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Dr. Jeff Bell, Tuesday, 7-10-12 July 11, 2012

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Dr. Jeff Bell, Tuesday, 7-10-12

http://archived.thespaceshow.com/shows/1811-BWB-2012-07-10.mp3

Guest:  Dr. Jeff Bell.  Topics:  Vintage Jeff Bell.  We discussed a wide range of space history and current space projects from Dr. Bell’s perspective.  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 the return of Dr. Jeff Bell to The Space Show.  This 2.5 hour marathon discussion with Dr. Bell was classic Jeff Bell with space history, his analysis of current projects, new space ideas, NASA, Congress and well, you name it.  Dr. Bell had lots to say about many topics and for those of you familiar with Dr. Bell & his analysis, I promise you, you will not be disappointed with this discussion.  Those of you new to Dr. Bell, hold onto your seat!  Jeff started off with the cold war space history, X-33, and DCX. In doing so, he offered up his critique of the classic space book by G. Harry Stine, “Halfway To Anywhere: Achieving America’s Destiny In Space.”  As to be expected, Dr. Bell provided a very hard hitting, factual, and critical analysis of these topics & the book.  We also talked about the new company in Florida, Project Speed, and air breathing engines for space vehicles.  Dr. Bell spent some time on this analysis including scramjets, ramjets and the National Aerospace Plane.  When asked to confirm that little progress was being made from his perspective re space vehicles & even aviation, he cited the current military games going on in Hawaii, referencing the planes being used by the Air Force, Navy, & other military services, all to illustrate by example the points he was making.  He put out the fire on nuclear propulsion based on economics & costs, & then in discussing human spaceflight (HSF), like so many others, he said the rational for it was difficult justify to Congress & the taxpayers.  A listener asked Jeff he was biased in his analysis.  Jeff said he was unbiased in his examination of the facts. This issue surfaced again later during our program.  We then talked about a Washington Post article saying that our science field was over populated by excessive PhDs that cannot find work in their discipline (www.washingtonpost.com/national/health-science/us-pushes-for-more-scientists-but-the-jobs-arent-there/2012/07/07/gJQAZJpQUW_story.html?hpid=z1).  This prompted listeners to reply and John made some excellent points about science PhDs that Jeff missed.

In our second segment, we started off with space visions, including the one from this program, followed by a discussion of the “Sputnik Panic” following theUSSR launch of Sputnik.  We both had much to say about this event & its aftermath. Returning to the HSF rational, Jeff said there were two main problems with it. First, the very high cost.  Second, the is no place to go that does not require massive technology & support to sustain life.  He spent some time elaborating on this & responding to listener comments.  Next up, Planetary Resources, asteroid mining, space telescopes, & Earth imaging.  Dr. Bell took no prisoners in sharing his analysis with us.  He did talk about several serious projects including the B612 project & Pan Starrs.  As the program was ending, Dr. Bell had many positive things to say about the recently completed SpaceX Dragon & Falcon 9 flight, & the pork as he called it, SLS.  Dr. Bell was very strong & clear in his support for SpaceX and their accomplishments.

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

Mark Hempsell, Monday, 7-2-12 July 3, 2012

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Mark Hempsell, Monday, 7-2-12

http://archived.thespaceshow.com/shows/1806-BWB-2012-07-02.mp3

Guest:  Mark Hempsell.  Topics:  Reaction Engines, LTD & their Skylon space propulsion system.  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 back Mark Hempsell for Skylon updates and progress reports since his last visit on August 6, 2009.  During our first segment, Mark started with an update saying they are nearing the end of the technology development stage for their space vehicle system.  We then went back to the basics and he described the Skylon project for us.  Mark talked at length about the Sabre engine, the radiator, their SSTO plans, and more.  Several listener emails came in wanting to know about the market and business plan model for Skylon, the space tourism module and profile, and if it could be used for point to point transportation.  We learned that for cargo, Skylon flies without a crew.  With passengers on board, there will be a crew.  Also discussed were orbital characteristics for the vehicle, docking with the ISS and the new ISS docking standards which may present problems for Skylon. You can check out these standards at http://internationaldockingstandard.com.  Mark mentioned the various rocket fuels, tonnage to LEO and GEO, crew and passenger configuration, and the two day turnaround period.  In the second segment, we resumed talking about the vehicle operating costs.  Michael called in to talk about emergency landing options given runway constraints discussed in the first segment.  Next up was the thermal protection system (TPS) and we learned that the skin was a type of glass, silicon carbonate that can take1,000 C and that is why Skylon is black.  Later, we talked about funding, government subsidies, & private investment.  Mark got a question about using scramjet technology and he had much say about this.  Another topic was the flight profile and G-loads to be placed upon Skylon occupants.  Near the end, we talked about ITAR and potential U.S. investor investment.  Skylon test flights will likely be in 2020.  Our guest also talked about ESA and other organizational oversight.

If you have comments/questions, please post them on The Space Show blog.  Visit Skylon’ s website, www.reactionengines.co.uk.