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Dr. John Hunter, Monday, 2-18-13 February 19, 2013

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Dr. John Hunter, Monday, 2-18-13

http://archived.thespaceshow.com/shows/1952-BWB-2013-02-18.mp3

Guest:  Dr. John Hunter.  Topics:  Hydrogen gas gun technology and capability, microwave propulsion for delivering cargo.  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 back Dr. John Hunter for a fresh look at hydrogen gas gun propulsion technology and capability, microwave propulsion for delivering propellant and delicate cargo, cubesat launchers, and more.  During the first segment of our 85 minute program, Dr. Hunter briefly explained his departure from QuickLaunch and the viability of impulse launch with the hydrogen gas gun.  He explained how the hydrogen gas gun works which as you will hear is very simple.  Dr. Hunter say that with the gas gun, there could be very high payload fractions into the 20′s.  Our guest was asked about total costs for the hydrogen gas gun which he referred to as installed costs.  Listeners asked him to describe the physical characteristics of the gun and we talked about how many times it could be used without needing refurbishing of some kind.  Dr. Hunter also talked about the high pressures and we compared the gun to the old U.S. Navy battleship 18 inch gun from the WWII era.  A listener asked if the gun would make a good weapon.  The answer was no.  John was asked where the gun might be located and talked about Adak & Kodiak, Alaska plus other possible sites in the Lower 48.  Listeners then asked if the Alaskan heavier cold air was a factor in using the gun.  We learned that the differences between cold air and warm air were minor.

     In our second segment, Dr. Hunter introduced us to microwave propulsion launch.  He spent some time describing how microwave launch would work and even talked about using consumer quality magnetrons from microwave ovens.  In response to listener questions, he talked about demo launches and a Cal Tech student’s PhD thesis on the subject.  Later in the segment, our guest was asked about using an impulse launch system as a cubesat launcher given the rise in popularity along with growing demand for cubesats.  Our last discussion topic was the use of Kickstarter for funding emerging and startup space projects.  Dr. Hunter said it offered real possibilities and advantages for regular people to participate in space companies and projects, but he also issued a warning for people to be alert to not be taken given the lack of oversight with crowd sourcing funding projects in general.

     Please post your comments/questions on The Space Show blog.  You can contact Dr. Hunter through me at drspace@thespaceshow.com.

Michael Laine, Monday, 2-4-13 February 5, 2013

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Michael Laine, Monday, 2-4-13

http://archived.thespaceshow.com/shows/1943-BWB-2013-02-04.mp3

Guest:  Michael Laine.  Topics:  Lunar space elevator updates. 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 back Michael Laine for LiftPort Group updates regarding the lunar space elevator.  For more information, visit www.liftport.com.  Michael started our two hour discussion talking about his very successful Kickstarter campaign last year.  LiftPort started the campaign asking for $8,000 but raised $110,000!  During this first segment, Michael talked about the plans to use the $110K, the experiments LiftPort would do and why additional funding was needed to advance the lunar space elevator project.  I asked Michael lots of questions about the lunar space elevator market, his time table for transitioning away from being a Power Point project, & the LiftPort labor force.  LiftPort is mostly volunteer labor. For now it is working on tether and balloon experiments.  We talked extensively about using Kickstarter and even talked about the tax consequences for Kickstarter revenue.  Michael did say that he thought the project would be a private project in that government would not be a major supporter, if at all.  Michael then talked about his fact finding global missing seeking new financing and partners after the Kickstarter campaign. He had much to say about his visit to Iceland and the company CCI Games.  When pressed, Michael suggested 8 years from last August to completion. Listen to the details supporting this timeline.  Michael also outlined four areas needing resolve to move the lunar elevator project forward.

     In our second segment, Michael described more of the elevator project, including the use of EML1 and why & how the elevator ribbon would work, including its logistics from EML1 to the lunar surface and EML1 back toward Earth.  He also talked about their lunar surface elevator contact point on Sinus Medii.  A listener asked him about the Google Lunar XPrize & Michael told us how a GLXP mission could benefit the LiftPort project.  Also in this segment, we talked about costs.  Michael estimated about $800 million for a robotic mission and maybe up to $1.2 billion for three astronauts roughly every three weeks.  He compared these costs to the cost of shuttle launches and flights to the ISS.  When asked about lunar markets that might economically justify the lunar elevator, he talked about the potential of HE3 mining and new uses for the material here on Earth, plus lunar SSP and solar panel manufacturing.  Alex asked Michael to be specific about the transitional steps from Power Point to the beginning of a systems engineering project to develop the elevator.  Emory emailed in more questions about tether use, Tim called (sorry for phone line issues on Tim’s call) regarding tethers and more.  David Ben wanted to know about the Falcon Heavy and I expanded that to include SLS.  A question came up about LiftPort’s interest in a Mars space elevator. Our discussion concluded with Michael suggesting that Kickstarter & similar crowd source funding organizations will play a bigger & more important role in funding space ventures in the future.

     Please post your comments/questions on The Space Show blog. Michael can be reached at info@liftport.com.  You can also subscribe to the LiftPort free newsletter from their website.

