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Dr. Jens Biele, Friday, 8-28-15 August 29, 2015

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Dr. Jens Biele, Friday, 8-28-15


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Guest: Dr. Jens Biele. Topics: The Philae Lander & Rosetta Mission, DLR & ESA missions & 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 to the show Dr. Jens Biele of the DLR to discuss the Philae Lander as part of the Rosetta Mission to Comet 67P. During the first segment of our 1 hour 27 minute discussion, Dr. Biele summarized the Rosetta mission going back to its planning and development days, the flight to Comet 67PM and the Philae Lander’s anchor landing failure which he talked about at length. He also talked about communications from the lander to the orbiter and the narrow window for successful communications. We talked about solar and battery power, the type of data it can still transmit and related issues. Later, he was asked about other forms of propulsion including ion thrusters and advanced propulsion, plus he was asked if it would have been better to power the spacecraft by an RTG. He summarized some of the trades involved in making these types of decisions so don’t miss the discussion. BJohn asked about other DLR missions so MASCOT was discussed and later he discussed AIDA and AIM. As part of this discussion flyby missions were detailed and trojan asteroids were discussed. The subject of searching for life came up along with the discovery of organic molecules. Near the end of the segment, Roger from Rutgers asked if they considered Philae a success. Don’t miss his answer to this one. Other topics in this segment including drill samples, mission operating cost considerations, launcher choices and the shape of 67P which was a puzzle yet to be explained.

In the second segment, I asked our guest about the extremely long mission planning and design times coupled with the very long flight time and how that impacted people wanting to work space projects. As you will hear, it is not much different in Europe than here in the States with the same issues with NASA missions here. BJohn asked additional questions about future DLR missions and robotic exploration. This is the discussion that talked about both the AIDA and AIM European missions. Listener Helen asked about general European public support of ESA and space. You might be surprised by what our guest had to say in response to Helen so don’t miss it. In this context, Dr. Biele talked about ESA PR and its limitations and constraints. Toward the end of our program, he talked about human spaceflight, referenced Mars and going to Phobos as an initial part of human Mars exploration. When I asked our guest for closing comments, he said “If you dare you win. Take Some risks.” His final comments were ” Landers are cool!”

Please post your comments/questions on TSS blog above. You can reach Dr. Biele through me or his DLR website.


Dr. Anita Sengupta, Tuesday, 8-28-12 August 29, 2012

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Dr. Anita Sengupta, Tuesday, 8-28-12


Guest:  Dr. Anita Sengupta.  Topics:  Entry, Descent, & Landing for Mars, Venus, propulsion, parachute issues, & more.  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 Dr. Anita Sengupta, Senior Systems Engineer at JPL in Entry, Descent & Landing (EDL) Advanced Technologies Group to discuss EDL for Mars, other planets, and much more.  In our first segment, Dr. Sengupta described conditions relevant to Mars and landing an object on the planet. We talked about the Martian atmosphere and what an EDL team needs to consider and design to land any payload on Mars as well as humans. We also learned that EDL for a different size payload would be different than what was used for Curiosity, probably needing new systems.  We talked about supersonic parachutes & parachutes in general, addressing parachute materials, velocity, parachute violent extremes, the speed of sound & much more.  Another topic was testing on Earth to make sure the devices work on Mars.  Dr. Sengupta explained how such testing & Mars simulation is done on Earth.  Other landing techniques such as airbags were mentioned along with retro rockets.  During this discussion, our guest did a great job of explaining the various forces and physics involved in landing & how each of these forces must be dealt with for a successful landing.  We then talked about landing a payload on Venus and just how different Venus is to Mars.  The same for our Moon and the moons of Mars, Phobos & Deimos.  Listeners sent in questions about the rover debris being left on Mars as well as wondering if there were other ways to explore Mars than using rovers.  John called to inquire about first stage reusability & our guest talked about doing the “trades” (running the numbers to see if reusability is economic or not). Doug called to talk about orbital transfer vehicles, aerobraking, and more.  This led us to a discussion about larger launch vehicles, the need to dissipate lots of energy on reentry, and why larger areas with drag are preferable.

In our second segment, I asked about software programs we might use for the basic type of analysis Dr. Sengupta had been discussing. Note her recommendations.  We then talked about plasma propulsion and ion thrusters.  Dr. Sengupta had much to say on this subject including ion thruster fuel, costs, ISP, and again, the importance of doing trade studies for a mission to determine the best methodology/economics for the mission. Our guest also talked about the lower ISP Hall ion thruster which was also lower in cost but with substantially more ISP than a chemical engine.  Also in this segment, we talked about the Dawn mission & Vega, a possible Europa mission & the use of nano satellites for the Europa mission.  Doug called back regarding ion propulsion fuel, xenon, iron, lunar fuel, etc.  As our program was ending, Anita mentioned the Orion parachute system tests she works on & the new Mars mission InSight.  Several times during the program, Dr. Sengupta stressed the need to do the trade studies regarding mission planning to determine the best economics & cost effectiveness for the mission.  Many of you have heard on The Space Show that if one does not “run the numbers,” it is impossible to know if what you want to do is economically & mission productive/viable.  On Oct. 28, Dr. Jurist is doing a special webinar with his interactive Excel spreadsheet on rocket/mission planning.  It is essential to be able to do this in mission planning.  Trusting your beliefs, gut, & preferences are not the way to go so watch this webinar if you can.

Please post questions/comments on our blog.