The special transportation structure called the "KESTS to GEO" is the novel transportation concept which could make all the scenarios of the novels happen, at least technologically speaking. The sociological conflicts are quite a different aspect of probabilities, however. The stories also go into that.
"KESTS" is an acronym for "Kinetic Energy Supported Transportation Structure" and KESTS to GEO thus is such a transportation structure linking the ground with GEO. A KESTS can be viewed basically as a large perimeter electric motor which eccentrically surrounds the earth in the equatorial plane, eccentrically offset so that its low point is in contact with the earths surface, such as at Cayembe Peak in Ecauador, and forms a big hoop around the planet that reaches up to contact GEO at its high point, and the structural mass of the vehicle tracks and the protective evacuated enclosing the part of the structure that is within the earth's atmosphere, is supported by electric motor armature mass endlessly whirling around the planet at above orbital velocity, the excess outward force from its above-orbital-velocity component is set to balance the weight of the earth-motionless part of the structure.
The shape and siting of the KESTS to GEO is easy to conceive as infilling an elliptical Orbital Transfer Trajectory between the equatorial surface of Earth and apogee at GEO; however, the actual shape of the structure would be also heavily influenced by the dynamic forces within itself.
The primary form of a KESTS to GEO would utilize armature mass streams of discontinuous armature segments locked into a synchronous motor configuration; but there also is potential for other forms of KESTS such as a continuous band, a "solid KESTS" which would have quite different characteristics and potentials, also explored in some of my novels, and especially in "It's Down to Earth."
Key to the energy efficiency of such a transportation system is that the captive spacecraft carry no fuel to power their journey, but are lifted by electrodynamic drag against the upward-bound portions of the armature mass streams. And much of the energy of the returning spacecraft is returned to the KESTS structure during its gentle descent back to the ground.
Often, people are aghast at the thought of making something that big around, even a hoop only a fraction of an inch thick. But consider that we discard 100 million aluminum and steel cans away every day. If the average can is 4-1/2 inches long, that is 450 million inches of cans per day, or 7,100 miles of cans per day; so every eleven days enough cans are discarded to make the 78,600 miles perimeter length of a KESTS to GEO hoop. Every 11 days, we throw that much away.
The story adventures involve many aspects of building and using a KESTS to GEO, where many details of creating such transportation structures are explored that are not in my technical papers.
The story of my efforts to gain technical acceptance of this concept is itself notable. One of teh major efforts I made was to present a paper at the 1997 Space Studies Institute's space conference in Princeton. Here is a bit of that story and the paper contents itself:
See http://www.escalatorhi.com/carousel1.html for a brief technical paper on the subject.
See Powerpoint presentation I gave during my technical presentations on the subject:
"Kinetically Supported Bridge Vehicle Lift to GEO" Paper presented at the ASCE Space 2002 conference in Albuquerque, NM
"Energy Flow In Kinetically Strengthened Transportation Structure Systems to Space" ASCE Space 2004 "Energy Flow In Kinetically Strengthened Transoportation Structure Systems to Space" http://www.escalatorhi.com/jedcpresconv/efikestspps7nmod.swf
"Carousel Spacecraft Electrical Lift Around the Earth Up to GEO" Presented at the Space Exploration 2005 conference in Albuquerque, NM in 2005:
"The Space Carousel's Unique Potentials" Presented at the Space Exploration 2005 conference in Albuquerque, NM in 2005:
"Characteristics of Space escalator Carousels Vs Space Elevators" Presented at the Space Exploration 2005 conference in Albuquerque, NM in 2005:
Clarke, Arthur C., “The Exploration of Space“, Cardinal edition June 1954.
Cline, J.E. David, “Treehouse Haven”, Meditation Magazine, 1989
Cline, James E. D. (JEDCLINE1), “LONGTRANS 2”, GEnie Space Library file #927, 1989 ( www.kestsgeo.com/pages/geniefiles/g927.html )
Cline, J. E. D. “A Potential Application of General Systems Theory: KESTS: A Unique Transportation Technology Concept & Implications” Presentation to Los Angeles Chapter of ISSS, November 9, 1994. ( http://www.kestsgeo.com/pages/issskests.html )
Cline, J. E. David. “Wet Launch of Prefab Habitat Modules.” Space Manufacturing 10, Path-ways to the High Frontier, SSI, AIAA, 1995, 88-91
Cline, James E. D. “Kinetically Strengthened Transportation Structures.” Space 2000 Conference Proceedings, ASCE, 2000, 396-402.
Cline, James E. D. “Kinetically Supported Bridge Vehicle Lift To GEO.” Space 2002 Robotics 2002 Conference Proceedings, ASCE, 2002, 8-21.
Cline, James E. D. “Comments and alternatives, by Jim Cline, regarding the anchored tether Space Elevator project proposed by Bradley Edwards...”, 2002, www.kestsgeo.com/pages/cobetse.html
Cline, James E. D. “Energy Flow in Kinetically Strengthened Transportation Structure Systems to Space” Earth & Space 2004 Conference Proceedings, ASCE, 2004, 859-866.
Cline, James E. D. “Characteristics of Space Escalator Carousels vs. Space Elevators” Space Exploration 2005 Conference Proceedings, SESI, 2005, 355-364.
Hyde, Rod, “The Starbridge Concept” , L-5 Society lecture, Sunnyvale CA Sept. 23, 1984
Lofstrom, K.H., “The Launch Loop”, L-5 NEWS, 8-9, Aug. 1982
NASA, "Space Settlements, A Design Study", NASA SP-413, 1977
Smith, Earle, “The Texas and Universe Railroad”, L-5 NEWS, 9-11,1985
For some of the earliest files published on the GEnie Spaceport library, see my local set of GEnie Spaceport files with much early info on them.
Copyright © 2008 James E. D. Cline. Permission granted to reproduce providing inclusion of acknowledgment of the author and concept designer James E. D. Cline.