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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. Jason Cassibry, Tuesday, 10-9-12 October 10, 2012

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Dr. Jason Cassibry, Tuesday, 10-9-12

http://archived.thespaceshow.com/shows/1869-BWB-2012-10-09.mp3

Guest:  Dr. Jason Cassibry.  Topics:  A technical description and the potential of fusion propulsion.  You are invited to comment, ask questions, and discuss the Space Show program/guest(s) on the Space Show blog, http://thespaceshow.wordpress.com. 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. We welcomed Dr. Jason Cassibry to the program to guide us in our discussion of the potential for fusion propulsion.  At times, this was a very technical discussion.  To assist in following it, I have uploaded to the blog his published paper delivered at the AIAA Joint Propulsion Conference, “The Case and Development Path for Fusion Propulsion.”  In addition, below are the URLs for several articles on fusion propulsion that Dr. Cassibry shared with us: www.uah.edu/news/items/10-research/2501-slapshot-to-deep-space#.UDrKn-iPVuY;
www.popularmechanics.com/science/space/rockets/the-big-machine-that-could-lead-to-fusion-powered-spaceships-9450996; http://io9.com/5921673/nuclear-slapshots-could-propel-a-spacecraft-to-mars-in-just-weeks; www.centauri-dreams.org/?p=23442
and http://nextbigfuture.com/2012/10/zpinch-nuclear-fusion-pulse-space.html.   Dr. Cassibry started out by providing us with a working definition of fusion propulsion.  We talked about nuclear propulsion as well and the overall state of development for fusion energy.  I asked Dr. Cassibry if in their economic projections for fusion propulsion, they considered the political and policy impact on fossil fuel pricing and supply availability.  As you will hear, generally such factors are not included in their studies though he concurred with me that such policies can strongly skew the economics one way or the other.  Several calls came in on a wide ranging group of associated topics.  We talked about the main fusion fuel, lithium deuteride, magnetic nozzles, and the use of a nuclear fission reactor to start the fusion propulsion unit.  Z-Pinch technologies were defined and discussed.  As the segment drew to a close, I asked about funding sources for this research and we learned that most all of the funding is from public sources.

In our second segment, more listeners called in regarding insitu resource usage, nuclear propulsion to start the fusion unit, and the power consumed for all of this.  We talked about using fusion propulsion for a Mars mission and what it did for travel times.  Jason also put forth a suggested time line and path to follow to operation in perhaps 25 years, depending on funding.  More calls came in with fuel questions, vibration impact, G force acceleration, thrust, and more.  Another topic discussed was fusion propulsion for the launch vehicle.  We then compared some real mission travel times such as Cassini, Voyager, and New Horizons, asking what the transit times would have been like using fusion propulsion.  As we were ending the program, I asked about the students entering aerospace engineering at UAH, both the undergrad and graduate level, plus the gender mix of the students.  There appears to be strong demand by the students to study these fields at all levels.  In conclusion, Jason suggested that we could look for breakeven with fusion in about ten years, maybe less.

If you have comments/questions, please post them on The Space Show blog.  Dr. Cassibry’s faculty page at UAH is www.mae.uah.edu/faculty/cassibry.shtml.

 

Cassibry et al case for fusion 072812

Walter Cunningham, Tuesday, 6-19-12 June 20, 2012

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Walter Cunningham, Tuesday, 6-19-12

