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The NRC Pathways HSF Study Panel Discussion, Sunday, 10-12-14 October 13, 2014

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The NRC Pathways HSF Study Panel Discussion, Sunday, 10-12-14

Featuring Dr. Jim Logan, Dan Adamo, Dr. John Jurist

http://archived.thespaceshow.com/shows/2334-BWB-2014-10-12.mp3

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Guests:  Dan Adamo, Dr. Jim Logan, Dr. John Jurist.  Topics:  Our three guests reviewed the NRC “Pathways To Exploration HSF study.  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. In addition, please remember that your Amazon purchases can help support The Space Show/OGLF. See http://www.onegiantleapfoundation.org/amazon.htm.  For those listening to archives using live365.com and rating the programs, please email me as to why you assign a specific rating to the show. This will help me bring better programming to the audience.

Welcome to this 2.5 hour Space Show Classroom discussion with Dan Adamo, Dr. John Jurist, & Dr. Jim Logan regarding the recently released NRC “Pathways To Exploration: Rationales And Approaches For A U.S. Program Of Human Space Exploration.”  You can download the report for free at  http://www.nap.edu/catalog.php?record_id=18801.  In addition, the project referred to in the last part of this discussion by Dan and Jim, the “Aquarius interplanetary HSF transport” paper can be freely downloaded at  http://www.spaceenterpriseinstitute.org/2014/07/aquarius-a-reusable-water-based-interplanetary-human-spaceflight-transport.  Please note that our panel members used cell phones which caused audio issues which you may hear during the discussion.  Finally, as this program will also be archived on both The Space Show and The Space Show Classroom blogs, there will be two papers uploaded to each blog, one by Dan Adamo & the other by caller Dr. James Dewar. I will mention both in the summary below.  In the first segment, our panel members opened with their perspective on the NRC Pathways HSF study.  While there were similarities in their perspectives, there were also noteworthy differences.  After this comprehensive introduction, I asked our panel members about the study and space settlement or pioneering.  Each panel member had much to say on the settlement issue, including the need to solve the gravity prescription for long duration HSF or settlement.  Our panel members  said that for the most part, space settlement was out of scope for this report.  In this part of the discussion much was said about microgravity issues & the need to do on orbit experiments to determine the HSF gravity prescription.  Deimos was discussed as an initial better choice that the surface of Mars re microgravity issues.  Our guests spoke to the need of a short arm centrifuge on the ISS.  Jim spoke to the specifics of such an experiment such as 1 G at the head., 2.5 g’s at the feet for two hours a day to see how it serves as a microgravity countermeasure.  Our panel members mentioned that there already was such a short arm centrifuge built years ago by NASA and Wiley, http://www.nasa.gov/centers/johnson/slsd/about/divisions/hacd/laboratories/short-arm_centrifuge_laboratory.html.  The guests talked about unknown human factor challenges for going to Mars and long duration spaceflight.  Jim provided us with interesting statistics on human spaceflight totals since the beginning in 1961.  The panel members had much to say about the budget issues discussed in the NRC study.  Another point brought up was the study’s assumption that if we are not going to the surface of Mars, why even do HSF?  Near the end of the first segment, listener Carl brought up the well known plans for Mars settlement with Elon Musk & SpaceX.  This sparked quite the discussion so don’t miss it.

