Not a Space Station Joe

I have had writers block since just before the New Year and hopefully this Joe Scott YouTube video has snapped me out of it:

I posted the following comments on YouTube concerning Joe’s video:

“A “space station” vs an orbital platform would have a cosmic ray water shield and artificial gravity, likely using a tether system to spin wet workshops. The thousand plus tons of water for shielding would also likely be ferried up from the lunar poles by robot landers. This is not what the gateway is and it is not “sustainable” because it won’t shield astronauts or provide artificial gravity.” And then-

“As for your “rationale” of using lunar orbital velocity what you don’t seem to get Joe is that chemical energy is NOT going to send humans anywhere Beyond Earth and Lunar Orbit (BELO). Only nuclear energy will work and there is only one practical nuclear propulsion system- Nuclear Pulse (bombs). Concerning Landers setting down on the Moon to acquire ice these likely robots would be semi-expendable vs reusable. “Reusable” by definition means being able to do maintenance on it between flights. The only place any kind of serious maintenance is going to be done off-world is under the Moon in a pressurized hangar. So, until we move into a lava tube or excavate some kind of base with a pressurized radiation sanctuary anything flying around the cislunar sea is going to just fly till it breaks. See how that works?” And I also posted a link to my October entry about Space Stations vs. Spaceships.

The Parker-Dyson-Spudis Continuum, which I have commented about for years on Dr. Spudis’ blog when he was alive and on other blogs when I was not banned, explains what I hope is the basic problem confronting humankind in regards to any Human Space Flight Beyond Earth and Lunar Orbit (HSF-BELO). That problem is of course that humans require a Near Sea Level Radiation one Gravity (NSLR1G) environment for any long duration deep space missions. According to Eugene Parker, the authority on space radiation, the heavy nuclei component of galactic cosmic radiation requires a massive shield to stop. Water is by far the most utilitarian substance for radiation shielding and can be lifted from the lunar poles with 22 times less energy than from Earth.

Lunar Infographic
Infographic source:

The shielding for any amount of interior space considered livable for multi-year missions would entail a water shield well over a thousand tons for a couple astronauts. From that follows the only propulsion system available for a long time to come that can push such a shield around the solar system at the speeds necessary for a two-way mission to the outer planets which is Nuclear Pulse (bombs). Although this concept originated with Stanislaw Ulam the Original work was done by Freeman Dyson. Last is where to acquire the water shielding, assemble, test and launch such nuclear missions: the vicinity of, or on, the Moon. This was made clear by the work of lunar geologist Paul Spudis.

There are several pieces of critical hardware required for efficiently expanding the human presence into cislunar space and beyond. The first is the Super Heavy Lift Vehicle (SHLV). The SLS is the only such vehicle being offered in my view as the shiny starship is…just another NewSpace gimmick I expect to fail miserably. What the SLS needs to succeed is first a cadence of 6 to 8 flights per year minimum. This could be effected by abandoning Low Earth Orbit (LEO) and redirecting funding into building a second and third SLS core stage production line. All it takes is money. The ISS is a 4 billion dollar a year dead end.

The SHLV 6 to 8 flights a year is a prerequisite- it has to happen for anything else to. Along with the basic way to get there, there is the question of what to send to the vicinity of the Moon and the answer is the building block of a cislunar infrastructure: the wet workshop. Not just a repurposed upper stage but one designed with a double hull utilizing the outer envelope to contain a cosmic ray water shield. This construct would be a “Fat Workshop” of 50 to 60 foot diameter. Sending these Fat Workshops to the Moon with a semi-expendable Robot Lander on top will likely require a 150 ton payload capability.

In my view the best way to enable the necessary 150 ton payload would be to call upon NewSpace to provide replacements for the SLS 5 segment boosters. I propose two lower stages of the New Glenn and a stretched core stage could  launch a 60 foot diameter Fat Workshop with a Robot Lander on top to the Moon.


Sending those Workshop/Lander payloads to the Moon six times a year would be the way to begin. There might also be enough spare payload to allow the SLS RS-25 engine section to reenter with a heat shield as a module and land back for resuse (expending the tank structure). This would essentially be what the Space Shuttle could have been- a way to economically place crew compartments and Landers in the vicinity of the Moon by expending only a large second stage (or core stage) fuel structure.

The semi-expendable Robot Landers would be able to dock with Fat Workshops and move them around and several of the Landers might join together into a composite booster to power Lunar Cyclers. The Cyclers are also on the list of necessary hardware as they would provide radiation shielded transit for astronauts to and from the Moon. This growing list of expensive hardware; triple production lines for stretched SLS core stages, New Glenn 1st stages as replacements for SLS SRB’s, Fat Workshops and Robot Landers, RS-25 re-entry/landing modules, and a fleet of Lunar Cyclers, all this might seem impossible except for the one enabling resource- the DOD.

And I think I am going to describe exactly how to get the DOD to pay for all this next with a separate blog entry. It will start with…Submarines.


Image from Wiki



Published by billgamesh

Revivable Cryopreservation Advocate

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