Broadcast 1479 (Special Edition)

18 Dec 2010 Dr. David Livingston
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Guest: Open Lines with Dr. David Livingston. Topics: SSP, Heavy lift rockets, electric cars, energy, NASA FY 11 budget. Please note that you are invited to comment, ask questions, and rate this program on the new Space Show blog, http://thespaceshow.wordpress.com. This was our final Open Lines program for 2010. At two hours, you will find this show to be loaded with controversial statements & discussion points. During the first segment, Atlanta John called to talk about the budget for FY 11, heavy lift, the ISS, Orion, Dragon, & our space program. He predicted that we would see an across the board budget cut including one for NASA but he said it was a guess. We talked about heavy lift and what it might be used for based on our understanding of what might be our civil space program. Marshall then called to talk about electric cars as during the opening discussion points, I talked about an SSP email group note about Space X helping to make the business case for SSP by radically lowering launch costs and driving up electricity prices as more people buy a Tesla electric car. We extrapolated the email's specific comments about Space X to the industry in general and I said that if the only way SSP can be competitive is to drive up electricity prices either through policy or by high demand for electric cars when the grid cannot today supply the added electricity, then you still do not have a competitive business, just a policy to achieve a certain outcome. Marshall had much to say about the state of our grid, especially in the larger cities and he also talked about having liquid fuels available to support electric cars for freeway usage. He talked about rectenna sizes and using salt flats for their locations. In the second segment, the green energy and electric car discussion took over with Dave calling in to talk about nuclear power, the cost for electricity, and the development of new nuclear power plants. As Dave works in the nuclear power industry, he does know what he is talking about. He then applied parts of his discussion to SSP and electric cars and as you will hear, the numbers are not there. Dave went on to talk about human spaceflight capsules versus lifting bodies. He had much to say about these two designs and concluded his discussion saying SpaceX was significantly ahead of other companies in development of human spaceflight hardware. Andrew from Tucson emailed his comments about energy, electric cars, and SSP and commented how he loved coal so much he wanted it for Christmas. He then sent in his mailing address and asked listeners to send him chunks of coal for a Christmas present. I assumed he was kidding and that he really did not want to get chunks of coal in the mail but a note he sent me after the show say he would video his opening any coal presents and put the video on YouTube. I know we space cadets can be a bit over the top but we may be going out of 2010 way over the top with Andrew's wish list for Santa. Tim from Huntsville called in to advocate a radically different type of energy policy for the U.S. and I seconded the need for such a policy. He then listed several sources of energy and provided us with the amount of energy each kind was capable of producing. We talked about the fact that electric cars can hardly be green when they require electricity that largely comes form burning coal in this country. Tim also talked about heavy lift. Many do believe we need heavy lift but I continually here from very well informed people that heavy lift is not essential when we have on orbit propellant depots. The Space Show plans on addressing this issue in a panel discussion for 2011. If you have questions or comments about this show, post them on The Space Show blog URL above. If you want to send a note to any of the callers or those sending in an email, tell me who and send the note to me at drspace@thespaceshow.com and I will forward it on your behalf.

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