In the second segment, our panel talked about the value of the Pathways study, international partnerships and what they saw as contradictory statements, especially regarding the mission cost impact of such partnerships.  John mentioned the study’s reference to NASA education & public outreach which he thought was more focused on STEM & the development of more engineers rather than on educating the general public to be more knowledgeable about science.  The panel members  noted that there was little attention paid to the societal impact of not even having a human spaceflight program.  Dan & Jim agreed on the importance of educational outreach and shared their experiences with us from the employment with NASA.  Adrian in San Diego sent in an email suggesting the panel was being pessimistic and that China would not overthink issues and just do missions without full disclosure.  All three panel members had much to say in response to Adrian’s charge of being pessimistic.  They talked about being reality based, not pessimistic & why it was so important to be reality based.  The panel hit back hard on the charge of being pessimistic.  Dan & Jim said to be other than realistic was reckless and irresponsible.  Jim also said that being called pessimistic suggested to him that reality had violated the person’s ideology.  Jim would be happy to debate the issues with anyone in open forum.  This discussion brought Jim and Dan to talking about their Aquarius project which you can download at the above URL.  They spent some time discussing the benefits of their approach, noting how it addresses & mitigates many of the problems associated with a HSF mission to Mars.  They also spoke to the need for nuclear propulsion and talked about using water as fuel and very high ISP ratings with high temperatures.  During this discussion, Dr. Jim Dewar called in to suggest their ISP ratings were low, he explained why, and he talked about starting small to start flying and then improving as you go.  We did not know it but we lost John from the connection but Jim, Dan, and Dr. Dewar spoke to the NERVA project, and specifics about nuclear propulsion.  This advanced nuclear propulsion discussion was close to a half an hour near the end of the program.  Dr. Dewar was a guest on the program in 2008 & 2009 regarding nuclear propulsion & its history. He also authored two books on the subject.  Use the GuestSearch tool on our website to find his interviews which I suggest you listen to if you have not already done so.  I will also upload to both blogs the paper Dr. Dewar referenced in his discussion.  After the nuclear discussion, Adrian sent in another email titled “rebuttal.”  He challenged the panel members to do the experiments, not just to talk about them.  Jim, Dan & I challenged Adrian for his solutions to doing many of the needed & essential experiments. All of the panel members supported doing the needed experiments & have said so for decades.  Getting funding for the experiments, NASA approval, etc. is a challenge.  I then challenged Adrian to come to The Space Show as a guest with his solutions for doing the essential work & experiments rather than his just talking about how badly they are needed per his second email.  I hope Adrian does have answers and will contact me about coming on the show to discuss them with us.  Jim & Dan each provided closing comments focusing back on the study report.  They thought the report was worth it from the taxpayer perspective and that it would be used for references.  Jim did think the report was not as good as other government studies he had seen because it was so speculative, something all three guests addressed in their opening remarks.  An 11th hour call came from SLS John to talk about the ISP formula & temperatures Dan and Jim used in their paper Aquarius paper.  Dan authorized me to upload to the blog his written comments on the NRC Pathways study so you will find that document on both blogs as well.

Please post comments/questions on The Space Show blog.  You can reach the panel members through me.

A Technical Note on Nuclear Rockets-1

PathwaysCommentaryR3

Dr. Madhu Thangavelu, Friday, 6-7-13 June 8, 2013

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Dr. Madhu Thangavelu, Friday, 6-7-13

http://archived.thespaceshow.com/shows/2024-BWB-2013-06-07.mp3

Guest:  Dr. Madhu Thangavelu.  Topics:  space architecture visionary design, Human Spaceflight (HSF) to Mars, radiation, much 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.

We welcomed back Dr. Madhu Thangavelu for a 1 hour 45 minute discussion on a wide ranging set of topics from space visionary concepts to HSF to Mars, radiation and other issues, fantasy vs. reality thinking, and the synthetic mind. Madhu provided us with these links relevant to our discussion:  1. AIAA talk slides:
https://info.aiaa.org/Regions/Western/LA/Lists/Presentations/DispForm.aspx?ID=6 ; 2. AIAA Space Architecture panel video on YouTube : www.youtube.com/watch?v=ig3FzB0bQnA, 3. USC Space Concepts Studio website : http://denecs.usc.edu/hosted/ASTE/527_20111, 4. latest USC Eng. magazine carries an article, p16-17: http://viterbistorage.usc.edu/Public/USCVITERBIMAG.pdf.  In our first segment, Madhu opened up by talking about students and space inspiration.  Based on his own USC teaching experience, he said students were fired up.  Our guest was asked to compare robotic missions to HSF missions and Madhu spent some time on this discussion.  He also talked about the NASA plan to capture an asteroid, referring to this as a possible wild goose chase.  He talked about the ISS and using it more and more to accomplish important space goal.  Madhu received several questions about Tito’s Inspiration Mars flyby mission.  Here, he had much to say, especially about radiation, deep space communications, food & nutrition, and even physiology degradation.  We talked about using nuclear propulsion for such a mission & he suggested a better mission profile using two Falcon rockets.

