Broadcast 1215 (Special Edition)

30 Aug 2009 Dr. George Nield
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Guest: Dr. George Nield. Topics: personal spaceflight regulations, Office of Commercial Space Transportation within FAA, launch license. Dr. George Nield returned to The Space Show to update us on changes in space policy and regulation per the AST. For more information, visit their website at http://www.faa.gov/about/office_org/headquarters_offices/ast/ . Dr. Nield told us about the many changes and developments within the FAA and AST since his last appearance on the show in the summer of 2008. We also talked about the potential impact of the Augustine Panel on the work of the AST, the increase in the number of companies working with AST on some part of the license process, the administrative costs of acquiring a launch license, the difference between a launch license and an experimental permit, and much more. Dr. Nield explained the two pronged approach and mission of AST including ensuring protection of the public, property, and the national security and foreign policy interests of the United States during commercial launch or reentry activities as well as to facilitate U.S. commercial space transportation. One listener question that came in during the second segment dealt with the question of how high is space. Listen to the discussion and what Dr. Nield said because the AST is not charged with being concerned with altitude. This question led us to understanding the law, the use of rocket propulsion, and the requirement that the engine thrust be greater than the lift. As we approached the end of the second segment, the role of human spaceflight and commercial spaceflight was discussed in terms of being inspirational, and leading to more STEM education. As part of this discussion, Dr. Nield suggested that public/private partnerships for space development offered much promise. In the final segment of today's program, Dr. Nield discussed the Lunar Lander Challenge and the new rules making it different this year from previous years. Charles called the show to ask him about AST's interest in non-human spaceflight. You won't want to miss this discussion. Toward the end of the program, I asked George about the recurring obstacles or challenges he comes upon in terms of resisting commercial space development and human spaceflight. I'm sure you will find the examples he provides us of such challenges, plus my comments regarding some of the press questions at the recently held NASA/ATK press conference after the aborted Ares 1 five segment SRB test of last week, very interesting. If you have comments or questions for Dr. George Nield about today's show or the AST, please see the contact information at the AST website, www.faa.gov/about/office_org/headquarters_offices/ast/contact/ . You can also send your comments in care of me at drspace@thespaceshow.com and I will forward them to Dr. Nield.

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