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Guest: Dr. Patrick Collins; Topics: Space Tourism, Space Solar Power, markets, snow melting satellites, SSP interest around the world, climate change including a possible ice age and much more.
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We welcomed Dr. Patrick Collins back to the program for a 1 hour 46 minute discussion mostly focusing on space tourism and space solar power. As you will hear from Patrick later in the show, he knew that SSP would require quite the space infrastructure, massive numbers of launches and significantly different economics than existed three decades ago. Thus, he hit upon the idea of space tourism to drive the economic development potential for SSP. He spent substantial time explaining this mix and going over it multiple times. Keep in mind that it was clear to him that space tourism was needed to both economically and technically drive the development of space solar power which was at that time his primary interest.
Early in our discussion I asked Patrick for the sense and mood of the people in Japan around the beginning of commercial space tourism during 2021. I noted that in the US and in Europe, there were abundant naysayers, attacks on the billionaires with multiple editorials, articles and media time going to complain about how the billionaires associated with space tourism were spending their money. This was not the case in Japan. Listen to what he said about this topic and the Japanese people. He also suggested the naysayer arguments were stupid. Just as our guest started talking about Artemis and returning to the Moon, our first call came in from Dr. Charles Lurio. Charles and Patrick traded commentary on the space tourism and commercial space industries with the billionaires plus Patrick noted the incredible value of reusable rockets and SpaceX. Throughout the program, Patrick supported the commercial and private sector but pointed out the necessity for government, thus suggesting the best way forward would be with public private partnerships. Charles and Patrick spent some time on this subject before moving on.
While other topics were discussed (see the tags for more information), I want to jump ahead to Patrick talking about snow melting satellites. I was unfamiliar with such satellites so Patrick took us down his memory lane to tell when, how and why he came up with the idea. Note what he said about warming, climate change and the possibility of a returning ice age with massive amounts of snow fall. Then he brought in the snow melting satellite idea. After you hear him talk about it, post your comments on it on our blog. Callers asked Patrick about beaming microwaves to Earth to melt snow and it being a weapon. Listen to how our guest explained the weapons risk for his idea. This would be another good point for you to comment on with our blog.
We talked about the global interest in space solar powered satellites. Patrick talked about Asia, Europe and some specific countries and projects. We talked about how hard it was to get national policy behind SSP in a major way though he said we were seeing more and more R&D efforts but on a small scale. Patrick also talked about the rectennas for SSP, a split rectenna concept plus the need to divide the space solar power effort into segments, one for space and one for the electric operators. Don't miss how he explained this. Once again, time to post your thoughts on the idea of splitting space from electric for each segment to better understand their part in SSP.
Patrick mentioned his doctoral thesis was on the economics of space solar powered satellites from the early 1980s. He even said he moved to Japan at the turn of the century to work on the SPS 2000 project which he further explained. We both talked about the SSP "movement" needing better PR and even a popular spokesperson full time to properly explain it. He talked about needing hundreds if not thousands of launches for space solar power with the idea that some of those launches would originate from the Moon for lower operating costs due to lower gravity.
As we were moving toward the end of the program, our guest mentioned the lunar space elevator saying it was nearing a time when it might prove plausible and economic. In his concluding comments, he talked about the industrial growth represented by both space tourism and SSP. He talked about how this would transfer to high paying jobs for people around the world. He compared the potential of space tourism to the aviation and tourism industry. Before signing off, he said we needed a continuous year or more LEO demonstrator from one point to another so the energy beaming could be evaluated. Then we would know for sure the cost ratio benefits of space solar power. He suggested it would go a long way to making the case in the right circles to seriously pursue SSP.
Please post your comments/question on the blog for this show. You can reach Dr. Collins through me here at The Space Show.