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Dr. Griffin about private space vehicle companies...

Posted by: Ekkehard Augustin - Fri Aug 18, 2006 1:10 pm
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Dr. Griffin about private space vehicle companies... 
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Post Dr. Griffin about private space vehicle companies...   Posted on: Fri Aug 18, 2006 1:10 pm
According to the article "NASA's Griffin Has High Expectations for Space Entrepreneurs" ( www.space.com/news/060818_griffin_interview.html ) Mike Griffin has made the follwoing issues among others in an interview:

[quote]“We cannot make an arms-length commercial arrangement come into being. So I hope it comes true. But so far what we have from entrepreneurs—with a couple of exceptions—is mostly viewgraphs.â€


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Post Re: Dr. Griffin about private space vehicle companies...   Posted on: Fri Aug 18, 2006 3:02 pm
Ekkehard Augustin wrote:
Obviously he considers Scaled Composites to have proceeded far and applies a significantly pro-private view and concept including an approach that perhaps would have been supported by Ludwig Erhard, former Minister of Economics of Germany who established the libertarian economic german system.

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I think he means that scaled is, apart from spacedev and spacex, practicly the only companies who have actually built something that has flown. The rest is just vaporware.

But from the article itself i got the impression that he still sees the private sector as an infant with too big a toys. If not even t/space or spacedev is selected for his program and only names like boeing and lockhead are in it, well say goodbye to Nasa for spaceflight.


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Post    Posted on: Fri Aug 18, 2006 8:53 pm
So, it's gonna be SpaceX and Kistler. To bad T/Space didn't made it.


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Post    Posted on: Sat Aug 19, 2006 8:02 am
Hello, Stefan Sigwarth,

I cannot but agree - and posted in the Latest News section.



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Post    Posted on: Tue Sep 25, 2007 2:39 pm
Just this moment I found an article under www.welt.de quoting Griffin having said that NASA have the long-run plan to land an astronaut on Mars until 2037.

On the road there they not only want to create a space civilisation for tomoroow but Griffin is also quoted to have said that up to space tourism is the only way to turn space transports economical.



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Post    Posted on: Tue Sep 25, 2007 2:51 pm
Ekkehard Augustin wrote:
Just this moment I found an article under www.welt.de quoting Griffin having said that NASA have the long-run plan to land an astronaut on Mars until 2037.

On the road there they not only want to create a space civilisation for tomoroow but Griffin is also quoted to have said that up to space tourism is the only way to turn space transports economical.


Yeah, read that also. Finally they come to their senses, at least for some part. Their actions are a little bit weirder though. Why not treat NASA as a company? A much better management and some more detachement from government ruling should be a huge advantage. Their plans are always so mega-mega, they don't even consider the simple leightweight options. That is their biggest disadvantage. It's simply silly to built a outpost on another world in the style of bunkers. I do agree that in the end you need it for protection, but that can be achieved in more ways then the NASA way.


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Post    Posted on: Mon Oct 01, 2007 4:32 am
Hi there, been MIA for a bit but now back.

Looks like Rpk is shot as NASA have cancelled their contract so there's now only SpaceX in the COTS. They do seem to be forging ahead however they haven't yet successfully flown a bird. That's 100% successful - not the spin that Elon brought to the table.

Now NASA is a dead duck. I said this once before. It's grown too big to successfully move any program to fruition UNLESS they can get a skunk works type operation going and keep it going. Keeping it going is always going to be the challenge for NASA when you look at their track record of failing to finish things. Oh only talking about Human space flight here, not their other very successful efforts on the robotic front.

Now as for the comment from Griffin re: tourist industry being the only way to make space transport economical, I'm pretty certain that Bigalow would have a lot to say about that one. He has plans in train for multiple launches (that's 10, 20 and more per year) to support his proposed space complexes for industry in both r&d laboratories and actual factories as well as tourism. One area he is spending a lot of resources in is targeting universities around the globe who want to get stuff into LEO but can't because of two issues - relatively cheap transport and nowhere to go - NASA has the ISS locked up with it's current committments to it's partners.

