Broadcast 2735 Scott Lowther

11 Jul 2016 Scott Lowther
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Guest:  Scott Lowther;  Topics:  Nuclear pulse propulsion, Project Orion history, technical specs for pulse propulsion.  Please direct all comments and questions regarding specific Space Show programs & guest(s) to the Space Show blog which is part of archived program on our website,  Comments and questions should be relevant to the specific Space Show program. Written Transcripts of Space Show programs are a violation of our copyright and are not permitted without prior written consent, even if for your own use. We do not permit the commercial use of Space Show programs or any part thereof, nor do we permit editing, YouTube clips, or clips placed on other private channels & websites. Space Show programs can be quoted, but the quote must be cited or referenced using the proper citation format. Contact The Space Show for further information. In addition, please remember that your Amazon purchases can help support The Space Show/OGLF. See

We welcomed Scott Lowther back to The Space Show, this time to discuss the history of nuclear pulse propulsion through the former Project Orion program, plus the use of nuclear pulse propulsion for modern day space travel.  During the first segment of our 2 hour 5 minute program, Scott spent lots of time talking about the history and explaining the technical and scientific basis for pulse propulsion.  Make sure you listen carefully to what he has to say as it forms the basis for today's discussion. 

In response to calls and listener emails, he explained pulse and the advantages it has over other forms of nuclear propulsion including nuclear electric and nuclear thermal.  He also introduced the idea to of creating the bomb explosion by chemical reactions or developing fission free pulse bombs for the propulsion.  While this is only a theory at this time, he suggested that if fission free nuclear bombs could be developed it would a game changer for space propulsion. 

John from Montana called to talk about shockwaves.  John and Scott then discussed the Davey Crocket Warheads and even the Juno steel cylinders (during the break).  The two discussed asteroid diversion through a pulse unit.  Actually, John and Scott discussed Jumbo during the break though John finished his call before we started the second segment.

In the second segment, Dr. Bryan Laubscher called and talked historical context with Scott.  Scott talked more about the history of pulse, pulse for military applications, g force acceleration, and risk averseness.  Bryan, who used to work at Los Alamos, talked about a culture of risk averseness but said that after World War 2 scientists and engineers were fearless.  Somewhere along the path that fearless view was lost or altered to being risk averse. 

Scott again mentioned the need for fission free nuclear explosions and said if that was developed and used for space, would be much more capable in exploring the solar system and commercializing it.  Scott had a lot to say about this so don't miss the discussion.

Dr. Doug called to advocate SEP for cargo and then electric propulsion for crews to Mars, suggesting pulse propulsion or other forms of advanced propulsion were not needed for Mars.  This was a good give and take discussion between Scott and Doug so don't miss it. 

As we neared the end of the program, I asked Scott for his implementation plan.  As far as I am concerned, this is where the rubber meets the road with good space ideas.  And I think the road is the winner in these cases because the idea generators do not have an implementation strategy.  Scott did say we should not be going after the politicians or the policy makers but instead we needed to change the culture.  He suggested changes in the way movies and TV programs were produced so that they provided opposite perspectives from movies like The China Syndrome and recent space movies.  Don't miss his explanation behind his idea.  Of course changing a culture, if it can be done, is no easy matter nor would it happen on any kind of reasonable time frame.  If some of you have implementation ideas for pulse or any form of nuclear propulsion, post it on the blog and dialog with our guest.

Please post your comments/questions in the comments section for this archived show on TSS website.  Scott's website is  You can reach him through his website or me.




Nuclear Propulsion & its history

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