Broadcast 3021 Robert (Bob) Zimmerman

  • The Space Foundation Conference

  • The Space Foundation Conference

  • The Space Foundation Conference

  • The Space Foundation Conference

The Space Foundation Conference

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Guest: Robert (Bob) Zimmerman; Topics: Bob's new sci-fi book "Pioneer," small sat rocket industry, rocket race, space telescopes, heavy lift, policy, NASA, national security, SpaceX, BFR, A/2017/ U1 & more.  Please direct all comments and questions regarding specific Space Show programs & guest(s) to the Space Show blog which is part of archived program on our website,  Comments and questions should be relevant to the specific Space Show program. Written Transcripts of Space Show programs are a violation of our copyright and are not permitted without prior written consent, even if for your own use. We do not permit the commercial use of Space Show programs or any part thereof, nor do we permit editing, YouTube clips, or clips placed on other private channels & websites. Space Show programs can be quoted, but the quote must be cited or referenced using the proper citation format. Contact The Space Show for further information. In addition, please remember that your Amazon purchases can help support The Space Show/OGLF. See

We welcomed back Bob Zimmerman for his last Space Show program of 2017.  During our two segment 1 hour 59 minute program, we covered lots of topics and took multiple listener phone calls. Toward the end with the call from Ft. Worth John, we got a bit wild over EmDrive, national security, government corruption and congressional sleaze but more about that later.  First, our initial topic was Bob's new e-book which is a sci-fi book, "Pioneer."  You can get it on Amazon or B&N or from Bob's website.  Remember, if you order it from Amazon, please use TSS/OGLF portals so that Amazon will make a contribution to The Space Show out of the purchase price.  Find out more about this by clicking the Amazon link on TSS home page.  Bob discussed his book and the basic theme but there was no need for a spoiler alert.  This is a book Bob had written years ago and forgotten about it.  He brought it back to life without any changes in it and published it as an e-book.  His storyline seemed most interesting and as you will hear, I checked the Amazon reviews and there were many five star reviews for the book.  If you get it and read it, let us know your thoughts about it on the next OL show or on a future Zimmerman Space Show program.

Our next topic was the Rocket Race as Bob as described it.  This was an unofficial race as Bob named it, to see what country will have more launches for 2017, Russia or the US. So far it is a neck and neck race.  All the Russian rockets are government rockets and totaled together for the Russian number.  Most of the US launches are from SpaceX.  Bob also said we were entering a golden age for the launch industry and multiple times during our program he cited the small dedicated launchers coming on line for 2018.  He talked about Rocket Lab, Vector, and Virgin Orbit.  You will hear more about this when he was talking about what to look forward to for 2018.

The launch of the first Falcon Heavy came up a few times along with SpaceX plans for the rocket given Elon's comments in Australia.  How long will they use it and the Falcon 9.  In addition, Bob talked about not yet having the Falcon 9 Block 5 which is needed for human spaceflight.  Bob referenced the BE4 engine by Blue Origin.  From there, Bob was asked about NASA and the nomination and needed senate confirmation of Rep. Bridenstine.  Bob was not so enthusiastic about Rep. Bridenstine but did have multiple things to say about NASA, the Administrator position and the probable focus of doing most if not all things via Public Private Partnerships. 

The National Space Council meeting came up with a question asking Bob if we will get an official return to the Moon policy.  Bob gave us his version of the first Space Council meeting, ten talked about SLS possible misgiving rumbling on the Hill.  This was followed by our first caller of the evening, Marshall.  Marshall, picking up where he left off from OL this past Sunday, talked about the JWST, larger rockets and heavy lift for larger payloads for larger space telescope.  Marshall and Bob talked about the potential of private space telescopes in the future along with private planetary mission. In this context, he mentioned the plans put forth by Yuri Milner to go to Enceladus on a search for life mission.

We were about to take a break when another call came in so I deferred the break for the caller.  Jerry was on the line from Merritt Island and it was good to hear from him again.  We talked about SpaceX, Jerry's favorite topic and an area of expertise for him.  Jerry and Bob spoke about the BFR, possible point to point transportation, Falcon Heavy and how long it might remain operational and the Raptor engine and second stage discussion. Bob commented that SLS was on a death knell trajectory. Not a surprising comment given Bob's well published views on SLS.

For the second segment we started talking about our recent interstellar visitor that goes by the official name Oumuamual (A/2017 U1).  Bob had some comments about it, finding it and the likelihood of more of these objects to be discovered because of our advancing technology.  I used the opportunity to talk about the recent press reports of strange lights being sighted off the ISS, over London's Heathrow Airport and elsewhere but Bob dismissed them all.  He then gave us a Mars rover report for the status and activity of both Curiosity and Opportunity. 

Ft. Worth John was our next caller.  He wanted to taunt Bob on SLS so said SLS was here to stay.  John then spoke about the interstellar visitor and somehow we got to talking about EmDrive.  Bob was highly skeptical that EmDrive was real.  John had some interesting things to say and I reported on what many Space Show guests have said about and why it does not violate conservation of momentum.  Bob referenced it in connection with earlier efforts to build and scam people with perpetual motion machines.  We talked about the possibility that EmDrive might be under study in the classified community.  In this context, I asked aloud how they keep national security secrets such as Zuma for example or the mini-space shuttle X-37B.  Bob said that in the national security world, leakers would go to jail  for leaking which is unlike what happens on the political side and with politicians.  The three of us then had some laughs with the lack of accountability for leaks and national security breaches on the political and congressional side in addition to another of my rants, this one very short, about congress critters using our tax dollars to pay off congressional harassment claims for their sleazy behavior and then keeping us, we who paid these claims, in the dark as to who had to pay the claims out of the slush fund.  Evidently, the classified military and national security side of things has far greater and tighter controls to not leak than other parts of our government.  As for sleazy behavior, well, it is human but it is also disgusting, especially if we tax payers fund the consequences of such bad behavior.  During this secondary discussion, Bob went back in history to reference comments by Alexis de Tocqueville on one of his visits to the US in the mid 1800's.  Bob said his comments about how we saw politicians was as relevant then as it was today.

As our program was ending, I asked Bob what we should look for in the remaining month of 2017.  He said Falcon Heavy but we should now be looking toward 2018.  He said there would probably be revolutionary small launcher growth for 2018 with the new companies coming on line.  He could not stop talking about this potential.  He said we would definitely see a division with human space flight or manned missions and the unmanned, especially with the small satellites.  His final comment was about the New Horizons Jan. 1, 2019 flyby of MU 69 in the Kuiper Belt.

Please post your comments/questions on TSS blog.  You can reach Bob Zimmerman through me or his excellent website,  




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21 Nov 2017 Robert Zimmerman
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