Bigalow's biggest issue (along with everyone else) is a STS. He's clearly hoping like hell that SpaceX makes it but he's not putting everything there because he's already in bed with the Russians and has had talks about using the Atlas V (I think) anyway one of the other biggies - if they can man rate it. I'll put my vote up now and say the SpaceX will make it. :lol:

Not only is Bigalow looking at space complexes but he's busy developing complexes to suit planetary conditions. With respect to the Moon, he's quoted as saying that they have developed a proprietary method of moving regolith (is that how you spell it?) and putting it over one of their inflatables to provide protection - I guess that's radiation, micro meteorites, and thermal as well. This could well be available in time for whoever makes it back to the Moon and therefore eliminate the need for anyone else to spend resources developing habitats.

Oh saw a program the other day about the moon and why there's so much interest in it. Apparently there's not only oxygen and possibly water locked up in the soil but also lots of Helium 3 which they said is going to be needed for fusion reactors currently in r&d. Buggar all H3 on Earth hence the interest in the Moon. So perhaps there is going to be a race back to the Moon after all. That may at least go some way towards refocusing NASA's and the US of A congress efforts. Sorry if this has already been discussed and getting off track a bit but I did finish with a bit on NASA :lol:

Well that's my two cents worth.

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Post    Posted on: Mon Oct 01, 2007 5:00 am
Agree on all acounts, except for the He3 thing. It sounds all very interesting, but it's hardly economical in the forseable future. I suggest reading 'mining the sky' written by John S. Lewis. Lots and lots of details about this.

Glad that you're BIA!


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Post    Posted on: Mon Oct 01, 2007 5:40 am
Hi Stefan,
How far out is the 'forseeable future'? Currently the Chinese and the Russians are both generating a boom economy for the states of Western Australia and Queensland in downunder because of their thirst for resources to power their economies. The Chinese and Indian economies are the fastest growing economies in the world at the moment and strangely enough both their space programs are focusing on developing space technologies to support extended manned flights with a view to the moon in the next 20 years. Not all that far out really. The time isn't all that far away when resources of all sorts (except say human) are going to become relatively scarce and alternatives that were considered too expensive become economic. In particular, energy alternatives are becoming increasingly broad as we include clean and so-called clean energy.

He3 fusion holds a lot of promise both in the amount of energy released as well as the amount of resource needed to power it and I agree no one's near it yet but progress is being made and a new facility has been agreed to for further joint development by a number of nations.

In the meantime technology moves on and who knows what's just around the corner. We've only been a technological world for say a 100 years and 20 years is only one fifth of that entire timeline. Of course that's if the Greenhouse Gases and resulting chaos doesn't get us first :lol:

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Post    Posted on: Mon Oct 01, 2007 7:21 am
Regarding He3-Mining I can recommend Harrison Schmitt's (the Apollo 17 astronaut) book "Return to the Moon" where he investigates a business case of returning to the moon for mining Helium-3.

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Post    Posted on: Mon Oct 01, 2007 7:37 am
I remeber an article reporting that even ROSKOSMOS has in mind to mine He3 on the Moon.

The calculations I am working on in the Lunar Siyuz-thread in the Financial Barriers-section will or at least can be applied to experimentally calculate the transportation costs of lunar He3 towards other planets since the tranpsortation of lunar oxygen or/and lunar hydrogen to Earth will be considered several posts later.

Reusability is of major meaning for such ideas.



