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The Space Show’s Blog

Welcome to The Space Show’s Blog. This blog is designed for you, listeners to The Space Show. It’s for you to post your ideas, thoughts, comments, and questions regarding each and every Space Show program. All topics, comments, questions, and program ratings are welcome with the exception of partisan politics. Please do not engage in partisan policts due to our 501C3 status as a non-profit public benefit corporation with the One Giant Leap Foundation (www.onegiantleapfoundation.org).

Each Space Show program (excluding Space Show Classroom programs) will be archived on this blog as well as The Space Show website (www.thespaceshow.com). Once the program is archived on this blog, it’s open for your submissions. On Open Lines shows, you can post comments about the topics discussed, the callers, and even submit your drawing, plans, or technology suggestions for what you propose or would like to see happen. Let the light of day fall upon your ideas here on this blog and let’s see what others have to say about them.

I will monitor the blog for civility. Ideas are fair game for commentary, support, or attack, but going after individuals, name calling, etc – those types of comments are not permitted and will be removed. In addition, please understand that I don’t have lots of time to post many comments or respond beyond uploading the shows to this blog in addition to The Space Show website. So please remember, this is your blog for your material. Put your ideas, comments, questions, and plans out there for all to see and consider, including our guests.

Thank you.

Dr. David Livingston, Host
The Space Show


1. Larry - March 3, 2015

I have been wondering about if another potential business/motivation for going to the moon. Build nuclear rockets on the moon. From what I understand you wouldn’t have any of the limits that are imposed on earth based development. The water is great – but you need a ship.

2. Matt in AZ - February 23, 2015

I was just listening to the Feb 15 podcast with Les Johnson, and there was some mention of Harry Turtledove’s story of an alien invasion, which had spaceflight but conquistador-level technology – muskets and smooth-bore cannon. It’s a short story titled “The Road Not Taken” and was a pretty fun read.

It can be found in the collection “Alien Contact”, edited by Marty Halpern:

It can also be found in “Masterpieces: The Best Science Fiction of the 20th Century”, edited by Orson Scott Card:

On a related note there is another collection, “Space Wars”, edited by Poul Anderson, that has several of the best SF short stories I’ve ever read – highly recommended!

3. dkwpress - September 17, 2014

I listened to Mike Griffin last night with great enthusiasm. I am a big fan of his because beyond his stellar qualifications for crafting effective and sensible space policy, Mike is a good communicator of ideas. He correctly points out, time and again, that the space debate should center on one thing: do we want to have a human space flight program or not? We spend a lot of time discussing and debating different approaches to building a real space capability – orbital propellant depots, nuclear rockets, heavy lift, commercial vs government ownership and much more – and this is all good to talk about. But we must remember that none of it will go anywhere without serious buy-in from our political leaders. Currently we just do not have it. All we need to start moving forward again are leaders willing to create and defend a good program.

4. Dan - May 21, 2014

I just want to lodge a protest. Am I the only listener that thinks encoding podcasts at 128 kb is excessive? It wastes storage on the servers used to store the audio

and on the devices we use to listen to the podcasts. It increases the bandwith requirement. It increases the time to download the podcast. What it doesn’t do in any

way is to increase the quality when the guest has a bad audio connection. Using 64 kb audio is the perfect balance between all those needs. NPR does it and it works

for them fine. Talk show isn’t symphony, we aren’t losing the nuances of the orchestral performance. I just want to ask Dr. Livingston to take it under consideration. At

least until the internet tubes become slightly faster. Thank you.

Tony Rusi - June 3, 2014

Yes David, please drop back down to 64 bits per second I get a choppy podcast from you now. It makes it unlistenable. Also why not do a full transcript of each show? There is a ton of useful info in your that is not accessible or searchable.

5. Tony Rusi - March 21, 2014

I just listened to the whole thing. The stuff on the new Dragon avionics and experiment freezers I had not heard before, so that was a scoop for you I think!

There are issues with recovering a first stage, like tumbling and spin arrest, and the resulting fuel slosh causing fuel starvation to the rocket engines. We have looked at conical shaped stages (vs. cylindrical) to provide some inherent drouge stability requiring no fuel during the hypersonic flight regime.
We have been looking at inflatable ballutes for these issues, but there is a weight penalty associated with this approach too.

But I am sure Gwynne has many friends with PhD’s in Aerodynamics working with CFD codes to work out these issues without a major first stage redesign effort. The fuel requirement to absorb a deltaV of 100 mph has got to be pretty negligible.

But maybe the grasshopper landing legs are already designed to provide some aerodynamic drouge stability during the hypersonic flight profile, and they just didn’t quite provide enough tumble arrest to match the CFD predictions. Maybe changing the grasshopper legs to a triangular profile, instead of a circular one, and extending the legs and feet out even earlier during the Mach 3 thru 0 flight regime could be enough extra stability to prevent the fuel starvation issues? I don’t know. But I hope they write every thing down! It will be good material for those biography books coming out in a few years!

Maybe a grasshopper foot that has “variable geometry” that can “fan out” into a larger aerodynamic profile during the hypersonic regime is in order????

This might prevent tumbling from even getting started. This is a tough issue and they have made amazing progress so far! It would be so cool if everything worked out right and the first stage just landed intact “on the barge” in two weeks! That would blow everybody away!

The current Falcon 9 can loft ~29,000 lbs and Gwynne said the vehicle was “30% more capable” so one way to interpret the re-usability hit is to multiply 29,000 by.3. So I am guessing that ~8,700 lbs of fuel is “in reserve” for re-entry burns, and first-stage recovery.

6. Andrew Tubbiolo - March 8, 2012

Here’s a link to Dr Tyson’s appearance before the Senate.


Dr Tyson begins at the 100 minute mark. Be aware that the first 15 min are filler with no audio.

I listened to the whole thing and came away with the impression that the back and forth is at the same level as what we hear on “The Space Show”. In fact, on a good day “The Space Show” operates at a higher level than this Senate hearing. Like the space community, Senators call into doubt the emotional commitment of the person they are in disagreement with. We do have a representative form of government.

Be that as it may be, Dr Tyson seems to have committed himself to the cause of American, human, spaceflight. I think this is important, he brings much to the table that is good.

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