Broadcast 3547 Dr. Michael Gleason

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Guest: Dr. Michael Gleason; Topics:  Dr. Gleason's paper, "The Value of Space."  Download it here:

We welcomed Dr. Michael Gleason to the program for a one segment 92 minute discussion regarding his paper, "The Value of Space."  I urge you to download it per the above URL.  In addition, the paper and this Space Show program would make for a good discussion as well as educational lesson for those of you staying home, working from home, teaching your kids at home, all because of sheltering in place behavior due to Covid-19.  Dr. Gleason's work is certainly educational, informative and entertaining, plus his descriptions of valuable space services during the interview enhance his written work.

We started the program by asking Dr. Gleason for his working definition of space value per his paper (along with his co-authors).  Dr. Gleason was quick to point out that the paper was not a market study for space, commercial space or anything like that.  Instead, he talked about the value of space being the value space brings to us in our everyday life plus to our nation and the world.  He continued to elaborate on the definition during this enhanced introductory part of the program so be sure to listen carefully.  In addition, he explained that their paper did not focus on the space challenges, problems, risks, or areas of fragility.  Instead, they focused on where space matters and what can be done using space.  That said, several times during the discussion both listeners and I brought up vulnerabilities which our guest did address.  As part of the introduction, I asked if the topics listed in the paper were listed in order of priority.  He said no, they ended up being listed alphabetically.  Don't miss all of what he said on this topic.

Once again, I believe the best way to summarize the highlights of our discussion is to simply repeat the tags/key words here as they follow the order of discussion and accurately track our topics of discussion.  Here are the tags/key words:

The Aerospace Corporation, Center For Space Policy And Strategy, "The Value Of Space," the space value in our everyday life, space market studies, The Value of Space topic presentation, GPS satellites, farming and agriculture, drones, electricity dependent, space and the power grid, power company efficiency, GPS financial timing, navigation,  microprocessors, NOAH, weather monitoring, ocean monitoring, emergency services, space value and Moore's Law, satellite growth, space traffic management, space animal tracking, space as a political campaign issue, NASA and the Moon, space policy, competing national GPS systems, risk mitigation, cubesats, remote sensing, Earth night lighting technology from space, protecting space assets, ASAT programs, national security space value, China, launch rates, cyber space, NASA human spaceflight, space technology vulnerabilities, the Kessler syndrome.

I would like to address some of our discussion highlights.  In an email, listener Todd asked Dr. Gleason what he would say to a person in the general public was the most important part or value of space.  Our guest replied "electricity."  He then spent a good amount of time explaining what he meant, including talking about our power grid, GPS drones, radio signals and more.  He said we were electricity dependent. He further explained that for example, while our electricity does not directly come from space, space assets are managing power stations, aspects of the grid and much more from space.  Don't miss this broad ranging and important part of our discussion.  Post on our blog and tell us if you concur that electricity would be the answer you would give to a person as to why space has been and is so valuable to all of us.

Another topic was agriculture which Dr. Gleason and his co-authors discussed in detail in the paper.  During our discussion, Marshall called to talk farming and agriculture reality given the influence of space with equipment and well as farming efficiency.  One of the issues that came up was just how technical today's farmers had to be to run all the equipment, maintain it, and carry out farming through space technology.  Marshall had quite a bit to say on this particular question.

This discussion gave way to talking about the need for space traffic management and accessing data.  I brought up a topic from the paper, animal tracking from space,  Listener Dana asked about space impacting personal life.  Listen to the list presented as part of this question.  I asked our guest a question relating to space and political campaigns, especially presidential campaigns since this is a presidential election year. I wanted to know why, if space was so valuable, it usually did not make into a presidential campaign.  Don't miss how our guest replied to my question.  Moving on, I asked our guest if our GPS system was compatible with other national GPS systems and if one system went down, would it switch to another from another country as in a redundancy backup system.  Our guest did not think this was yet possible but he left it open for others that know this field better than him to comment on it. 

Listener Adrian sent in a long email comment and question that I read on air which was critical of our guest and his paper for not discussing the risks and challenges.  Listen to the points Adrian raised in his email and let us know what you think.  Also, let us know what you think about the answer given on air along with my part of the question which addressed management deliberately not taking advantage of the technology to do things right or safely.  I used PG&E, my electric power company here in Northern California as a bad apple example. 

Another topic getting good discussion time dealt with emergency services from space and the use of night light technology to determine impacted areas, to get help and services to these areas and to get meaningful feedback. Listen to how our guest explained this to us.  Part of this discussion included a focus on remote sensing.

As we were getting close to the end of the program, we brought up national security and protecting our space assets plus The Space Force.  Our guest had concerns in this area and spent time talking about space and national security, especially given his expertise in the field with the USAF and other agencies. 

Our last caller was Tim from Huntsville.  He wanted to talk about China and space, then the launch rate in the US and of course in China.  Don't miss what our guest said in response to Tim's China assertions.  I chimed in a bit on what Tim was saying as I did not think China was irrelevant regarding space.  Tim was interested in suggesting China might deliberately cause a Kessler Syndrome with space debris and ASAT attacks. Neither the guest or I agree with Tim regarding China wanting to commence the Kessler Syndrome.

Our guest provided us with a short and concise summary you will want to hear.  Please post your comments/questions for Dr. Gleason on our blog for this program.  You can reach our guest through me.




Dr. Gleason's new paper, "The Value of Space" a discussion about it

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26 Jul 2020 Dr. Michael Gleason
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  • The Space Foundation Conference

  • The Space Foundation Conference

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  • The Space Foundation Conference