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Rand Simberg, Friday, 9-11-15 September 12, 2015

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Rand Simberg, Friday, 9-11-15

http://archived.thespaceshow.com/shows/2550-BWB-2015-09-11.mp3

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Guest: Rand Simberg. Topics: The Roadblock to Mars and Rand’s recent Kickstarter campaign success. 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 Rand Simberg back to the show to discuss his recent successful Kickstarter campaign, “Clearing The Roadblock To Mars.” Check it out at www.kickstarter.com/projects/1960236542/clearing-the-roadblock-to-mars. During the first segment of our 1 hour 32 minute show, Rand introduced us to the purpose of this campaign which was to show how much better and wiser NASA could use the funds now being spent on SLS. Or as Rand said throughout our discussion, to get more bang for the buck. Of course this assumes NASA would use the savings wisely. In this segment, Rand spent considerable time addressing the lack of SLS missions, the types of missions SLS might be used for but so far no such SLS missions have been settled on, plus he talked about having more efficiency by using smaller rockets, more launches and fuel depots. He also said we were not serious about space as evidence by the SLS program. Several listeners asked him about the trades between heavy lift and a smaller rocket, the risks involved, costs and more as this is a common debate topic in the industry. Rand said the debate would eventually be settled by market forces. I added in that the characteristics and performance of the rockets being used to settle the heavy lift or not question will also factor into any conclusions reached on this subject. Rand then talked about the Aerojet Rocketdyne announcement that they wanted to acquire ULA for $2 billion. This led to an additional discussion about the Atlas rocket, Russian rocket engines, Vulcan, and Blue Origin. He also answered specific questions about his Kickstarter project which he said was to show how much more could be done wit h the SLS money rather than spending it on SLS. In response to listener questions wanting him to compare SLS to Falcon Heavy, he said about three Falcon Heavy launches would equal one SLS launch. He advocated SpaceX do an Apollo 8 type of flight with the Falcon and Dragon but then said it probably would not happen because of their relationship with NASA.

As we started the second segment, Dr. Doug called from S. California to inquire about the technical capability of SLS and Falcon Heavy plus the ULA Vulcan medium to heavy lift rocket. In addition, Rand discussed the reusable Vulcan concept as compared to the SpaceX concept of landing on a barge. Rand was asked about the need for heavy lift for Mars. He made it clear he was not interested in Mars per se, instead, he wanted to lower the cost of space access to make it possible for anyone to go anywhere in the solar system, including Mars. Rand said over and over again that he was destination agnostic. He continued getting questions about heavy life vs. many smaller rocket launches. Rand said things like it was too risky to put all your eggs in one basket, i.e. the one big heavy lift launcher. Several listeners wanted to know the best path to try to influence the direction of space policy. Rand focused on congress and suggested visiting local congressional offices. Other listeners asked him about a possible increase in the NASA budget. He said money was not the issue for NASA. The issue was using the money wisely to do more with it than we are doing now. He repeated many times during the program that we were not going to have a replay of the Apollo program. Don’t miss his comments on this as they are scattered throughout our discussion. Near the end of the show, Rand was asked about the 2016 elections and space policy, rocket staging, even SSTO rocketry. When offering us concluding comments, he repeated we would not be repeating Apollo, that it was never that popular and much about it is a myth. Don’t miss what he had to say about the Apollo program and missions.

Please post your comments/questions on TSS blog above. Rand can be reached through me or his blog, www.Transterrestrial.com.

 

Dr. Ajay Kothari, Tuesday, 4-29-14 April 30, 2014

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Dr. Ajay Kothari, Tuesday, 4-29-14

http://archived.thespaceshow.com/shows/2234-BWB-2014-04-29.mp3

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Guest:  Dr. Ajay Kothari.  Topics:  Rocket reusability, 1st  2nd stage reusability, space tourism, & 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 http://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. Ajay Kothari to the show to discuss first stage  and full rocket reusability.  During the first segment of our 1 hour 44 minute discussion, Dr. Kothari opened with references to his April 14, 2014 Space Review article, “Robust and Reusable.”  I suggest you read this article and have it handy as a reference as you listen, http://thespacereview.com/article/2490/1.  Dr. Kothari explained  his model and analysis process to evaluate the costs and economics for rocket reusability options.  Our guest goes through his models and scenarios for us, notes that they are only for TSTO rockets (2 stage to orbit), plus he identifies his analysis and software tools.  His analysis led him to understanding the importance of the First Unit Production Cost (FUPC) and how this is a killer without a high rocket launch rate.  Dr. Kothari then talked about the possibilities for space tourism.  As you will hear, he thinks much more of orbital tourism over suborbital tourism which is understandable when you see his costing, price points, percentage of net income being spent on the flight, & a few other parameters.  When asked if he thought orbital space tourism would be the economic driver for rocket reusability, he said he thought it had the potential to be a significant contributor to it.  Listener Paul asked him about the reusability penalty due to added mass for a reusable rocket.  Ajay said they addressed that in their model and suggested a reusable rocket capable of the same payload and destination as an expendable would need to be 2-4 times the size of the expendable!  John from Ft. Worth was a caller with many questions but near the end of this segment, he asked for Ajay’s thoughts on the SpaceX reusable system and process.  Our guest thought highly of the SpaceX effort, process, and concept.  We also talked about both flyback and boostback options.

In our second segment, Dr. Jurist called in and addressed efficiencies in the learning curve which benefit expendables over reusables though our guest was quick to point out that after decades we still cannot build on these learning curve efficiencies to move further out with expendables in technology and cost reduction.  Dr. Kothari and John spoke about the flight rate b/e point which is largely unknown.  I then asked our guest about full rocket reusability and his ideas for a hypersonic second stage to orbit and back.  Dr. Kothari spent time with us during the balance of our program discussing his concept.  We even discussed point to point transportation as a result of this model and he suggested the innovative idea of combining limited orbital space tourism with Point to Point to make it more acceptable. Don’t miss his explanation of this idea.  Tim called in wanting to know about landing large payloads on Mars , possibly using inflatables or magnetic fields generated by a hypersonic in the Martian atmosphere. Doug was our last caller asking about rarefied gas flow & possibly returning to Earth from the Moon with a lighter weight heat shield, even what bouncing off the Earth’s atmosphere meant for Earth capture of the incoming spacecraft.  Our guest talked with him about this along with steady flow or steady heat conduction.  To conclude our discussion, Ajay summarized his models that closed the business case for orbital space tourism, including the one model that could not close.  Note the parameters he talks about for each model.  For more information, check out Dr. Kothari’s website for Astrox Corporation (www.astrox.com).

Please post your comments/questions on TSS blog above.  You can reach our guest through me.