In the second segment, Paul asked about using nuclear electric propulsion as compared to the two Falcon rocket idea. Madhu talked about the nuclear propulsion history with NERVA & the use of nuclear fuel on many of our robotic missions. Michael called in and said there was no real political will for nuclear so it probably would not happen anytime soon.  Later, Madhu was asked many specific radiation questions regarding the Mars flight.  Madhu suggested possible mitigation strategies, including his favorite, self cellular repair.  Allison emailed in to inquire about his Studio students and how he holds the line from reality thinking as compared to Kool Aid thinking.  Madhu talked extensively about this issue, discussed the philosophy of idea generation, visionary thinking with some fantasy while at the same time being grounded in engineering, physics, financial and other subcomponents of the concept. Don’t miss this important discussion.  We also talked about disruptive technologies.  At the end, we talked about the synthetic mind.

Please post your comments/questions on The Space Show blog above.  You can contact Madhu through me.

Dr. Robert Brodsky, Friday, 12-7-12 December 8, 2012

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Dr. Robert Brodsky, Friday, 12-7-12

http://archived.thespaceshow.com/shows/1909-BWB-2012-12-07.mp3

Guest:  Dr. Robert (Bob) Brodsky.   Topics: We discussed his new book, “Catch A Rocket Plane: More Tales from the Cutting Edge & Beyond,” plus his aerospace history & overview.  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. Bob Brodsky back to the show to discuss his new book which you can order at www.amazon.com/Catch-Rocket-Plane-Cutting-Beyond/dp/1467972908/ref=onegiantlea20. Remember, if you buy the book using this URL, Amazon donates to The Space Show/OGLF.  Dr. Brodsky started out by telling us how he came up with the title to his new book, a story which you will find most interesting.  He then told us stories from his book dating from WW2 through the rocket and space age to current times.  During the segment, listeners asked him many questions about our former space program as compared to our program today.  As today was the anniversary of the launch of Apollo 17, Bob was asked quite a few questions about Apollo, the mood of the country back then, space and the Cold War, and going back to the Moon or other another destination. He talked about his experience on the NERVA nuclear rocket program and why he included a chapter about false starts since so many programs were started, then cancelled by NASA and Congress. Another issue discussed was learning to live on the Moon so we could push further out into space. Bob was asked about the quality of teaching in the earlier years as compared to today.  He talked about ABET which is the accrediting board for engineering education and how that body has changed (lowered) the standards over the years.  Doug called in to ask if we had lost so much of our labor and technical expertise that we might not be able to do an Apollo like mission today.  Note the answer by Dr. Brodsky.  You might be surprised by it.  Bob also advocated the use of cost plus contracting over fixed price contracting because he said without cost plus, the boldness, creativity, risk taking, and out of the box thinking/planning gave way to traditional, conservative, and less pushing of the window in order to avoid financial risks and losses.  He suggested that fixed price contracting produced just the opposite of what we needed from our aerospace industry.  Let us know what you think about Bob’s perspective by posting on the blog.
     In our second segment, our guest told us about a movie he once pitched regarding the terrorist takeover of the ISS.  We also talked about his role with European launch alternatives with pointing systems and sounding rockets.  A listener asked him about ITAR and would it have prevented much of what he was talking about in terms of European sharing of technology early on in our space history. He thought it would have and since our guest said he was a strong proponent of international space cooperation, ITAR is seen as a probable hindrance.  In his concluding statements, Dr. Brodsky said that man was destined to do great things and go into space and settle and live there.  He was optimistic this would happen. He did suggest the 60’s as the greatest space period in our history.
      Please post your comments/questions on The Space Show blog above.  You can email Dr. Brodsky through me.

