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Keith Henson, Sunday, 12-2-12 December 3, 2012

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Keith Henson, Sunday, 12-2-12

http://archived.thespaceshow.com/shows/1905-BWB-2012-12-02.mp3

Guest:  Keith Henson.   Topics SSP using laser rockets to lower the cost of space access.  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 Keith Henson to the program to discuss the use of laser powered rockets for launching space powered satellites to help eliminate the use of fossil fuels as well as lower the cost of space access.  To assist in your following our discussion, check out this laser rocket graphic at http://bit.ly/Uj9Vw9.  Also, Keith has several related published articles on the OilDrum blog.  You can download and read his articles at www.theoildrum.com/search/apachesolr_search/keith%20henson. Finally, our guest has permitted me to upload his recent PPT conference presentation to The Space Show blog, “Laser Propulsion and Space Based Solar Power.”  Please be sure to check out this presentation by visiting our blog, http://thespaceshow.wordpress.com. During our first segment, Mr. Henson talked about the need for low cost energy and said that by using laser rockets and his SSP ideas, the cost for electrical power generation could be as low as 2 cents/Kwh to GEO.  We spent a good portion of our discussion debating Keith’s assumptions behind the 2 cents/Kwh.  I referenced my costs per my PG&E invoice and other listeners emailed and called in regarding their electrical costs per their utility bills.  Keith has asked for people disagreeing to let him know where he may be going wrong so please post your comments on our blog and Keith will respond. He said several times that he wanted your critique and comments.  Many listeners as well as myself pushed him on his assumptions, wanting more factual information on how arrived at his conclusions.  He has this information pending publication with the British Interplanetary Society so for the moment, its under pre-publication boycott but as soon as Keith clears it, I will post his material on the blog and announce it on air. Later in our initial segment, we talked about the laser rocket being a weapon. This discussion sparked lots of listener participation. We also talked about SSP for insitu use rather than power beaming back to Earth.  Keith brought up the new developments with Reaction Engines out of the UK. Here is there recent press release in case you missed it: www.reactionengines.co.uk/news_updates.html. Listeners did call in to tell Keith that SSP did not make sense for a variety of reasons, including not closing a business case, with or without laser rockets.  Jerry offered such comments as did Charles. Also, without consent, AT&T installed call waiting on the toll free line. I finally figured this out & edited out several of the comments & my complaint.  The matter should be resolved for all toll free calls moving forward but about 1hr 30 minutes into the program, you will hear a rough edit where I removed the call waiting rants.
     In the second segment, we continued debating Keith’s costs plus his ROI assumptions. Fusion came up for discussion as well as already existent successful powered sat beamed energy back to Earth.  Toward the end of our program, Keith talked about his target of reducing dollars per gasoline by using laser rockets and SSP.
      Please post your comments/questions on The Space Show blog above. Keith can be emailed at hkeithhensonATgmailDOTcom.
Laser Rockets & SSP

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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Dr. Steve Howe, Tuesday, 1-24-12 January 25, 2012

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Dr. Steve Howe, Tuesday, 1-24-12

http://archived.thespaceshow.com/shows/1697-BWB-2012-01-24.mp3

Guest:  Dr. Steven Howe.  Topics:  space nuclear power for power & propulsion systems, & radioisotope power generators. 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.  You will want to follow the websites along with our guest:  http://csnr.usra.edu/index.html &  www.usra.edu.  If you are interested in the CSNR 2012 Summer Fellowship Program, you can learn more & apply no later than March 9, 2012  from CSNR at  http://csnr.usra.edu/2012_summer_app2.html.  We welcomed Dr. Howe to the program to discuss space nuclear power.  We started out with an overview of both the Center for Space Nuclear Research & the Universities Space Research Association.  Dr. Howe then told us that they were working on nuclear rockets with the Aerojet Corporation, focusing on a new fuel form away from based on tungsten.  During our discussion, he had much to say about this fuel, its advantages, & its testing.  He also talked about ISP & thrust to weight ratios.  He was asked about testing & we learned they plan on doing ground tests at the Nevada Test Site.  Listen to why their tests will be different from earlier nuclear rocket engine tests & how they are expelling the exhaust into the ground.  You will hear There is no radiation, only hydrogen which bleeds into the rock strata.  We also talked about public concern for nuclear power in space, then we shifted our focus to a nuclear rocket mission to Mars.  Dr. Howe told us about the three year Mars mission but also said with a nuclear rocket a one year mission would be possible.  We also talked about the costs for developing the nuclear rocket as well as the possibility of other countries doing it before the U.S.  Next, we talked about the use of uranium & even the possibility of thorium, including why thorium is not useful for weapons. One listener question asked about the Mars Direct method & insitu resource utilization.  Dr. Howe supported the use of insitu but suggested it for later trips as it might be too risky for the initial trips.  He then described their Mars Hopper project which will certainly interest us all.  As this segment ended, we talked about using the nuclear rocket for going to the Moon & for a lunar & even Martian habitat. 

