Category: Blog

nuclear applications in space

New Chapter on Nuclear Powered Space Reactor has been Published


While nuclear energy has been very influential in meeting the energy needs of Earth, it also has implications and uses in outer space exploration. Nuclear energy can be used as a source of power for various space missions in space or on planetary/space platforms and more importantly, it can be used for propulsion in order to achieve high specific impulses to allow the spacecraft to reach its destinations faster. This chapter discusses the use of nuclear energy for propulsion in spacecraft and also as a source of power for space missions. While nuclear energy has been used since the 1960s in space missions in various forms, many new techniques also have been developed in the last 10 years, which may pave the way for future space missions that will allow mankind to reach further destinations and to establish long-term outposts in space. As long as Le Reve Des Toiles’ or the Dream of Stars continues to be the main dynamo of mankind, nuclear energy in space applications will be at the forefront of space exploration for many decades to come. This chapter focuses on the existing nuclear applications in space exploration since the early 1960s as well as any future work that is going on related to this field.

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The Way Forward for International Education for International Students and Universities Across the World

Covid19 has created a unique situation across the globe that has never been paralleled in the higher education system in the world. In fact, up until 2020, the world higher education system had really become truly international with various opportunities across the world with many scholarships, Erasmus Programs, global student mobility programs as well as cultural mobility programs. Moreover, with the presence of online education programs as well as with the presence of various global university conglomerates, it had become easy for a student at any point in the globe to reach higher education opportunities.

Unfortunately, all of this changed when the Covid19 pandemic came about at the beginning of 2020 and imposed an extraordinary amount of restrictions on our lives which includes social distancing. Moreover, even though Covid19 seems to be similar to flu, it is far more contagious as per CDC and WHO; and more importantly, for some age groups and for people with chronic diseases, it is far more deadly as it incapacitates your respiratory system.

When the first wave of the pandemic went through the world, education came to a halt in order to reduce the effect of the pandemic on society. All across the world, almost all of the offline education in the universities were suspended indefinitely and university students were requested to leave their campus. Naturally, for the domestic students, they were able to go back to their parents’ homes and stay there for the duration of the Covid19 pandemic. Offline education in the universities was transformed into an online education where students would study from home and attend online courses on LMS platforms such as Blackboard and watch online lessons through Webex or Zoom. Still many universities across the world are not open for offline courses as summer vacation sets in throughout the northern hemisphere.

However, for international students, the situation was far more severe as tens of thousands of international students across the world got stranded in the foreign countries that they were studying in. They could not enter the campuses and use the campus facilities and those students who were staying in private homes were asked to leave their homes. Even some private hostels closed across the world as a response to the pandemic and international students didn’t have the option to stay on campus or even be able to have a place to stay. Moreover, international flights were suspended in many countries since February and the students could not even buy airline tickets to take them back home, so that they could weather the pandemic in financial and medical safety of their own homes back in their own countries.

Of course, to be fair, it must be reported that many international offices of some universities across the world, worked in an extraordinary manner to help their international students to get the support that they needed to overcome problems such as a place to stay or to get medical help in the country that they were stranded in. Unfortunately, these universities with such support for international students were few and many universities across the world did not fare well according to student testimonials that were received. Many students were displaced and had no place to stay and some students didn’t even have money left as their families back home may have lost jobs or incomes and thus could not help their sons and daughters.

However, as an educator of 25 years, I would like to personally thank those countries, universities, and international offices who have gone beyond the call of duty to truly help their international students.

Luckily, many countries were able to provide special flights to get their students back to their countries although these flights were also not sufficient to take all the students back home globally. Of course, now many flights are slowly opening and hopefully, all students who may have been stranded since the beginning of 2021 can slowly return to their home countries and get the relief that they need.

Naturally, there has been also a financial aspect to the Covid19 pandemic and many people across the world have lost their jobs, companies, incomes, and their financial stability. Some families have lost fathers and mothers and siblings and sons and daughters due to the medical outcomes of Covid19. So, life, unfortunately, does not go on for many people across the world and the education sector is also not an exception.

Before the Covid19 pandemic, full-time international students had been the major source of income for many global universities and it was a win-win situation for students as well as the university. Unfortunately, as stated before not all of these universities fared well and took care of their international students as much as they should, and many international students may have suffered as a result.

