Broadcast 1657 (Special Edition)

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Guest: Mark Whittington. Topics: An overview of the space development, exploration, financial, and policy at this time, civil and commercial. You are invited to comment, ask questions, and discuss the Space Show program/guest(s) on the Space Show blog, Comments, questions, and any discussion must be relevant and applicable to Space Show programming. Transcripts of Space Show programs are not permitted without prior written consent from The Space Show (even if for personal use) & are a violation of the Space Show copyright. We welcomed back Mark Whittington to the program. Mark's blog, Curmudgeons Corner can be read at In starting our discussion, I asked Mark for his assessment of space policy, space development, commercial space, and space markets as of today. Also, issues surrounding capital acquisition. The word that came to mind in giving us his take on things was dysfunctional. Mark then talked about the recently passed NASA Minibus FY 12 funding bill which provided NASA with a $17.9 billion but reduced commercial crew to $406 million. We talked about the impact of this funding level on commercial crew and possibly only selecting one company to be funded. We talked about SLS, the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST), and the expected outlay for two years of buying rides to the ISS on the Soyuz. Returning to the Moon came up and Mark provided us with updated information from the Europeans because for them, returning to the Moon is a priority. Other issues discussed in this segment included astronaut safety, NASA risk taking, low cost space access, and a comparison of astronaut risk to military fighter pilot risk. Mark then introduced us to predatory budgeting which he discussed in the context of SLS. At the end of the segment, Mark had some things to say about the Phobos-Grunt mission and the Chinese space program. In the second segment, Mark provided us with a short summary of the space policy, as much as it is known, for those seeking the office of president next year. He spent the most time on Newt's probable space policy because the most is known about his policy. He also talked about the space policy for President Obama in another term or from Hilary were she to replace Mr. Obama on the ballot. It is an interesting overview, limited only to their space perspectives and nothing else. Next, Mark talked about space advocacy and some problems he sees with it. As we were nearing the end of the program, Space X was a discussion topic along with some of the other developing commercial companies. He talked about problems associated with taking government money. One of the final listener questions dealt with a big dumb booster, Mars Science Lab, and the Curiosity rover. Please post your comments/questions for Mark Whittington on The Space Show blog URL above.



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21 Nov 2011 Mark Whittington
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