Broadcast 1345 (Special Edition)

The Space Foundation Conference

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Guest: Mark Whittington. Topics: Administration space policy, lunar resources, why space? Mark Whittington, author and journalist, returned to discuss the Administration's space policy. You can follow Mark's at,, and at the Houston Examiner. As we started our first segment, Mark summarized the history of President Obama and space. He looks at education, the ISS, Augustine, and all the components of space policy that the President has talked about over the past few years. We then talked about commercial space and he said the administration program did not go far enough in that he thinks the government should commit to and help develop private markets for the commercial players so they are not dependent only on a government client that makes all the rules. Listeners asked if it was the government's responsibility to develop private markets for any business or industry. Before the segment ended, we talked about the transition to commercial and should it be softened somehow. In the second segment, Mark suggested that the administration was not interested in space exploration and they were engaged in a ruse. He then brought up returning to the Moon, especially because of the recent international science missions that have confirmed water on the Moon and other resources that could be used in a lunar base and more. While some of you will find his comments controversial, listen carefully and let him know what you think. We also talked about the NASA budget in response to a listener question and the overall condition of the US economy and human priorities needed today. He made it clear that the NASA budget does not drive or create the nation's deficit and even if the NASA budget were doubled, it would be insignificant in comparison to the trillions being spent on all sorts of government programs and projects. With regards to technology R&D, Mark suggested that it needs to focus on specifics which it does not do. Mark then returned to outlining the case for going to the Moon. As for other policies that should be implement to help develop space markets, he suggested Zero G Zero Tax, and making the entire field of space development an Enterprise Zone. The subject of the GAP came up and we talked about continuing shuttle. Mark explained why that was not a good idea. Marshall asked about exporting jobs to Russia to fly us to the ISS. The same for questions around Orion, Orion Lite, EELV, SpaceX, Orbital, and Sierra Nevada. As we started the third and final segment, I asked Mark about the MIT Newsletter article he posted on his blog by Keith Yost at John from Atlanta called to talk about the shuttle, we then talked about the F1 engine and the Saturn V, and a liquid fueled fly back booster. We got a question from a Denver listener challenging Mark and all of us on the value of space for the average person. Mark cited history with Prince Henry the Navigator before Columbus and resources available on the Moon and in space. We also talked about infrastructure, commercial opportunities and more. Ernie called in to suggest people get politically involved and lobby both parties for good space policy. As the show was winding down, I asked Mark for his policy recommendations which you will hear. We talked about his books, "Children of Apollo" and "The Last Moonwalker." At the end of the show, John in Montana asked Mark why he liked to get in the face of and tweak so many space cadets. This was an entertaining discussion but I think I could summarize it by saying people need to be better listeners, myself included. Mark shared with us excellent closing comments so listen carefully to his tweak comments and his pearls of wisdom. If you have a question or comment for Mark Whittington, you can email him at



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17 Apr 2010 Mark Whittington
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  • The Space Foundation Conference

  • The Space Foundation Conference

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