Broadcast 1333 (Special Edition)

27 Mar 2010 Mark Bray
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Guest: Mark Bray. Topics: Space policy, commercial space, launch industry, NASA contractors, engineering. Mark Bray was the guest for this two segment two hour eighteen minute program. In addition, you can download and read Mark's paper, "The Business Case For American Space Commerce and Exploration" from http://visionforspace.net/The_Business_Case_for_American_Space.pdf. In our first segment, Mark shared his background and experience with us as a contractor working on human spaceflight projects and programs at the Cape as well as at MSFC. This is a fascinating trip through the eyes and perspectives of one who worked these programs, saw them cancelled, started up again, and more. You want to be sure to hear what Mark had to say as its very relevant to today. Mark spoke out for commercial space but suggested a different type of transition from where we are today with government programs to obtaining commercial human spaceflight status. Again, you will hear from someone with hands on bending metal experience. We talked about there being no magic space engines and the need for heavy lift. He also talked about how the ISS model was used by Dr. Griffin in doing Constellation because I asked Mark if he actually thought Constellation was a real program that could survive multiple administrations without adequate funding. Turns out it was the ISS model that Dr. Griffin used for this program. Again, this is a segment you do not want to miss. We started the second segment asking about keeping the shuttle flying for the transition period to commercial. Mark described the M&P (materials and processing) issues and how they complicate keeping shuttle flying and increase the costs. During this segment, I asked Mark to put on his MBA hat and talk about commercial markets for the launchers. This subject was discussed many times throughout this segment. Charles from Mojave emailed and then called in with questions and comments about his Microlauncher concept and as you will hear, Mark did not fully agree with him. This is another discussion you will want to hear. Listener Kelly asked about the administration plan and if more was coming in addition to wondering if anyone had prepared cost estimates for operating the shuttle were it privatized. Reda asked if the policy might have a more business flavor to it were their more business advisors and people in the current administration but as Mark said, you can't develop a policy by focusing only on the bottom line. Mark later talked about political action, the need for space aware candidates and more. Returning to the issue of markets, he talked about the Direct TV/Cell phone market as a way of providing examples. Near the end of the program, we addressed the issue of the GAP and keeping Shuttle flying. Rapid Protyping came up as did returning to the Moon or doing something else versus nothing at all. If you have a comment or question for Mark Bray, you can email him at braymh102@hotmail.com.

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