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Dr. James (Jim) Wertz, Monday, 2-11-13 February 12, 2013

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Dr. James (Jim) Wertz, Monday, 2-11-13

http://archived.thespaceshow.com/shows/1948-BWB-2013-02-11.mp3

Guest:  Dr. James (Jim) Wertz:  Topics:  Methods for dramatically reducing space mission costs, schedules, & launches.  Please direct all comments and questions regarding Space Show programs/guest(s) to the Space Show blog, http://thespaceshow.wordpress.com.  Comments and questions should be relevant to the specific Space Show program. Written Transcripts of Space Show programs are a violation of our copyright and are not permitted without prior written consent, even if for your own use. We do not permit the commercial use of Space Show programs or any part thereof, nor do we permit editing, YouTube clips, or clips placed on other private channels & websites. Space Show programs can be quoted, but the quote must be cited or referenced using the proper citation format. Contact The Space Show for further information.

     We welcomed Dr. Jim Wertz, President of Microcosm, back to the show to discuss various methods & tools for reducing total space mission costs.  Our guest talked about successful programs and tools that have so far contributed to total mission cost reduction.  In the first segment of our 1 hour 33 minute program, Dr. Wertz started by defining what he meant by reinventing space.  He said this refers to a dramatic reduction in total space mission costs by a factor of 2::10 for schedule related reductions and 2-5 times for space access related costs.  Early on he was asked about reducing costs by increasing the launch rate, a common argument heard in various sectors of the space industry.  His response might surprise you.  Dr. Wertz cited examples to support his comments, specifically Surrey Satellite in the UK (SSTL) as they have been reducing costs successfully for 25 years.  He said modern technology must be used. He also pointed us to his Reinventing Space Project with the USC Astronautics Department.  Also, he pointed us to these websites for more information, www.smad.com/ie/ieframessr2.html and www.smad.com/ReinventingSpace.html.  Dr. Wertz mentioned disaggregation regarding the military using smaller spacecraft and different orbits.  He was asked about cubesats and cubesat launchers, the Scorpius launch vehicle, and NanoEye.  Jim offered sequestration and budgetary comments and pointed out the difficulty in mission planning and more when the nation continues to operate on CR rather than a budget.  He talked about the potential seriousness of the sequestration cuts.  In response to questions about the private sector and SAA type agreements, he pointed out that they exclude the smaller, more creative and innovative cutting edge companies as they are often unable to contribute the required financial portion of the agreement.  Jim pointed out that the goal was to reduce total mission costs, not just launch costs. He said that the launch cost was not always the most costly component of the mission.  As the segment ended, he talked about emergency response and the need for a rapid response, something that is today unavailable.

    In the second segment, we talked about the Cassini Resource Exchange as an effective policy that reduced mission costs and enabled an on time project.  Don’t miss the details about this program.  He again talked about SSTL and pointed out that their attitude is what makes them special & so good.  SSTL has pride in reducing mission costs. We don’t have such pride.  Dr. Wertz talked about Trading on Requirements and why it is risky.  During the first segment, fuel depots were offered up as a possible way to reduce mission costs but Dr. Wertz put them in the marginal category. During this segment, listeners had lots of questions about fuel depots.  In fact, it was as if they cared more about their vision and beliefs regarding fuel depots than the overall message Dr. Wertz was putting out. Clearly fuel depots have the attention of space enthusiasts & sectors of the industry no matter what.  A listener also asked about advanced propulsion concepts as represented by several companies pushing very advanced designs.  Dr. Wertz mentioned that the amateur satellite network could be used to reduce mission costs and talked about the success of AMSAT.  More listener questions came in regarding fuel depots, by far the most common discussion and question topic of the day.  Jim talked about future programs that may offer economies of scale such as SSP.  The last questions came in from Tim regarding our discussion of using pressure fed systems over the use of systems with a turbo pump.  He also wanted to know about rocket reusability.  Jim’s answers may again surprise you.

     Please post your comments/questions on The Space Show blog above.  You can email Dr. Wertz through me using drspace@thespaceshow.com.

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