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Charles Miller, Friday, 8-14-15 August 15, 2015

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Charles Miller, Friday, 8-14-15


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Guest: Charles Miller. Topic: The “Evolvable Lunar Architecture that Leverages Commercial Space Capabilities and Public Private Partnerships” study. 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 back Charles Miller to discuss in detail the recently released NASA Study, “Evolvable Lunar Architecture that Leverages Commercial Space Capabilities and Public Private Partnerships.” You can read and download the report, “Evolvable Lunar Architecture that Leverages Commercial Space Capabilities and Public Private Partnerships” at http://titan04.ksc.nasa.gov/shuttle/nexgen/Nexgen_Downloads/NexGen_ELA_Report_FINAL.pdf. During the first segment of our 1 hour 39 minute show, Charles introduced us to the study, the background as to why the need for the study, plus he said that to find an affordable way to move humans out into the cosmos there needed to be an affordable way to do it. He briefly summarized the history of efforts to return to the Moon since Apollo, then explained why this new approach, modeled after the COTS program, was so much better. Through the creative use of the public-private partnership program, returning to the Moon can be easier and more affordable. Charles was asked lots of listener questions including questions that addressed the TRL level of both NASA and the private companies to go to the moon, public and private risk taking, commercial competition, and the strategic use of fuel depots to further reduce mission costs. He explained their program step by step through three phases. Listener Dan asked a series of question about robots being serviced on the Moon, asking if the humans would be better placed elsewhere to control the lunar robots using low latency telepresence rather than humans on the Moon. Don’t miss how Charles responded to this series of questions that Dan emailed us. BJohn was also active with questions ranging from asking about the Lunar Mission One program to questions about the costs and assumptions used in the NASA study, even the use of GEO. Other listeners wanted to know about lunar settlement as part of this study, lunar habitats, and using L2 rather than the lunar surface. Listeners also asked Charles about lunar microgravity issues and radiation. Charles had the most to say about radiation issues. Later in the segment he said the plan called for a migration of the initial program to something like an international lunar authority modeled after CERN and modern airport authorities. Dan asked another question about getting astronauts off the moon in an emergency wondering if there would be greater safety margins if humans were not required on the lunar surface. Charles indicated that there would be a lunar escape system on the Moon. When questioned about the economics, it was clear that the study had in mind to facilitate human expansion BLEO so options not expanding the human presence BLEO were not options considered for the study. Todd asked if SLS was considered in their analysis. The answer was no as they only looked at commercial launch options, not government launchers. More questions came up about how the project would be financed relative to the NASA budget. Don’t miss this analysis and explanation.

In the second segment, BJohn asked about the Falcon Heavy regarding fuel depots. Charles said it was a LEO only launcher so not considered in their study. More listener questions came in regarding depots. BJohn also asked about the use of GEO. Charles explained why this was not an option. Eric and Charles had quite the email exchange about needing humans on the lunar surface. Charles said they were primarily there to repair and maintain the robots and equipment. Eric kept asking about using robots for the repair and maintenance but Charles said that technology was not available at this time. Their give and take was a good discussion of the subject. As Charles pointed out, since a commercial company would be on the moon with the robots, they would have every reason to advance their technology to be more cost effective so moving toward robotic servicing of the lunar surface robots would be something a company would be motivated to do to save on operating costs. However, that technology was not available today. Listener Josh wanted to know about other potential lunar businesses including lunar tourism. Charles was asked about lunar cubesats, then near the end he was asked about property rights and lunar resource exploitation. As the program was about to end, we talked about the political process and progress the study needed to make as it worked its way through the policy makers, Congress, and others. Please post your comments/questions on TSS blog above.

You can reach Charles Miller through his company, NextGen Space LLC or me.