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Broadcast 1852 (Special Edition)Listen to the show!
Aired on September 14th, 2012
Guests: John Elbon, John Mulholland, Dr. Robert C. O'Brien
Guests: John Elbon; John Mulholland; Dr. Robert O'Brien. Topics: Boeing Commercial Space programs and nuclear thermal propulsion updates. You are invited to comment, ask questions, and discuss the Space Show program/guest(s) on the Space Show blog, Comments, questions, and any discussion must be relevant and applicable to Space Show programming. Transcripts of Space Show programs are not permitted without prior written consent from The Space Show (even if for personal use) & are a violation of the Space Show copyright. Welcome to Part One of taped interviews made while I was attending the AIAA Space 2012/CASE Conference in Pasadena, CA. I was assisted in these interviews by Space Show supporter and listener, Dr. Doug Plata. Part One has three interviews. First is Boeing's John Elbon who talks about the Boeing commercial space programs. The next interview is with John Mulholland, also of Boeing, regarding the Space Shuttle, human spaceflight, lessons learned, and the CST 100. We talked with both Boeing guests about many topics from contracting types to safety, crew abort, launch vehicles, etc. The final interview is an update on nuclear thermal propulsion and new fuel development with Dr. Robert C. O'Brien of the Center For Space Nuclear Research in Idaho Falls, ID. Earlier this year, Dr. Howe of the same organization was with us and introduced us to their organization and their nuclear propulsion work. Dr. O'Brien updated us on their work regarding fuel development, launch characteristics, applications, commercial uses, and more. Included in our discussion was a detailed segment on why this propulsion is safe, why it is completely different from nuclear weapons as well as nuclear power plants. Please post your comments about these three interviews on The Space Show blog URL above. If you would like to contact either of these guests including our co-host Dr. Plata, send your note to me and I will forward it to them.

About our guests...

John Elbon
As Vice President and Program Manager, Commercial Crew Programs, John Elbon leads Boeing’s efforts on commercial crew and cargo programs, including our Commercial Crew Development (CCDev) Space Act Agreement. Elbon ensures that innovations and capabilities from across Boeing are used in development of space transportation vehicles to support NASA and commercial customers. He has been Boeing vice president of System of Systems Integration for the Army’s Future Combat Systems, and the Boeing program manager for several NASA programs including Constellation, International Space Station (ISS), and the Checkout, Assembly and Payload Processing Services (CAPPS) contract at KSC. As vice president and program manager of ISS, he led Boeing in its role as prime integrating contractor for NASA’s ISS contract to design, develop, test, launch and operate the orbiting laboratory. The multi-billion dollar contract required the coordination of several thousand Boeing employees in five major locations as well as subcontractors and suppliers located in 23 states across the United States. Prior to leading the ISS team, Elbon managed the CAPPS contract at Kennedy Space Center, Fla. responsible for final assembly and testing of the ISS and other space shuttle payloads. He holds a Bachelor of Aerospace Engineering degree from the Georgia Institute of Technology.

John Mulholland
John Mulholland is vice president and program manager for Boeing Commercial Programs. Mulholland leads Boeing’s efforts on commercial crew and cargo programs, including work on Commercial Crew Development (CCDev) Space Act Agreements. Mulholland ensures that innovations and capabilities from across Boeing are used in development of space transportation vehicles to support NASA and commercial customers. Prior to his present position, Mulholland was the vice president and program manager for Boeing’s Space Shuttle Program, responsible for overall direction and successful execution, from January 2008 to August 2011. Mulholland led Boeing in its role as the major subcontractor to United Space Alliance (USA) in support of its operations contract with NASA’s Space Shuttle Program. Prior to this position, Mulholland was the program director and chief engineer for Boeing’s Space Shuttle Orbiter team. Mulholland was also responsible for resolving pre- and in-flight space shuttle engineering technical issues and maintaining the fleet’s mission readiness. Previously, he was a Boeing associate program director for Orbiter Vehicle Engineering where he led a team of about 400 employees in Huntington Beach, Calif., Houston, and Kennedy Space Center, Fla., responsible for space shuttle sustaining engineering, anomaly resolution and certification of flight readiness. A NASA Exceptional Achievement Medal recipient, Mulholland was employed at NASA’s White Sands Test Facility in New Mexico from 1986 to 1996 and was responsible for shuttle propulsion testing, including refurbishment of the orbiters’ flight components. From 1996 to 2002, he was space shuttle deputy manager of operations and project engineer at NASA’s Johnson Space Center (JSC) where he time was responsible for orbiter vehicle modifications, flight and ground processing anomaly resolution, and flight preparation and vehicle modification processes. Mulholland is a graduate of New Mexico State University with a Bachelor of Science in chemical engineering and a Master’s degree in mechanical engineering.

Dr. Robert C. O'Brien
Dr. Robert C. O'Brien is a research scientist with the Center for Space Nuclear Research in Idaho Falls, ID. Dr. O'Brien is working to advance and eventually commercialize space nuclear thermal propulsion. He has his PhD from the University of Leicester.

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