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Dr. Jason Cassibry, Friday, 12-20-13 December 21, 2013

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Dr. Jason Cassibry, Friday, 12-20-13


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Guest:  Dr. Jason Cassibry.   Topics:  Nuclear propulsion including fission, fusion, reactors in space and 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 www.onegiantleapfoundation.org/amazon.htm.

We welcomed back to the show Dr. Jason Cassibry from the University of Alabama Huntsville to discuss nuclear propulsion of all kinds.  In our initial segment of this 1 hour 30 minute discussion, I first asked Dr. Cassibry about a fusion drive project as reported at www.youtube.com/watch?v=r-jlv1x3ov4.  Dr. Cassibry spoke about the work going on at the University of Washington which was mentioned in the fusion drive video above.  We then talked about transit times to and from Mars and the differences with chemical propulsion, nuclear thermal, and then fusion.  During this discussion, Jason also described the differences in nuclear thermal and nuclear electric propulsion.  A related issue we discussed dealt with the nuclear regulatory environment.  We talked about the nuclear climate, protests, and how best to overcome such protests.  Doug called asking about timelines and said it was moving at such a slow pace, for his projects that he thinks about, he dismisses nuclear propulsion, instead opting for analysis and mission planning using chemical rockets though many are not much further along than a Power Point at this point in time.  Doug also thought it might be easier to do nuclear propulsion by partnering with Russia as they might be easier on the regulatory environment than the U.S.  Our caller asked about ion propulsion and thrusters as well as thermal protection needs.

In the second segment, Jerry emailed about nuclear propulsion in other countries plus more about possible consumer protests.  Ben asked if we could substantially improve chemical rockets and I inquired as to why the recent nuclear program Prometheus was killed.  VASIMIR was next brought up for discussion.  I asked Jason about nuclear accidents in space or on Mars and would they be as destructive as nuclear reactor accidents here on Earth.  Jason provided a most interesting answer saying he thought nuclear reactors in space would be accident proof!  Christine in Dallas suggested we need a better story for more support for nuclear propulsion.  Don’t miss the reply offered by Dr. Cassibry. Near the end of our discussion, I asked our guest about suborbital propulsion.

Please post your comments/questions on TSS blog above.  You can email our guest through me.

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

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Mark Hempsell, Monday, 7-2-12


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.