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Don Nelson, Tuesday, 11-3-15 November 4, 2015

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Don Nelson, Tuesday, 11-3-15


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Guest: Don Nelson.  Topic:  Development of a fleet of privately operated Commercial Space Shuttle Freighters (CSS Freighter) for commercial space, NASA & Air Force.  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 Don Nelson back to the show for this 90 minute discussion regarding his Commercial Space Shuttle Freighter (CSS Freighter) concept.  During the first segment, Don provided us with an overview of our current launch and human spaceflight situation, he talked about safety and reliability, then he started describing his CSS Freighter Concept.  You can learn more about it at his website, www.spacetran21.org.  He spent time explaining why wings were needed despite the common misconception that they become worthless mass in space.  He said over and over again that if one does the trades, wings come out far better than carrying additional propellant for a vertical landing.  He also said he was a strong proponent of full reusability, not just first stage reusability.  In response to several questions, he said his CSS Freighter was modeled after the shuttle but with new upgrade designs and technology though to save money and reduce development time, the freighters were to be based on existing technology.  He had much to say about the difficulty they had in upgrading space shuttle systems so this time around he said upgrades would be modular and as close to plug and play as possible.  His idea is that the freighters will be built and operated by the private sector.  He suggested the extensive use of composite materials to save on mass and to use reusable Space Shuttle Main Engines (SMEs).  He referenced the Air Force X-37B program, he talked about the advance state of the thermal protection systems (TPS) for this top secret spacecraft suggesting it would be the TPS of choice for the freighters.  Our guest was challenged in both segments regarding other reusability options including the advancement toward success represented by SpaceX and the Falcon 9.  Don said it was first stage only, he was talking about full vehicle reusability and making the case for his approach with wings.  Don’t miss the challenges and the replies. Don also spelled out the advantages of horizontal as compared to vertical vehicle landing regarding reusability.

In the second segment, BJohn asked about the Soviet version of the shuttle, the Buran.  Don mostly talked about lessons learned by their not having a reusable space shuttle main engine (SME).  Don was asked about international vehicle participation in his freighter project. He said not with this Congress and referenced our policy on not talking with China.  Don was also asked for the rational for doing this and he focused on competition.  Make sure you hear this discussion.  He said he was including the Air Force in his plan given the rapid turnaround time for the vehicle (five days).  He explained the Air Force market in detail and is in touch with key Air Force people.  In addition, he has made presentations to members of Congress and their staffs plus key people at NASA.  I asked him how they responded to the concept.  You don’t want to miss what he said about that.  Alex asked an email question about launch pads and NASA having altered or gotten rid of the shuttle launch pads.  Don said launch pads were not an issue, even suggested foreign launch sites, but did say KSC was a prime launch location in the U.S.  Don attacked expendable rockets over and over again in both segments so Ben from Seattle pressed him as to why his reusable freighter would be more reliable than an expendable rocket.  He said each flight of an expendable rocket was a test flight.  Our guest received a questions about suborbital flight evolving to orbital flight, listeners asked about private Bigelow space stations, and one listener wanted his thoughts on the Skylon.  Tim called in and talked about chemical rockets and rocket fuel. He also inquired about scramjets and Big Dumb Boosters.  Doug called in to challenge his reusability comments citing the Falcon 9 to make his case that wings were wasted mass.  Don’t miss this discussion.  When asked if he thought things would change as a result of the coming elections, he suggested that a new congress would likely terminate SLS given our budget & SLS problems.  Don’t miss the balance of his concluding comments.

Please post your comments/questions on TSS blog above.  You can reach Don Nelson through me or his website.

John Batchelor Show Hotel Mars, Wednesday, 3-6-13 March 6, 2013

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John Batchelor Show Hotel Mars, Wednesday, 3-6-13


Guests:  John Batchelor, Dr. Robert Zubrin, Dr. David Livingston:  Topics: Inspiration Mars, human spaceflight to Mars.  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. Written 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 do not permit the commercial use of any Space Show program or part thereof, nor do we permit Space Show programs to be edited, placed on YouTube, or other private channels & websites. Space Show programs can be quoted in news articles, papers, academic & research work but must be cited or referenced in the proper citation format. Contact Dr. Livingston for questions about our copyright and trademark policies which we do enforce.  This program is archived on The Space Show website, podcasting, and blog sites with permission from John Batchelor. Please visit the John Batchelor Show website for more information about this fine program, www.johnbatchelorshow.com.

