Broadcast 1412 (Special Edition)

The Space Foundation Conference

19 Aug 2010 Paul O. Wieland
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Guest: Paul O. Wieland. Topics: Space as a problem solver, opportunities in space. We welcomed Paul O. Wieland to the program to discuss his book, "Crossing The Threshold: Advancing Into Space To Benefit The Earth." You can purchase this book from the One Giant Leap Foundation Amazon Partners page at or and Amazon will make a contribution to The Space Show. In our first segment, Paul talked about the genesis for the idea for his book which dated back to January 2000 with a phone call from a staffer in the Clinton administration. When I asked him what he thought about the VSE when it was announced, his comment was "DejaVu!" I suspect many of you will agree with him when you hear his story. He then said the book works to focus on the next ten years as we need to have critical technology development for human space flight and its challenges. He also talked about why this was so important and he certainly made the case for it in his book. Our topic switched to full utilization of the ISS and he said he outlined a program in his book, The International Space Decade. Paul mentioned global issues, cooperation, and he then received a question from a Denver listener about the possibility of adverse consequences on space spending due to our economy and the global economy. Before the end of the first segment, Paul talked about the high cost of space access as a barrier and ways to get around that through the program he described in the book regarding the government guaranteeing to purchase 1,000 space launches over a decade for $15 million per launch. We talked about this in some details so let us know what you think of the idea. In the second segment, we talked about new ideas for space access and Paul focused on the space elevator and then nuclear propulsion, specifically talking about NERVA. Paul also referenced the potential of airships to orbit. We had a caller from Pool, England who wanted to know more about nuclear propulsion and NERVA. Toward the end of this segment, I asked Paul about timelines for his suggested programs to go into place and about space solar power. For the third and final segment of today's show, we started talking about challenges and international compatibility of various space hardware between the US and another country. Paul cited water purification systems using iodine and others using silver. He did talk about space vision which was also an important part of his book, saying that vision comes from the top down. He said while space does not hold all the answers to the problems we face today, it can certainly help address and mitigate them. We then talked about interest, awareness, and culture and several listeners emailed in their thoughts on these issues, getting more interest in space among the general public and our members of congress. I could not help ranting about the challenges we have with long duration projects given the way we fund and do things on the short term and for the next election cycle. Paul has a website for his book, If you have a comment or question for him, you can email him at



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