Broadcast 3519 Dr. Dana Andrews

  • The Space Foundation Conference

  • The Space Foundation Conference

  • The Space Foundation Conference

  • The Space Foundation Conference

The Space Foundation Conference

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Guest:  Dr. Dana Andrews; Topics: We featured Dana's new book, "Chasing The Dream".  The books details Dana's decades of aerospace experience along with his 33 years at Boeing and ten years at Andrews Space and Technology, plus more.

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We welcomed Dr. Dana Andrews to the program for a 1 hour 48 minute discussion about his new book, "Chasing The Dream, aerospace history, technology with X planes, the shuttle, aluminum versus titanium, management decision making at NASA, initial shuttle performance specs, claims and dreams plus more with Musk, SpaceX and the new commercial space industry.

We started the discussion with Dr. Andrews briefly introducing himself with his Nebraska background which helped us to understand how he got into the space engineering profession.  He said that during his tenure at Boeing and working in the industry, he became a great observer and he observed much which led him to writing his book.  In a sense, the book is about what he observed learned and much more. 

Dr. Andrews started us off with space shuttle history and lots of commentary.  We spent a good portion of the first segment talking about the shuttle, why it was made from aluminum and not titanium and what that meant for the shuttle. Our guest talked about the plans and dreams for the shuttle but then he discussed how the shuttle never met the performance goals set out for it.  Listen to him tell the story and respond to the why of it all.  He suggested that had it done was it was supposed to have done, it would have opened the door for us to have habitats on the Moon and we would be on the way to Mars.  

Marshal called to talk about the Columbia and what might have been if it had been made of titanium.  Marshall and Dana talked about thermal expansion, tiles and how they might have differed, plus the X-33 and X-37 B were both mentioned.   Another topic was the SRBs and why they were not one solid unit rather than having been made with segments and joints.  Listen to what our guest said about competition.

I asked Dr. Andrews if NASA was applying lessons learned to their new work with SLS and ORION, plus the same for SpaceX and Blue Origin.  Don't miss what he said, especially for both Blue and SpaceX and then what he said about NASA being technically locked in the technology of 1983. 

Our next caller was Dallas who knew Dana from their Boeing work.  Dallas and Dana talked about XLR 129, classified rocket engine programs and the follow up to the Dynosaur Program.  This led to mention of the B52 and a stage combustion discussion.  Included was a lot said about the competition for the rocket engine with Rocketdyne on one side and Pratt & Whitney on the other.  Be sure to hear what he said were the advantages of P&W and why Rocketdyne was selected.  Also entering this discussion was the Boeing X-20 Dyna-Soar project. 

Robert called from Houston to talk about lessons and applications of such for the civilian space program for the government as compared to the military program.  He asked about a non-military part of the Space Force.  Don't miss what Dana had to say in this part of the conversation.  He also talked about too many people, hard to get them out once they are in and other related issues.  Dana said we were not that advanced in space technology, other than for SpaceX and Blue, over and above where airplanes were around a century ago.  He did say we came close to doing things right and even getting to Mars but politics came up and prevented the programs from happening.

At this point in our discussion, more was said about the space shuttle and the original specs plus the cost per pound to orbit which was estimated at about $10,000/lb.  Don't miss all of what was said during this discussion, including the part of about pumps and design.  Next, we took an email from Todd in San Diego as he wanted to know if the shuttle should have been cancelled or should we have kept it until we had an alternative flying.  Our guest talked about Columbia, rescue possibilities that were not tried and more.

We started the second segment by asking our guest about Boeing culture after the acquisitions of Rockwell and McDonnel Douglas and if that culture shares any blame for the Boeing problems of today.  That question opened the fountain of information on this topic so sit back and listen up as Dana talked freely about this subject.  Toward the end of this mini discussion, he talked about Boeing having been a family business but after what happened, ROI was king of the hill.

Ft. Worth John gave us a call to talk more about the McDonnel Douglas merger and culture issues.  He also talked about shuttle, P&W engines, the initial vision that never got fulfilled and SRBs being used rather than liquids.  Don't miss this discussion.  More email questions were considered with one asking if NASA and the AF would work out their turf battles and budget concerns going forward.  I asked Dana for his thoughts about the future of our industry given the what has been happening to our budget and national debt. 

Gene from Pasadena called to pick up the recent show with Mike Snead re leaving an SLS stage in orbit for commercial use.  Dana talked about that idea, knew it well along with Mike, but he was not wild about it.  Listen to his explanation.  Peter emailed us as he was and is a friend of our guest.  I read his note on air to which Dana replied with lots of information.  In addition, this brought up the idea of 11/2 stage to orbit which reminded me of the work by my Stanford advisor, Dr. Bruce Lusignan, did with his class design of such a vehicle.  Don't miss our 11/2 stage to orbit commentary.  Before the program ended, Dana wanted to talk about his chapter on interstellar travel and possible interstellar options to 5-6% the speed of light which he thought would be sufficient to go say to Proxima B.  He was optimistic about the technology advancing to make such flight affordable.  Before signing off, I asked if he was familiar with Tic Tac.  He was and had a few words to say about it.  Don't miss what he said.

Please post your comments on the blog for this show.  You can reach Dr. Andrews through me or his book website,




Dr. Andrew's new book, "Chasing The Dream." See his aerospace bio on the website

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02 Jun 2020 Dr. Dana Andrews
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