Thursday, April 08, 2010

Space Access 2010 - Panel: High-Payoff LEO & Deep Space Transportation Technologies

Jordin Kare thinks it would be great to invest in laser launches and beamed power for near earth space. To get to deep space going to need nuclear powered engines.

Jeff Greason says he had an interesting summer. Before talk about what technologies to invest in, need to step back and figure out what trying to do. Jeff is worried that we have single supplies for critical components. If something goes bad it might be the end of United States space exploration. Afraid because of politics not going to get nuclear. May be able to use solar sails and beamed power.

Jonathon Goff said it doesn’t matter if there is platinum in them there hills, if don’t have a decent transportation. He likes afterburner rocket nozzles, orbital fuel depots and NXT aerobreaking.

Henry Spencer worries about the thermal protection problem. He talked about some potential solutions.

Rand Samberg - ISRU is a critical problem. If we can’t develop resources off planet, then won’t be able to move off earth.

A discussion about the pros and cons of various technologies.

Rand said it would be nice to improve how technology was developed. Jonathon agreed. It would be nice to have more experiments so had more data.

Jeff says we have a problem in trying to do 30 year plans. We have a good idea of what we are doing now and a reasonable idea on what we could be doing in three years, but after that we basically say “And a miracle occurs here.” when we make plans for thirty years out. It would be much more honest and effective to have general goals and not have detail plans far out into the future.

Jeff says often the hard problems aren’t technical problems, but economic issues. The key question is can we afford a particular solution.

Jeff suggests it is worth reading The Influence of Seapower on History.

The full agenda for Space Access 2010, with links

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