the SpaceX rockets yet to be tested & flown. John said we should not be in a hurry to cancel SLS in favor of unproven and as of yet nonexistent technology. Tim from Huntsville called during this segment to inquire about SLS in light of Falcon 9 success, reusability success and more. John suggested that reusability would be an important step forward but wanted to wait to see what it looked like when & if it becomes operationally successful. In the second half of our webinar, Dr. Doug called & inquired about both the Falcon 9 and Falcon Heavy as compared to SLS. Rick referenced an Elon Musk MIT video talk, Rick referenced this talk several times during this segment. Rick also said SLS would not be going anywhere as there was no budget for its completion. He cited the references to back up his claims. Doug also inquired about public/private partnerships, ULA working with Blue Origin, and ULA with Masten. Andrew sent in an email asking each guest to outline a viable sequence of launch vehicle development and payloads using what hardware. John took the opportunity to reply to Rick's budget comments and said there was no way to know what a future congress and administration would do and he listed the rational for keeping SLS going given our state of uncertainty with many space and international issues. Jerry called from Florida to inquire about the SpaceX super heavy rocket with methane engines as well as the possibility of using a Dragon as a lander. Adrian emailed a question to our guests wondering if the Chinese lunar program would create a space race or urgency here in the U.S. Rick then talked about the likelihood of SpaceX getting to deep space before NASA & this would be an embarrassment for NASA and the SLS/Orion gang. John did agree that if that happened, it would be an embarrassment for NASA. Kirk emailed in asking Rick about his opening statement when he said SLS would cause the US to rely on Russian in ways other than eating into the commercial budget. He wanted Rick to tell us the other ways such Russian reliance might unfold. Listen to how Rick responded to Kirk's question. Each of our guests provided us with an excellent five minute closing statement. Rick said the situation was very serious and had the potential to adversely impact the prominence and leadership of the U.S. Don't miss his concluding comments. John reminded us that SLS was the program of record approved on a bipartisan basis, that it was important to have heavy lift capability, and that it preserved skills, work force talent, and needed capabilities for the nation for times when space would be better appreciated & valued. He said the problems with SLS were all solvable & would be solved as the project moved forward. Rick quickly got in a question on what capabilities were needed and being preserved! Please post your comments/questions on TSS blog. You can reach each guest through me.



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16 Nov 2014 Rick Boozer, John Hunt
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