There are many organizations in the world that are responsible for the coordination of international education as well as international students. These include organizations such as NAFSA, EAIE, IAU, ACU, ISEP and many more. Moreover, there are also large university conglomerates such as Laureate International, GUS (Global University Systems), BAU Network and Pearson and few others. However, the majority of the discussions in these organizations seem to be focusing on how to enable international students to enroll again to help turn the financial wheels for member universities. While enrollment of new students is very important for the financial continuity of the member universities and educational organizations, there is also the question of how to adapt to these changing times. Moreover, the questions of maintaining diversity and equal opportunity also comes to the forefront.

Many international students are worried as to whether online education would be of the same quality as offline education and if it is worth the money that they will have to pay (as many international universities are charging the same fees for online education). I believe now is the time that international offices of the universities should be meeting to discuss not just on how to keep the financial wheels turning by convincing new students to enroll, but they should also ask themselves what extra steps they will take to ensure the necessary support, safety and security as well as academic opportunity would be available to international students. Another issue that international students seem to be asking a lot is whether they will have the same internship and employment opportunities in the post Covid19 era. Of course, there are no easy answers to any of these queries as the solution lies in the collaboration of universities, governments, international education organizations as well as parents and students. Naturally, universities have their financial and regulatory concerns and students also have their future career concerns as well as health and safety concerns in this new era.

The solution can only be found by creating platforms where all stakeholders can get together and discuss the way forward for the mutual benefit of all stakeholders. Perhaps creating an Ombudsman for students at these international organizations for international students’ concerns can be the way forward. Providing free online mental care to international students to help alleviate their fears may be another solution that the international offices of universities should keep handy. Every international student should have access to an academic mentor constantly and this access should be 24 hours in emergencies.  Of course, last but not least, there should be a clear protocol in place in what needs to be done in emergencies for international students including epidemics, life-threatening events (such as earthquakes, hurricanes etc.) as well as any undefined emergency that affects the student in mass. (These protocols do exist in many universities, but it was evident that they were woefully inadequate)

These times will also pass as human civilization is resilient and better times will certainly come again. However, the way international students are handled will set the tone for what international education and global educational solidarity is all about. However, I do personally thank hundreds of universities across the world who have gone beyond their duty to help international students and I call upon organizations such as NAFSA, EAIE, IAU, ACU, ISEP and many universities, university networks such as Laureates, GUS and BAU, as well as other agencies and organizations (such as Campus France) to really create platforms where international students’ concerns can be truly addressed for the mutual benefit of all parties.





Podcast on Global University Rankings for 2021

Dr Guven Podcast on his views related to top 10 University Rankings Across the World. Please listen to the podcast to hear the top 10 universities in the world and his views on European and Asian Universities.



Podcast on Should International Students Start Their Semester Abroad with COVID19?

Podcast Commentary by Dr Guven on Should International Students Start Their Semester Abroad with COVID19? Should exchange students go abroad? Should new international students start their academic year abroad? Should semester exchange students go abroad for next semester or should they defer their exchange semester to 2021. Should you start your studies as an international student if the next semester is going to be conducted online? Does it make sense to sit and wait as an international student.

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Dr Guven Audio Commentary on Launch of SpaceX Rocket for the First Manned Commercial Spaceflight

This is a historic occasion for mankind as the launch of SpaceX Rocket is the first commercial manned spaceflight in the history of mankind. You can listen to DrGuven Podcast or Soundcloud recording below as to how this will cause a boom in the aerospace sector just like the Aviation Boom of 1930.
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Review of The Capabilities of S-400 Air Defense System and Its Importance for India Defense Forces: Feasibility and Effectivity Analysis

Abstract: Air Defence is one of the most important concepts related to the defence of a nation. It is not possible to protect a country without having full control over its national airspace. The presence of airspace superiority gives that particular nation a superiority in not only national defence but also in projecting power to the neighbouring nations as well. It is one of the reasons why countries like Russia, Israel, India and Turkey can project power to hostile neighbouring nations due to their superiority in air force capabilities and technologies. However, as strong as an offensive capability of an Air Force of a Nation may be, the real capability also lies in the ability to defend against airpower threats and power projections by air. In order to achieve this, there must be non-offensive air defence capability which comprises of long range detection and illumination of targets including air force assets such as attack planes, bombers, missiles and rockets. This can be done as a standalone system or by using a combination of systems and assets. One such asset that has been very popular in the last few years has been the S-400 Air Defence System which has been developed by Russian scientists and engineers. While the S-400 system was developed from iterations of old S-Defence series that were originally developed for the protection of Russia, now the latest S-400 system has been sold to countries like China and Turkey and also it is being considered for sale by nations such as India. In the international community, there is a lot of hype about the superior air defence capabilities of the Russian S-400 Air Defence System, and this paper reviews the capabilities of the S-400 Air Defence System and its effectiveness based on the results of its predecessors as well. Literature Review, as well as past successes and the failures of the S-XX Defence systems iterations also provided for reference. This study also looks at the situation in Turkey and India to see if the S400 defense system makes sense to integrate into their national defense grid.

