Broadcast 1778 (Special Edition)

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Guest: Dr. Jordin Kare. Topics: Beamed energy propulsion updates. You are invited to comment, ask questions, and discuss the Space Show program/guest(s) on the Space Show blog, Comments, questions, and any discussion must be relevant and applicable to Space Show programming. Transcripts of Space Show programs are not permitted without prior written consent from The Space Show (even if for personal use) & are a violation of the Space Show copyright. We welcomed Dr. Jordin Kare back to the program for beamed energy propulsion (BEP) industry updates. Be sure to visit his website for more information, Our discussion started out by referencing two recent BEP studies involving NASA. The first, the Beamed Energy Propulsion Study was completed last year and was a joint study with DARPA. The newer study which is still being finalized is the NASA Ride The Light Project. As you will hear, these studies suggest technical feasibility but call into question basic economic questions such as is BEP worth it and who will pay for it. Dr. Kare and I then engaged in an interesting discussion about the NASA cost estimation compared to Dr. Kare's cost estimation. I urge you to listen carefully to this discussion. You may find as I and others did that it explains a lot regarding economic challenges to our current space programs. A listener as Jordin about the costs for a laser demo project. Jordin then estimated costs depending on the type of demo project involved. Also, Jordin was quick to point out that the economic conclusions of the studies were not the kiss of death as I suggested so again, listen attentively to what he has to say about this matter. Ben emails us wanting to know how laser beamed energy works. Jordin then described the basics of BEP, requirements for the beam to always be hitting the rocket all the way to space, and many factors related to laser launch. We talked about the hydrogen fuel, the need to be in a cloud free location, and the theoretical limits to a BEP system. Basic ISP was discussed and Jordin compared to BEP to traditional chemical rockets and different fuels. BEP is about twice the ISP of a typical chemical rocket. Dr. Kare described the three schools of thought and approaches to BEP, and as the segment ended, he responded to a question about the space elevator concept. In our second segment, Alice asked about the ease in getting federal grant money for BEP projects and we learned its not easy. A listener asked for a basic explanation of power beaming so Jordin took us through the power beaming and wireless power transmission concepts. We talked about near term commercial projects using lasers and here, Jordin directed us to his company, LaserMotive, as they are involved in several commercial projects unrelated to space. This is another interesting discussion, don't miss it. A caller asked how the laser beam is kept aligned with the rocket as it accelerates to orbit. He also asked about problems resulting from the wobble. I asked about laser launch for HSF, launch abort issues, and a listener asked about the laser frequencies used. Other subjects included the military use of lasers, migratory birds, & thin film solar panels. As our program ended, Jordin was asked look at laser launch over the near and intermediate term plus if it could be used for sea launch. Please post your comments/questions for Dr. Jordin Kare on The Space Show blog above.



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20 May 2012 Dr. Jordin Kare
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