Tuesday, November 24, 2009

A Great Conversation to Share

Just follow along class. For the sake of privacy, no real screen names were used. :)
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Person X: Actually, I do think that going to the asteroid is EXACTLY what NASA was built to do. Their mission is to push the envelope for Space and pursue Astronautics and Aeronautics. BUT, NASA, and the feds can help get commercial space off the ground and make it possible for private space to pursue LEO space as well as the moon. In the mean time, NASA continues to pursue doing something unique.
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Me: Person X (and others who think going back to the Moon is old hat) - I'm pretty sure building a Lunar base is unique and different. It's completely different than what we did before on the Moon. Yes, the location is the same, but so what. Last time all we did was play golf, drive a dune buggy and bring home some rocks. Whoopie fraggin' do. People who "yawn" at going back to the Moon probably aren't old enough to have been around for it the first time. I'm not old enough myself, but at least I have some respect for the challenge required not just to land, but to BUILD! That's the difference, and the ONLY reason for going back to the Moon.

Building a base will be a huge test, and also a huge PR move for NASA if they ever wake up and promote themselves properly...or solicit non-profit organizations to be their PR team. Building a base on the Moon is no joke, and vastly important.

Additionally, and this is a must, it requires multiple nations to pull this off. No one nation should be do anything major like this by itself. Spread the work and spread the cost. This helps that whole international relations thing. :)
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Person X: Hmmm. Where did I say that I am against going back to the moon? All that I have said is that the feds should be encouraging private space to get there, by helping them to get the infrastructure in place. I think that we have enough RD from NASA to help companies like L-Mart/Boeing/SpaceX/Bigelow/Blue Origin/etc get there. NASA can help them get there using a LITTLE BIT of federal money, while the majority comes from the private venture.
In the mean time, NASA can do what it does best; RD and pushing the envelope.
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Me: Person X - Okay, I'll buy that. If NASA were to do something like that, and the government would enable private international company cooperation and collaboration by fixing ITAR, I'd be all for commercial space working the Moon Base and NASA doing the asteroid thing. That would be a fun race to watch, who finishes their mission first and cheapest...NASA or Commercial Space. My money goes with Commercial Space. :)
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Person X: First, I do not think that the feds have to help International space achieve commercial space. That is not their mission. Over the years, I have watched this site (I hate to be into too many blog sites; joined this due to one discussion that was way off), and have noticed that many seem to think that NASA is about helping the international space programs come along. At this point, I have a strong desire to see America get our own commercial space program off the ground.

Now, as to ITAR, it is NOT ABSOLUTELY NOT BROKEN. It has doing the job that it was suppose to do. Nearly, all of the western companies that will not be building weapons and will not disseminate it to use against us can get that information. One of the issues that we have is that we want partners that will not out and out steal our tech, and we want to know that the partner will not be using it in a missiles aimed at us.

I have worked in various positions in several 3 letter agencies and one time for a 4 letter (NASA). I have SEEN attempts to steal our tech. And this was tech that could only be used against us. In addition, I have dealt with at least one gal that married an America major, came here, looked for jobs and we turned down (she was lukewarm on the job until she found out that it was dealing peripherally with the CIA and then she was adamant about getting the job). I found out that she was ultimately deported. I do not know why, but i can make guesses. BTW, this happens more than ppl realize.

As to a race, yeah, my money would be on commercial space. They will have more money and a great deal more flexibility. In addition, they have the luxury of focusing on one or just a few jobs. But, even with that, it requires the feds (obama and dem congress) to get their act together and help these folks. I am not certain that it will happen. I watched how short term thinking the neo-cons were, and as I watch the dems, they are not much better. The one good news is that generally in NASA's history, they have done much better with a dem at the helm, than either a pub or a neo-con. We will see how this shakes out.

Finally, with the above said, it would be useful for the friendly nations to stay to comment designs; Common docking; Common fuel hookups; common wiring hook-ups; etc.
NASA can play a major role in this and more importantly, should. I would very much like to see RSA, ESA, CSA, and JSA be able to hook up with Commercial space in being on the moon.
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Me: Person X - WHAT?! ITAR not broken? The 1999 reform of ITAR to include Commercial Sats KILLED the American SatCom industry. 50% drop in global market share in 2 years. 50% drop in launch provider revenue in 5 years. Other nations don't want to work with us because ITAR is a nightmare. ITAR is a cancer and should be put back to what it's supposed to be (missiles, bombs and guns), not peaceful commercial space endeavors.