Keywords: S-400 Air Defence System, S-400, S-300, Air Defence Systems, Patriot Air Defence System, Missile Defence System

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Global Aviation Outlook and the Effects of the COVID19 Pandemic

One of the most significant inventions that probably changed the global landscape in a magnificent way was the invention of powered flight by the Wright Brothers in 1903. While the first original powered flight lasted for only 12 seconds; it opened up an era of travel and global expansion in the 20th century. Especially after the initial aviation boom of 1930’s, the aviation industry has shaped the world both politically as well as economically, and furthermore in 21st century, aviation has definitely become one of the top 3 influential industries in the world.  Aviation industry can be considered as the backbone of the global economy since aviation encompasses not just the travel of individuals, but also the air transportation of goods and commodities across the world. Due to the aviation industry, the world has become a smaller place and it has become possible for any entrepreneur in India or anywhere else in the world to conduct business with any other country and sell his/her products or services. Moreover, families and friends have become closer to each other with distances becoming meaningless and people across the world have been able to explore various fascinating locations to help create a true global community of humanity. Especially countries like India and China have played a great role in the aviation boom of the 21st century, with the expansion of their economies as well as with the expansion of new airports and new aircrafts.

However, the arrival of SARS-CoV2- virus, which is the cause of the COVID19 Pandemic, has altered the global landscape and the global economy forever in various ways. Aviation industry, which has been the major backbone of the global economy and global travel, has suffered immense amounts of damage due to the COVID19 pandemic. Especially due to global lockdowns and travel restrictions across the world (including Schengen travel restrictions and USA travel restrictions) have made air travel impossible since mid of March and thousands of planes throughout the world have been grounded with no clear date of operation in sight. Though some local flights in China and USA remains, most flights across Europe, Asia, and Africa have been legally grounded and as a result, airlines have grounded their planes for weeks. Of course, one exception to this situation has been the international flights operated by governments to extradite their citizens from infected countries.

Figure 1: Coronavirus Effect on Airline Profits (Ref: Financial Times)

One of the primal factors of the aviation industry is that like a well-oiled machine, it has to be kept operational in order for it to be productively functional. Just like once you shut off a machine, it becomes difficult to turn it back on after several months (if it has not been maintained), this is doubly so for the concept of airplanes and airports. It’s an interesting fact known by Aerospace Engineers that a functional plane which is kept constantly flying is in a far better shape than a plane which has been grounded.  Keeping a plane on the ground, requires extensive maintenance, engine overhaul, protective covering, and round the clock supervision.  This means preserving the engines, removing all fluids, and getting everything covered in protective casing against outer elements such as the weather and birds. In addition, their wheels need to be rotated regularly and their engines have to be kept dry with silica moisture absorbents. Hence, in a way, this is even more debilitating for airlines, as an efficient and economically viable airlines always try to keep all of its airplanes flying and this is why global airlines such as Lufthansa and Emirates in the past were so successful in their profitability.

Many aviation analysts agree that this is the worst aviation crisis that the aviation industry has faced since its inception. According to industry research organization Cirium, more then 16,000 planes are grounded worldwide and many major airports across the world have become parking lots to these planes. Besides the huge maintenance costs of airplanes on the ground, airlines also have to pay for parking of each plane on a long term and these charges can depend on the country as well as the airport.  For example, in India, airlines for each wide-body aircraft have to pay approximately $1000 per day (roughly 75,000 Rs per day) and if you can imagine 100 days or longer duration of grounding for many long range aircraft such as Boeing 777-300; it is possible to see how fast it can add up for a single widebody aircraft. (7.5 Million Rupees per 1 wide-body aircraft/100 days). (Ref: Bloomberg) For 100 wide-body aircraft stored for 100 days, this would add up to very large amounts that would be impossible for any airline to bear on its own. If you also add maintenance costs described above to this parking cost, you can quickly see that airlines across the world are losing money excessively and it is not something that can be maintained for any period of time, especially since globally we don’t know when will the COVID19 outbreak be fully extinguished. Even though the peak point seems to have been reached in many countries, many analysts agree that our lifestyles won’t turn pack to pre-COVID19 era immediately and that global aviation will take 2 to 6 years to recover to its 2019 metrics.






