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MIT Students Analysis of the Mars One Mission Plan, Tuesday, 11-25-14 November 26, 2014

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MIT Students Analysis of the Mars One Mission Plan, Tuesday, 11-25-14

http://archived.thespaceshow.com/shows/2363-BWB-2014-11-25.mp3

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Guests:  Sydney Do, Koki Ho, Sam Schreiner, Andrew Owens.  Topic:  This program provides a comprehensive discussion of the Mars One Mission Plan by the MIT student team.  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 the MIT team from the Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics to discuss their paper and work “An Independent Assessment Of The Technical Feasibility Of The Mars One Mission Plan.  Download their study at http://web.mit.edu/sydneydo/Public/Mars%20One%20Feasibility%20Analysis%20IAC14.pdf.  You can also download the Reddit discussion mentioned in the second half of our program at http://www.reddit.com/r/Futurology/comments/2irk1u/mit_study_predicts_marsone_colony_will_run_out_of.  In addition, check out the MIT Strategic Research Engineering Group at http://strategic.mit.edu.  During the first segment of our 1 hour 49 minute program, Sydney started with background on why the team undertook the Mars One Mission Plan analysis, told us their goals and objectives for doing the analysis, and the role that each team member played in examining the Mars One Mission Plan.  We addressed most of the issues brought to our attention by the MIT study, many in great detail.  We also asked the team about their feedback from the space community as well as Mars One. So far, they have not been in touch with Mars One though they did ask Mars One for information in doing their analysis but no reply was received.  What they have heard from Mars One to date has been through third party reports.  On the other hand, the public’s response has been both very good and helpful.  You will have a better understanding of this and the open source software the team used when you listen to Kirk’s call at the top of the second segment.  The MIT team did not seek out or interview any of the Mars One mission volunteers, advocates, or supporters.  Much was said about Mars One website claims that their mission could be done with current technology including technology used on the ISS.  The MIT team took a hard look at these claims and then evaluated the claims which fell short.  They explained the technologies, the TRLs, and why they fell short of Mars One claims and needs.  We also talked about the ever increasing launch mass every two years with a new crew, supplies, etc.  They showed how this was not sustainable and why.  We talked about the very high number of launches needed before the first crew ever got to Mars plus the increasing number of launches needed at each two year launch window using the Falcon Heavy and a modified Dragon as suggested by Mars One.  The number of launches and their close-in interval has never been done before, even on a global basis.  We talked about making parts on Mars with 3D printing but noted that was not a current technology but that it would evolve over time with no time line available as to when 3D printing could reduce launch masses on the resupply missions.  Much was said about growing crops on Mars, separating the crop environment from the human environment and why, the need for much larger crop space than suggested by Mars One, plus a host of other critically related issues revolving around CO2 and O2.  As you will hear, the logistics of the Mars One settlement are complicated, costly, and very challenging.  The MIT team also determined that it might prove cheaper to bring food up from Earth rather than trying to grow the needed food supplies on Mars.  The MIT team pointed out that the one way mission not only made the Mars settlement far more complex but significantly more costly given it does not have an ending point.  During both segments, our MIT guests pointed out many of the assumptions in play by Mars One, where they were able to work with Mars One assumptions, and when they had to go to the literature, including NASA, to work the problem.  In this segment, I asked out guests at what point would the Mars One settlement be independent from Earth.  Their answer might surprise you.  As the segment closed, a listener asked if they had read the book “The Martian” and what they thought of it.  A few team members had read it & they liked it.  Listen to what they said about that type of survival on Mars and how missions were plan to avoid such a predicament.

 

