Broadcast 1357 (Special Edition)

04 May 2010 Dr. David Livingston
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Guest: Open Lines with Dr. David Livingston. Topics: nuclear rocket propulsion, VASIMR, space policy, ISS, Constellation, Ares 1. This Open Lines program was a two hour discussion with many listener phone calls and email/chat questions. As with all open lines shows, they have a mind of their own and go off in a direction that you the listeners want. An Open Lines program is a listener driven content oriented program so here is what we talked about this time. During the first segment, I led with a discussion of the copyright issues for The Space Show. I summarized Space Show/One Giant Leap Foundation, Inc. policy on copyrights, unauthorized program use, unauthorized edits, etc. Please note our policy and if you have any questions or ideas, contact me. When the toll free line was opened up, our first call came from Dave who wanted to talk about the VASIMR, recent comments on it made by Dr. Zubrin when he was last on the program, and what his analysis of power generation and heat exchanger requirements were for this new technology. Dave then talked about the NERVA type of nuclear propulsion. This was a comprehensive and detailed discussion about nuclear propulsion and its broader than VASIMR only so you will want to hear it. As we started the second segment, our first caller suggested that VASIMR was simply a possible development path starting with the ISS and evolving to Mars and beyond. He then brought to our attention the announcement earlier in the day of the retirement of Congressman David Obey and what this might mean for our civil space policy given the person who might take his place as head of the House Appropriations Committee was more closely aligned with the military and this might suggest a policy continuing on with parts of Constellation and Ares 1 for the benefit of the Air Force. See what you think of this analysis. Our caller suggested it might be business as usual with NASA helping to cover the costs of defense department programs. Our next caller commented on thin film photo voltaic batteries and more. A caller then asked which technology represented a better path to low cost space access, Big Dumb Boosters or an RLV. My response focused on the need to develop commercial markets so there would be a reason to incur the R&D to develop either technologies or even different technologies. This opened up a discussion thread on which comes first, the rocket/technology or the markets. John from Atlanta called in to suggest a type of compromise between the booster and the RLV with a medium size heavy lift vehicle. John has been calling the show quite a bit lately to express his ideas about heavy lift and more. If you want to respond to him about his ideas and theories, he provided us with his email address which is Let him hear from you with your thoughts on what he proposes. Callers also talked with us about recovering rockets from the ocean as part of an RLV, both SRBs and even liquid rocket motor components. As we neared the end of the show, I brought up space policy since it was not a major part of this program. In my comments I mentioned a Dr. Scott Pace interview that is worth hearing regardless of your views on space policy. Here is the URL for that interview: At the very end of the program, a listener asked the email question about our NASA budget operating under a continuing resolution in 2011 and if that meant Constellation would continue to be funded into 2011. I did respond to this question but as you will hear, I'm not sure if my response was correct. I referred our listener to earlier space policy programs where this issue was addressed by people who know space policy issues and what it means to be operating under a continuing resolution. That said, I believe it does mean that Constellation is continued until the point the FY 2011 budget is passed and assuming that FY 2011 budget cancels Constellation, at that point funding for the program would cease. Please let me know if this is an incorrect analysis of what it means to operate under a continuing resolution. If you have a question for any of the listeners or callers for this show or the host, please send it to me at and I will pass it on to the person you designate.



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