Broadcast 1042 (Special Edition)

25 Oct 2008 Shubber Ali, Dr. John Jurist, Dr. David Livingston, Thomas A. Olson
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Guests: The Space Cynics, Shubber Ali, Tom Olson, Dr. John Jurist, and Dr. David Livingston, came together for this conference call round table discussion on the topic of the day, Space Solar Power (SSP). In keeping with the true Space Cynics fashion, this was a hard-hitting program addressing some of the fundamental challenges facing SSP and why the Cynics do not share the joy of seeing a future SSP world as do those promoting it. As we started the discussion, Shubber outlined three basic areas that we addressed: technical challenges, economic and political (policy) challenges, and those challenges represented by substitute technology. All of us were in agreement that the technical challenges can be met over time and with sufficient funding and R&D. All the Cynics believe that substitute technologies here on Earth will typically give the economic and policy advantage to terrestrial power over SSP. Furthermore, the economic, political, and policy challenges ahead for SPP are formidable and likely to prove much harder, complex, and costly to resolve than many of those promoting SSP believe will be the case. Since many listening to this discussion will not agree with some or even all of the points made, should you choose to reply, comment or question what you hear, please do so factually. For example, if you are going to report or comment that the launch cost will be $200/kilo to GEO or some other very low rate , tell us how that happens so we can respond factually. If you are talking theoretical, please provide the support and basis for your theory. Another interesting point offered in this discussion came up when we talked about the need for low cost space access. Shubber made the point that the military does not really want cheap and easy access to space by the general public, thus it's unlikely that there will be any government action taken to significantly change the way we access space. I believe we should give some serious consideration to this as a real potentiality. In another part of the SSP discussion, we discussed new launch technology, mag lift, the space elevator, and SSP as an economic driver for these possible launch technologies. See what you think of the comments offered up by the Cynics. Here, I differ a bit from my fellow Cynics. I want to hear more about the advanced and different propulsion ideas to examine their merit, economic potential, etc. I want to apply real comprehensive due diligence to what I hear and I am hoping to have some of these advanced and out of the box propulsion and lift concepts discussed by their promoters on The Space Show. Watch the newsletter for this type of future programming. We also discussed upcoming reports suggesting that we may run out of terrestrial energy by the end of the century. I personally withhold judgment until I see the report(s) mentioned on the show, but the other Cynics do not, as of now, subscribe to resource limitation theories as presented or described in this discussion. I hope to do a full Space Show program about one particular energy report once it is made public. This Space Cynics show will also post on The Space Cynics blog site at http://spacecynic.wordpress.com. If you want to ask a question, offer a comment, or provide information for your position, theory, or anything else, please do so as a comment to the Cynics blog for all to read once the show is posted on Cynics . Any email I receive at The Space Show for this particular discussion will be posted in full on the Space Cynics blog as we Space Cynics blog are very transparent. Your comments, challenges, theories, information, and critiques are most welcome by us all and we look forward to hearing from you over at Cynics. And please remember, the Tuesday, Nov. 4th Space Show program is an Open Line discussion by me on my own personal feelings about SSP based on my interviews and contacts with many of those working to make SSP a reality. As you will hear on that show, I have a few different perspectives from the Cynics in general , but the challenges ahead for SSP promoters are extensive and very real . I urge the SSP community to address the challenges with concrete answers as I believe doing so will enhance the chances for SSP to be developed, at least at the serious demo project level, a level I do personally support. Note that they are not just Space Cynics or my challenges. What we are talking about and what I will outline on Nov. 4th are serious challenges and obstacles that space solar power needs to address to be economic and to be developed. Again, I believe a factual response is in order, as much as that is possible, rather than just saying this or that and counting the future as being reality today.

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