In the second segment, Kirk was first up with his call from Trinidad.  He talked about the plant models and open source files and the error the MIT team made which they briefly mentioned in the first segment.  This relates to a flaw in the open source program dealing with CO2 and O2.  It’s a good discussion which also took place offline with Sydney and Kirk.  The MIT team is working this problem and error.  This is important so do pay attention to the discussion with Kirk.  Food systems were talked about again with the team suggesting the colony would be better off bringing food from Earth.  INSITU Resource Usage was talked about as well as sustainability issues to get the settlement up to 12 people over several years.  Tim called in asking about a Mars One analog here on Earth and what drove the costs so high for Mars One.  Again, we heard the one way mission was a huge cost driver.  Tim also asked if the costs would be the same for a lunar settlement.  Surprisingly, our guests said the costs would be similar if the lunar settlement was a one way project as the same type of issues would then have to be dealt with just as is the case for Mars.  Our final call was from John in Montana who applauded the team for their realism.  He mentioned that the health of the crew on Mars was not considered but assuming the crew is healthy when it lands on Mars and can live their, as people age, their medical care and costs rise.  As we heard, no such analysis was made or considered for these issues or their ethical component which the MIT team brought up.  Here we learned that the main assumption was a healthy crew from landing on Mars all the way through the Martian settlement process.  Such an assumption is not realistic but to do the analysis, one has to decide at what level an illness or injury will be treated and at what level crew members will not get treatment.  As the team said, to answer these questions also requires a study of ethics.  In fact, given the extreme financial requirements for the mission plan and its continuation every two years, our guests were asked what would happen and who would pay to keep the Martian settlers alive if Mars One defaulted and could not come up with the needed funds to sustain the mission.  While our guests were familiar with this issue, it was not part of their study.  Nobody knows if governments would come to the rescue or if the Martian settlers would be left to their own survival efforts.  The MIT team said these types of ethical issues would need resolution for any Mars settlement mission. They also questioned if it would be sufficient to just sign informed consent documents that included their knowing there would be no rescue attempts for any reason.  They suggested the UN as the forum that might undertake this type of analysis and policy.  As the show was ending, our team was asked about animal food stocks brought from Earth.  Each of our guests offered us closing comments which you will want to hear.

 

Please post your comments/questions on TSS blog.

Clay Mowry, Tuesday, 6-3-14 June 4, 2014

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Clay Mowry, Tuesday, 6-3-14

http://archived.thespaceshow.com/shows/2255-BWB-2014-06-03.mp3

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Guest:  Clayton (Clay) Mowry.  Topics:  Arianespace, launch industry, reusability, launch price and satellite capacity.  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 back Clay Mowry to the program to discuss Arianespace and the launcher industry.  During the first segment of our 90 minute discussion, we took on the subject of the upcoming last EASA ATV 5 flight to the ISS.  Mr. Mowry explained why this program to the ISS was ending and that after this last flight, there would be only one vehicle capable of boosting the ISS.  He talked about U.S. priorities in building up cargo capability to the ISS without boost capability over commercial crew.  We also talked about the life expectancy of the ISS amid the current controversies with Russia and the US.  I asked Clay for a brief history of the launcher Ariane 5 and we learned that they now have 59 successful launches for this rocket.  Our guest talked about Ariane 5 performance capabilities plus upgrades that are in progress for an Ariane 5 ME.  We talked about launch price/cost and its relationship to how customers determine what launcher to use.  As he said the last time he was on the show, customers need launcher reliability and the ability to launch on schedule.  Launch costs are an overall factor of the total risk of the launcher, the value of the satellite, opportunity costs, infrastructure costs, and more.  This is a very informative discussion and it continued into the second segment.  Our guest also said that human spaceflight poses different issues than launching telecommunications satellites and is more sensitive to launch costs.  Listeners asked about government subsidies to Arianespace and their not turning a profit despite their commercial success. This opened up a discussion about all forms of government subsidies, including the methods used in the U.S. to subsidize and support our launcher industry.  We talked about the planned new Ariane 6 rocket and its differences with Ariane 5.  We also talked about rocket development time lines.  Rocket reusability came up and this proved to be a great discussion topic that continued into the second segment.  Clay provided us with very important perspectives regarding reusability.  Dr. Jurist called to go deeper into the issue of launch pricing, insurance, and related items. Don’t miss it.  Clay referenced several studies on this subject including the Futron NASA Ascent Study which examined launch costs among other things.  Our guest talked about ways the satellite industry is working to reduce launch costs by making satellites more powerful and lighter.  They are also starting to use ion propulsion which can cut up to 40% of the mass of the satellite which makes launches lower in cost. With more efficient satellites, longer life spans, and other advancements, its possible to see launch cost improvements up to around 20%.

In the second segment, I asked Clay what it would take to human rate the Ariane 5.  After he explained the requirements, he said their company focus was on satellites.  He mentioned Liberty Rocket, then John from Ft. Worth called in to talk about costs, depots, reusability, & just how many flights can a reusable rocket make, plus insurance risk evaluation for reusability.  Clay talked about reusability economics and risks in depth in this segment, explaining the variables and unknowns. This is an important discussion so don’t miss it.  Later by email, Jim asked about increased satellite efficiency & advanced capabilities lowering the launch rate.  Clay did not think so due to content advances and increases that offset the satellite advancements.  Again, another important discussion topic. In fact, we spent most of the balance of the program on this subject.  In concluding, Clay said the business was even more exciting today than when he joined the industry and later Arianespace.  The final listener comment asked about the launchers being the unsung heroes of our modern society.  Clay summarized that reusability had many market, technical, & economic unknowns, that HSF probably was better suited for it than satellites, & that commercial communication satellite customers need reliability & on time launches as part of their business models.

