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

Payload fraction derivation for vehicle with split delta-V (case #2)

Consider a vehicle carrying a payload that undertakes a first , then drops off that payload and undertakes a second in the same overall vehicle configuration (tanks, engines, payload handling, etc.). It carries the propellant for both maneuvers, but only … Continue reading

Posted in Rocket Design Theory | 1 Comment

GEO Orbital Debris Mitigation Paper Excerpts

Back in 2006, I helped a high-school student (Daniel Rodrigues) who was interested in momentum-exchange tethers to write a paper for a high-school class about a concept for a tether that would remove spent geosynchronous satellites from their orbits quickly, … Continue reading

Posted in Orbital Debris Remediation/Mitigation, Orbital Dynamics, Space Tethers | Leave a comment

Payload fraction derivation for vehicle with split delta-V (case #1)

Consider a vehicle that undertakes a first , then picks up a payload and undertakes a second . It carries the propellant for both maneuvers, but only on the second maneuver does it have the added mass of the payload. … Continue reading

Posted in Rocket Design Theory | 2 Comments

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 | 37 Comments