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Guest: Keith Henson; Topics: Space Solar Power, Nubian vault, lunar return, tourism, why go to the Moon, advantages go to Mars, required launch rate for SSP, SSP economics, power generation economics, fusion power and lots more.
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We welcomed Keith Henson back to the show to discuss power sats (SSP), SSP economics, radiation and shielding including the concept of the Nubian Vault. Other topics including Starship, launch rate, competing SSP research agencies and projects, costs per KW hour for power and SSP estimates, Musk and Mars, plus more. Lunar teleoperations were also part of the lunar portion of our discussion.
Early in the discussion, Keith asked the key question, why go to the Moon in the first place. While listeners and Keith worked through some answers at this question, Keith was more focused on teleoperations and the costs. In the meantime, I did not think the question was ever really answered so if you want to take a try at it, post your answer on our blog for this program. Keith was not sold on tourism and when Marshall called to ask about the He3 potential, Keith challenged him on that re fusion and the costs for trying to get He3 off the Moon plus the challenges in having a way to use it for fusion energy here on Earth. When asked if he thought Mars different, he said the advantages go to Mars but before jumping for joy, make sure you listen to all of what he had to say on the subject.
Keith talked at length about the idea of a Nubian Vault for radiation shielding on the Moon. He mentioned lava tubes along with the use of lunar regolith. The idea of the Nubian vault has been getting lots of play and air time on various lunar return discussion groups. What do you think about it?
As for space solar power or power sats, much of Keith's focus was on the infrastructure needed, the close to 25,000 launches a year to put the mass up in space, assemble the systems and maintain it. He went through the economics very carefully and many times over during our discussion. He was challenged by both callers and those sending in emails. Keith was asked about some of the research projects for SSP. He briefly talked about the NRL, the AFRL, Cal Tech, the UK and Japan. Listen to what he said about the different projects including the plusses and minuses of each. You might be surprised when you hear what he had to say about the AFRL and Cal Tech as examples of this part of the discussion.
Later in the show our friend Gene from Pasadena called in. Gene's focus has been on energizing the political side of developing SSP and getting political leaders involved in SSP. Gene said those efforts were tabled due to the election but he was hoping to revive them at this point. For sure you want to hear the Gene-Keith discussion. That are in touch with one another so I expect to hear more from their different perspectives on future Space Show programs. If any of you want to get in touch with Gene or Keith, let me know and I will help to make it happen.
Near the end of the program Keith started discussing the cost of power per K/H for power sats, comparing it to the terrestrial grid, specifically in CA. In doing so, he looked at costs for hydro and other forms of power, including fossil fuels. Both callers and Keith mentioned an upcoming NASA SSP report but nobody knew when it might break. We are waiting for that and will cover it on a future edition of The Space Show. Much more was discussed during this two hour program, a must hear for those interested in returning to the Moon, settlement, lunar everything, SSP, Mars, launches, you name it. We will have Keith back on the show next year to continue these topical discussions.
Please post your comments/questions on the blog for this show. As I said, you can reach Keith through me or through his email address which is out there with many discussion groups.