People need to stop being paranoid. Bad guys don't need space technology to be bastards (9/11 didn't require rockets), so to hamstring the commercial space industry from freely working together because of some overt paranoia that every international company is going to build missiles and laser weapons is stupid. Yes...stupid. What kind of national defense issues are present if companies want to build a space hotel together? Or make a commercial shuttle service to carry people to LEO, the Moon or beyond.

The damn government needs to STOP controlling space, because for the past 30 years all we've been dealt is a hand of bullsh%!, floating in LEO while we watch our kids get bored with space, science and technology because there's absolutely no WAY they will ever go to space.

Odds of becoming a Pro Athlete - 1:25,000
Odds of becoming an astronaut - 1:12,000,000

Yeah, and we wonder why kids don't give a crap about space once they turn 12. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to understand that the present system (govt. controlled) makes it virtually impossible to actually GO into space. That needs to change. NewSpace NOW!

(This message brought to you by a pissed off space advocate who's seeing the dream of space get destroyed by the government.)
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Me: Person X - Oh, and sorry for throwing you in with the people who say "bunk" to going back to the Moon. I accidentally got you mixed with others. The point remains the same, but I retract you as a target of the point. lol.

Also, love the debate...keep it coming! :)

Monday, November 23, 2009

Obama Addresses Science/Technology/Engineering

http://www.whitehouse.gov/blog/2009/11/23/next-generation-innovators

I like this, by why hasn't Obama come to the conclusion that the space industry, and a serious investment into it, will help many of the current issues we're facing right now. Look, if you're going to make a stimulus package that's supposed to save the day, you might as well spend the money on something that will last many years, grow an entire industry, employ hundreds of thousands of people directly (if not over a million) and also cause a double of that employment number by all the ancillary jobs that will end up being created.

This is a step in the right direction, but let's finish the play. Fix ITAR so the American commercial space industry can once again work with companies around the world to develop better products and systems. Use the unspent stimulus money and dump it right into the space industry in the forms of grants to businesses and schools, tax breaks to start new space based businesses, a large bonus check to NASA, etc. Put that money to use on building a Moon Base, something that will take 15+ years, that's never been done before, will be an inspiration to our young people, and will lead to unlimited future potential.

You're a smart guy Mr. President. Get it done.

Monday, November 16, 2009

The LCROSS Finding

Hello everyone,

I bet some of you are wondering why I have not yet written about the most recent news that LCROSS found a lot of water. Well, I was at the SpaceVision 2009 SEDS National Conference, and was quite busy, so my ability to get in front of a computer and write out an article wasn't very good. However, now I'm home and have had the time to read some articles, see the report, etc.

I only have one word about this: GALLONS!

Not teaspoons, not trace amounts, but gallons of water found in a relatively small area represents one of the most important findings in near space in the history of mankind. Yeah, that's a big statement, but I strongly feel that way.

This much water on the Moon represents the strongest incentive for a Moon Base ever. Period. Before it was all speculation and hope. Now it's fact and data. You can't argue with that. What drives me nuts are the people still saying, "Well, that's all nice, but you still have to get the water out in appreciable amounts." Duh, that's what scientists and engineers do, figure those things out, and with this kind of excitement you know darn well that there will be a strong push to make it happen.

This also gives the private space industry a real economic reason to go to the Moon. Turn water into fuel and make the Moon a gas station and you can make a fortune selling fuel to others, but the fuel would still be wicked cheaper than ever having to bring it with you from Earth. The savings for launchers and missions would be significant, and the revenue for the fuel provider would be huge. Win win.

We live in an amazing time in human history. It's now time to turn sci-fi into sci-fact. Let's get this thing rolling! I am still on a mission. Priority one, educate the public to the point that they base a large portion of their political vote on how serious candidates take space. Space solves many issues, and this needs to be known. Parallel to that, try to talk to politicians either directly or through groups in an effort to fix ITAR and enable peaceful international private business collaboration to advance technology and space based systems.

I've got a lot of work to do, so let's get going!

Monday, November 9, 2009

Space Future Journal Interview

http://spacefuture.com/journal/journal.cgi?art=2009.11.09.douglas_mallette

Here is an interview article written by SpaceFuture.com.

