Broadcast 1480 (Special Edition)

The Space Foundation Conference

19 Dec 2010 Dr. Al Koller
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Guest: Dr. Al Koller. Topics: Space workforce certification, space policy and leadership. Please note that you are invited to comment, ask questions, and rate this program on the new Space Show blog, http://thespaceshow.wordpress.com. We welcomed Dr. Al Koller to the program to discuss SpaceTEC, his company that provides space workforce training and certification. Find out more about the SpacTEC National Resource Center for Aerospace Technical Education by visiting www.spacetec.org. To download the video talked about on the program currently being aired on Direct TV, please use www.spacetec.org/videos.htm. To download the article I mentioned by Eliot Pulham, CEO of The Space Foundation, please visit http://newsletters.spacefoundation.org/spacewatch/articles/id/698. In our first segment, Dr. Koller began our discussion by honoring the 42nd anniversary of the Apollo 8 launch countdown and the Apollo 8 mission and astronauts. This discussion was followed by Dr. Koller's introduction of SpaceTEC and our learning about training and certifying aerospace workers. Dr. Koller described the program, how SpaceTEC designs the certification programs in partnership with government, industry, and academia so that those earning the certification are can do aerospace workers. He provided several examples of the certification training including composite work on the new Boeing Dreamliner passenger jet as well as programs geared toward Spaceport America in New Mexico. Later in this first segment, we started discussing our space program and the state of space policy in the country today. Our guest had much to say on this topic and I could not resist jumping in with my own thoughts on the state of our space program and corresponding space policy. As you will hear, we both commented on the current situation which has produced lots of unknowns, budget and program uncertainties, and even bickering and confusion within the space community. Trent from Australia wrote in to say that Augustine had put forth the goals of the program but Dr. Koller had a different take on Augustine and I suggested that what unfolded after Augustine had watered down any Augustine goals only to leave us in a wait and see status with more unknowns than knowns. Both Dr. Koller and I had much to say about this so do listen carefully and let us know what you think. As we started the second segment, Dr. Koller talked about how aviation and space were now blending together or starting to merge and how this trend was impacting the SpaceTEC educational and certification programs. Demand was now being created for a new class of aerospace technology worker, the "supertec." He predicted that a growing area for certification would be in the rules and regulations governing human spaceflight for 2012 and beyond. In responding to listener questions, Al talked about the space worker training in other countries. As you will hear, many use more engineers than we do so technical worker training or certification programs are not as common as here in the U.S. You don't want to miss his assessment of educational and worker training opportunities in China, Europe, and Russia. Other industrial areas discussed for advancing worker certification state of the art programs focused on the automotive industry sparked by a listener question, space tourism, and research and technology areas. Our guest provided us with some examples including the Liquid Air Back Pack and using KSC facilities as a commercial test center. In his closing comments, Dr. Koller had one wish which was to infuse middle and high school students with a STEM education to provide them with expanding opportunities via space and other disciplines. If you have a comment or question for Dr. Al Koller, please post it on the blog URL above. You can also email him at alkoller@gmail.com.

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