Broadcast 895 (Special Edition)

  • 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. James A. Dewar. Dr. James Dewar returned to The Space Show to explain and discuss nuclear rockets and what they would mean for space and economic development were they to be used to obtain low cost space access. Dr. Dewar began our discussion with a good explanation of how a nuclear rocket engine works and the advantages such an engine provides in terms of specific impulse. An engine with a higher specific impulse means a significantly larger payload can be brought to space faster than if the engine had a lower specific impulse. Since understanding the specific impulse advantages of a nuclear rocket is fundamental to understanding the importance of taking this technology off the shelf, testing and perfecting it, and getting it into routine operations, this is a must-hear part of the program. Dr. Dewar addressed several important issues and concerns including costs, safety, launch safety, radiation, and fuel which requires weapons grade uranium. Dr. Dewar goes into the history of our nuclear rocket program, its safety and accident record, and addresses radiation issues head-on. In later segments of the program, we talk about the leadership needed to bring about a change in thinking in order to allow for the use of nuclear rocket propulsion. Dr. Dewar suggests that in the political and policy world of 2008, such leadership has to come from out-of-the-box thinkers, scientists, economists, and engineers. These groups will then have the ability to drive the development of policy and new leadership. This comprehensive discussion tackles a complex issue, but a history with a track record which any of us can verify as being available today with a minimum of new R&D needed to bring the technology to commercial status. Dr. Dewar's book, "To The End Of The Solar System: The Story of the Nuclear Rocket," is a good starting point for understanding the nuclear rocket's history and where we left off, so we can move forward. It's clear that the nuclear rocket holds a realistic promise for low cost space access and commercial development, and it's near term! Please direct any questions or comments you have for Dr. Dewar to me at drspace@thespaceshow.com.

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19 Feb 2008 Dr. James A. Dewar
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  • The Space Foundation Conference

  • The Space Foundation Conference

  • The Space Foundation Conference

  • The Space Foundation Conference