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Guest: Dr. Robert Hoyt: Topics: Tethers Unlimited innovative products, manned spaceflight tethers, radiation, Van Allen belts and much more.
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We welcomed back to the show Dr. Robert Hoyt for this one segment one hour program focusing on tethers for space including manned spaceflight plus many other leading edge space technologies such as software defined radios, water for propulsion fueled thrusters and much more. Dr. Hoyt started off by telling us about Tethers Unlimited (www.tethers.com). The company was started in 1994 and our guest said there had been much success with the company since then. One of the early questions asked our guest was about manned space tethers and space tethers transfer. Also discussed was the possible use of tethers for orbital cleanup. I asked our guest the typical TRL when they start a project. Don't miss what Rob said but note that he said many of the projects they start and work with are at TRL=0 when they take the project on. He also talked about working with crazy ideas which sparked a few questions form me.
Rand in Tucson asked about the use of tethers for artificial gravity for human spaceflight. Our guest had much to say on this topic so do listen to not miss anything. He talked about the 20 space tether experiments to date with 75% of them being successful. With that said, he did talk with about the two space shuttle tether experiments that had problems. He explained the problems and the significance of these two tether experiments which seemed to be on the rare side given the success of all the other experiments. Listen to his explanation and discussion and let us know what you think by posting on the blog.
Kim called from Mexico to ask about the HiVOLT system for draining the Van Allen belt. You can check it out with this brief summary at www.tethers.com/HiVOLT.html. Rob talked about the radiation flux from the belts, the South Atlantic Anomaly and the need to continue to sweep the belts. Also mentioned were GCRs, solar storms, long wavelengths, & various cost performance trades to be done for commercial usage of the concept. This was a most interesting discussion with thanks to Kim for bringing it up. Let us know if you have questions or comments about it by posting on the blog.
I asked Rob to define and talk about software defined radios. Marshall called to talk about his earlier work in this area with Texas Instruments and well as challenges with antennas for flexible frequency radios. Rob talked about designing custom antennas for clients but also said there were newer antenna designs for both narrow and wide band usage but the narrow band antenna was more efficient. The software defined radio and antenna discussion was a good one so don't miss it. The Tethers Unlimited product line is under the brand name Swift on their website.
Listener Paul was one of the many listeners who sent email questions. He wanted to know about TetherSim (also on the website) and if the coding was commercially available. Another listener asked about their line of Hydros thrusters that used water as propellant. Rob talked at length about the thrusters and the use of water as a fuel. This was followed by more on tethers for manned spaceflight. Another topic was recycling and manufacturing in space, including for the ISS. I asked him about what was being recycled on the station other than human products. Rob talked about packaging materials and more. Don't miss this discussion regarding ISS cargo recycling and more.
As we neared the end of the show, our guest was asked about the process of coming up with out of the box creative and innovative project ideas. Sally from Las Vegas wanted to know how many of their projects today were even around to think about back in 1994 when the company was started. Before we ended the program, I asked Rob to provide us with some of the demographics for Tethers Unlimited, job openings and internship possibilities.
Please post your comments/questions on TSS blog for this show. You can reach Dr. Hoyt through his website or me.