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

Dr. James Dewar, Sunday, 2-12-12 February 12, 2012

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Dr. James Dewar, Sunday, 2-12-12

http://archived.thespaceshow.com/shows/1711-BWB-2012-02-12.mp3

NUCLEAR THERMAL ROCKETS

Guest:  Dr. James (Jim) A. Dewar.  Topics:  Nuclear Thermal Rocket (NTR), changing paradigms to use the NTR from Earth launch, nuclear economics.  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. Dewar back to The Space Show to further discuss the Nuclear Thermal Rocket (NTR) and his paradigm changing approach to use the NTR to launch from Earth rather than using it only in space.  During this nearly 2.5 hour discussion, Dr. Dewar makes the case for the NTR based on probable economics, the previous history associated with NERVA, and the assumed benefits flowing to private companies engaged in public private partnerships along the lines Dr. Dewar described.  In the first segment, Dr. Dewar started out describing the existing barriers to using the NTR to LEO rather than only in space, plus he referred us to his 29 page introductory paper which is available on The Space Show blog for your download and review.  During this segment, we fielded many listener emails and calls wanting to discuss the NTR ISP, possible fuels, testing, and legal issues impacting the use of the nuclear rocket. Michael called and talked about the discussions for a new treaty, the Fissile Material Cut-Off Treaty (FMCT) and how that would adversely impact using the NTR.  Dr. Dewar talked about treaty issues over the years and suggested that treaties are not that easy to establish in this era while suggesting that they could also be modified.  Near the end of the first segment, questions about thorium came up as did questions about additional commercial uses for the nuclear engine here on Earth. 

In the second longer segment, we talked about winning over the public and the media.  Charles Pooley called in with a set of questions and we talked about reentry vehicles, highly enriched uranium, and more.  Jim described a Titan missile accident in Arkansas as an example of the safety controls even in a very large explosion.  Another listener asked about cooling and Jim told us about pulse cooling.  Dr. Dewar’s air launch idea was brought up again by another caller andMarshall sent in an email inquiring about the nuclear engine replacing coal in our terrestrial power plants to make electricity.  I asked Dr. Dewar about risk assessment for the nuclear rocket and reprocessing given terrorism, etc.  He said the reprocessed material would be carefully guarded but also weighed against the environmental risks associated with burying waste, burning it, or even dumping waste in the ocean.  Dr. Dewar was asked about using the nuclear rocket only in space rather than attempting to use it to launch from Earth.  He compared using it only in space to the Pony Express. Don’t miss his full response in replying to this question.  Later in this segment, I asked Jim for his first step in advancing the NTR.  He said the first step was to get people talking about the subject.  Tom called in and also wondered how to get people to rally to the cause.  Near the end of the program, Jim talked some more about potential economic benefits along with secondary commercial products such as heat pipes.  As our program was ending ion engines came up as did Vasimr.

Please post your comments/questions on The Space Show blog.  If you want to contact Dr. Dewar, send your note to me for forwarding.

To download and read Dr. Dewar’s paper, see below:

A Technical and Economic Introduction to Nuclear Rockets

A Technical Note on Nuclear Rockets-1

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The John Batchelor Show, “Hotel Mars,” Wednesday, 1-25-12 January 26, 2012

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The John Batchelor Show, “Hotel Mars,” Wednesday, 1-25-12

Project Icarus, Nuclear Thermal Rockets, Project Bifrost

http://archived.thespaceshow.com/shows/1698-BWB-2012-01-25.mp3

Guests: John Batchelor, Dr. Richard Obousy, Dr. David Livingston. Topics: Project Bifrost, nuclear thermal rockets, Project Icarus.  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. Written 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. This program is archived on The Space Show website, podcasting and blog sites with permission from John Batchelor. Please visit the John Batchelor Show website for more information about this fine program, www.johnbatchelorshow.com.  The topics in this 11 minute plus segment focused on Project Bifrost, nuclear thermal rockets, and Icarus Interstellar with Project Icarus.  Dr. Obousy expanded on these topics, the issue of interstellar flight and even some timelines looking off into the future.  Please visit  www.icarusinterstellar.org for more information. This is one of many excellent articles on Project Bifrost:  http://news.discovery.com/space/project-bifrost-interstellar-space-fission-120120.html.  Please post your comments about this segment on The Space Show Blog URL above.  If you want to send a note to Mr. Batchelor or Dr. Obousy, please do so to me at drspace@thespaceshow.com and I will forward it to them.

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