Broadcast 2711 Woody Spring

31 May 2016 Sherwood (Woody) Spring
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Guest:  Sherwood (Woody) Spring; Topics:  Space shuttle flight, EVAs, CO2 in space, Mars, policy, space leadership, and more.  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 retired astronaut Woody Spring to the show to discuss his spaceflight and EVA experiences and much more.  During the first segment of hour 87 minute show, Woody talked about his experiences with the Army Space Program Office and their ability to use space derived data directly fed to the battlefield to assist troops on the ground.  He explained their hardware, the use of the U2 spy plane, and their mobile ground stations.  This led to a question about weaponizing space.  Our guest made it clear this was about getting data from space, not using a space based weapon. 

I asked our guest if he ever experienced the speed or had a height problem on his two EVA's.  He told us about two different experiences he had but the experiences he had did not last very long.  Listen to him tell us what happened, especially about height on his space walks. 

Listener Jackson asked our guest if he experienced The Overview Effect.  Wood was not familiar with the term but did experience something that was somewhat similar.  We talked about seeing borders from space and the beauty of seeing Earth from space.  He mentioned a few times that it was clear that everything on Earth was on one large planet despite seeing some borders and knowing what was going on all over the planet.

Listener Ben asked Woody about space tourism and would he want to go back to space as a space tourist.  Don't miss how our guest answered this question.  This opened the door to our guest discussing commercial space and the efforts of the private sector and entrepreneurs to expand business in space. Woody said space was in our future. 

Space policy and leadership were also discussed in this segment.  Our guest was concerned that the U.S. was not leading but he was optimistic about the emerging new commercial businesses along with the excitement they were bringing to today's space industry.  Before the segment ended, Woody talked about doing "fit checks" in space and scrubbing CO2 from the shuttle and spacesuits. 

In the second segment, I read an email from Marshall who inquired about reusability, wondering if that would open the door to more affordable space.  Don't miss what Wood had to say in response to Marshall's email, specifically about rocket reusability.

Planetary protection was our next topic.  We talked about regulations in general but also the need for more information to say OK to human spaceflight to Mars.  This was based on recent Space Show programming with the top people with the NASA Office of Planetary Protection and the same for the UN.  Woody said he could understand the regulations being tight today but that by the time we might be ready to launch a human mission, he would hope planetary protection guidelines would be more flexible.  Don't miss all of what our guest said on this topic. 

Listener Don has about returning to the Moon and using it as a training ground and jumping off point for Mars.  Woody had much to say about this as in general he supported what the listener was saying.

As we were nearing the end of our program, we talked about being on board the shuttle, the Challenger accident, NASA risk taking, conditions that lead up to the shuttle accidents including the decision making regarding the two accidents.  He talked about being part of the Tiger Team for the Challenger accident.  You do not want to miss what he had to say on this topic.  We also talked about the old shuttle launch pads and Woody shared some of his experiences with us regarding those pads.  Before the program ended, he was asked about international cooperation with space projects and if he thought that a humans to Mars mission could be done within 15 years given what we hear and read about possible SpaceX plans for going to Mars.  Here, our guest talked about the willingness of the company to accept much more risk than what NASA would be able to accept.

Please post your comments/questions in the comments section for this archived program on TSS website.  You can reach Woody Spring through me at  




Retired astronaut, living and working in space

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