Broadcast 629 (Special Edition)

The Space Foundation Conference

24 Nov 2006 Mark Williamson
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Mark Williamson was the guest for this Space Show program. Mr. Williamson began the interview by talking about his new book published by AIAA, "Space: The Fragile Frontier," why he wrote it and why he had an interest in the subject of Earth orbital debris in conjunction with planetary protection, space law, ethics and a workable balance with space development and space environmental protection. Mark is clearly on the side of a doable, sustainable approach to space exploration and development, including private sector development, but he makes the case for balanced protective policies to assure private and development access to space. We talked about Earth's orbital environment in terms of debris and protection, both LEO and GEO. Mark then extended the discussion to include the Moon, NEOs, and other planetary bodies. We talked about hardware debris versus the type of debris that may result from indifferent private sector access and usage. Mark explained how much is already being done to mitigate debris in the way new hardware is made versus the way it was made during the early days of the space program. He explained that there are already voluntary protocols in place to mitigate many of the issues he wrote about in the book and discussed on this program. He discussed ethics, existing and future space law, emerging industries in countries such as China and India as they have robust space programs. He fielded questions on this subject from the listeners and we went through his book highlighting important chapters, charts, pictures, etc. This is an important topic, it is getting more and more attention from international regulatory and space policy making bodies, including the International Academy of Astronautics (IAA). Like it or not, this developing field will be part of our space development future so Mark's book and his work in this area is important to consider and understand. If you have follow up questions or comments for Mark Williamson, please send them to me at drspace@thespaceshow.com and I will forward them to him.

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