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Dr. Pamela “Rai” Menges, Friday, 3-27-15 March 28, 2015

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Dr. Pamela “Rai” Menges, Friday, 3-27-15

http://archived.thespaceshow.com/shows/2442-BWB-2015-03-27.mp3

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Guest: Dr. Pamela “Rai” Menges. Topics: Space innovation, privately funded research, The Space Power Lab, nuclear power & weapons, commercial space & more. Please direct all comments and questions regarding Space Show programs/guest(s) to the Space Show blog, https://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 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.

We welcomed Dr. Pamela “Rai” Menges to the show. I suggest you visit her websites and follow along as applicable with our discussion. Visit http://arsispace.com/spacetechnology.htm and http://starsailorenergy.com. During the first segment of our 1 hour 47 minute show, Dr. Menges introduced us to Aerospace Research Systems, Inc. (ARSI) and talked about the company history dating back to its founding in 1993. We talked about research technologies, private R&D, government funding for research, and specific projects referenced by our guest including the Space Power Laboratory. At one point Dr. Menges discussed the pros and cons of taking government research money and why she elected not to do so. Also, the use of public relations (PR) and the role it plays with those accepting government money. After a brief mention and discussion of the possible space policy positions presented by Ohio Senator Rob Portman, we turned our attention toward power storage and the work our guest has been doing in this area for non-electrolytic power storage. Don’t miss this discussion. Another topic was the use of AC and DC power transmission, the Carrington Event in the 1800’s, and our electrical grid. Jack emailed about the spaceplane shown on the ARSI website, the Ramstar Model. Our guest had much to say about this experimental spaceplane concept and design. I

n the second segment, Ben in Boston asked about telemedicine commercial astronaut healthcare per the descriptive on the ARSI website. Pamela went into detail about this topic, their work with JSC and more. We then spoke to the issue of commercial astronaut safety in general with our guest expressing her thoughts of the safety issues within the industry and the regulatory environment. Later in the segment, the concept of ground effect vehicles came up along with advanced hypersonic technology and even SSTO possibilities. I asked our guest about nuclear propulsion and then several listeners asked her about it as well. Carol’s email took us on a different path as she asked about the need for lots of centrifuges for a peaceful nuclear energy program. This opened the door for our guest to speak about nuclear weapons, the current talks with Iran, and the treaty organizations that safeguard against proliferation. Pamela had much to say about this subject, our government, the Iranians, enrichment, centrifuges, trust but verify and more. Do not miss this discussion. Ft. Worth John called to ask about the use of centrifuges as opposed to other technologies such as gaseous diffusion. Near the end of the program, Luis emailed us about Reaction Engines and the Skylon project space plane. He too sent in a question about winged ground effect vehicles. Kristopher emailed us to check out “Caspian sea monster” on YouTube for an example of these vehicles. Dr. Menges talked about her new book that will be out in the near future and for Pearls of Wisdom suggested “doing what you want to do to pursue your dreams.”

Please post comments/questions on The Space Show blog above. You can email Dr. Menges through her websites or me.

Comments»

1. rocketscirick - April 3, 2015

I found this discussion with Dr. Menges really intriguing in a lot of different ways.

I am a bit confused on the issue of government contracts. Has ASRI done no work for NASA? From the program, there seem to be at least discussions with colleagues at JSC; I understand that some offer of work was turned down. But what type of continuing relationship is there in that case?

Clearly, a lot of the cost-plus R&D contracts through NASA or DoD are far too burdensome for a small business. But what about SBIR/STTR awards, or the variety of NASA Space Act agreements?

I ask because most start-ups or small businesses cannot have a diversified portfolio of products or services; they have to be focused on getting some minimum viable product or small product set, which typically means a highly focused set of customers. If you’re trying to be a space business, the customer set is extremely narrow, and typically includes the government. And if you’re not selling yourself to the government, then you’re selling to a qualified angel investor or VC, which is typically no better… or trading one set of shackles for another.

Is there a limited set of acceptable types of government contracts? Or is this a slippery slope?


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