Broadcast 1350 (Special Edition)

24 Apr 2010 Dr. Jeff Bell
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Guest: Dr. Jeff Bell. Topics: space policy, space advocacy, human spaceflight. Dr. Jeff Bell returned to discuss space policy in light of the administration proposals. As you will hear in the this two hour interview, Dr. Bell had much to say that will irritate people on all sides of the issues and the space advocacy movement. So get comfortable listening to this program, listen carefully, and give thought to what Dr. Bell talks about. In our first segment, Dr. Bell referred to the Obama plan as Plan 1 and Plan 2. He even talked about the possibility of some of the issues in proposed policy changes finding their way to the courts for resolution. We then talked about Plan Bush and Jeff started speaking about the Orion part of Constellation. He referenced the Augustine Commission and said there simply was no funding levels for human spaceflight beyond LEO. He also said the five year time table in the Obama plan was too short and that we should probably defer human spaceflight for ten to twenty years to perfect new technologies that would get us to space at a significantly reduced cost. Dr. Bell took several listener questions about the impact of the US deferring human spaceflight for a decade or two. Listen to what he had to say about this action. When asked about the effort to go commercial, he suggested it was just paying different parties to do essentially the same thing. Toward the end of the first segment, the nuclear rocket came up for discussion. Jeff said it was not affordable and put forth a discussion detailing why the nuclear rocket was so costly. He addressed another listener question about policy taking too long, thus space policy has to be completed within a presidential term or the next president will change the policy again. Jeff disagreed with this listener and cited some examples of projects spanning different presidential administrations. At the end of this segment, he suggested there was no case to be made for going to Mars. As we started the second segment, he talked about robotic asteroid missions for planetary defense, not human missions. We talked about the Friday Washington Post editorial calling for the end of human spaceflight. In response to callers, Dr. Bell reiterated the need to stop human spaceflight until such time as new technologies exist to do it cheaper. During this segment, Jeff turned his attention to the space advocacy movement which he said had become more extreme and hostile as space policy becomes more questionable. He said there was no case for SSP and beamed power, going into this in some detail. We asked Dr. Bell about the X37B Air Force launch and then Dr. Bell talked about the need to move away from SRB boosters. He said the good thing in the Obama plan was the need to develop the kerosene engine which he thought might be possible within a five year time frame. As the show ended, he talked about space advocates having to learn to stop acting like 1960's sci fi programmed clones. Listen to his comments throughout the interview on this topic. He even urged space cadets to become deprogrammed by stopping to accept everything one reads and is told in the space news, on the space blogs, by organizations, etc. If you have comments or questions for Dr. Jeff Bell, please send them to me and I will forward them to Jeff. Be patient, Dr. Bell does not respond to all notes nor does he do so on a timely basis.

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