The Downlink

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In this episode of The DownLink Podcast, Laura Winter discusses satellites, modern warfare, and future defense needs for protecting commercial interests in the Cis-Lunar region with Robert Geckle, CEO, Airbus U.S. Space & Defense; Patrick Zeitouni, Chief Strategy Officer, HawkEye 360; and Tom “Pumper” Nichols, Co-Founder & Chief Product Officer, True Anomaly. This episode was recorded at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s 2023 Global Aerospace Summit in Washington, D.C.

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This week’s episode is about U.S. Space Force doctrine, the Secretary of the Air Force’s email signaling big changes ahead, and the new nine-word-long mission statement: “secure our Nation’s interests in, from, and to space.” Laura Winter discusses these developments and what they mean for the future of the Space Force with Peter Garretson, a senior fellow at the American Foreign Policy Council and co-author of the book “The Next Space Race: A Blueprint for American Primacy”; and Brent Ziarnick, an associate professor of Space Power at Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies, and author of the book “Developing National Power in Space: A Theoretical Model”.

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India just sent its Chandrayaan-3 mission to the Moon for a mere $75m and DARPA is asking for ideas on how to build the cis-lunar infrastructure to establish an off-world economy. To understand what’s at stake and what’s needed for a secure cis-lunar economy worth betting on, Laura Winter speaks with Mike Dickey, Founding Partner of the new space consultancy, Elaranova, and former Director of the U.S. Space Force Force Design Integration Office, at the Space Warfighting Analysis Center; Courtney Stadd, Executive Vice President of the Beyond Earth Institute, with extensive stints in the Departments of Commerce and Transportation, NASA, and the White House, as well as in the private sector; and George Pullen, Chief Economist at Milky Way Economy.

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The U.S. Senate returns on September 5, followed by the House of Representatives on September 12, to negotiate the FY’24 federal budget. While both houses want to cut down the president’s request for the Space Force and military space programs by more than a billion, it’s not yet set in stone. To understand what’s at stake, Laura Winter speaks with Chris Stone, Senior Fellow for Space Deterrence, National Institute for Deterrence Studies and author of the book “Reversing the Tao: A Framework for Credible Space Deterrence”; Peter Garretson, a senior fellow at the American Foreign Policy Council and co-author of the book “The Next Space Race: A Blueprint for American Primacy”; and Sam Wilson, senior policy analyst for the Center for Space Policy and Strategy at The Aerospace Corporation.

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Starting as early as Monday, August 21, Russia and India will make attempts to land their separate lunar lander missions on the moon’s south pole, where water-ice – space’s version of gold – has been found. Traditionally, Russia and India have been fast friends on earth, but competing visions and national interests in the space domain are revealing fault lines. Laura Winter speaks with Namrata Goswami, an independent scholar on space policy and great power politics and co-author of the book “Scramble for the Skies”; and Pavel Luzin, a space, Russia, and international security expert, lecturer, and author, and also visiting scholar at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, Tufts University.

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This week’s episode examines an experiment that will underpin the development of a crucial environmental technology that almost every spacecraft – crewed or not – and every off-world human habitat will employ. Laura Winter speaks with Purdue University’s Issam Mudawar, who is the Betty Ruth and Milton B. Hollander Family Professor of Mechanical Engineering, and the Principal Investigator for NASA’s Flow Boiling & Two-Phase Condensation Experiment (FBCE) for the International Space Station (ISS). The FBCE’s second module just arrived at the ISS.

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On this week’s episode of The DownLink Podcast, Laura Winter speaks with Comtech Chairman, President, and CEO Ken Peterman, about hybrid space technologies and what value it will deliver to the end-user; why he reorganized the company; the latest contract with the U.S. Army; will it join the lunar economy; and why he calls himself an “imagineer”.

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Weird reports of “disappearances and departures” from China’s People’s Liberation Army’s Rocket Forces, Venezuela signs up to the China-led Moon station, and more out China on space and defense in this week’s episode. Laura Winter speaks with Chris Stone, Senior Fellow for Space Deterrence-National Institute for Deterrence Studies and author of the book “Reversing the Tao: A Framework for Credible Space Deterrence”; and Brendan Mulvaney, Director of the Air University’s China Aerospace Studies Institute.

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The U.S. Space Force asked the Rand Corporation to come up with a new officer workforce framework, “conceived independently of the existing [U.S. Air Force] structure.” This episode is the second in a two-part series examining the Rand Corporation’s novel proposal, which aims to balance space mission requirements and the careers of officers. It is highly recommended to first listen to Part 1, which posted last month.
In this episode Laura Winter continues the conversation with two of the proposal’s authors, Larry Hanser, a senior behavioral scientist, and Jennifer Li, a senior management Scientist, both from the Rand Corporation; and Chris Stone, Senior Fellow for Space Deterrence at the National Institute for Deterrence Studies; and Brent Ziarnick, an associate professor of Space Power at Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies.

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This week’s episode serves up an in-depth interview with Maj. Gen. (ret.) Kimberly Crider, who was the first Chief Technology and Innovation Officer for the United States Space Force and is now a founding partner of a new space business, Elara Nova. Laura Winter also speaks with Jim Townsend, former U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for European and NATO Policy, and President of the Atlantic Treaty Association, who was in Vilnius, Lithuania this week for the 2023 NATO Summit.

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