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Dr. Young K. Bae, Monday, 11-18-13 November 19, 2013

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Dr. Young K. Bae, Monday, 11-18-13


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Guest:  Dr. Young K. Bae.  Topics: Photonic Laser Thrusters(PLT) & the Photonic Railway.  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.

We welcomed back to the program Dr. Young K. Bae to discuss his award winning research and work with Photonic Laser Thrusters (PLT) and his Photonic Railway concepts.  During the first segment of this 90 minute program, Dr. Bae provided us with the background for his interest in PLT and just exactly what it was that he was working on.  Do note that PLT would be for in space use, not for launching out of Earth’s gravity field.  Dr. Bae’s discussion is somewhat technical so it might help be following with his website, www.ykbcorp.com and the article about his NIAC award,   http://www.nasa.gov/spacetech/niac/2013phaseII_bae.html.  He talked about the use of mirrors, ISP, chemical rocket fuel comparisons, and more.  In terms of technology readiness levels, its not there yet but it is evolving.  Dr. Bae was asked to describe his four-step developmental plan to achieve human interstellar flight using PLTs.  Briefly, the four steps are 1) Development of PLTs for satellites and NEO manipulation, 2) Interlunar Photonic Railway (a two-way multi-stage PLT system), 3) Interplanetary Photonic Railway, and 4) Interstellar Photonic Railway.  He discussed each step in some detail.  We also talked about faster than light travel and time lines required for PLT development. We learned than interstellar PLT travel is maybe a century or more away.  Going to the Moon would be about ten years away.  Dr. Bae spoke for the need of a commercial return to make the projects viable. Based on this discussion, we talked about the role for government and the private sector in space and technology development.  Additional topics in this section included Silicon Valley criteria and mindset, the old Bell Labs, NIAC, and writing scientific papers that do not add to the bottom line.  Joe wanted to have a definition of his Photonic Railway so Dr. Bae went into more detail on this concept.

In the second segment, Dr. Bae was asked to talk about the new NIAC as opposed to what it was like before when it was shut down.  Dr. Bae offered a great before and after comparison.  Listner Ben asked about PLT competition and this took us into a discussion on high powered lasers.  Pooley called in with questions and comments about the collector and the deceleration process plus the reflectors.  Both Charles and Dr. Bae spoke about the earlier work of Dr. Robert Forward.  Charles also asked about formation flying.  Near the end, Sally asked about Advanced Soft X-ray Technology, then we talked more about fusion, and finally Barbara wanted to know when you know it is time to pull the plug on your research and move on.  This was a great discussion, don’t miss it.

Post your comments/questions on The Space Show blog. You can contact our guest through is website.

James (Jim) Bickford, Friday, 2-24-12 February 25, 2012

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James (Jim) Bickford, Friday, 2-24-12


Guest:  James (Jim) Bickford. Topics:  Antimatter for space propulsion.  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 Jim Bickford to the program to discuss antimatter for space propulsion.  In our first segment, Mr. Bickford started our discussion with an introduction to antimatter basics.  While we referenced Star Trek in the discussion, Mr. Bickford was quick to point out that reality was quite different from the sci fi classic though he was a fan of Star Trek. Along with the Apollo program, both played a role in his having his interest in antimatter. In this introduction, I asked Mr. Bickford about antimatter as a weapon but he said it would not be practical.  One of the points stressed by Jim during the entire program was just how little antimatter material there is and how long term the R&D program would be..  He said there is very little in nature and the quantities made worldwide were extremely small, measuring in nanograms produced a year.  Our guest compared antimatter to chemical propulsion and nuclear thermal rockets (NTR).  While the NTR is substantially better than chemical propulsion, antimatter propulsion would be orders of magnitude better than the NTR.  We then talked about supplies of antimatter off Earth and he said the most promosing place was in the rings of Saturn.  He also mentioned solar flares from the sun in the positrons and back on Earth he talked about cosmic rays as well as some material in thunderstorms & ligtening.  Mr. Bickford also discussed what an antimatter spaceship would probably be like.  He discussed fuel tank requirements, containment, even plasma fileds around the spaceship using an electromagnetic field extending out around the spaceship as the containment device.  We talked about the research needed, the steps involved, and the funding.  Our guest repeated many times that antimatter research is high risk in the sense of obtaining success.  As the segment was ending, we talked about antimatter research in the medical field against cancer tumors. 

In our second segment, we talked more about tax payer funded antimatter research and Jim took us through a value stream analysis which was most interesting.  We talked about student interest in antimatter and both the direct and indirect benefits from technology research and development. We then talked about the specifics of antimatter for space development starting with defining the requirements and eventually being able to do a demo. A caller asked if the research had a billion dollars for many years would there be a breakthrough in the 20-30 year time period.  You might be surprised by his answer.  We also talked about a paper and a Power Point poster that he has used regarding his antimatter research.  Both the poster and the paper will be uploaded to The Space Show blog with Mr. Bickford’s permission.  We talked about antimatter and Jupiter based on the poster .  Another question came in about antimatter propulsion being useful for launch from Earth.  This prompted our guest to talk about the antimatter theoretical limit for both ISP and faster than light speed.  As we were talking about the antimatter development process, I asked about the role of luck or serendipity in discovering breakthroughs.  You might be surprised by this answer as well.  In ending our discussion, Jim repeated that antimatter was only at the fundamental research stage and very long term, perhaps even further out than a century but very promosing nonetheless.

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

The two papers discussed on the show can be found below:

1.  Bickford_NIAC_Phase2Year1Report_Aug07_final2

2. COSPAR2008poster