Broadcast 1431 (Special Edition)

26 Sep 2010 Dean Alhorn, Mark Boudreaux, Joe Casas
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Guests: Joseph Casas, Dean Alhorn, Mark Boudreaux. Topics: NASA FASTSAT, NanoSail-D Programs. We welcomed our three guests from NASA Marshall Space Flight Center to discuss the Fast, Affordable, Science and Technology Satellite (FASTSAT) and the NanoSail-D program, but we also talked about many other subjects. Please note that you are invited to comment, ask questions, and rate this program on the new Space Show blog, http://thespaceshowoutsidethebox.blogspot.com. These three websites will be useful in furthering your interest in these programs. (1) www.nasa.gov/centers/marshall/pdf/480065main_FASTSAT_Facts_Final.pdf; (2) www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/smallsats/fastsat; (3) www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/smallsats/nanosaild.html. During our first segment, each of our guests provided a short opening statement about their participation in these programs and a description of the overall FASTSAT and NanoSail-D missions. We talked about the upcoming Nov. 19 launch on a Minotaur IV rocket from the federal Kodiak, Alaska launch complex. Our guests described the secondary payloads consisting of a 400 lb. satellite, the use of the ESPA ring and the capability to do secondary payloads across a wide array of multiple launch platforms. Regarding the NanoSail-D satellite, we discussed debris mitigation through the use of the solar sail which will add to drag at its orbital altitude and slow it down. During this segment, we discussed many other characteristics of the mission and the hardware. Later in the segment, we addressed the issue of the value proposition for fast tracking the project, including a risk vs. reward analysis to see if a mission could be created and actually flown while a student was still in school. You do not want to miss this value proposition discussion. One of the listeners asked about relationships between working on human spaceflight and the type of work and projects being discussed on today's program. Each of our guests responded to this question which took us into a broader discussion of education, skill sets, NASA interns, and student opportunities to learn and work on NASA projects. This is a must listen to discussion. Our guests listed several NASA programs and websites that focus on students. As a result of this discussion, The Space Show will work to produce a special program in support of NASA educational and intern programs. Our lead item in the second segment was about observing opportunities from the ground with NanoSail-D. Initially, its 650 km orbit will be too high but as the orbit decays and it gets lower, there will be armature astronomer viewing opportunities. To support this, a website has been established for posting pictures. Please visit www.nanosail.org as the site is already up and running. We then spent some time talking about the collaborative effort with Ames, Goddard, the Air Force, the Von Braun Center, and private companies such as Dynetics. A listener asked our guests for their take aways , both positive and negative, and lessons learned for fast tracking a project. This was yet another superb discussion which focused on the problems of controlling mission creep. All of our guests talked about the need to control mission creep and some of the rules and parameters they worked with to avoid the problem. Our mission creep discussion points can be extrapolated to other space projects so I urge everyone to be extra attentive as we learn that resistance is not futile with regards to mission creep. As we ended our program, each of our guests left us with excellent closing statements. I would like to offer a special thank you to Kimberly Newton, NASA Public Affairs, Marshall Space Flight Center who worked very hard to arrange this program with me and to bring these three guests to The Space Show audience. If you have questions or comments about this program, FASTSAT, NanoSail-D, or for any of our guests, email Kimberly at kimberly.d.newton@nasa.gov.

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