Dr. Madhu Thangavelu, Jake Dodd, Monday, 11-26-12 November 27, 2012Posted by The Space Show in Uncategorized.
Tags: breeder reactor, Dr. Madhu Thangavelu, EML1, fissile material, gamma emitter, Jake Dodd, NERVA, nuclear fuel in space, nuclear weapons proliferation, SNAP-X, Space Exploration Architectures Concept and Synthesis Studio, Space Nuclear Activation Plant, Thorium, U-233, USC Dept. of Astronautical Engineering, USC School of Architecture
add a comment
Dr. Madhu Thangavelu, Jake Dodd, Monday, 11-26-12
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.
Dr. James Dewar, Sunday, 2-12-12 February 12, 2012Posted by The Space Show in Uncategorized.
Tags: " nuclear propulsion to LEO, " Saturn V, "The Nuclear Rocket: Making Our Planet Green, air launch, C5A, Dr. James (Jim) Dewar, Fissile Material Cut-off Treaty (FMCT), heavy lift, high explosive (HE), highly enhanced uranium (HEU), hydrogen fuel, ion energy, ISP, NASA, NERVA, nuclear reprocessing, nuclear rocket economics, nuclear rocket testing, nuclear thermal rocket (NRT), nuclear thermal rocket test stands, Peaceful and Prosperous, Plutonium, Project Bifrost, public private partnerships, pulse cooling, reentry vehicle (RV), solid core, space policy, Thorium, Tungsten fuel, U233, U235, U239, Vasimr
Dr. James Dewar, Sunday, 2-12-12
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
The John Batchelor Show, “Hotel Mars,” Wednesday, 1-25-12 January 26, 2012Posted by The Space Show in Uncategorized.
Tags: : John Batchelor, antimatter propulsion., General Propulsion Science, Icarus Interstellar, interstellar travel, NERVA, nuclear thermal rockets, Project Bifrost, Project Daedalus, Project Icarus, The John Batchelor Show, Tungsten fuel
add a comment
The John Batchelor Show, “Hotel Mars,” Wednesday, 1-25-12
Project Icarus, Nuclear Thermal Rockets, Project Bifrost
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 firstname.lastname@example.org and I will forward it to them.