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Post    Posted on: Mon Oct 01, 2007 12:45 pm
I really don't understand why people keep talking about Deuterium-Helium-3. Deuterium-Tritium fusion produces as much power as the Deuterium-Helium-3, and due to the higher Coulomb barrier, the temperatures required for Helium-3 fusion are much higher than those of Tritium fusion. (The Coulomb barrier is just the repulsion between nuclei due to the electrostatic charge of the protons. Before the nuclei can fuse, they have to be forced closer together than they like to be by overcoming the Coulomb barrier). Most of the fusion research going on now is for Deuterium-Tritium reactions and none is for Helium-3. The ONLY reason people keep talking about Helium-3 is that it is much cleaner than Tritium. But so is Boron-11, and there is plenty of Boron-11 on Earth. The only problem with Boron-11 is that, like Helium-3, the Coulomb barrier is higher. But Robert Bussard (of interstellar ramjet fame) says he can build a reactor that will work with Boron-11. It is not a focus fusion reactor, but the focus fusion people are also touting Boron-11 as the clean fuel of choice.

So with nobody working on Helium-3 reactors, the only reason I can find for space advocates to tout Helium-3 is the need to get it from space. And the only reason they are ignoring Boron-11, even though some people are actually working on those reactors, is that you can get all the Boron-11 you need on Earth.


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Post    Posted on: Mon Oct 01, 2007 2:52 pm
campbelp2002 wrote:
I really don't understand why people keep talking about Deuterium-Helium-3. Deuterium-Tritium fusion produces as much power as the Deuterium-Helium-3, and due to the higher Coulomb barrier, the temperatures required for Helium-3 fusion are much higher than those of Tritium fusion. (The Coulomb barrier is just the repulsion between nuclei due to the electrostatic charge of the protons. Before the nuclei can fuse, they have to be forced closer together than they like to be by overcoming the Coulomb barrier). Most of the fusion research going on now is for Deuterium-Tritium reactions and none is for Helium-3. The ONLY reason people keep talking about Helium-3 is that it is much cleaner than Tritium. But so is Boron-11, and there is plenty of Boron-11 on Earth. The only problem with Boron-11 is that, like Helium-3, the Coulomb barrier is higher. But Robert Bussard (of interstellar ramjet fame) says he can build a reactor that will work with Boron-11. It is not a focus fusion reactor, but the focus fusion people are also touting Boron-11 as the clean fuel of choice.

So with nobody working on Helium-3 reactors, the only reason I can find for space advocates to tout Helium-3 is the need to get it from space. And the only reason they are ignoring Boron-11, even though some people are actually working on those reactors, is that you can get all the Boron-11 you need on Earth.


What i understand that the He3 reaction doesn't produce certain particles that damage your reactorwall. With every other reaction it does and you would have to rebuild the reactorwall completely. Which is silly to begin with, not to mention the many meters of wall to begin with. I think it were the neutrons who did this. Not sure though.


About the forseeable future. Let's say 100 years with regard that within 20 years we would have a permanent iss-like presence on the moon and mars. And since that is very unlikely, the commercial exploitation of He3 will be also very unlikely. The percentage of He3 on the moon in every ton of regolith is simply to tiny to do it as a start. Sure it could be done in a few hundreds years, but i can't see how on earth we're not gonna end up with a civilization which will totally be powered by solar power.

Plus, before it would become commercial viable in my opinion, the moon will allready be built full of buildings, so the He3 would allready have dissapated.


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Post    Posted on: Mon Oct 01, 2007 2:59 pm
Are there reasons why He3 can't be used for purposes He4 is used for at present?

May be a pity to do that - I simply have in mind that such purposes might be sufficient to mine lunar He3. This way transportations of Helium from Earth to the Moon or to other planets could be avoided if Helium is required there for usual and normal purposes. Since He3 is lighter than He4 there may be an additional advantage of using He3 for usual purposes.

What about these aspects?



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Post    Posted on: Mon Oct 01, 2007 3:00 pm
Stefan Sigwarth wrote:
What i understand that the He3 reaction doesn't produce certain particles that damage your reactorwall. With every other reaction it does and you would have to rebuild the reactorwall completely.
Then you heard wrong. The Boron-11 reaction does not do that either. Boron-11 is just as good as Helium-3 and is in plentiful supply on Earth.
Let me say that again. Boron-11


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