My Fox News Appearance Recap

Well, without a doubt this was one of the coolest trips I've ever been on. Thankfully the New York weather cooperated with my visit and it wasn't bitterly cold, nor rainy or snowy. The people at Fox News are amazingly cool, gracious and fun people.

Harris Faulkner was a great person (and she's quite tall). Our conversation was fun, fluid and engaging, and by far the best of my two interviews, but that isn't a negative against Uma Pemmeraju. Uma and I on Friday were up against the Orlando shooting breaking news and I was actually surprised that I got on at all.

There was a stark contrast between Thursday and Friday. Thursday morning was relaxed, good pace, but not hectic. Then around 2 and 2:30pm is when the word was going around about the Ft. Hood shootings. You could instantly feel the pace quicken, even though it was drawing close to the end of the day on the Strategy Room. Right about then is when I thought my Friday interview might be dropped.

Friday was crazy to begin with as the story of Ft. Hood developed, but then some jackass in Orlando has to join the fray and go on his own shooting spree. What the hell is with people? I've lost jobs before and been on hard times, but NEVER thought to kill anyone over it. Anyway, with the Strategy Room trying to take coverage of the Orlando shooting as maybe a copycat incident to the Ft. Hood shooting, I completely thought I was out of the loop for the day.

First I was to be on at 3pm for the whole hour, then 1:30pm for 30 minutes, then 1pm for the hour (first 30 min. as a military veteran talking about Ft. Hood and the second 30 min. talking about my book), then it changed again to 1:45 for 15 min., and it finally ended up being around 1:50pm for 7 minutes. lol. Crazy day. Still, they got me on, but it just wasn't right. It wasn't fluid and there were still things coming down regarding the hot news of the day. I jokingly called myself the "And Guest". We've got Orlando, Ft. Hood...and Doug. Not exactly their high priority for the day, and I understand that.

As you can see, I did record my Harris Faulkner interview and have posted it. I also tried to record my Uma Pemmeraju interview, but the file is corrupt. I basically said the same thing in both interviews, but you would have easily noticed the difference between the two...relaxed vs. rushed.

Nevertheless, this was an amazing opportunity and I hope to be able to more in the future. I just hope I can graduate from New Media (online) to good old fashioned TV. :)

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Off to NYC today!

Hello everyone,

Well, 4 hours to take off and I'll be on the way to New York to be on Fox News' Strategy Room for the next 2 days. Yes, I'm pretty excited about this. It's a major step in my life, and I hope it leads to future opportunities. My passion for space is unquestionable, and for the first time ever I see a chance to become more than just a fan, but an actual voice for the industry and hopefully affect a new mindset for this nation and how we view space.

Space exploration and development is not a nice thing to have, but an essential thing to do. Space should not be for the select few, but for everyone. Space is not an expense, but an investment. It's an investment in our economy, our national future, the inspiration of our youth, the survival of this planet and our survival as a species. Space is the answer to many questions.

Tomorrow and Friday mark the beginning of something special, I hope. I appreciate your support and your equaled passion.

Regards,

Douglas

Monday, November 2, 2009

Sometimes I Wish I Had a Stronger Voice

http://www.wired.com/wiredscience/2009/10/robotarmada/

I read things like this, and I become sad. Several years ago I had this exact idea. I was the project manager for the SEDS @ UCF Chapter (Students for the Exploration and Development of Space at the University of Central Florida). I was the Project Manager for 3 years before graduating and moving to Houston. I still chat with my fellow SEDS peeps, and am going to the SEDS National Conference in 2 weeks to be a speaker there. Anyway, back to the point...

One of my ideas was MAARV, the Martian Automated Ariel Reconnaissance Vehicle, basically a Martian Blimp! So what do I find today, but an article on wired.com talking about THAT very idea! Argh! As a college student, albeit one that was older than the average by a good 10 years, you never have a voice strong enough to pull significant weight. Double road blocks hindered MAARV progress for me then: Professors who were too busy to care and SEDS members who didn't jump on the idea.

Well, how do you like the idea now?
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Addition after I originally posted this: Make no mistake, I do love the idea and I hope it actually comes to pass. I think low latitude, versatile blimps would be great scouts for Mars, cover much more terrain than a rover and could be loaded with ground penetrating radar to see what's really under the surface.

I have many other ideas, and with my book and who knows what will come of that, maybe I can spearhead those into becoming reality. :) Gotta make your own way in this world, which I am working hard to do. :)