Broadcast 2725 Dr. Doug Plata

  • The Space Foundation Conference

  • The Space Foundation Conference

  • The Space Foundation Conference

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The Space Foundation Conference

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Guest:  Dr. Doug Plata;  Topics:  Space budgets and human spaceflight, the Apollo era, propulsion, Moon vs. Mars, advocacy strategy, and much 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 Dr. Doug Plata back to the show to discuss many topics including the Moon vs. Mars, lunar return advantages, advocacy strategies, technology and much more.  During the first segment of our 1 hour 58 minute discussion, Doug talked about there being no silver bullet for rationalizing human spaceflight (HSF), then he addressed budget issues referring back to the Apollo budget.  We also talked about his Lunar Cots Petition which you can see and sign at  You do not want to miss this HSF budget discussion.

In addition, Doug addressed the rational for HSF, asking if it was worth the price. To help him answer this, he provided us with a cost benefit analysis and questioned the degree public support was needed.  He also talked about how hard it was to influence culture though I cited two examples that had greatly impacted our culture regarding space and Mars, SpaceX and Mars One. 

Kim called from Mexico to discuss Doug's Apollo budget comments, BLEO HSF and much more.  They had a very interesting discussion with Doug pushing for doing more with less because of technology.  This is a must listen to discussion. 

Doug brought in propulsion options mentioning SEP (solar electric propulsion), solar cells, a nuclear rocket and more.  Later he talked about propellants from the Moon and the idea of commercial markets for HSF.

In the second segment, we talked more about the idea of making a profit with HSF.  Most of what we talked about related to spaceflight participants agreeing to do some sort of human or biological research while in space.  Doug said he did not see space settlement and BLEO HSF as being profitable at this time.  He said that would be challenging. 

We switched to the topic of creating a space transportation backbone with low cost to LEO.  Doug talked about the low cost possibilities using a reusable first stage Falcon Heavy.  He also spoke about the possibility of reusable space ferries.  Another way of lowering mission cost was to extend the stay of the crew. 

Doug switched to the Moon Mars debate and the use of simulations.  I asked him if he had heard either the Explore Mars Conference talk by Dr. Larry Kuznetz or Larry's FISO talk because in the first part of his talk and slide show he explains why he thinks a return to the Moon would be worthless. You can hear Part One of his June 8, 2016 FISO talk and see his slides at  His talk runs slightly more than one hour.  What do you think? Moon or Mars?  Let us know with your comments on TSS blog.  Doug and I talked about doing a Moon vs. Mars debate if Dr. Kuznetz was willing to do so. Stay tuned to see if this can be scheduled.  Also, let me know if you would like to hear such a debate.

Doug spoke to other issues such as life support, partial gravity, long term centrifuge use in space and the similarities and preferences between say a lunar scientific base and a lunar settlement.  This too is a very interesting discussion. 

Near the end of the program, Doug and I discussed Doug's space advocacy strategy which I completely supported.  As you will hear, Doug has decided to put more time and energy into getting his ideas in front of policy makers or those with an ability to influence policy.  As I said, I liked his new strategy.  What do you think?  Please let us know on the blog.

Doug offered us concluding comments regarding HSF and more.  Don't miss them.  If you want to volunteer to work with Doug or if you want to get in touch with him, you can email him at  Please post your comments/questions in the comments section for this program on TSS website.




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24 Jun 2016 Dr. Doug Plata
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  • The Space Foundation Conference

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  • The Space Foundation Conference