Sunday, August 29, 2010


Open Lines With Dr. David Livingston, The Space Show, Sunday, August 29, 2010

Guest: Open Lines with Dr. David Livingston. Topics: Space advocacy and enthusiasts, the new Space Show feedback blog, ET & Dr. Stephen Hawking, NewSpace, New Think, space markets. We started the Open Lines show with several announcements including the announcement of a new Space Show blog for listener feedback and ratings for each program. You can access the new blog, The Space Show’s Way Outside The Box Ideas And Plans Blog at During the announcement of this new blog, I explain how it was intended to be used. Instructions are also on the blog but essentially once a program is archived both on The Space Show website and this blog, your comments are welcome. During the announcement section of the show, I also read a magazine article introducing us to the term “New Think,” the I read part of an email from a listener in New Zealand about this thoughts on the recent Thalia program. Note that the desire for civility in space discussions extends even to New Zealand and this actually became a discussion topic throughout our program today as several callers took issue with the tone and nature of some of the discussions with space advocates and others within the industry. Kelly was our first caller. He talked about his days working on the DCX and his thoughts on the big aerospace industry. We ended our first segment addressing space markets. We started off the second segment with an email comment from Jim in Denver relating to the recent program with Dennis Wingo as the guest. This resulted in another theme discussed throughout our program, the idea of entrepreneurial companies taking government money rather than going all private. Most supported what Dennis said and we all thought that there was a risk for private companies continuing to take government for their operations. Charles from Mojave called in to give us a report on Mojave as well as to stress the need to start small and gradually ramp up, his Microlaunchers concept for those familiar with Charles on The Space Show. Charles talked about the upcoming NASA NANOSAT Challenge and we also talked about SBIR and SBA grants and funding for space ventures, plus some of the challenges in doing business in California. In our third and final segment, Gary called the show and talked about our lacking a historical perspective on how transportation systems are developed. He suggested we start with what we can do, LEO and the Moon, and then build upon that base. This brought us to a discussion about how many people consider that which is possible in the future as real now. One of our listeners sent in a note asking “where was the gold in space?” This was in reference to the apparent absence of space markets to be exploited at this time. We concluded with questions about funding space given our economic condition and referring again to some possibilities that were discussed during the recent Dennis Wingo program. If you have comments or questions for any of the callers or participants in today’s program, send your note to me at and I will forward it to the person you designate. Remember, you comments and ratings and more are now welcome on the new Space Show blog listed above.


  1. Interesting space show David, I would rate it as higher than average at an 8. This is because unlike programs devoted to a guest's book or an up-coming conference the conversation was able to move around on to more diverse subjects rather than being constrained to a few.

    Show comments:

    I agree with the comment made about comparing the space industry to the western frontier or early barn-storming days of aviation doesn’t really resonate with those outside the US. From my perspective in the UK it gives the impression of being gun-ho and not being a serious industry.

    With regard to Charles’ idea of stopping manned spaceflight in favor of many small launches, I would say that if there was no manned spaceflight a lot of people would probably have very little interest in space (I include myself here). You have got to ask the question would Armadillo, SpaceX, XCor or Scaled Composites got involved with building space vehicles if the people involved hadn’t had an interest in sending people into space? If all these companies had not had that interest then there would probably be no “New Space” industry or at least a much smaller one.

  2. Great show. I liked the personal touch and thanks for the fascinating background information starting at 1:18:10. Here's a short transcript:

    DL: Is there anything you don't wanna talk about? [...]

    ***: We can't talk about anything relating to UFOs and ETs. [...]

    [Why the hell is he saying that? ... I told him in an email what the show was about and ... he's on for something totally unrelated ...]

    DL: ***, why are you saying that? I don't do shows on UFOs and Flying Saucers and ET.

    ***: I just wanna make sure that we stay away from all of these topics. [...]

    DL: Is this because being employed by NASA, that you can't talk about these topics, that it's too foolish and outrageous and you'll get in trouble? Or is this because YOU HAVE INFORMATION THAT YOU CAN'T SHARE PUBLICLY, that's classified and you don't want to even get close to that topic?

    [... there's about a 25 second dead period...]

    DL: Hello ***, are you still there?

    ***: It's the latter and WE NEED TO DROP IT RIGHT NOW.

  3. As to folks related to NASA or aerospace not wanting even the topic of UFOs coming up, I'm not surprised. Its a program killer.

    Remember the stupid "face on Mars" which everyone at NASA was so obviously nothing, just a cute photo that that day at that sun angle kinda looked like face? Just showed it at a new conference for grins. That nearly killed Mars projects. All the wacko "we have to study the Face!!!" folks made Mars exploration a political hot potato. UFO folks support and interest killed federal funding of anything even indirectly related to seti politically impossible.

    Then of course you could mentions something about a classified or mil craft to really mess up your day.

  4. Thanks for the comments. Somehow I need to set this blog to notify me of comments like the Wordpress blog or I would have responded earlier.

    Re the NASA and UFO comments, that has also happened with a few scientists at leading universities and doing some programs with NASA. I really don't know if I am being shined on or not. I love the UFO topics, I just don't do them on The Space Show and leave them to my friends at Coast and other venues. I could be being tweaked by people for all I know. I would not read much into these stories or experiences. Were I to apply any standard of due diligence to them, they would not even pass at the lowest possible level of verififcation or validation. Just good stories.

    I also think that if there were no human spaceflight program, the space enthusiast level of space interest would drop dramatically. But to me human spaceflight is far more important and valuable than just inspiring we advocates and enthusiasts.


  5. Hum. Strange that when I posted it offered a option to email if anyone posted in the thread?

    Oh well.

    As to are you being shined, or did they hear more enthusiasm in your voice when you asked the question -- can't say.

    I will have to tell you the Men In Black story some day.