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Charles Bolden's friend

Posted: Sat Jul 11, 2009 8:16 pm
by Rick Kwan
Paragraph below is taken from the article "Chalie Bolden's vision for NASA" ... r_nas.html

Third, Bolden said that NASA had to make space exploration more entrepreneurial. He cited the example of a friend who was using venture capital to pursue a rocket engine that could take people to Mars in "39 days instead of 8 to 11 months." "The government cannot fund everything we need to do," he said.

Does Bolden have a friend funding fusion? I wonder who is the friend? And which kind of fusion? (Or is he simply talking about the VASIMR engine?)

Posted: Sun Jul 12, 2009 4:01 pm
by Rick Kwan
Some alert reader decided to transcribe the portion of the comfirmation hearing where Bolden made this comment. It turns out his friend is former astronaut Franklin Chang-Diaz, and the system is definitely VASIMR. ... -audition/

I believe flight test of the engine at the ISS is planned in the next couple of years.

But to do Earth-to-Mars in 39 days, it will need a nuclear electric powerplant. Somewhere I recall this assumption is already made by Chang-Diaz and his group. Until they are given an alternative, they probably will push for the resurrection of Prometheus (fission for space applications).