http://archived.thespaceshow.com/shows/1799-BWB-2012-06-19.mp3

Guest:  Walter Cunningham.  Topics:  An inside view of the American space program from Apollo to today.  You are invited to comment, ask questions, & discuss the Space Show program/guest(s) on the Space Show blog, http://thespaceshow.wordpress.com. Comments, questions, & any discussion must be relevant & 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.  We welcomed Walt Cunningham to discuss our space program from Apollo through today’s developing commercial space industry.  For more information, visit his website, www.waltercuningham.com.  You can buy “The All-American Boys: An Insider’s Look At The U.S. Space Program” from Amazon & they will make a contribution to The Space Show/OGLF if you use this URL: www.amazon.com/All-American-Boys-Walter-Cunningham/dp/1876963247/ref=onegiantlea20.  I started the discussion by asking Walt about his perspective on Apollo 7 today, 44 years later.  Walt had some interesting things to say about perspective, especially over the past 10-20 years as compared to when he actually carried out the mission.  A few times during our discussion, questions came up about the so called “mutiny” with the crew & NASA ground control so listen to how Walt described what was mostly a non-event despite media & blog reports to the contrary.  He did talk about Wally Schirra, his head cold & the Actifed commercials, but there was far more to the mission & to the significance of Apollo 7.  Dr. Jurist asked about the ride on a Saturn 1B, professors & experiences while both were at UCLA.  We discussed risk regarding his ride on the Saturn 1B. Walt had much to say about risk during the Apollo era as compared to now.  We extrapolated from this discussion to Columbia’s foam issues. We talked about commercial space.  Walt suggested that today’s commercial space efforts were not purely commercial given government funding & missions. He also said that retiring the shuttle when we did was a big mistake.  He then took us through a cost analysis process to illustrate that space is & always will be costly.  At the end of the first segment, one way trips to Mars & reality TV show funding were mentioned.

In the second segment, Terry called with questions about Von Braun. Walt had high praise & much to say about Von Braun & his experiences with him.  Commercial space came up again & I asked him about asteroid mining.  He did not think it would be a good investment & talked about the need to pay attention to the laws of physics.  We talked about He3 on the Moon, fusion energy possibilities & more.  I read an email from a London listener asking about the Apollo rocket & mission sounds on Apollo 7.  We talked some more about the problems on board Apollo 7, this time regarding Wally & the TV broadcast delay & the wearing of the newly designed helmets during reentry.  Walt talked about climate change & global warming, urging people to do their own research & examine the data rather than believing what people had to say regardless of their position.  John in Atlanta called in about global warming & said that there was no practical mitigation strategy. Our guest shared what he perceived to be the true motivation of global warming extremists.  John also talked about having built a next gen space shuttle from the old space shuttle to avoid retiring it or having to build an entirely new & very costly program.  Walt supported that idea but history proved otherwise.  Toward the end we discussed the pros & cons of international cooperation & competition, Ares 1 as a safe rocket for HSF, & the cost of the ISS being more due to international cooperation.  Our final topic was risk versus reckless behavior & the difference between the two.

If you have comments/questions, please post them on The Space Show blog.

Homer Hickam, Friday, 4-13-12 April 13, 2012

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Homer Hickam, Friday, 4-13-12

http://archived.thespaceshow.com/shows/1751-BWB-2012-04-13.mp3

Guest:  Homer Hickam.  Topics:  We discussed his new book “Crater” & how he developed the technologies & systems to make living on the Moon credible.  You are invited to comment, ask questions, & discuss the Space Show program/guest(s) on the Space Show blog, http://thespaceshow.wordpress.com. Comments, questions, & any discussion must be relevant & 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. We welcomed back Homer Hickam to the program to discuss his new book “Crater” & his new Kindle book, “Paco: The Cat Who Meowed in Space.”  You can buy each book from Amazon using these special URLs & Amazon will make a contribution to The Space Show/OGLF:  For “Crater,” use www.amazon.com/Crater-Helium-3-Novel-Homer-Hickam/dp/1595546642/ref=onegiantlea20.  For “Paco,” use www.amazon.com/Paco-Meowed-Kindle-Single-ebook/dp/B007K1OC6K/ref=onegiantlea20.  Homer explained that Crater (set 120 years in the future) was a teenage orphan working to mine HE3 which was sent back to Earth as Earth desperately needed it for fusion energy.  While telling us about his book, we learned that Homer created solutions to many of the challenges to living on the Moon.  For example, microgravity & radiation – listen to how he solved the problems.  Muscle deterioration? He solved that one too.  Transportation back & forth between Earth & the Moon?  That one too.  Spacesuits, the use of one atmosphere, all sorts of other challenges to our having a lunar settlement have a solution to make the Crater story credible.  As you will hear, not only does Homer go into detail about the storyline, but he focused on the solutions & this makes the story both believable & credible.  Issues such as lunar dust, children on the Moon, even pregnancy, well, there is a solution.  Food & water too.  We did go off the topic of his books to ask about space policy.  As you will hear, Homer thinks the Moon will be developed by entrepreneurs for commercial value.  He sees companies such as Space X changing the game for our space policy & does not see government space programs being what they once were though development of needed infrastructure is part of what government can & should do.  The lunar transportation systems he talked about will be private commercial businesses.  When asked how he came up with solutions to problems encountered when living on the Moon, he talked about a study he did in the 1990s which is on his website, www.homerhickam.com. Homer was asked why the Moon & not Mars.  Don’t miss his response to this listener question. We also talked about the space programs for other countries such as China. Homer then told how he envisioned the world to be 120 years in the future. As you will hear, countries have broken up into smaller, more manageable nations, including the United States.  The world is not as we know it today.  Toward the end of the first segment, Homer was asked about the difference in times from when he grew up in W. Virginia to today given the listener said his son could not even fly an Estes rocket in their city. Part of his reply stressed the need to join rocket clubs today.  Before the break, we talked about insitu resources, water, food, law, & justice on the Moon.

