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Guest: Robert (Bob) Zimmerman; Topics: Multiple commercial space, space station, demo flight, financing and related questions including policy and more.
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We welcomed back to the show Bob Zimmerman for a nearly two hour wide ranging discussion on multiple topics. Check out the Key Words/Tags for most of the topics discussed and the order in which they were discussed. For convenience, I am repeating them here:
Tags/Key Words: "Bob Zimmerman, Sierra Nevada, Blue Origin, The Orbital Reef Commercial Space station, Blue Moon human lunar lander, Jeff Bezos financing, private investment up front, private customers, SpaceX, Elon Musk, private space stations, Axiom, critique of human space tourism flights, naysayer voices, private money independent of government, Prince William and The Royal Foundation with the BBC, UK space conflicts with their commercial industry, Northern Scotland, Boca Chica, billionaires, taxes, FAA slow walking Starship, environmental impact, Artemis Accords, bilateral agreements, end running the OST, India and Artemis, Brazil and Luxembourg with Artemis, Dr. Charles Lurio, Biden Admin slow walking Artemis, NASA and a second human lunar lander, Australian space industry, space station plans and financing, cost plus contracting not being used on private stations, nanoscale commercial station systems, space manufacturing, materials, small commercial rocket launchers, Bezos vision compared to Musk vision, SLS or Starship first to orbit?, SLS & Starship neck and neck race, Starship has orbital test as goal, not landing."
In addition to the great discussion topics for this program, we had multiple listener phone calls and we were treated to an ice cream special by none other than Dr. Charles Lurio from the exciting Boston area. However, before getting to ice cream and Charles, Bob started us off with the Sierra Nevada and Blue Origin discussion of their joining together to build a commercial space station known as The Orbital Reef. Bob spent a good portion of the first part of the show talking about this announcement but in addition, he focused in on some of the Blue and Bezos problems of late in that it does not appear as if up front funding goes into Blue projects. To fully understand what I am referencing, please listen to all of what Bob said on this important subject, plus not how Bob said this time might be different. After you hear what Bob had to say about Blue, Bezos, investing and related topics, let us know what you have to say so please post your thoughts and comments on our blog. Bob also talked about other private station plans with Axiom. As part of the discussion, Bob was asked about the criticism of the billionaire space tourism flights, the Prince William with the Royal Foundation and the BBC program and the naysayer's in general. Bob had much to say on this subject, pointing out the conflict Prince William et al have with the UK and their own commercial space program plus the work they are doing in Northern Scotland. I thought this was an important part of tonight's discussion so do listen closely and share your thoughts with us on the blog. If you happen to be supportive of the Prince William position, we want to hear from you. Let us know why, OK?
The topic, emails, and callers switched over to Boca Chica with listeners wanting to know if by chance the FAA was possibly slow walking SpaceX regarding their launch and environmental problems. Bob did not know the answer but had lots to say on the topic. In addition, Bob said he had no evidence of a slow walk. Listener June in Las Vegas asked Bob if Musk violated or failed to comply with the rules. Listen to what Bob had to say in response to June's question.
Listener Mark, also a person who communicates with Bob on his Behind the Black Site, asked about Artemis, the OST, end running the OST through bilateral agreements plus he wanted to know the commercial space status of the Artemis participants, country by country and India. Bob went through Mark's list including Brazil and Luxembourg, then answered the second question Mark put for regarding India and Artemis. Bob explained the complexities for India signing on with Artemis, mostly having to do with India's space relationship with Russia.
Early in the show, we had a call from David in Glendale, AZ on some of the earlier topics but also he inquired as to the health of Dr. Lurio. Charles was listening, said he was fine and would call in later after he got his ice cream, hence the earlier ice cream comment. Charles did call in later in the show to discuss with Bob commercial space stations, the different commercial companies working on a station, space manufacturing starting to come of age and space materials. This was a most interesting part of our conversation with Bob so I courage you to listen to it. Post your thoughts on our blog but if you want to reach Charles or Bob individually, do so through me.
Bob was asked about the Boeing Starliner. Again, more interesting if not fascinating comments and observations. Tim in Huntsville wanted to know about the small launcher business and competition in that industry. Gary, another reader of Behind the Black, asked Bob about Bezos being unprepared for the press conference with Shatner after his flight. Bob shared his thoughts with us on that subject. Our last caller was Ft. Worth John. He wanted to know if SLS or Starship would be first to orbit. Bob had lots to say on this topic, including the fact that he said it was a neck and neck race. Listen for the details. In addition, note what he said the goal was for the flight with Musk and SpaceX.
Please post your comments/questions for Bob Zimmerman on our blog. You can reach Bob through me, our blog or his site Behindtheblack.com.