|Why: Purpose & Applications|
We don't really have to be chained to Earth by rocket technology limitations...
We have made a huge investment in space in the past 40 years, in fortunes and lives, so it is about time we prepared technology to get an adequate return on our investment. And we already can use the electric power, total recycling, high spaceports and room to live, that it can provide. Will we continue to accept endless life in the trenches, or do we have the creative engineering skill and the courage to be adequately high functioning mankind? Is mankind enough of a team to get the job done? And wise enough to avoid continuing diversion toward inadequate but familiar business?
We all know that the only way possible for us to get high enough into space so that we don’t come right back down, is on a rocket all the way up to orbit, right? By the fiery thunderous push of big reaction engines thrusting all the way to earth orbital trajectory, the only possible real way? Actually, there are a couple of other ways possible, and far more efficient orbital access too. But why be concerned with such things?
Abundant clean energy, a clean world, new room to grow, and the opening of a true Space Age in our time: here is a possible way to make it happen. (Sorry to tell you this, but the organized business mechanisms which are needed to make this happen, are dead-set against this concept right now, so all that can be done right now is dream about it.)
Humanity has thrived where they have chosen to work harmoniously to increase the resourse base, instead of fight over who gets what's left now. Creating agriculture to cope with depletion of hunter-gatherer resource depletion. Building railroads across the continent to cope with limits of hoorse-drawn wagons and withering long cattle drives. These have required major shifts in thinking, departure from the old ways; for example, changing from hunting & gathering in the forest (a limited supply and in competition with other forest creatures needing the food), to staking out ssome land, observing how plants reproduce and grow, and deliberately assisting their planting and growth for a super-abudant harvest. Learning about the nature of the surroundings, and working to change those surrounds so as to thrive better... more importantly choosing to attempt to do this instead of schoosing to fight over (or just grab) the remains of as-found resources.
Currently humanity is faced with that recurring old problem againl this time on a worldwide scale, thriving primarily because of energy from fossil fuels to perform labor of incrasingly sphisticated type, from propelling cars to the workplace, to providing energy to make and operate personal laptop computers, all enabled by huge consumption of enery stored int the ground, put there by forests some 400 million years ago, long before the dinosaurs, and consuming this enery stores at an ever increasong rate, now consuming eacy year the energy it took nature more than a million years to store there. People who are infants now will be confronted in thieir prime of life with the major depletion of those ancient petrochemical energy stores... what then? Do we adults care, do we have the responsibility to prepare for their future thriving? Some cry "overpopulation!" and proclaim a need to immensely cut back the population and lifesytyle to that before oil was discovered... or let "nature" do the depopulation activity. Animals will fight over the last scraps of food, over who has access to the hunting range.
People thrive by choosing to harmoniously function together to increase the resource base for all to access. Humainity has learned much of the nature of the vast space above the surface of the earth, realizing that the energy source for those ancient fossill fuel origings, sunlight, sould be gathered up in space at rates comparable to the rates of civilization's vast energy needs, millions of times the rate sunlight can effectively be captured on the ground, and thereby not depriving the earth surface of it's normal life-giving supply of sunshine while doing so. We who are adults now could choose to work together to make this happen for those who are now children and can't themselvesmake it happen. Finding a way to build and operate the immense solar eletric power sations in high earth orbit, may be the way todo it.
Using conventional rocket propulsion to lift the mmaterials from the ground would be so energy-consumptive that it is prohibitive; building an infrastructure on the moon or asteroids as materials resource would take foar longer than we have to do it before our now-abundant fossil fuels supply is mostly depleted. As it is, the ellusive fusion power or even "free energy" techniques might somehow happen, but more likely is that nations will play the game of "whoever has the last fossil fuels wins the game."
This website is to point out that there is another option, not obvious at all to the contemporary population, a potential transportation technology appropriate to the need to have worldwide energy supplied that far exceeds the preent-day rate of energy concsumption fromn fossil fuels, with a 20 or 30 year time frame, just in time to take over from fossil fuels last reserves. Such a transportation system, with thousands of times the efficiency and capacity of rocket-propelled transportation systems, even hundreds of times the capacity and efficiency of geosync anchored tether transportation systems, has been in sight for the past 14 years or so yet is still being ignored and suppressed by those capable of manifesting it for humanity; such ills as corporate greed need to be overcome to get past that blockade and get to work on this urgent massive task... this challenge to humanity seems greater than the technologic al challenges to achieve the task.
This writer is more skilled at adressing the technological requireents than addressing those social ills, so the technology involved is to be focused upon here; humanity thrives where it overcomes those ills and achieves through cooperating, wither with, or without, this author.
The integrated technology for such a transportation system exists already and can be found, or can re-explore the task from its basics now and see what develops. The energy (work) given to construction material mass in the process of lifting it up from the ground and placing it in geostationary earth orbit , travelling at 2626 m/s (0.96 kWhr/kg, 0.436 KWhr/lbm) at an altitude of 4.23 meters (22,300 mieles above the equator) 14.76 KWhr/Kg (6.71 KWhr per pound to GEO) results in a total of about 7.15 KWhr to emplace one pound mass from earthsurface into GEO. For reference, at a contemporary electrical power cost of ten cents per KWhr, that is only 72 cents per pound raised to GEO from the equatorial ground. This is an incredible miniscule amount compared the th energy expended by a rocket-propelled launch to get it to GEO, so the tsk potentially is quite soluble. If it can be lifted entirely electrically, then the first solar electric power satellite could therefaer provide the energy for the transportation system to build and maintain the hundreds more needing build, to supply a worldwide high level long term thriving civilization in an also-thriving worldwide ecosystem.
For the reasons why, as written in 1994 see GEnie file 4969.
Page revised 20060214 jedc
Copyright © 2005 James E. D. Cline