Post your comments/questions on TSS blog.  You can reach Clay Mowry through me.

 

Gwynne Shotwell, Friday, 3-21-14 March 21, 2014

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Gwynne Shotwell, SpaceX, Friday, 3-21-14

http://archived.thespaceshow.com/shows/2212-BWB-2014-03-21.mp3

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Guest:  Gwynne Shotwell.   Topics:  SpaceX, their goals, mission, & launch vehicles.  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 Gwynne Shotwell, President & Chief Operating Officer of SpaceX back to the show for an hour discussion & Q&A from the listeners.  During the first hour segment of this 72 minute program, Ms. Shotwell started out with me asking questions prior to opening the program to the listeners.  I inquired about using Brownsville, TX as a spaceport, SpaceX qualification requirements & timelines to fly sensitive USAF costly spy satellites to orbit, reusability, the possible use of Falcon & Dragon for a lunar mission, and fast tracking Dragon for HSF given the problem with Russia, the Crimea, and the Ukraine.  Gwynne told us about New Dragon and modifications to it and theCRS-3 Dragon contamination concerns for the upcoming launch on March 30.  About 20 minutes into the discussion, I opened it up for listener emails and phone calls.  I did have some audio issues with the toll free line so I apologize in advance for them but all the callers were clear and understandable as the problems concerned the toll free line ringing.  Listner questions addressed launch pad modifications for larger rockets, the SpaceX Raptor, reusability, possible payload penalties with reusability, propulsive landings, and reusable launch vehicle trajectories.  One listener asked our guest about possible markets for the bigger Falcon heavy lift launcher, Falcon XX.  We learned that this size rocket was for human transportation to Mars.  Gwynne fielded several questions about Falcon and Dragon on lunar missions.  While not opposed to lunar missions, SpaceX does not want to be distracted from their primary objective which is Mars.  Another listener asked about pricing and secondary payloads, the launch abort system, then I asked about SpaceX near term challenges and longer out challenges to 10-11 years from now.  Our guest was asked about berthing and when SpaceX would dock with the ISS.  Later in the segment there was a question about competition in the launcher industry, if SLS was viewed as competition, using a Falcon for a Europa or Titan mission, & the difference between Air Force requirements and special NASA requirements.  As the segment was drawing to a close, a high school student asked about internships at SpaceX.  Gwynne also talked about how valuable & important their relationship with NASA has been and how NASA has been a large part of their success.

In the very short second segment, I went over the upcoming Space Show schedule and let the audience know several dates when there would be no programming due to Easter & my personal schedule.

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

Gordon Woodcock, Friday, 6-14-13 June 13, 2013

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Gordon Woodcock, Friday, 6-14-13

http://archived.thespaceshow.com/shows/2029-BWB-2013-06-14.mp3

Guest:  Gordon Woodcock.  Topics: Financial analysis for an SSP Power System, competing SSP ideas & plans.  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 Gordon Woodcock to the program to discuss his ISDC 2013 financial analysis presentation for an SSP power system.  This presentation is available for your consideration on after the program summary on The Space Show blog for this program per the above URL.  In addition, visit the SolarHigh.Org website for more information at www.solarhigh.org.  In the first segment of our two part 90 minute discussion with Mr. Woodcock, we were introduced to the concept of space solar power from the initial work of Peter Glazer followed by microwave expert Bill Brown.  Mr. Woodcock then discussed the need for large space transmission and Earth based receiving antennas, the need to use GEO for the SSP satellites, and some basics about beaming microwave power.  Economic & financial concepts were introduced along with the need for systems to be affordable, reusable and generate acceptable ROIs.  However, as you will hear, all of this is hard to do at this stage given the need for research and demo systems for proving out the best engineering approaches and designs.  We talked about solar efficiencies and the trade in mass with thin film lighter material with only about a 30% energy efficiency but because of their lighter weight, the trade allows us to launch & deploy bigger systems giving us more bang for the buck, so to speak.  Gordon also talked about efficient transmitter systems & the use of 5.8 GHz.  In this segment we talked about lowering launch costs, increasing the launch rate, and the competitive price for terrestrial electric power.  Earlier in the segment, Gordon  suggested the need for a one year payback but Tony sent in a question suggesting longer paybacks, all of which were acceptable scenarios as long as they were roughly competitive with highly risky terrestrial investments.