As we started our second segment, Dr. Howe was asked if QuickLaunch could be useful.  Dr. Dewar sent in a clarification note about U-233 as a byproduct of  thorium & why its a problem for weapons.  In talking about a lunar habitat, Dr. Howe told us about the NASA Fission Surface Power Program (FSP).  We also talked about using the new tungsten fuel for habitats.  He told us about the Nuclear Thermal Mars Sample Mission Study that compared the nuclear rocket to Delta IV launches.  Listeners asked about Vasimr & our guest was asked to clarify for us the differences between nuclear electric propulsion & nuclear thermal propulsion & why the latter is preferable.  Dr. Dewar sent in another note to talk about Y-12.  Later, much was said about plutonium & its pending shortage.  Make sure you hear what Dr. Howe had to say about this looming shortage. Near the end, Dr. Howe mentioned his efforts with Hbar Technologies, LLC, suggesting that possibly using these nuclear advancements for medicine, specifically cancer, might be a driver for space applications. As we concluded, Dr. Howe told us about his books on Kindle & the consolidated all in one book, “Earth Rise.”  Here is the Amazon URL & remember, if you buy it using this URL, Amazon contributes to The Space Show: www.amazon.com/Earth-Rise-ebook/dp/B005LD3LYS/ref=onegialeafou-20

Post your comments/questions on the blog URL above.

Dr. John Brandenburg, Tuesday, 11-22-11 November 23, 2011

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Dr. John Brandenburg, Tuesday, 11-22-11

http://archived.thespaceshow.com/shows/1658-BWB-2011-11-22.mp3

Guest: Dr. John Brandenburg.  Topics:  We discussed his new book, the GEM Unification Theory, gravity, propulsion and more.  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.  The Space Show/OGLF is now engaged in its annual fundraising drive. Please check out our appeal at http://thespaceshow.wordpress.com/2011/11/21/space-show-2011-fundraising-campaign.  We welcomed Dr. John Brandenburg back to the program to discuss his new book, “Beyond Einstein’s Unified Field: Gravity & Electro-Magnetism Redefined.”  I urge you read his paper published in the Journal of Cosmology. “A Derivation of the Newton Gravitation Constant and the Proton Mass From The GEM Unification Theory of Baryo-Genesis” at http://journalofcosmology.com/JoC17pdfs/brandenburg2.pdf. Dr. Brandenburg & I have been friends for a very long time & our discussions are informal, sometimes meandering, & always great fun. At times this discussion was heavy into the physic so do bear with us.  In segment one, Dr. Brandenburg said that the GEM theory was a “theory of most stuff.”  He referred to the Gravitational Constant & the Planck Scale as well as the Middle Scale throughout the discussion. He provided the groundwork relating to Einstein and quantum mechanics, hidden dimensions, string theory, the 5th dimension, electro-magnetism & gravity theory.  He also referenced many times over the Kaluza-Klein theory & work by Sakharov.  An early question asked our guest to explain why there were different intensities of gravity on different planets.  Dr. Brandenburg talked about Big G, all matter being electromagnetic at the molecular level & ratios (with Earth)  used to predict the surface gravity of a planet made of rock.  In our second segment, Dr. Brandenburg went into more detail about his GEM theory which is also referred to as the Grandis et Medianis theory.  The Big Bang was discussed as well as what happened in the second before the Big Bang.  He also talked about string theory & its relationship to the GEM Theory.  A listener asked about the recent faster than light neutrino experiments. The experiment named OPERA was very simple & basic & most interesting.  In discussing this experiment & its results, he introduced us to tachyons which prompted a call from listener John in Atlanta & they spent some time discussing the physics of the GEM theory & what it might mean for propulsion.  To simplify this review, we now move forward to the need for portable fusion power & using gravity modification for space transportation.  While optimistic for gravity modification, Dr. Brandenburg was blunt in saying that without portable nuclear power, even with gravity modification, we would not leave the atmosphere & we would continue using big chemical rockets.  Don’t miss this discussion. We talked more about string theory & dimensions & then a listener asked about parallel dimensions.  Dr. Brandenburg had much to say on this topic as well. Near the end of our two hour discussion, I asked our guest about his next book & this opened up a different discussion line. Dr. Brandenburg is going to write about science, religion, the Middle East, Israel, ancient history, Greece, the Roman Empire & metaphysics before physics!  Look for him to be a guest on the show about this one.  We ended our show talking about thorium, thorium reactors, why thorium cannot be used for weapons, & natural nuclear events in Africa & on Mars which he discussed in detail when he was last on The Space Show.  Post your comments/questions on The Space Show blog URL above.  John can be emailed using brandenburgj@orbitec.com.

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