Figure 2: Grounded Airplanes (Ref: Deutsche Welle)

Besides the airlines,  the losses to aircraft manufacturers such as Boeing and Airbus is also going to be immense, especially for Boeing, as it was already facing lot of grounded aircraft due to its issues in Boeing 737 Max aircraft, which caused all Boeing 737 Max aircraft to be grounded in the world since March 2019. Coupled with the COVID19 troubles, many industry experts suggest that Boeing will need a large bailout from US Government to survive and already some subsidy funding has been supplied to Boeing by the government. While Airbus seems to be in better economical shape; the overall effect of the COVID19 pandemic on European economies have been devastating in general. Besides aircraft manufacturers, airport authorities are also facing critical times, since many airports across the world are in a state of zero income (except for those designated as holding spaces for aircraft as described above) and even nonoperational airports have many operational maintenance expenses to keep them certified for landing of airplanes in the future. Overall, IATA estimates that the loss to the aviation sector will total around 1 trillion dollars.(Ref: IATA)

However, regardless of all the negative outlook parameters; it must be stated that aviation industry will continue to be the backbone of global economy and global growth. We must never forget that the aviation industry brings us together no matter where we are in the world and aviation makes everything possible from commerce to tourism to sports and to education in a world where everything and everyone is connected with each other. Aviation faced many crises before such as the 1929 depression, September 11 Terrorist Attack, 2008 Global Recession and even the 2002 SARS outbreak, which had also affected the number of passengers flying due to health concerns.

Eventually, after each crisis, aviation industry always came back globally stronger than before and it is expected that eventually this crisis will cause the aviation industry to be far stronger than before. Of course, this will mean that some smaller airlines may be going bankrupt or that they may have to conglomerate with bigger airlines. Naturally, many governments will be providing support and subsidy to the larger airlines to help put them back in financial health similar to German Government giving support to Lufthansa or the US Government giving a similar support to Delta Airlines. Even the manufacturers of airplanes and parts will have to rechange their thinking with a new paradigm and there may be some changes to make the aviation industry become more productive as a result. However, in 5 years, aviation industry in its changed form will be more powerful than before and with the upcoming advances in the Aerospace sector, we may also soon see aviation industry taking a turn for more advanced opportunities in the next 5-10 years. There are exciting developments such as inception of new supersonic aircraft similar to Concorde of the 80’s, so that travel from one continent to other will be matter of minutes. Space tourism is growing bigger than before with the aid of the private sector and simple Low Earth Orbit flights by private companies may become commonplace like international flights in the next decade.

In a way, aviation and aerospace is still the future of our world, and thus the demand for professionals will be at an all-time high in the next 5-10 years. The progress of humanity has never been stopped due to any catastrophe, as progress has continued regardless of obstacles and aviation will not be an exception as well. In many ways aviation and aerospace symbolizes the hope and the positivity of the future of humanity and as long as humanity is alive, both the aviation and the aerospace sector will continue to grow beyond our dreams.


Prof. Dr. Ugur GUVEN

Advisory Council – UN CSSTEAP

Please Stay Away from

As a scientist, I request all concerned to stay away from as I dont feel they are professional in their approach.

You Can Be NASA Scientist in your Own Home

Use NASA Work at Home Opportunities to Find New Planets and Find New Data

You can be a scientist in your own home. NASA has many opportunities for citizen scientists to contribute to ongoing research. Here are a few opportunities:

Backyard Worlds: Planet 9 — Search the realm beyond Neptune for new brown dwarfs and planets.

GLOBE Observer — our observations help scientists track changes in clouds, water, plants, and other life in support of climate research.

JUNOCAM — You can actively participate in NASA’s Juno mission by uploading your images of Jupiter to help the team decide what JUNOCAM will photograph.

Planet Hunters TESS — Join the search for undiscovered worlds.

Stardust @ Home — NASA’s Stardust spacecraft brought home particles of interstellar material. Can you find them?

COVID19 and Future of Aerospace Engineering and Exciting Developments