Sunday, April 17, 2011

The Space Show, Apr 17, 2011

Starts in 30 minutes.  I'll liveblog it, as long as I can get the thing to work.  It doesn't want to work on this netbook, so I'll have to use the desktop.

While we are waiting, I want to write about MagicJack.   I just bought one for myself from BestBuy.  But you know, I could have gotten one from Amazon.  I've bought plenty of stuff from Amazon.  It works for me.  As for MagicJack, it installs on your USB port, and the rest is very simple.  It will load onto your computer and finishes the installation automatically.  You will need to answer a few questions before you are completely ready.   It cost only 39.99 at BestBuy, but at Amazon, it may be cheaper.  The cost includes the first year of phone service, and it costs 19.99 each year thereafter.

It works just like a regular phone, just plug your phone right in and start using it (after installing it, of course).  I've used Skype, but this isn't Skype.  It can load automatically when you start your computer, so when you have your computer on, there's little need to use any software.

You will need broadband of course.  It works off the internet connection.  I've already used it to make several calls. The quality is good, and the price is right.  If you have a need for this item, go have a look.

It's almost 2 pm, which should be about time to start.  I am not getting any sound out of it.  It is starting now, and I have audio.  It seems to have low quality sound.

Chat line open.  No shows tomorrow and Tuesday.

Two guest today.  Dr Alan Stern.  Introduction.  Wayne Hale is second guest.

Starts with Alan: Human spaceflight, comm crew, ccdev,  and others.
Wayne:  Says a very exciting time.

Start with question Dr. Space:  Why Human Spaceflight- says
Stern: Hard to make case in tight fiscal times.  Excited about commercialized, to make money.  Opportunity to improve lives.  Move human spaceflight out of government and into government.  But role for government, through history, and place to go there in space.
Dr. Space: What are steps needed?
Stern: Very close already.  Within next few years, many vehicles will fly.  But capital intensive industry.  Need seed money from government.
Dr. Space:  Too much risk on private?
Stern: Business risk is true in any start up.  Lots of companies will fall by wayside, others will make it.
Todd in San Diego:  Will Congress stifle this industry?
Stern:  Amused that opposition is Republicans.  Role reversal in Washington.  Over regulation: need safe system, like FAA for aircraft.  A transition time, but hopefully Congress will support.
??? : human rating question
Stern: Standards debate on human rating.  Have a way to go before regs are ready.  Good systems out there.
Integrated system needed.  Safety systems needed.  Possible that a good vehicle could become human rated.

Dr. Space: why escape or abort systems needed?
Stern: Soyuz and Shenzou have them.  Shuttle does not.  Lost Challenger crew.  Would have liked 2nd Shuttle system that would have had it.
Hale: Soyuz had to be used to save a crew.
Dr. S: commented that this is a given;  Is funding secure for human spaceflight?
Hale: No idea what Congress will do.  Have to wait and see.  High probabilty it will be supported.  Huge pressure on all sort of things.
Dr. S: Why so much attention to small budget item.
Hale: Common misperception that NASA spends a lot of money.
Harold in Chicago: Heavy lift question.  Is it important now and future?
Stern: Not necessity at this time.  Better with medium lift.  Refueling depots.
Dr.  Will Nasa required to build heavy lift.
Stern: risk that no vehicle will be built at all.
Hale: agrees.  Try to build in next gen vehicle, then gets squashed.  Need to get price down.
A fleet for small rockets better.
But depots have their problems too.  Only be able to launch at restrictive times.  85% of what you need to get up there is propellant.  But not a panacea.  Is an option.
Dr.  Mentions his shows about depots.
Paul in Phoenix:  Congress micromanages everything.  How do you stop this?
Ans Congress will do this regardless.  Needs to be meeting of minds.  Poltics hard to control.
Stern:  Lack of trust between branches.  Let technical people handle things.  Politicians are too local oriented.
Announcement:  not paying attention

Evan: roles changing in future and how
Ans: question goes to design of spaceship, but if it is automated, don't need it as much
Hale:  open a lot of avenues, when multiple lines, firms will develop like big airlines
Dr: Mergers?
Ans: Don't know.
John Hunt: 2 stage rocket in 50 ton class.
Ans: re-usability only good with high flight rate.
Waste needs to be cut.

Comment: questions are too complex to keep up with.



Helen in LVegas: Last ditch efforts for Shuttle?
Ans: Extremely expensive proposition. Tank force, srb dispersed. Need to get them back. Cost is expensive to get back up again.

Dr: community being hurt by uncertainty, any opinions on that?
Ans: large workforce dispersed. Deep and wide in skills. 10, 000 people to operate shuttle. Now working for commercial. Leaner, fewer jobs available. Could be a lot of new jobs available in new environment. Optimistic.
Hale: The Navy produce new engines for missiles every year. Navy costs have gone up. Unanticipated consequences. Will hard to find jobs that people are used to. If new commercial space takes off, it will help. Thousands of jobs in other sectors may be available though.
Dr. ISS got life extension. Useful to be more supportive.
Hale: ISS as destination attractive place to test technologies.
Stern: Open ISS to researchers. Suborbital is like minor leagues. ISS could help with this.
Becky in Tuscon: Don't forget other countries wrt to ISS.
ans: good point. Not hard to negotiate, who gets how much.
Dr: will Chinese ever be part of this?
Ans: troubled relations.
Dr: followup John Atlanta on 50 ton rocket: ack prob, engines proposition highly technical stuff
Ans: can't make it reusable from the start.

discussion of shuttle problems and why it cost so much

Congressional micromanagement discussion: mixed bag. Not everyone qualified.

Politics plays a role in this. Not engineering decisions, but implications.

Depots discussion: can't put Moonbase with current launch costs.

Private sector and public sector roles.

I emailed the Sea Dragon question. It was called "dreamy". Neither guest was familiar with the concept. Dr. Space doubted there was a market for such a heavy lift capability.

No shortage of ideas.  I skipped over a part of this show because it seemed to get lost in details.  I guess I am not too patient with that.

More on Sea Dragon here.  The Sea Horse rocket tests.  Excalibur design in the nineties.

Comment:  If you want to lower launch costs, this is it.  Otherwise, you will have to wait until some new technology gets invented.  The idea of fuel depots has its own set of issues.  This concept is akin to a 18 wheeler that gets a lot of stuff up there at once.  Everybody wants a Cadillac to do a 18 wheeler job.  This is no Caddy, but an 18 wheeler that will get the goods up there.

Mon 7:15 am

Just checked Thespaceshow's blog for any mention of my question.  Not there, so I am going to download the mp3 file and look for it.  I found it at approximately 1 hour, 13 minutes, and a few seconds into the show. It is near the end.  The time may not be perfect, so if it isn't exactly there, you can be sure that it is there.  You may have to hunt for it.  It is at the end of the show because the discussion ended about the question and he said that there were 5 minutes left.

No comments:

Post a Comment