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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. Dmitriy Tseliakhovich, Sunday, 6-9-13 June 10, 2013

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Dr. Dmitriy Tseliakhovich, Sunday, 6-9-13

http://archived.thespaceshow.com/shows/2025-BWB-2013-06-09.mp3

Guest:  Dr. Dmitriy Tseliakhovich.  Topics:  Escape Dynamics microwave beam propulsion for launches.  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 Dr. Dmitriy Tseliakhovich, CEO & CTO of Escape Dynamics (http://escapedynamics.com) to discuss their work on making microwave beamed propulsion possible for space launch.  During our 1 hour 39 minute discussion, Dr. Tseliakhovich talked about his background and passion for space, including helping to open up commercial space.  His work and experience led him to creating Escape Dynamics in 2010 to find a better and more efficient way to space than by using chemical rockets.  Dmitriy then took us through many of the benefits of external launch, including a higher specific impulse, better payload ratios, and even the ability to use an SSTO frame for the vehicle.  During this segment, we also talked about safety issues and using the possibility of using the technology as a space weapon.  During this discussion, Dmitriy was very focused and precise in saying that their systems had to prove out as being safe on all of the issues we were discussing. Next, we learned that the initial beamed propulsion vehicles would be robotic but at some point in the future, eventually crewed launch vehicles would be possible.  We talked about their step by step incremental development and testing plan, including starting with suborbital launches.  I asked our guest about the probable cost of electricity and support from the existing electrical grid.  Our guest had much to say about the cost of electricity, the use of the grid for their power needs & the capability of existing systems to support their needs.  He also did not rule out partnerships with utility companies.  Listeners sent him emails asking about competition and markets as well as the use of hydrogen for fuel.  Our guest was also asked about their heat exchanger, a key component on the vehicle.

In our second segment, Dmitriy was asked about weather issues for launch & we learned that there were concerns and requirements suggesting launching in dry areas would be best.  Another listener asked about ocean launch possibilities & Charles called in expressing skepticism, to support chemical rockets, and to raise questions about the high g force, boost stations, and the size of the ground array needed for the beam propulsion launch system. Roger emailed us to ask about orbital fuel depots & beamed propulsion.  We then talked about the company timeline & learned about 2015 as a suborbital launch target date.  In response to an email about the main challenges, our guest said the challenges to the system were mostly non-technical.  John was our last caller asking about DARPA, project financing, fuels, and more. In closing we talked about available internships and the hiring opportunities at Escape Dynamics.

Please post your comments/questions on The Space Show blog.  You can contact our guest through his website or by using drspace@thespaceshow.com.