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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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