Broadcast 1241 (Special Edition)

18 Oct 2009 Ralph Nansen
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Guest: Ralph Nansen. Topics: SSP, economics, low cost space access, RLV, policy and political leadership. Ralph Nansen was our guest today to discuss space solar power (SSP) and his new book by Apogee, "Energy Crisis: Solution From Space." This book is available on the One Giant Leap Foundation website at Please purchase your copy using this link so that Amazon contributes to The Space Show. In the first segment, Mr. Nansen told us why he wrote this book and its premise about the needs and benefits of solving our energy problems from space. He said over and over again that the biggest challenge was low cost space transportation and that we needed the RLV to accomplish this. The problem today with SSP is the initial cost which is largely skewed by the high launch cost. Also in this segment we talked about market size for SSP and recouping investment costs. Toward the end of the first segment, Mr. Nansen said that eventually space solar power would cost only a few cents per kwh and he compared it to some of the larger hydroelectric projects in the United States such as the Grand Coulee Dam. He also suggested that at this time, the only potential large commercial space markets were space tourism and SSP. In the second segment which took us through to the end of today's program, we led off with a listener phone call about radiation, humans building the satellites in a radiation environment, material degradation due to radiation. Don't miss what Mr. Nansen had to say in addressing these issues and questions. Mr. Nansen received many questions about proof of concept for SSP and he made a point of separating a demonstration project from proof of concept. He said a demonstration project was essential for getting the utility companies and others on board with SSP. As for proof of concept, he said that already existed and was not in question. A question came in about potential environmental damage from a large number of rocket launches. Ralph addressed this with our being able to use different fuels in the future. He called for using the ISS as an SSP LEO demonstrator. At the end of the program, we both called for U.S. space policy leadership in an international consortium. Ralph made the point several times during the interview that other nations have the technical know-how to do this and are motivated. He did not want to see the United State lose out on this important path to future economic wealth and development. Mr. Nansen said we needed investment, not just investing in technology. If you have an email question or comment for Ralph Nansen, please send it to him at



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