Broadcast 1259 (Special Edition)

The Space Foundation Conference

17 Nov 2009 Edward McCullough
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Guest: Edward McCullough. Topics: Advanced technology, launch vehicles, space and lunar solar power. As we started our first segment of tonight's program, we focused on launch vehicles and Ed said up front that the launch vehicle companies must be profitable. With insufficient flights and fewer and fewer flights, it's hard for them to be profitable but were we to build and deploy a space solar power system, that would change things. He also spoke about the need for a single stage to orbit vehicle and indicated that a thermal protection system (TPS) was the major obstacle to developing the SSTO. As for the SSP system, he said he preferred a private system, not government. The start up costs would be between $200 and $400 billion. He was asked several questions about the Falcon 9 and SpaceX and said that ULA has had more than 140 successful launches in a row and that is a hard record to beat for a new rocket. Toward the end of this segment, listener Jack asked about coal fly ash as a lunar regolith simulate and this led to a comprehensive discussion of not only the lunar regolith, but how coal is processed and why fly ash is the best for simulate. Don't miss this discussion. We started our second segment with a discussion about Ed's Navy nuclear training. He talked about the quality of the Navy schools, the intensity of the programs, and then serving on a nuclear submarine. He was asked about the sub being an analog for a possible long duration spaceflight. You will find his answer most interesting. Also in this segment, we talked about the nuclear rocket and as you will hear, he is in support of it. We talked about its safety even launching from Earth so don't miss what Ed had to say about this. A listener asked him about nuclear power plant safety and he mentioned the Molten Salt Reactor and urged listeners to check out the videos and information on it on the internet. He also talked about the Thorium and Liquid-Fluoride Thorium Reactor ( Toward the end of this segment, we started talking about various advanced technologies available today including wave length routing, Metro Networking, and Optical Phase Conjugation. Ed told us how advanced technology remains on the shelf and why it's so often difficult to get into commercial use. As you will hear, it's not always an honest system. In the third and final segment, we started off by talking about the AIAA Space Colonization Technical Committee and what the goals were to facilitate space colonization programs by 2015, none of which happened. Like me, I am sure you will find this story fascinating. As we neared the end of the program, we returned to space solar power and funding for it, plus the potential profitability for an SSP venture. He suggested we would see the breakeven point in about 12 years. Ed again stressed that infrastructure costs would be paid off about a year so after commercial operations started and that the IRR would be in the low to mid 40% range. In his concluding remarks, he said innovation is being suppressed. Needed and available technology sits on lab shelves and it could change the world. If you have a question or comment for Ed McCullough, please send it to me at Ed's website is



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