Broadcast 1359 (Special Edition)

08 May 2010 Professor Madhu Thangavelu
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Guest: Dr. Madhu Thangavelu. Topics: USC Astronautics, class team projects for the ISS, Obama space policy, X37B and NEO deterrence. During our first segment, Dr. Thangavelu started our discussion by talking about the reorganization of the USD Division of Astronautical Engineering. To learn more, please visit http://astronautics.usc.edu. He then described his most recent team project class, the Concept Synthesis Studio. The theme for the end of 2009 class was the ISS but the students had to develop out of the box futuristic solutions and projects for using the ISS. He used WebEx to teach the class by distance. Listen to some of the student/team projects that he described during his discussion. As we started the second segment, he talked about another question he asked his students and that was around what to do with the astronauts if our space policy changes and they are mostly flying to the ISS on a Soyuz. One idea he had was to use them as Ambassadors and have them travel around the world promoting space development and human spaceflight. Since Madhu is a Moon guy and has done much work regarding lunar habitats and has books published on the subject, he said he was "let down" by the President's August 15 talk at the Cape. He thinks the Moon should be on the critical path but since its not and the focus is on the ISS, he is working with his students to make the ISS a very valuable and useful asset. He advocated bringing the Indians and Chinese aboard the ISS partnership. He also suggested having a Department of Space and turning the ISS over to private management. Listen to this discussion and see what you think as he advocated the privatization of the ISS. Later in this segment, he talked about the X-37B and suggested it was a game changing potential for human spaceflight and much better than using a capsule. As we started our third segment, we again heard from John in Atlanta with his questions around recovering a rocket from the ocean, specifically a liquid rocket motor. He asked our guest that if we do design a new heavy lift, should we design it from the ground up to be recovered from sea water? Dr. Thangavelu seemed to like the idea. I suggest that John bounce his idea off rocket engineers and those designing and building rockets. Perhaps he should contact members of the Direct 3.0 team or start posting on the engineering based blog www.nasapaceflight.com. Our guest then addressed the X-47B project and its potential. He then talked about his recent Space News article titled "Putting Surplus Nukes to Good Use" (www.spacenews.com/commentaries/1004712-putting-surplus-nukes-good-use.html). If you have questions or comments for Dr. Madhu Thangavelu, please contact him at thangavelu-girardey@cox.net.

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