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Lesson 10 Archive Notes June 7, 2010

Posted by drspaceshow in Uncategorized.

Space Show Classroom Lesson 10:  U.S. Space Policy

 Sunday, June 6, 2010

 Archive Notes and Program Information

 The Space Show Classroom Lesson 10 can be downloaded or heard at:


Guests:  Classroom, Dr. Eligar Sadeh, Dr. John Jurist.  Topics:  Lesson 10 U.S. Space Policy, what it is, how its made. See The Space Show Classroom blog, Lesson 10 Archive Notes for regarding this show. Lesson 10 got underway in the first segment with Dr. Sadeh talking about the nature of political policy, some of the players in formulating space policy, and the priorities for NASA in the context of overall US government policy.  As you will hear, space policy is typically a means to another end.  Dr. Sadeh provided us with several examples underscoring this perspective.  In response to a listener question, Dr. Sadeh identified four space policy segments that overlap in terms of making policy.  These segments were civil space, commercial space, military space, and intelligence space.  He further defined each group into subsets.  For example, civil space would include NASA but also NOAH.  Don’t miss this set of definitions and explanations as we can use it for most all of our space policy discussions.  Toward the end of this segment, we talked about the Falcon 9 launch and its impact on policy and then I asked Eligar if the policy makers were at all concerned about the economics and costs of their policy, for example the cancellation of Ares 1 and the sunk cost of about $9 billion plus another 2+ billion to terminate the program.  Dr. Sadeh had some interesting things to say about policy makers and this type of concern and awareness but then our program was abruptly terminated as ATT dropped Dr. Sadeh’s iPhone call.  After a short break to reconnect with Dr. Sadeh and his ATT iPhone, we continued discussing the economic awareness and concern of policy makers and I mentioned what was said on an earlier show about Europeans making plans for programs around the return to the Moon and then finding that the Moon was no longer on the table as result of the new policy proposals announced by the Obama Administration on Feb. 1.  Eligar commented on the wide ranging impact of policy and how often such impact and collateral damage is not well thought out by those making the policy.  We inquired about policy as inspiration for education, STEM, careers, etc.  None of that is a primary concern of most policy makers.  Bruce from Canada called with comments and questions about our extremely partisan system of government and how destructive it was for good policy making.  Our panel had much to say about this so don’t miss the discussion.  This led us to talk about business as usual, vested interests and all three of us, Dr. Jurist, Dr. Sadeh, and I had lots to say in this arena.  Dr. Jurist commented on the increasing complexity and fragmentation going on in government and the country, making it even harder to establish quality policy and not just with regards to space.  Later in the segment, I asked Eligar who the policy makers were and he named a few but mostly talked about the OSTP, the National Security Council (NSC), and Congress.  We talked about the influence of NewSpace and space advocacy on policy and we said it was increasing and used the FAA AST.  Toward the end of the program, we talked about Congress going to continuing resolution (CR) for the FY 11 budget and that the system is set up for feedback from the people through Congress and our elected representatives far more so than our communication with OSTP or the NSC.  Space as a jobs program for policy makers was addressed as well as human spaceflight issues.  Eligar offered an interesting way to view policy for human spaceflight when asked if the Administration plan was truly a possible end to human spaceflight as many suggest.  We ended the program talking about National Security Space Strategy and the need for a national space strategy for the country.  Post your comments and questions for this program to the Classroom blog, https://spaceshowclassroom.wordpress.com.  Prior to closing, Dr. Sadeh talked about his space consulting business, www.astroconultinginternational.com.


1. drspaceshow - June 8, 2010

This email was sent to me from Ernesto Acosta and I am posting it to the blog under his name. Again, listeners, please post all questions and comments re Classroom programs to the appropriate Classroom lesson on the blog. Thanks. Drspace.

From Ernest:


This discussion (justifying Human Space Flight) points to why we, as a nation, need a competitor an issue or business case.
• Competitors: China, Russia, EADS, et al need to do something BIG, something that really embarrasses us – maybe maybe maybe we will wake up? It looks like China is working on this. It does NOT appear our public will respond to any accomplisment from Russia or anyone.
• Issues: Perhaps we need to identify an Asteroid that is going to wipe us out? Maybe a future show can update us on the search? Last I heard, the Russian are working it.
• Business case: Congratulations SpaceX! Good luck making $$$ by delivering to ISS.

Otherwise, the new policy appears to promote science, STEM, SpaceX, and anything “private” (quotes intented) … it appears that it will goes this way until we find that Asteroid or get embarrassed by China. So… the most productive thing to do is to Study hard, route for China, route for SpaceX, route for SpaceDev/Sierra Nevada Corp, route for research (VASIMR, experimentors at JSC, JPL, GODDARD, MIT, CalTech et al)

Thank you,


PS> Upon listening to the final thoughts of the program…., I think YOU have the means to communicate with an ever larger audience and possibly, key administration advisors. I know you try, and try, and push harder than anyone else I can think of. But, You have an inside line to the Coast2CoastAM Science advisor. YOU CAN DO IT! . May I be bold and ask that the current space policy person(s) should really sit down for a show to give a summary “Rationale for the current Space Policy”. A “fire side chat” if you will? …………… My opinion – fight pessimistic dialogue – realistic is OK … You’re show is the best spaceshow out there, and you know it. If had one request that I would want to register with your quests, “HOW DO WE END THIS PROGRAM ON A POSITIVE NOTE?”

D-DAY, JUNE 6, 2010

2. Jim Davis - June 8, 2010

I’m going to give this one more try.

The point is not that the public is particularly sophisticated about space. Indeed, nothing could be further from the truth. The point is we should not use that lack of sophistication to dismiss their suspicions that spending on NASA is not money well spent. The public does grasp at some visceral level that rationalizations like national prestige, inspiration, and spinoffs are just that – rationalizations.

