Broadcast 1348 (Special Edition)

21 Apr 2010 Gwynne Shotwell
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Guest: Gwynne Shotwell. Topics: Commercial crew, Falcon 9, human spaceflight, commercial launchers, SpaceX. Gwynne Shotwell, President of SpaceX, was our guest for this special full hour program in which we discussed SpaceX, Falcon 9, Falcon 1e, commercial launchers, space policy, safety and so much more. To learn more about SpaceX, please visit www.spacex.com. Ms. Shotwell started our discussion with a SpaceX overview. We initially focused on the Flight Termination System and how the Air Force decides to use the system if the rocket flight needs to be aborted. Gwynne said the Falcon 9 launch window was around May 8-9 but it might be later depending on several factors. We also asked about the initial Falcon 1e flight so note the schedules, launch sites, and plans. We then approached the subject of safety for crew riding the Falcon 9 or for that matter any commercial rocket. Ms. Shotwell had much to say on safety issues, she clarified many misconceptions about this issue, and explained what SpaceX and others were already doing and must do to comply with space regs. This is a detailed discussion so don't miss it. We also talked about the COTS program, Bigelow space stations, using other rockets for Dragon, and orbital space tourism. A listener asked about the safety requirements for NASA astronauts being the same for orbital space tourism. As you will hear, they are two different markets serving different customer needs. Another listener asked about reusability and refurbishing which Ms. Shotwell spoke about in some detail. Additionally, Gwynne made it clear that SpaceX is selling a service, not hardware. You will want to be sure to understand this distinction. Yet another question asked about SpaceX designing an SSTO. What was interesting here was the fact made very clear by Gwynne that for a commercial company and project, engaging in long term R&D is not usually something that is done as the focus has to be on the product/service to generate profits. Gwynne was asked about new engine development, launching Dragon on other US as well as foreign launchers. At the end of the interview, I asked about SpaceX hiring of new college grads and internship programs. She gave us a resounding YES to both and suggested that those interested send their resumes to dolly.singh@spacex.com and visit their career page at http://www.spacex.com/careers.php. Applicants need to be US Citizens or legal residents. Before signing off, Robert in Los Angeles asked her if SpaceX would be doing an IPO or remaining private. Don't miss her reply to this final question. If you have a comment or question for Gwynne Shotwell, please be concise and send it to gwynne@spacex.com.

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