During our 11 minute plus discussion with Dr. Zubrin, we talked about the Inspiration Mars proposed human spaceflight mission and the previous Athena Project Bob proposed in the mid-1990’s.  Bob talked about the orbital dynamics, cosmic radiation, microgravity, possible NASA mission support, and more.  Bob also spoke about the availability of hardware for the Inspiration Mars mission but the need for a new thermal protection system.

Please post any comments/questions you might have on The Space Show blog.  You can contact any of  us through drspace@thespaceshow.com.

Michael Ciannilli, Leonard David, Tuesday, 7-17-12 July 17, 2012

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Michael Ciannilli, Leonard David, Tuesday, 7-17-12


Lessons Learned from the Columbia accident & NASA’s human spaceflight experience

Guests:  Michael Ciannilli, Leonard David.  Topics:  Columbia lessons learned & human spaceflight safety issues.  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 Michael Ciannilli of NASA to the program to discuss lessons learned from the Columbia accident & NASA’s history of human spaceflight. Leonard David of Space.com returned as a co-host for this program.  Our nearly two hour no break discussion started with Michael providing us with an historical overview of the Columbia accident.  We talked about the debris retrieval process & the fact that about 38% of Columbia was retrieved.  Michael was asked about surprises & among the many he mentioned, one in particular dealt with the tile & thermal impact showing burning on the inside & how that was a clue to what happened to Columbia.  Michael then listed several lessons learned.  When I asked if he could prioritize the items he mentioned, he said they were all important.  We talked about the Columbia Accident Investigation Board (CAIB), return to flight, incorporating lessons learned, & more.  Leonard asked about the idea of NASA HSF safety excesses & we asked Michael if lessons learned & HSF safety issues were shared with both the private sector companies & the Russians.  I asked Michael about educational outreach & he had some interesting things to say about the international internet audience as well as the local audience.  The subject of urban legends came up in the outreach discussion & we honed in on the idea of the possibility of a rescue mission.  You do not want to miss this important discussion.  Other issues discussed included the foam problem, Leonard asked about the “bone matrix” he saw in use at the CAIB hearings, & I mentioned the need to really know & understand the hardware given our recent intimate visit with Endeavour.  Cultural issues were a part of this discussion, including the risk of workforce lulls & the need to avoid complacency.  Michael cited tile issues as an example going back to STS 1 and studying all missions to really understand tile concerns.  One email dealt with NASA risk aversion & some space enthusiasts saying that to open the space frontier we need to “kill more people.”  Michael addressed these issues, going over the NASA mission & imperatives, their responsibilities, and the risks of all sorts of consequences coming to life.  We talked about individual worker responsibility and accountability with Michael giving us both NASA and personal insights into this subject.  We then talked about the balancing act required in weighing the risk trades of cutting costs, cutting corners, taking more risks, taking less risks, etc.  He suggested private companies will go through a similar process and talked about the consequences of decisions which can be devastating with the loss of a crew to the termination of a program or the loss of the company.  Michael explained the Criticality One status and what it means in the risk analysis process.  Another listener asked if shuttles still had life left in them at the time of retirement. The short answer was yes but don’t miss what Michael has to say about the condition of space shuttle fleet at the time of retirement.  Another issue discussed dealt with trying to find a lower cost way of operating shuttle and dealing with all their infrastructure without compromising safety.  Near the end of the program, we took a Southern California call asking about potentially different standards for government astronauts and private-sector astronauts.  I was asked to lead off with my opinion which I did from a business liability perspective, then Michael and Leonard discussed the subject. We had lots to say about informed consent, litigation, & the uncertainties inherent when involved in a jury trial.  As we were winding down the program, Michael provided us with his closing comments, then I added in my own comments that focused on the sports inspirational speaker, Ray Lewis, linebacker with the Baltimore Ravens, who gives a terrific inspirational speech to teams around the country, “Pissed Off For Greatness.”  You can find lots of information about this by using Google for his name or the speech title.  Essentially, this is about not accepting mediocrity in what you do & I extrapolated it to space.  HSF workers, regardless of being with NASA or any company as well as others involved in the space field cannot accept mediocrity.  Being pissed off for greatness implies that if you are not pissed off for greatness, then you willing to settle for being mediocre in what you do.  Michael, Leonard and I talked about this at the end of the program.  I hope you will concur with me that extrapolating this inspirational sports talk to space fits.  Michael closed us out by saying it takes courage to stand up and say something if you believe something is off or not right in the program.  He further said it takes a lot to challenge the bureaucracy and stand up but that we all have to do it when the situation arises.

