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Yes…anyone with a college education gets that. That is not the point. We don’t want that particular revenue stream as moral and ethical human beings. The ones who have no problem with it, the sociopath/psychopath component of humanity, need to be denied their opportunities to kill and destroy. This is one of the reasons Neoliberalism and Libertarianism are partners in crime with Fascism- they all make almost no distinction between what is good or evil. To them war is not necessarily evil and in some cases a sought after opportunity.

True soldiers are like fireman…they are there to end it, and would like nothing better than to see their profession go extinct.

I have to go with accomplishing public works that guarantee a better life for our children- and of course that requires companies to furnish the hardware and they will make money off it or they will not participate. Trying to pour money in their pockets up front is an invitation to criminality.

The example of this I always hold up is Apollo 1. North American and several other companies saw the race to the Moon as a gold mine and were doing their best to cash in. It is painted now as a patriotic cold war battle with the Soviets but while that was what persuaded Americans to allow it that is not why these companies were building rockets. Companies exist to make a profit. NPO’s step outside the capitalist system and get some tax breaks because they do not compete for higher profit margins, usually on humanitarian grounds. NewSpace fanboys seem to lack any ability to distinguish between advancing humankind and profiteering. A few seem to think NewSpace is like a NPO. Wrong. I blame it on Neoliberal conditioning. Brainwashed by the Kochs.

After the fire Aerospace concerns realized Human Space Flight Beyond Earth Orbit was going to be very hard money. The draconian oversight imposed by NASA saw their profit margins going down to almost nothing. That doomed the space age before it ever really started. Cold war weaponry was where the easy money was and that is where they went. And stayed.

No Richard. Not anything close to being practical.

This is why the wet workshop concept was championed by von Braun; he understood that a structure already constructed to withstand the max Q of a launch would be sturdy enough for anything it would need to do in space- including being spun at the end of a tether to provide a 1G environment, or containing a thousand tons of water as a cosmic ray shield.

Take a look at the attached spin calculator and you will quickly see why a tether is the only practical technique for generating artificial gravity on a spaceship scale. For several hundred pounds of tether a couple thousand feet separation will generate 1G with only a little over 1 revolution per minute and an angular speed of under 150 miles an hour. Faster rotation generates all kinds of problems, the worst one being nausea and disorientation. Those small centrifuges are a non-starter for several reasons.

With a Super Heavy Lift Vehicle sending fat upper stages to lunar orbit and robot landers bringer ice-derived water up to fill the shields, a couple workshops spinning on a tether will provide a Near Sea Level Radiation 1 Gravity (NSLR1G) environment for astronauts. And that is the prerequisite for humans working in space years at a time. Nothing else comes close to accomplishing this.

“It seemed to offer a kind of hack-“

Not really. It is, and remains, the ultimate reusability scheme. I keep hearing people say it is “dangerous” when you are working in a pressurized compartment strong enough to carry hundreds of tons of propellent under multiple G-loads. Nonsense. NewSpace fanboys will say anything to demonize anything that is not in their favorite entrepreneurs business plan. Everybody had their own ideas about space and Thompson had his. If you think he was right that is on you.

“There’s been a lot of discussions on how to build a space station. Should it be a great big thing launched with a huge booster, or should it be modular taken up by a smaller vehicle and assembled in orbit, built up in segments or modules? Well, by then, the practical thing that had a reasonable chance of being funded and supported out of the Congress was a modular space station that you could fly into orbit with something like what we finally got to call a space shuttle. So you could take the modules in low Earth orbit, and if you had something like the shuttle, you could transport people. You could transport modules, you could maneuver in orbit, you could dock, you could work and so forth.”

On the shuttle:

“You can read in the history books about that it was too funded-constrained and this sort of thing, we should have been more visionary and built a bigger, better vehicle that cost less to operate. Well, I think that’s a lot of nonsense. That’s a lot of argument about he should have married some other girl, he’d been much happier. You don’t know how happier he’d been if he’d done that. It just wasn’t practical to take on a very large spending program at that time.”

Actually, nobody is “scared.” It is likely not going to be the gamechanger the fanboys think it is. It looks very cool (it is so sci-fi it is beautiful) but if you understand exactly how much is going into this monster and how much it actually lifts into orbit….it is not the dawn of a new era. The rocket equation has not changed. I grant it might be useful in a certain kind of architecture but the idea it is instilling fear is ridiculous. It is essentially a new take on the space shuttle concept and has many of the same limitations.
Easy on the hype.

“Beyond Low Earth Orbit” is generally meant to signify GEO in a future Human Space Flight context. There is no human presence in GEO being entertained right now- mainly due to radiation. I am a proponent of lunar-water-shielded GEO space stations though. Transferring to a Starship in LEO just so it can boost to GEO would be a waste. A Lunar Cycler is the best way to manage human travel between the Earth and Moon and intercepting Cycler orbits is the best job for anything launching from Earth carrying people. I am certain Starship would have to be refueled in space to intercept a Cycler. More efficient to just send a capsule direct.

It is often argued that if you can intercept a Cycler then there is not enough justification to have Cyclers- the intercept vehicle can just go to the Moon- but this is inherently flawed logic when it is realized that radiation shielding, life support, and other considerations make transit between the Earth and Moon undesirable in these small spacecraft.

The only place I can see Starship fitting into a cislunar infrastructure is if it can make it to GEO space stations. It might be useful for that.

I believe we need to get humans into space as a priority. But going to Mars is completely antithetical to any long-term human presence off-world. Why Mars keeps being pursued is a twisted tale of sci-fi popular culture as a marketing tool and certain entrepreneurial ambitions. Mars is a complete dead end and a tremendous stumbling block to human expansion into the solar system. In terms of an insurance policy for our species promoting Mars as a second home is a terrible mistake.

In my view the logical progression is first to have 3 key building blocks- 1) A state sponsored Super Heavy Lift Vehicle (SHLV). 2) A “Fat Wet Workshop”- as a double-hulled upper stage of that SHLV. 3) A semi-expendable robot lander to exploit lunar ice- to fill the cosmic ray shield of that Fat Workshop.

With these workshops filled with lunar water and connected to each other with tether systems Near Sea Level Radiation 1 Gravity environment (NSLR1G) space stations can be assembled. This first requirement- an environment that does not cause permanent damage to the human body- means astronauts can have very long careers in space before accruing a career dose of radiation or suffering tissue loss from debilitation. Presently astronauts, especially young woman, would be sacrificing their health going into space for any long duration missions. A harmful environment is a non-starter.

NSLR1G stations can transit from their Frozen Low Lunar Orbits (LLO) to Geostationary Earth Orbit (GEO) and also be used as Lunar Cyclers. Eventually, with nuclear propulsion modules docked to these true space stations, a fleet of true space ships can explore the icy bodies of the outer solar system. Mars is the worst place to try and land and there are no oceans there. It is the subsurface oceans that are the best exploration destinations.

I don’t really consider a couple hundred miles up to be “space”…I prefer the term Earth orbit and personally draw the line dividing space and Earth orbit at 22,236 miles up. LEO qualified as space until we left it far behind in 1968 with Apollo 8 and then it lost the title.

But we have actually had a faster plasma engine for decades: Search Bonometti External Pulsed Plasma Propulsion (EPPP).

Published by billgamesh

Revivable Cryopreservation Advocate

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