Saturday, April 20, 2019

Space Access 2019 - Saturday morning

Notes of the Space Access 2019 Saturday morning presentations:

Henry Spencer  - From Reusable Rocket Ships to Solar-System Express
The outer solar system is much harder to get to than the inner solar system.  The planets are much, much farther away and will take much longer to get to.  Can’t do this with chemical rockets.  Advanced nuclear options probably the best answer for self contained space craft. They have problems with radiation and heat.  Solar sails might work for moving freight around the inner solar system.  Beaming  or shooting pellets may work.  Would develop a huge infrastructure.

Jess Sponable - Project History & Management Lessons From DC-X, X-40, and XS-1
To have access to the solar system need reusable rockets, reusable launders.  The US Air Force has long been interested in hypersonic vehicles.  Jess reviewed the history of various projects.
Lessons learned: 
  • There is a bias for horizontal takeoff, that is how planes operate.
  • Likes vertical takeoff and landing. Few benefits: Incremental flight test, powered landing, few facilities, minimum real estate, flexible about envelops.
  • Past programs were over-spec’d requirements and used relatively primitive technologies. 
  • Lower risk of two stage makes it nearer term and lower cost
  • Management rules - had ten rules: 
    • 1: agree to clearly defined program objectives advanced
    • 2: single manager under one agency
    • 3: small government & contractor program offices
    • 4: build competitive hardware, no paper
    • 5: focus on key demonstrations, not everything
    • 6: streamlined documentation & reviews
    • 7: contractor integrates & test prototype
    • 8: develop minimum realistic funding profiles
    • 9: track cost/schedule in near real time
    • 10: mutual trust essential
  • Lessons from DC-X 
    • Fast track, rapid prototyping can be done by the government, but it is not easy
    • Rocket planes can be turned around rapidly with “aircraft-like” flight costs
    • a dozen other lessons

Jeff Greason  - A New Class Of Drive Using The Dynamic Pressure (Q) Of Passage Through The Interplanetary Or Interstellar Plasma To Expel Reaction Mass At High Velocity
There are limits to chemical rockets
Around ten years ago Jeff was on a project reviewing NASA projects. Jeff become interested in Plasma Magnet & E-sail, have a current, the thrust power is 1,000,000 greater than the excitation power.  May get going fast, like hundreds of kilometers a second, but how do you stop?
We move by pushing on things - reviewed fundamentals, built a quadrant of energy and mass of internal & external, came up with an idea of “Drag-Powered Reaction: q-Drive”  Harness externally-supplied energy to move internally-supplied reaction mass. The solar wind speed is about 450 km/s. Start at earth, use solar wind to get up to maybe 155 km/s outward, no mass spent, then switch Plasma Magnet to “windmilll” propelling reaction mass forward, can get to Neptune in a year and Mars in about a month
Jeff is still exploring and understanding the idea.  

Kevin Parkin - Parkin Research -  Beam-Heated Propulsion Progress & Prospects
Directed energy launch approaches - quadrant of Microwave / laser vs. continuous wave / pulsed, reviewed the basics of directing power, power excites the propellant
The government is spending $170 Million a week
Reviewed his efforts from 2002 to 2014.  He showed a couples videos of test launches.
Believes could do a project for around $1 million.

Ryan Weed - Positron Dynamics - Positron Based Propulsion
Reviewed the history of anti-matter, coming up with the idea, how to make them, how they might work, various ways might use

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