Episode 811: By And For The People

This week we divert a little from our usual format to bring you some very special information. Most importantly, we respond to listener Kevin Streitmatter, who was wondering where the candidates for President of the United States stand on our favorite issue. Since the winner will set America’s space policy for the next 4-8 years and could deeply affect not only the current and future missions of NASA but the burgeoning commercial space industry, knowing their positions on space is crucial for any space advocate. However, since space is hardly a hot campaign topic, finding this information requires a bit of digging. Fortunately, we not only lay out and discuss the stated positions of the candidates on this episode, but Kat Robison has turned our voter guide into a handy cheat sheet to help U.S. voters make an informed decision, including links to great sources to learn even more.

Continuing our coverage of the 67th International Astronautical Congress (IAC) from the previous episode, we dip into this year’s theme, Making Space Accessible and Affordable to all Countries by bringing you an exclusive interview with the CEO, Stefan Gardefjord, and Senior Vice President of Sales and Marketing, Guillermo Bosch, of SSC, the umbrella of the Swedish Space Corporation and their varied group of companies. From their 50-year history to what’s now and coming next, they lay out their vision for the future of the industry and the role they can play in making access to space a reality for a far wider range of clients.

Sometimes Talking Space doesn’t just cover the news but becomes part of the story, as both our correspondents pulled double-duty by presenting at IAC this year. First up, Kat Robison introduces her paper from the main conference, U.S. Policy Considerations on International Cooperation Beyond 2024. She considered the potential paths for cooperation on projects beyond the International Space Station and the relationship between public statements by various space agencies and what might actually be possible. With human space flight to the moon and Mars on the tips of everyone’s tongues, what will succeed and who will be involved? Delving further into the moon, we focus in on some of the technical papers presented in the lunar exploration symposium and how both today’s and tomorrow’s space engineers and designers are working on sustaining life long-term on the moon and beyond.

Kat was also invited to present at the International Student Forum and she gives us some highlights of the other presentations at that IAC-associated event before outlining her research into public opinion on space. While the data isn’t exactly rich, her efforts to bring together what there is can give us some insight into what the general public is thinking about space, and you just might be surprised by some of the patterns she’s unearthing.

Studying public opinion is one part of understanding how to reach voters, Kassy Tamanini explores another fundamental aspect – grassroots advocacy for space issues. Her IAC paper, Folk Space: Using Music to Advocate for Space to the Voting Public, outlines her own experiences with public engagement and the lessons that can be applied not only to her efforts but grassroots outreach anyone can perform.

We at Talking Space hope this super-sized episode inspires all of you, wherever you live or are from, regardless of political affiliations or leanings, to use whatever talents you possess to engage with the political process as well as the people around you to support the exploration of space.

Show recorded 10-24-2016

Host Sawyer Rosenstein

Panelists: Gene Mikulka, Kat Robison, Kassy Tamanini

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