Dr. Madhu Thangavelu, Jake Dodd, Monday, 11-26-12 November 27, 2012

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Dr. Madhu Thangavelu, Jake Dodd, Monday, 11-26-12

http://archived.thespaceshow.com/shows/1901-BWB-2012-11-26.mp3

Guests:  Dr. Madhu Thangavelu, Jake Dodd.  Topics: This program discusses Jake’s concept of placing a nuclear fuel plant in space in support of nuclear propulsion/space needs.  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 back Dr. Madhu Thangalevu and his student Jake Dodd to discuss the concept of SNAP-X: The Space Nuclear Activation Plant.  I have uploaded his AIAA paper by the same title and his Power Point slide presentation to The Space Show blog which should provide you with more specific information about Jake’s concept.  Essentially, the plan calls for putting a breeder reactor in space to supply nuclear fuel for space needs safely rather than launching from Earth all the time.  During our first segment, both Professor Thangavelu and Mr. Dodd explained the concept in detail.  We talked about weapons proliferation in the process, the breeder reactor and why that was the chosen technology, the safety in place for this technology, and the use of it in the EML1 location and why.  Part of our conversation focused in on projected time lines and development costs as I tried to get an idea of what would be involved in bringing this project to at least an Earth-based demo status.  Listeners emailed and called in about the problems given the amount of fear within the public and parts of the government every time the word nuclear is mentioned, then saying that the use of a breeder reactor heightens that societal fear level.  We discussed ways of dealing with this during our discussion.  In addition, listeners questioned the safety of a breeder reactor and the use of Thorium as a non-weapon nuclear fuel.

In our second segment, we talked more about tight budgets, private and public partnerships, and international cooperation to bring this project to at least demo status.  Charles called in to challenge our guests on their Thorium comments regarding conversion to U-233 which he said was an effective fuel for weapons as was U-235.  I believe you will find this exchange most useful in understanding many of the issues regarding this project.  Our guests brought up the nuclear rocket history and the NERVA project, plus we asked Jake for his plan of attack in getting his project going.  As our program was ending, Madhu talked about his next Design Studio Class which culminates with new student projects on Dec. 18th.

I look forward to talking about many of these projects on The Space Show in 2013.  Post your comments/questions on The Space Show blog.  If you want to email either of our guests, please do so through me.

Here are the two documents we talked about during the show regarding Jake’s concept.

Dodd AIAASpace2012

Jake_Dodd_SNAP-X_AIAA_Paper

Space Show Webinar with Dan Adamo, Dr. John Jurist, Sunday, 11-25-12 November 24, 2012

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Space Show Webinar with Dan Adamo, Dr. John Jurist, Sunday, 11-25-12

Audio only:  http://archived.thespaceshow.com/shows/1900-BWB-2012-11-25.mp3

Video Stream:  http://vimeo.com/channels/thespaceshow

Guests:  Dan Adamo, Dr. John Jurist.  Topics:  Trajectory analysis to EML2, Mars, and more.  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.  You can view our webinar on our Vimeo Space Show channel, http://vimeo.com/channels/thespaceshow.  To follow along with Dan’s pdf, use

http://thespaceshow.files.wordpress.com/2012/11/adamo-eml2roundtripr2.pdf.  We welcomed Dan Adamo back to the program and Dr. John Jurist as co-host for this special webinar addressing trajectory analysis for an EML2 mission and more.  On The Space Show blog, you will find Dan’s PDF document used during the webinar, a link to the movie he played in the second half of the webinar, and his Phobos-Grunt analysis paper we discussed near the end of the webinar. During the first hour of the webinar, Dan took us through the trajectory analysis to Earth-Moon L2 per his PDF document.  We talked about why EML2, libration points in general, and how such missions are planned.  If the resolution on the webinar video for the charts and tables used during this segment are difficult to read on your computer, please bring the document up on the PDF on The Space Show blog and follow along that way.  Dan took us through Table 1, HALO orbits, and the HOI as well as the Trans-Lunar Insertion points.  We talked about orbital characteristics, delta V, rocket size, and more  We also talked about the position of the Earth, launch windows, the Moon, & other factors influencing the planning of the mission.  While at times the discussion may seem a bit technical or overwhelming for those of us having never done mission planning at this level before, all of us will certainly have a better understanding of the factors considered and influencing both robotic as well as human spaceflight missions.  Near the end of the segment, we talked about the SLS and heavy lift & how payload capacity interacts with mission & trajectory analysis. 
 
     In the second hour of our webinar, Dan took us through his HD movie of the orbital trajectory talked about during the first segment, stopping it at intervals for specific explanations and questions.  The movie is in the QuickTime format but you can see it both on the webinar or by using the URL provided on the blog.  We took several listener calls & questions.  One asked Dan about the differences in planning for the robotic vs. the HSF mission using MSL & Curiosity as an example.  Dan pointed us to a YouTube video he made a few years ago with Dr. Logan using these tools for a Deimos mission (www.youtube.com/watch?v=X10GAqA4Ky4). Another listener called wanting to know the likelihood of an EML2 mission actually happening.  Dan explained why he believed this mission to be the next stepping stone in HSF.  More was discussed about SLS with Dan raising some concerns about its real capabilities & wondering if Congress is being sold unrealistic expectations. We talked about heavy lift in general & with the support of properly placed depots.  SLS and the difference with a Falcon Heavy were also discussed in terms of what the differences would mean in payload, number of launches, costs, risks, etc. 
 
     Please post your comments/questions on The Space Show blog.  You can contact either guest through me.
 
Dan’s PDF document is here:  Adamo EML2roundTripR2
 
 
In addition, to watch Dan’s QuickTime movie which he will be using during the webinar, please click on this URL and then select the file format .mov:

 https://spideroak.com/browse/share/DanAdamo/EML2roundTrip

Note that you must have the QuickTime player to play this movie if you intend to download it. You can watch it from the above URL without the QT player.

 

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