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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


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, 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.

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.

Tim Pickens, Thursday, 8-2-12 August 2, 2012

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Tim Pickens, Thursday, 8-2-12


Guest:  Tim Pickens.  Topics:  Pickens Innovations, commercial space, space economics & policy.  You are invited to comment, ask questions, and discuss the Space Show program/guest(s) on the Space Show blog, https://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 Tim Pickens back to the program to tell us about his new company Pickens Innovations.  As Tim explained, he has left Dynetics and formed his own consulting business.  Learn more about his new consultancy and activities by visiting www.timpickens.com.  We started our discussion by my asking Tim about some of the comments I made yesterday in a USA Today telephone interview regarding commercial/private space development.  Since I forgot to record the interview (something I have learned to do for my own protection given edit rights are seldom permitted re the articles or programs), I bounced some of my comments off Tim to see if I was drinking my own Kool Aid about the state of the private space industry, its potential, the positive changes I see happening, and more.  Tim confirmed that I was on the right track so now I await the USA Today article.  In the process of this discussion, Tim had much to say about the emerging commercial space industry, the companies involved, the economics and the markets.  We talked about how things have changed for the better over time and in recent years.  I then asked Tim about Rocket City Space Pioneers, his Google Lunar X Prize entry, for which he remains the team leader.  Tim was quite frank in discussing the program with us, the Google Lunar X Prize in general & many of the critical issues facing the contest & all the contestants.  Do listen carefully to what he said as it goes right to the heart of issues facing the broader commercial & private space development efforts/industry.  Part of our discussion focused on the value chain available for sustainable lunar business, the problems with ride sharing at this time to the Moon and much more. We also talked about essential time lines for the contest.  He said many times that affordable systems were needed, viable and sustainable business models were needed, and he was thinking about a merger or joint venture with other contestants to make it happen.  Tim fielded many questions about his new consultancy, Pickens Innovations. We learned that he was getting involved in other areas than space, specifically medical devices.  He described two such devices and why his company was pursuing their development.  How about market size and potential as compared to space?  In fact, cash flow & revenue from these successful non-space businesses are expected to fund many of his space development activities.  Also in this segment, our guest talked about space hardware issues.

In the second segment, he defined the Man Cave which he talks about on his website.  Tim responded to a listener question about the potential of a Netscape Moment re investing in space businesses, plus he talked about the need to have more fun and be less nerdy, referencing conference presentations and similar things space people engage in from time to time.  As an example, he cited the Big Bang Theory TV show and a new show about to start, Top Engineer.  Later, we talked about SLS and its future, its mission, and its likelihood of being funded to completion.  Suborbital space and vehicle issues were a discussion topic followed by Tim talking about the Space & Missile Defense Conference in Huntsville (www.udreg.com/SMD) later this month. His closing comments were positive & upbeat for our future, especially by using disruptive technologies which he talked about at great length throughout the interview.

Please post your comments/questions on The Space Show blog.