Broadcast 3491 Mike Snead

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The Space Foundation Conference

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Guest:  Mike Snead;  Topics:  Space Solar Power, the  new White House Executive order for space resources & infrastructure, SSP for infrastructure, bring back Wright Patterson spaceplane design from 1980's and more.

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We welcomed Mike Snead back to the show for a two segment 91 minute discussion revolving around the recent White House Executive Order supporting the usage of space resources, infrastructure and more.  Note that during the break between the first and second segment I read Space Show sponsor messages.  We opened the discussion with our guest suggesting that the Executive Order opened the door for commercial companies, in conjunction with government, to truly open space by building much needed space infrastructure.

For a large part of the first segment, Mike talked about space infrastructure and the essential cislunar development.  Mike's plan focused on developing space based solar power with tools developed at Wright Patterson AFB in the early 1980s which included a two stage to orbit spaceplane he said was at TRL-9.  Our guest spent much time discussing and describing this early spaceplane design and why he thinks it can be brought back to life, modernized with materials and electronics and then quickly brought to an operational state.  Such human certified space transportation was and will be essential to build out the needed space infrastructure and space solar power systems.

Regarding his SSP designs, listen carefully as Mike provided lots of details, specs, power requirements and more.  Please let us hear from you with blog posts once you hear his plan with all the details.  We want to know what you think about this concept.  Additional topics touched on economics given the rapidly rising national debt of the country due to multiple Covid-19 government sponsored assistance packages.  Mike also suggested that the Executive Order and the need for space infrastructure would show up in a positive way with the pending infrastructure bill being considered by Congress at this time, also as a result of the virus.   Mike's concepts focused on SLS though he was open to commercial launchers actually coming on line and playing a substantial part in the SSP and space infrastructure development. 

Robert from Houston was the first caller.  He talked with our guest about the 1980's spaceplane project referenced by our guest.  Technology, vehicles, launchers, and more were discussed by our caller and guest.  Furthermore, this call brought up multiple Space Force issues and concerns so don't miss this part of the discussion.  Robert did mention that he thought the plans of Musk going to Mars might be a curve ball.  Don't miss this part of what Robert and Mike talked about. 

We started the second segment with Freemont John who called regarding SLS comments and plans per Mike's earlier program comments.  Don't miss what Mike said about SLS, including making it available for additional industry SSP development launches.  Mike strongly suggested that the additional launches of SLS would change the SLS economics. 

Mike continued the conversation talking about his GEO SSP plans for space infrastructure development.  It was in this part of the discussion that Mike went into needed technology and detail for his GEO SSP plan.  Next, Ft. Worth John called wanting clarifications for how the spaceplane talked about by our guest was carried by the carrier craft, plus he wanted more information on the orbiter.  John brought up the power beaming subject.

Several listeners sent us email questions regarding the SSP plans.  Many dealt with the cost of SSP power to the customer (end user).  This turned out to be an extensive discussion but for a quick summary, Mike did not think that the price paid by the consumer would be that different from what consumers pay today.  What do you think about that?  Please post your thoughts on the blog.  Another question dealt with asking Mike to explain in detail what he meant by saying the launchers had to be fully reusable as compared to today's launcher reusability, mostly for the first stage. 

As we moved toward the end of the program, our guest summarized his key points including SSP, the need for essential, properly located space infrastructure which should be part of the new infrastructure funding package being considered at this time by congress, plus the need for bringing back to operations the spaceplane design from the early 1980's which he said was a TRL 9 back then and could readily be brought to operational status today.

Please post your comments/questions on our blog for this show.  You can reach Mike Snead through me or the website locations he mentioned on air, including and his blog




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10 Apr 2020 Mike Snead
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  • The Space Foundation Conference

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