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Guest: Dr. John Hunter; Topics: Hydrogen gun launcher for cargo to LEO plus related topics. 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, www.thespaceshow.com. 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 www.onegiantleapfoundation.org/amazon.htm.
We welcomed back to the show after an absence of several years, Dr. John Hunter (formerly with QuickLaunch), to discuss his new project know as the Lean Green Launching Machine. Note that John did say some pretty politically incorrect things, went off topic to discuss environmentalism, malaria and the ban of DDT & a few other things. I did my best to hold his off topic comments in check but was only so-so successful in doing so, especially because I actually was laughing at some of his comments. During the first segment of our 1 hour 49 minute discussion, Dr. Hunter started off explaining his hydrogen gun launching concept and the technology. I asked him if this was a follow on to QuickLaunch and he said no but the new project has some components that are common between the two projects. With his new venture, he is talking about using hydrogen to access space. He listed many goals and objectives including getting solid facts on climate change and CO2, sample returns of the upper atmosphere on a frequent and somewhat inexpensive basis, and to launch cargo and small sats to the Von Karman Line, LEO, and orbit.
Dr. Hunter was asked how the hydrogen gun worked. He said the intellectual property for doing this was way beyond the 17 year legal protection period and was largely available to anyone and everyone. John then moved forward with a comprehensive discussion of how the system would work.
Dr. Hunter also described the testing and demonstration process for their concept. Phase 1 is to launch a small payload to 100 Km (Von Karman line). Phase 2 launches to 200 km. The later Phase 3 segment, needing much more Delta V, will launch to orbit. I asked Dr. Hunter for the advantages using his system. He said rockets were fragile, not so with the hydrogen launching gun. He then explained how this system could be used for helping to further Mars exploration or even the Musk plan for going to Mars. At one point a listener asked if this could be a weapon. Since Dr. Hunter has designed weapons systems in the past, he explained why the answer was no. Don't miss what he had to say about the weaponization of the hydrogen launching gun.
Dr. Hunter was asked about NASA participation in the project. Again, he had much to say in response to this question plus lots to say about NASA and the use of PR. Another topic he was asked about was ITAR and its application to his project. He then mentioned there was no CO2 exhaust. Somehow we got onto the topic of environmental damage which he said was not possible with his project but he talked about bad environmental policy focusing on the ban of DDT for fighting malaria mosquitos in Africa and elsewhere around the world. He said this ban had cost millions of lives since the 1962 Rachel Carson book "Silent Spring" appeared on the market and led to the DDT ban. He had much to say about this process and came back to the topic a few times during the show.
Before the break, John from Ft. Worth called to talk about payload size, propulsion and speed, the upper stage needed to go to orbit and the use of solid rocket motors (SRBs). Dr. Hunter said that down the road the propulsion could also be hybrid propulsion but that they were starting of with the SRBs.
Marshal sent in a note asking about the manufacturing and use of carbon fiber material. Another listener, Derrick, brought up Pumpkin Chunking. Since I was unfamiliar with this "sport," Dr. Hunter spent a few minutes to explain Pumpkin Chunking to the audience and me.
For the second segment, Eric called in to talk about launching cubesats and the use of G-hardened payloads. John then talked about their upcoming mid-January 2017 Kickstarter program. Cleve sent in several emails over a wide range of topics, even mentioning the rumors that Dr. Bull, a pioneer in space launch using artillery type guns, was killed by the Mossad. Dr. Hunter had some thoughts on this so don't miss what he said. The question included asking about the upcoming Kickstarter program. I then asked our guest if would be possible for perks to include viewing the hydrogen test launches at YPG.
Later in the segment, Cleve sent in another email asking about the launcher's portability, say on a ship in the ocean or on a rail car. John said it would be portable but listen to all of what he said as he explained why the launcher should be located on a hill side around 30 degrees. He mentioned other possible launch gun locations including the Aleutian Islands.
Bill in Phoenix asked if John or a team member had spoken to SpaceX to see how the two might work together in a beneficial way. The answer was no but listen to all of John's comments regarding this question. Wayne sent in a note asking about th launching of cryogenic fuels to the orbiting fuel depot. The short answer was yes but John offered much more than the simple answer. Make sure you hear it.
I asked our guest for the time line to commercial operations. 2019 seemed to be the target. I also asked him about the many small launcher programs underway for small sats and cubesats and if his hydrogen launcher would put them out of business. He said no but listen to his explanation.
Several times during the discussion John said he would be bringing the cost to orbit for his payloads down to around $200/kilo. He claimed this was substantially better than what SpaceX was able to do. He spoke at length on this subject so again, don't miss what he said.
Please post your comments/questions on TSS website for this archived program. John if fine with receiving your email comments, questions, and interest. He can be reached through me or his address which is jwhunter2004 AT yahoo DOT com.