Broadcast 3007 Dr. James Schwartz

  • The Space Foundation Conference

  • The Space Foundation Conference

  • The Space Foundation Conference

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The Space Foundation Conference

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Guest:  Dr. James (Jim) Schwartz; Topics:  Commercial space development ethics, economics and the American frontier myth for commercial space development.  Please direct all comments and questions regarding specific Space Show programs & guest(s) to the Space Show blog which is part of archived program on our website,  Comments and questions should be relevant to the specific Space Show program. Written Transcripts of Space Show programs are a violation of our copyright and are not permitted without prior written consent, even if for your own use. We do not permit the commercial use of Space Show programs or any part thereof, nor do we permit editing, YouTube clips, or clips placed on other private channels & websites. Space Show programs can be quoted, but the quote must be cited or referenced using the proper citation format. Contact The Space Show for further information. In addition, please remember that your Amazon purchases can help support The Space Show/OGLF. See

We welcomed Dr. James (Jim) Schwartz to the show for a one segment 1 hour 55 minute discussion covering wide ranging topics including ethical commercial space development, the need for regulation, the priority for science missions, and the fallacy of the myth of the space frontier serving as a role model for the early period of commercial space development.  Please visit his website,  Here you can find all the papers he has written regarding space exploration, development, ethical concerns and more.  In addition, his paper of the "Myth of the Space Frontier" has a link for downloading it on the blog.

I started the discussion asking our guest about his ethics work and mentioning the ethics papers and Code of Ethics I developed for my dissertation work and the early years of The Space Show.  Dr. Schwartz had much to say about the ethical development of space and in particular commercial space so be sure to listen to carefully as we spent significant time on the subject.  Some of the concepts we talked about including the idea advanced by our guest that scientific exploration was the most legitimate use of space .  He considered that unregulated commercial space on the Moon, an asteroid or elsewhere could spoil that celestial body for scientific research so he was a strong advocate of regulation.  At one point, he suggested a practical way of controlling this was to have a panel, probably under the auspices of the UN COSPAR, to regulate and approve commercial activities. Scientists would be on such a panel and would have to approve the project.  Additionally, our guest questioned the market viability of the commercial space projects, specifically the ISRU type projects for resource utilization.  You do not want to miss the discussion on this subject.  While I talked about some markets not being ready at this time, our guest was dubious about this for the future over a reasonable time period.  Jim was challenged by listener emails as well as by me so don't miss the multiple questions and his response.

Doug sent in an email, then later he called the show.  His email asked if all markets were research based, a subject our guest had brought up in the discussion.  Both Jim and I gave a response to Doug.  I did not think all markets were research oriented and mentioned space tourism as an example, among several.  Don't miss this discussion.  Our guest spoke about the role of fear in space development, especially regarding life support and the environment.  He thought that the fear might lead space inhabitants and others to want more regulation and a stronger government with the risk of creating a totalitarian government in space, not the democracy so often talked about by space advocates and enthusiasts.  We discussed the totalitarian government idea in space for a good part of the program so don't miss it.  You may want to post your thoughts on this on our blog. 

Kim called from Mexico to reference key technologies but suggested that space settlements would not happen until we had advanced sufficiently with our key technologies to make them work. For example, she thought life support would be reliably automated as it would be too dangerous to leave it in the hands of humans.  Both Kim and our guest talked about engineering solutions and Jim mentioned the concept of engineering liberty.   Km and Jim had an excellent discussion about life support control issues and mitigating environmental threats.  They also talked about the Apollo mindset, the "glory" days of human spaceflight and space settlement but needing to be a pleasant place to be.  At one point during this conversation, Jim brought up possible labor issues for an in space settlement using the oxygen making department on the habitat as an example.  He was asking if such workers could strike.  I was decided that if there was sufficient redundancy to take over from striking workers, such a strike in space might happen.  Don't miss this part of the conversation. 

I asked our guest about feedback from meeting and talking with space advocates and commercial space businessmen and women.  He has not had much contact with these communities as he has not yet spoken at conferences though at one time he was planning to speak at an ISDC event.  I suggested he speak at the coming 2018 ISDC event in the Los Angeles area.  Jim did mention NSS policy and settlement positions as stated on their website so he is familiar with opposite view perspectives. 

Doug called to reject historical perspectives.  He said that unlike the Apollo era, we know what to expect and are prepared for it with the ISS so the historical comparison was not valid.  He said the same for going to mars.  He talked about pre-positioning supplies and resources on Mars long before the first humans arrived. Again, they would not be doing everything from scratch as was the case with the early space program.  Don't miss what Doug had to say.  What do you think about this part of our discussion?  Please let us know with your comments posted on our blog.  Lessons learned from Skylab were mentioned as well.   

As we neared the end of our program, more was said about the American frontier model for developing space and the more both Jim and I rejected that model.  Doug had mentioned space settlers as probably being Libertarian but Jim had comments and thought about that.  Much was said about self-governance factors for a space colony, the type of space law that would exist and more. 

Before our program ended, we talked about another paper by our guest focusing the idea that space flight and STEM mutually supported one another.  In the Part 3 presentation of his trilogy that we talked about during the show, he challenged that "myth" a well.  Don't miss what he said on this subject but even better, you can read his paper on this topic from his website above.  Before the discussion ended, I asked if changing STEM to SEAM made a difference.  You don't want to miss what he said in response to my question.

Please post your comments/questions on TSS blog for this program.  You can reach our guest through me or his faculty website which has been provided above.




The myth of the American Frontier and space development

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27 Oct 2017 Dr. James Schwartz
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