During our short second segment, Homer was asked about strip mining on the Moon & he had much to say about it. Don’t miss this discussion.  He was also asked about other uses for the Moon besides HE3 including solar, radio telescopes, & manufacturing.  As the show ended, he commented on the need to have better political leadership to lead us forward in space development. He also had more to say about slime mold which plays an important part in his book.

Please post your comments/questions on The Space Show blog.  Mr. Hickam can be contacted through his website.

Rick Tumlinson, Friday, 1-20-12 January 21, 2012

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Rick Tumlinson, Friday, 1-20-12

http://archived.thespaceshow.com/shows/1694-BWB-2012-01-20.mp3

Guest: Rick Tumlinson.  Topics:  Why Space, space vision, NewSpace, SLS, opening the space frontier.  You are invited to comment, ask questions, and discuss the Space Show program/guest(s) on the Space Show blog, http://thespaceshow.wordpress.com.  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.  We welcomed Rick Tumlinson back to the program for this nearly two hour discussion of space vision, leadership, programming, SLS, advocacy and more.  In hour first 70 minute segment, Rick opened by talking about his ongoing op-ed series in the Huffington Post titled “Why Space?”  So far he has two issues uploaded to the Huffington Post & I urge you to read them.  You can see all of Rick’s articles on the Huffington Post at www.huffingtonpost.com/rick-tumlinson. During our discussion, Rick stressed the need for space settlement and talked about this during the entire program.  Additionally, Rick focused on the big picture space vision throughout our entire discussion.  In the first segment, SLS came up but it was also talked about later in the show.  Rick explained why he thought it was the wrong project for this point in time and had much to say about private industry launch & space transportation systems as compared to government programs.  When asked if he thought SLS could be appropriate as a placeholder, he said no but listen to what he had to say about this idea.  He talked about not picking winners and advocating a common sense space plan.  I asked him for his plan and how to implement it.  He then outlined a plan in several steps during the balance of the segment.  Don’t miss it.  Listeners called & asked questions about the Chinese space program and cooperation and the same with the Russians. 

In the second segment, Rick started us off with a discussion about the Frontier approach for space development.  He also talked about going to the Moon and why, but also about asteroids & Mars.  He said we need to develop the skills and the insitu experience for living & working in space.  Several times he mentioned that on the Moon and Mars we would be living underground due to the radiation.  Rick then talked about space habitats including O’Neil like space stations/habitats.  Several listeners asked about the role of HSF in developing our understanding of the universe, specifically for 2012 and beyond.  John from Atlanta called in to talk about the lack of civility coming from the NewSpace community toward old space.  This produced a spirited give & take with Rick which in a way focused on “guarantees” for the commercial company success as compared to government rocket programs.  John suggested it was a bit risky putting all the “eggs” in unproven commercial company baskets when we know the government launch vehicle will work as long as the program is not cancelled.  Don’t miss what John and Rick had to say.. Toward the end, Rick talked about the Texas Space Alliance & his new organization, EarthLight Institute. He provided us with substantial detail about the EarthLight Institute plans, their website which is under construction,  plus the book on asteroids that he is working on and will be out around the end of the year.  He was asked about his continuing role with the Space Frontier Foundation & the activities of SFF.

Please post comments/questions on The Space Show blog URL above. Rick’s email address is rick@earthlightinstitute.org

 

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