Dr. Jurist’s point about medical advances from manned space flight doesn’t really hold water. He mentions benefits from manned space without mentioning the associated costs. True, the advances he mentioned were no doubt accelerated because of the manned space program. But what advances were *decelerated* because of the large sums of money tied up in manned space? What diseases remained uncured because hundreds of billions were spent on manned space over the last few decades? Can the decline in the strength of America’s *aeronautical* industry possibly be associated with NASA’s *aeronautical* budget being constantly raided to cover overruns or shortfalls in various manned space programs over the years? The problem with the spinoff argument is that we don’t get to see the results of alternate decisions.

If the National Science Foundation were given the NASA budget would they decide to continue funding manned space at anywhere near current levels because that would given the greatest scientific return? Or would they, as I suspect, make other distributions? If whoever is in charge of allocating federal money for medical research (I have no clue who this might be) were given the NASA budget would they fund manned space at current levels because this would give the greatest medical benefits for the money spent? Again, I suspect not. I am not a physician or scientist like Dr. Jurist. If I’ve read the situation incorrectly please educate me.

Dr. Livingston’s problem (“What do I say to people like that?”) is perplexing because we as space advocates aren’t really honest with ourselves. Our enthusiasm for manned space is largely a matter of faith – we have faith that one day manned space will be really, really important. But our faith carries little weight with those that don’t share it. So we fall back on ridicule, condescension, elitism, etc.

3. drspaceshow - June 8, 2010

Jim, you will try one more time? What is that about? We have to accept your view, thus you try just once more to get us to accept your view? Discussion is not in the cards, disagreement is not in the cards? What do you plan on doing when after your one more time effort we don’t embrace your global view? I must be missing something here because I don’t get it. One more time?

And I have a problem? You bet I do, lots of them but they never hit the airways, that’s for sure. Who is falling back on ridicule? Not the guests or most people involved with The Space Show. I suspect it happens but its clearly not routine as with many blogs and organizations. It does happen all the time in the space cadet world and every other world that has a blog and interaction with others. It’s a given these days, especially since almost all of us have unlimited access to incredible means of communication. Even the President of the U.S. uses ridicule and more to talk about those holding different views than his.

Also, many of us believe our enthusiasm for space is based on fact, past experience, quality research and more. Have you not heard me talk about the Space 2030 reports of the OECD on air for years? Manned space enthusiasm is on faith too? Hardly. I am sure that is true for some, I believe the commercial biz case for human space flight is still elusive but the scientific, medical, inspirational, and leadership benefits form human spaceflight are very real and very important for society and nations. Me thinks you misunderstand what you hear talked about on The Space Show. Maybe we don’t say things clearly, I don’t know. I do know that given these notes you are sending, it would be far better for you to engage guests and me live rather than weeks or days after the fact but I know such interaction are not always possible with all listeners. Email and blogs often suffice as the best option out there and at best, such tools are not always the best to use. Oh well, better than what we used to have which was nothing, right? Please remember, because a business case may be elusive for human spaceflight, it does not automatically mean that human spaceflight is without value or is to be taken on fait. There are many reasons for doing many things and when the public sector does something, its not at all about a business case.

And by the way, the public is not sophisticated about space. It has no need to be as of yet. I think this is what you meant to say in your opening line, or at least something like this. As to what NSF would do about funding human spaceflight? John can reply re medical research but funding is not done in a vacuum so I suspect it would depend on the projects being submitted, the details of the projects, the desired objectives and outcomes, etc. I also think it might depend on the competition for the specific funding at any given time. One would like to think the best quality projects get funded but we both know that probably is not the case.

As one listener likes to say, human spaceflight is a flagship program for the United States. In fact, this term has been used often now that the policy debate is underway. Flagship programs have a life and reason d’être of their own for existing. If we make the assumption that human spaceflight is an important U.S. flagship program, then it matters little what we are saying. It will be funded for the very reason a nation puts its weight behind the flagship effort. I’m not sure everyone in this Congress and the Administration and in this economic downturn accept the assumption that space is a flagship program but certainly in past years this was the case and probably more universally accepted than today. My own view is that human spaceflight is absolutely an important flagship program for our nation. This is why the idea that human spaceflight might be cancelled, rightly or wrongly, has risen to the top of the policy debate.

Thanks for your note. All the best,


4. Eligar Sadeh - June 11, 2010

I have studied and researched the key issues mentioned with the comments- rationales for space and the benefits of the space program.

Rationales need to be assessed across the four different space programs of the U.S.:

Security Space: Freedom of Action, Strategic Decision Making, Force Enhancement, Force Support, Revolution in Military Affairs, and Space Control.

Intelligence Space: NTMV, Information to Warfighter, Future Imagery Architecture. Networked Information.

Civil Human Spaceflight: Space operations.

Civil Science: Planetary Exploration, Earth System Science, Space Based Astronomy, Space Exploration, Search for Life.

Commercial Space: Technology Development, Commercial Applications, Economic Competitiveness, Global Space Business.

Rationales for human spaceflight have encompassed: Science, though space science and robots in space dominate, and very little science has been accomplished by humans in space; Security, security space dominates, and no active military human spaceflight program; Economic, potential exists in the form of COTS; exploration, humans confined to LEO; and Geopolitics, strong links between human spaceflight and geopolitics (issue here of prestige as well).

I have also completed a study for NASA on the Societal Impacts of the Apollo Program. The results of this study can be applied to the space program in general. Note that the space program has key benefits in two key areas- one in stimulating R&D and advancing knowledge, and two, in wealth-creation for the country.

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