Please post your comments and questions on The Space Show blog URL above.  If you want to email Michael or Leonard, do so through me at drspace@thespaceshow.com and I will forward it to the person of your choice.

Mark Sirangelo, Wednesday, 1-4-12 January 5, 2012

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Mark Sirangelo, Wednesday, 1-4-12


Guest: Mark Sirangelo.  Topics:  Dream Chaser, hybrid rocket motors, human spaceflight & more.

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 welcomes Mark Sirangelo of Sierra Nevada Corp Space Systems to the program to discuss Dream Chaser, hybrid rocket motors, human spaceflight, space policy, budgets and more.  You can learn more about Dream Chaser at http://sncspace.com/space_exploration.php.  For those of you interested in learning more on the previous NASA HL-20 concept vehicle, visit www.nasa.gov/centers/langley/news/factsheets/HL-20.html.  We started our discussion by asking Mr. Sirangelo for a brief history and overview of Dream Chaser.  He talked about the lifting body design and the capabilities of a lifting body, including costs and reusability.  In response to questions he did say it was meant for LEO though later in the program he discussed the potential to scale Dream Chaser up if markets warranted it.  He was also asked to compare the Dream Chaser style of vehicle to a capsule.  Mark was asked about the choice of rocket, the Atlas V.  While he explained that choice, he also said Dream Chaser was rocket agnostic. Don’t miss his comments on the rocket question.  A listener asked him to clarify the current status with the SAA, the FAR, and a possible CCDEV 3 round of NASA support.  Mark said there would be a round three with a call for awards in February with winners announced later in the summer.  He talked about the companies going to the next level, the Critical Design Review (CDR) and what this means for NASA as well as the companies.  Mark talked about the switch back to the SAA but said at some point down the road, the FAR will likely be used, probably in the acquisition stage.  Again, you do not want to miss what he had to say on this important issue.  Yves from Canada asked about the launch abort system for Dream Chaser and its ability to land in places and the ocean instead of a designated runway.  We talked about test flights, the number of needed flights, and the view that testing is not based on the number of flights but on successfully completing the essential and needed testing/flight protocols.  In our second segment, Trent called from Australia and wanted to know more about the full history and struggles for Dream Chaser up to now.  This time around Mark provided us with a more comprehensive vehicle history.  We also talked quite a bit about the hybrid rocket motor so you will for sure want to hear this segment.  Mark was asked if the Dream Chaser hybrid was the same being used for the Virgin SS2 and he said essentially yes other than for size.  He was asked some more questions about his work on SS2 for Virgin but deferred those questions to Virgin .  Our guest received a few questions about the GAP, buying rides on the Soyuz, recent Soyuz issues, and speeding up the development of Dream Chaser.  Harry wanted to know about using Dream Chaser for various types of orbital space tourism, and much was said about certifying Dream Chaser as safe for human spaceflight.  Near the end, Robert wanted to know if Dream Chaser might be used for Point to Point travel.  John from Jersey City called to ask about multiple markets for Dream Chaser.  As our discussion was drawing to a close, our guest was asked about hypergolic fuels and reaction control systems and again about the thermal protection system.  Please post your comments/questions for Mark Sirangelo on The Space Show blog at the above URL.