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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.

Tim Pickens, Thursday, 8-2-12 August 2, 2012

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Tim Pickens, Thursday, 8-2-12

http://archived.thespaceshow.com/shows/1827-BWB-2012-08-02.mp3

Guest:  Tim Pickens.  Topics:  Pickens Innovations, commercial space, space economics & policy.  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 Tim Pickens back to the program to tell us about his new company Pickens Innovations.  As Tim explained, he has left Dynetics and formed his own consulting business.  Learn more about his new consultancy and activities by visiting www.timpickens.com.  We started our discussion by my asking Tim about some of the comments I made yesterday in a USA Today telephone interview regarding commercial/private space development.  Since I forgot to record the interview (something I have learned to do for my own protection given edit rights are seldom permitted re the articles or programs), I bounced some of my comments off Tim to see if I was drinking my own Kool Aid about the state of the private space industry, its potential, the positive changes I see happening, and more.  Tim confirmed that I was on the right track so now I await the USA Today article.  In the process of this discussion, Tim had much to say about the emerging commercial space industry, the companies involved, the economics and the markets.  We talked about how things have changed for the better over time and in recent years.  I then asked Tim about Rocket City Space Pioneers, his Google Lunar X Prize entry, for which he remains the team leader.  Tim was quite frank in discussing the program with us, the Google Lunar X Prize in general & many of the critical issues facing the contest & all the contestants.  Do listen carefully to what he said as it goes right to the heart of issues facing the broader commercial & private space development efforts/industry.  Part of our discussion focused on the value chain available for sustainable lunar business, the problems with ride sharing at this time to the Moon and much more. We also talked about essential time lines for the contest.  He said many times that affordable systems were needed, viable and sustainable business models were needed, and he was thinking about a merger or joint venture with other contestants to make it happen.  Tim fielded many questions about his new consultancy, Pickens Innovations. We learned that he was getting involved in other areas than space, specifically medical devices.  He described two such devices and why his company was pursuing their development.  How about market size and potential as compared to space?  In fact, cash flow & revenue from these successful non-space businesses are expected to fund many of his space development activities.  Also in this segment, our guest talked about space hardware issues.

In the second segment, he defined the Man Cave which he talks about on his website.  Tim responded to a listener question about the potential of a Netscape Moment re investing in space businesses, plus he talked about the need to have more fun and be less nerdy, referencing conference presentations and similar things space people engage in from time to time.  As an example, he cited the Big Bang Theory TV show and a new show about to start, Top Engineer.  Later, we talked about SLS and its future, its mission, and its likelihood of being funded to completion.  Suborbital space and vehicle issues were a discussion topic followed by Tim talking about the Space & Missile Defense Conference in Huntsville (www.udreg.com/SMD) later this month. His closing comments were positive & upbeat for our future, especially by using disruptive technologies which he talked about at great length throughout the interview.

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