Broadcast 1420 (Special Edition)

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Guest: Dan Adamo. Topics: On orbit propellant depots and associated launch and flight dynamics. We welcomed Dan Adamo back to The Space Show to talk about on orbit propellant depots. Please remember that you can post comments, your own material, and even rate this show at the new Space Show blog, "The Space Show's Way Outside The Box Ideas And Plans Blog" at Please use it. Our show was more than two hours and divided into two segments. During our first segment, Dan introduced us to on orbit propellant depots and started out by describing the ISS as a propellant depot. Dan then proceeded to discuss possible depot locations and geometric constraints in servicing and working with depots in various locations. During this first segment, we had lots of email and chat questions from listeners (the phone line only opened up in the second segment), addressing libration point locations, lunar depots, LEO depots, Sun-Earth system depots and more. Dan took us through the orbital and flight mechanics so essential to making a depot location useful and economic. Also in this discussion, Dan talked about launch seasons and launch windows, explained the differences, and told us that for the Earth-Sun system, the launch season and window were essentially the same. He also introduced us to external factors impacting launch windows such as range safety issues and weather, along with launch turnaround issues. As you will hear, understanding the orbital and flight dynamics impacts the location of the depot and can easily make or break it as an acceptable location. Another issue that he brought up was space traffic management for a specific depot, something we have never done and cannot do as of today. Toward the end of this segment, nuclear propulsion was discussed and we asked Dan to prioritize space policy issues were he the man in charge. As we started the second segment, we opened the phone lines to listeners. Our first caller, John from Atlanta, wanted to know more about a lunar oriented depot. In talking about lunar depots as compared to LEO depots, Dan took us through what was involved in the Apollo lunar landings so we could better understand the issues with lunar and other depots. Other listeners had heavy lift questions, suggesting a depot was a better investment than heavy lift rockets. See what you think after listening to Dan on this subject. Regarding LEO depots, Dan talked about the need to be able to predict the orbital plane, a problem for a LEO depot. Lots of questions came up about using the ISS location for depots and the penalty paid to get there. The idea of replication was discussed, for example having 28 ISSs on orbit for lunar access. Dallas called in and talked about depots needing three things, costs, performance, and orbital alignment. Depots were viewed as one possible facilitator for helping to drive up launch rates and other things. At the end, John Jurist phoned in to ask Dan and Dallas to list as a closing statement, their priorities for space policy. Listen to what each said and then John listed his three or four priorities as well. You can ask questions or comment on the blog above or send your comments to me at and I will forward them to Dan Adamo.



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06 Sep 2010 Dan Adamo
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