Author Archives: Kirk Sorensen

About Kirk Sorensen

MS, nuclear engineering, University of Tennessee, 2014, Flibe Energy, president, 2011-present, Teledyne Brown Engineering, chief nuclear technologist, 2010-2011, NASA Marshall Space Flight Center, aerospace engineer, 2000-2010, MS, aerospace engineering, Georgia Tech, 1999

Baroness Worthington at the US Space and Rocket Center

Several weeks ago Baroness Bryony Worthington of the House of Lords in the United Kingdom came to visit Flibe Energy in Huntsville, and as we in Huntsville are wont to do, we took her to the US Space and Rocket … Continue reading

Posted in LFTRs, Space Exploration | 3 Comments

Sorensen TEDxYYC Thorium Talk

I gave a talk at the Calgary session of TEDx on April 1, 2011 and lunar exploration formed an aspect of my talk, I hope you enjoy it.

Posted in Uncategorized | 5 Comments

Save U-233, explore space video

The video presentation of the TechTalk I gave at Google on January 13th is available:

Posted in Space Exploration | 1 Comment

Canfield Joint Fixes AG-NEP Vehicle Problems

I told the story of how I had gotten involved with the JSC study of an artificial-gravity/nuclear-electric propulsion (AG-NEP) Mars vehicle study. I came into the study near the end (January 2003) and right before the Columbia disaster. As near … Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | 20 Comments

Steve Canfield and his marvellous mechanical joint

In previous posts I’ve mentioned that when I first got to NASA I worked in the Propulsion Research Center, which was a fun place to work because you got to think about and try just about anything you wanted to … Continue reading

Posted in Space Tethers | 17 Comments

How I Got Interested in Artificial-Gravity NEP

In several posts now, I have criticized the use of nuclear thermal rocket (NTR) engines. In the case of Earth departure stages, I have shown through mathematical analysis that they either do not have a performance improvement over chemical engines … Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | 20 Comments

SSTO is a bad idea, but NTR SSTO is worse

A few months ago, I spent some time describing some calculations of payload fraction that I derived to assist in the design of rocket vehicles. My motivation for getting into this type of work came about from my work on … Continue reading

Posted in Rocket Design Theory | 34 Comments

Visit to SpaceX

While attending the Responsive Space Conference in Los Angeles, I had an opportunity along with many others to visit the SpaceX facility in Hawthorne on the evening of March 9th and I had a wonderful time. We were given a … Continue reading

Posted in Commercial Space, Launch Vehicles | 16 Comments

Payload Fraction Calculation for Reusable Vehicles

When I was learning how to use mass-estimating relationships (MERs) at Georgia Tech, our focus was on reusable launch vehicles, and most of our MERs came from NASA Langley, where my professor had once worked. When it came to much … Continue reading

Posted in Rocket Design Theory | 7 Comments

Payload Fraction Example Proof

Continuing with our story from last time… The next day, your boss pokes his head in your office and asks: “How’s those forty trans-Mars injection stages going?” He notices that you’re checking out scuba-dive sites in the Caribbean for your … Continue reading

Posted in Rocket Design Theory | 62 Comments