February 2023 Chapter Meeting Report

On February 21st, 2023, the Clear Lake Area Chapter of the National Space Society and Moon Society met in the conference room of the Bay Area Community Center just up the road from the Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas. We had snacks available for those attending in person, as well as a Zoom meeting option for those wishing to attend remotely.

Our own Chapter vice-president Doug Hall gave us an excellent presentation on the background and development of nuclear rocket engines, especially the former NERVA project which met all of its development targets before being canceled during the Nixon administration…likely for being too successful; some saw it as a threat to further development of chemical rockets for the Shuttle program. There have been a few revivals of the technology, and even now it’s being looked at again in the form of DRACO (Demonstration Rocket for Agile Cislunar Operations). Doug even went into Soviet and Russian developments, at least as far as the information is publicly available. As you can tell, this field is of great interest to Doug and we all appreciated his expertise. We’ll post his digital slide presentation in ODP format below.

We followed Doug’s presentation with a short Chapter business session. Our next scheduled meeting is set for April 18th, 2023 at 6:30 p.m., again in the conference room of the Bay Area Community Center off NASA 1 in Clear Lake Park. For this next meeting, we’re planning to invite Kenneth Bowen to share some of his hands-on memories from working in flight simulation for Singer/Link and Ford Aerospace during the Apollo and Space Shuttle programs. It’ll be good; don’t miss it! We hope to see you there!