Broadcast 3609 Doug Messier

  • 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:  Doug Messier;  Topics:  A look at big space 2020 issues plus we look ahead to 2021.  Use the tags and key words for the outline of discussed topics.

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Doug Messier of was welcomed back to The Space Show to examine space 2020 in the shadow of the pandemic plus we took a look ahead to examine the probable key events for 2021.  During our two part 98 minute discussion, we covered multiple topics, some in great detail.  As we have been doing of late, use the tags and key words to tell you our discussion topics and the general order of discussion.  Some of the topics were the focus of a more intense discussion and review.  One example of this was the New Mexico State Financial Audit of Spaceport America based on complaints received about spaceport operations.  The audit report was made public so you can find it here:  In discussing the audit report, Doug quoted from it extensively and it was not good news for either the  spaceport or those involved with the spaceport.  I suggest listeners not only hear what Doug said concerning the audit and its contents but to read the full audit for all the details.  Your blog comments regarding Spaceport America are certainly welcome.  I will post the audit report link on the blog for this program to help listeners access it. I believe Doug will soon have it posted to his Parabolic Arc site as well.  It goes without saying this audit report is clearly not good news for Spaceport America.  We will continue to stay on this and look to Doug and other good reporters to keep us informed of developments with Spaceport America and New Mexico.

As for summarizing our full discussion, once again follow the key words and tags as not only do they represent the topics but the order things were discussed.  I do realize the spaceport audit has been presented in this summary out of sequence but I deem it a most important topic and takeaway from our discussion.  Thus, top billing for the Spaceport America story.

Here are the tags/key words: 

Doug Messier, Parabolic Arc, SpaceX F9 Vandenberg launch, Starlink discussion, Tesla stock value, One Webb, India, the U.K. Telesat Canada, Spire Global, NOAH, GeoOptics Canada, IoT, FCC regulatory concerns, Tesla expectations, human spaceflight, 2020 big space news stories, Hayabusa2, Virgin Galactic, Virgin Galactic test flight program, Spaceport America financial audit, Covid 19 impact on space, global launches 2020, Biden Administration and Artemis, NASA Earth Science Budget, China's lunar return mission, European smallsat constellations, 5 G, small launch vehicles, Starship flights for 2020 and 2021, Crew Dragon, Firefly, Virgin Orbit, James Webb, commercial space possible bottlenecks, NASA CLIPS program, 2021 China's space station, space tourism, Mars 2021 missions, Blue Origin questions, Alan Stern on a Virgin Galactic flight, Covid 19 vaccine commentary/

SpaceX Starlink was a big part of our discussion but note what Doug had to say about One Webb possibly coming online soon although probably with a focus on India given one of the acquiring organizations was an Indian company.  Much was said about Starlink and the project.  In addition to talking SpaceX, Musk, and Starlink, I brought up Tesla and its incredible stock price climb to upwards of a thousand dollars per share making Musk the second wealthiest person in the world behind Bezos (at least on paper).  We talked about Tesla stock price value and later, we took a call from Ft. Worth John who wanted to confirm the per share price was likely based on expectations though I had said that earlier in the Tesla conversation.  John further discussed the actual cost of providing electricity to the electric cars questioning the actual economics or green value.

Many other topics were part of our discussion per the key words.  Doug spent time on Virgin Galactic, their flight plans and their testing programs.   Doug was also asked about the pandemic and space this year and for next year. 

We started the second segment with a note from Rebecca asking about the future of Artemis given the likely election results.  Don't miss what Doug said about this and likely congressional action.  In addition, Doug mentioned a probable increase in the Earth Science part of the NASA budget.  During this segment, Doug talked about and made the case many times over for the need of real space traffic management given the number of satellites and LEO constellations.  Also discussed was the launch of the Chinese lunar sample return mission. 

Another topic addressed the growth in Europe and elsewhere of entrepreneurial smallsat telecoms which add to the need for space traffic management.  Don't miss these discussions.  Doug addressed the development of the small launch market, we talked about Vector coming back and Mr. Cantrell starting a new company in Tucson, Phantom Space. 

Near the end of our discussion, we turned our attention to 2021.  Starship was a big 2021 topic as was Crew Dragon with regular flights.  Other mentions went to Boeing, Virgin Orbit, Firefly and even James Webb.  Doug even mentioned SLS and a moon trip.  I then asked our guest for the probable bottlenecks to the commercial industry. In a response to this question he talked quite a bit about supply chain weaknesses.  Returning to the Moon was mentioned as was the Chinese space station scheduled for next year. He said that was a big deal.  With a laugh, he said space tourism would actually happen in 2021. 

Mars was an interesting topic for 2021 given the multiple missions on the way to the red planet.  We then got a question from a Phoenix listener wanting to know about Blue Origin plus Doug mentioned a Japanese mission for sample returns to both Phobos and Deimos.  Going back to Blue Origin, much more was said about the company plus our guest mentioned that Dr. Alan Stern was going to fly on the first Virgin Galactic science flight for NASA.  Listen for the details. 

Doug offered concluding comments as we ended our discussion.  Please post your comments/questions on TSS blog for this show. You can reach Doug through me or his website




Doug Messier of Parabolic Arc looks back at 2020 and ahead to 2021.

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24 Nov 2020 Douglas Messier
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  • The Space Foundation Conference

  • The Space Foundation Conference

  • The Space Foundation Conference

  • The Space Foundation Conference