In the second segment, we talked about starting with smaller systems & demos, all followed by incremental project development.  We also talked about specific space and terrestrial antenna size and ratios as well as the size of power systems, even up to 2,000 MW or larger.  Mr. Woodcock went over the idea of raising the frequency and what this might mean for a demo as well as an operating power project system.  Questions came in regarding on orbit system repairs and maintenance.  Our guest said the systems would need to be serviced robotically.  We talked about the environment for SSP systems at this time & into the near and medium term & possible fossil fuel competition given new energy extraction methods.  Crowd funding was suggested as a way to fund some of the needed research which our guest said could be done in many competent labs in the U.S.

Please post your comments/questions on The Space Show blog.  You can contact Gordon Woodcock through me at drspace@thespaceshow.com.  Don’t forget, for those of you interested in the opportunity to submit feedback on the NRC congressionally mandated Human Spaceflight Study, please go to www.nationalacademies.org/humanspaceflight.

SPS briefing for ISDC

Dr. James (Jim) Wertz, Sunday, 3-17-13 March 17, 2013

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Dr. James (Jim) Wertz, Sunday, 3-17-13

http://archived.thespaceshow.com/shows/1975-BWB-2013-03-17.mp3

Guest:  Dr. James (Jim) Wertz.  Topics:  Reducing space mission launch costs, changing space industry attitudes.  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. Jim Wertz, President of Microcosm, to continue our discussion on lowering total space mission costs.  For more information, visit the company website, www.smad.com/ie/ieframessr2.html.  Make sure you check out the Scorpius launch vehicle link on the website as this launcher could be a model for what Dr. Wertz talked about during the program.  In the first hour of our 100 minute program, Dr. Wertz identified sequestration and the government response to it as a big problem for the space industry, specifically the smaller companies and financially vulnerable projects.  Also, the fact that we are still on CR with the budget adds to the stress.  Despite the problems, Dr. Wertz did say throughout our discussion that it was possible for something good to come out of all of the problems in that we might actually start focusing on lowering total space mission costs. During much of the first hour, Dr. Wertz discussed the way the industry works, some of the challenges to lowering mission costs, and the need for lots and lots of attitudes to change to embrace the lower mission cost goals rather than the status quo or holding on to thinking that the rough times will pass and then we will be back to normal.  We talked about choke points in the strategy, the challenges, the hurdles.  I asked if NASA and Congress were the obstacles.  Dr. Wertz mostly said it was a collective attitude throughout the industry with all of us and all sectors that prevents the broad scale creation of the low cost mission environment.  He cited many examples, including a ten year spacecraft build out with a 15 year life such that when done, its 25 years behind the times.  He talked about advancing & new technology and the need to stay current, to keep replacing the old with the new.  We also talked about the value & economics of having hardware & component backups on a shelf ready to go when needed.  Reusability came up & I used Doug’s email as the poster question on the subject.  This turned into an detailed discussion about the both the upside and downside of reusability. As you will hear, economics don’t favor reusability unless there is a dramatically higher launch rate.  Dr. Jurist called in to talk about student projects & the need to launch them while the students are still in school. He also talked about this in the context of keeping young people interested in space.  He asked Jim for solutions and Jim suggested simpler designs. For example, pressure fed systems rather than using high speed turbo pumps with thousands of parts, plus the use of more composites, especially in the tanks.  Jim was asked about the minimum possible launcher size and he said about 100 kg or 220 lbs. to LEO.

In our shorter second segment, Dr. Wertz was asked about the commercial private ventures announced in 2012 and so far this year.  He though we were technically capable of doing most of them but that the track record for the private sector in reducing total space mission costs was not that much better than the public sector track record.  He went back to saying the main driver was attitude and that changing attitudes within the industry in the public and private sectors was key to reducing space mission costs.  He cited yet another example, this time the idea to use AMSAT for space communications.  Dr. Wertz added that we need to convey urgency to the policy makers in getting them to change their attitude as other nations are moving forward with space and in many ways we are in retreat.  Claudia in Memphis sent in a note asking if classes were taught in aerospace engineering programs on how to change attitudes within the industry.  Dr. Wertz liked the idea but was not aware of classes of that kind.  As the program was ending, he talked about how and who to influence and used the Rachel Carson environmental book “Silent Spring” as an example.  He concluded the discussion by mentioning the Reinventing Space Conference in Los Angeles, Oct. 13-17 (see www.responsivespace.com). He repeated his hope for a positive outcome from sequestration which would be a renewed focus on the need to actually develop systems & the environment to enable reduction of space mission costs, including launch costs.

Please post your comments/questions on The Space Show blog.  You can email Dr. Wertz at jwertz@smad.com.