[ExI] Report on space business

Keith Henson hkeithhenson at gmail.com
Sun Nov 11 20:38:58 UTC 2012

Last Thursday I gave a talk at the 3rd Space Word conference in
Frankfurt on power satellites, how to build them with laser propulsion
to get the cost down and how you build the first laser at GEO with
Skylon. (I can send the power point slides I used if someone wants

I was impressed with the people who showed up.  There is another world
out there.  They speak English (more or less) as a common language.  I
don't think I ran into anyone who did not appreciate the importance of
high exhaust velocity as the way to get the payload up and the cost
down.  That's unlike some conferences in the US where it's hard to
find anyone who understands the rocket equation.

Friday I visited Reaction Engines.  Delightful experience meeting Alan
Bond and Richard Varvill, the key technical guys.  They have (and I
saw) the precooler for the SABRE engines working.  They extract a GW
of heat from entering ram air and drop the temperature to -150 deg,
making it possible to compress the air to rocket chamber pressure with
a low tech turbine.  Miles of tiny tubes in each one, and they *don't

I brought them the China, India, power sat news which they had not heard of yet.


Besides briefing the 82-year-old Kalam about its recent mission to
send three astronauts, including China's first woman to space, CAST
officials have shown "great interest" in partnering the mission with
international collaboration for Space based Solar Power initiative,
said V Ponraj, a scientist who is part of Kalam's delegation.

"Wu Yansheng, President of CAST has said his organisation is very much
interested to collaborate with India and ISRO on the space mission and
would like to establish a formal initiative from both the nations," he
said in a statement.

"Kalam assured, certainly he will take up this interest to the
Government of India and ISRO, so that a hard cooperation and
collaboration between ISRO, DRDO and CAST is realised on one of the
great mission, may be Space-based Solar Power initiative so that both
India and China can work for long term association with proper funding
along with other willing space faring nations to bring space solar
power to earth," the statement said.

"Such a mission will be a great example for the entire world and will
bring peace and prosperity to the both the nations as well as to the
world," it said.



It's difficult to decide exactly what is going on there.

Unlike Elon (who has stated he hates the power sat concept), Reaction
Engines has long been upfront that their vehicle (Skylon) is well
matched to the massive payload capacity needed for power satellites.

Actually, in terms of SpaceX, Elon is right.  Chemical vertical
takeoff rockets are not just suitable for power sats.


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