Comments 23-1

I wanted to comment about Space Solar Power on the first day of the new year but the only news is about endless satellites. However, this and most space forums are really about endless satellites and Space Solar Power itself is about endless satellites so I can comment on almost any post. I would like to see 2023 become a turning point for Space Solar Power. Considering the scale of human suffering on the way there is no time to lose. It took ten years after Rachel Carson wrote Silent Spring to finally ban DDT, which was done in 1972 by the President that created the EPA, Nixon. Nixon, for all his criminal activities, saw how important the environment was and his base was very unhappy about this. Climate Change was mentioned 4 years later in the book “The High Frontier” with Space Solar Power as preventing a warming of the planet. A half a century after bipartisan support for clean water and air and saving the environment we have Oligarch’s fighting for deregulation and the continuation of the fossil fuel industry. And the planet is now warming at an accelerating rate.

In 1973 the environmental movement was abandoned by many on the right due to a downturn in the economy and it no longer had bipartisan support. With Reaganomics the separation widened. Despite warnings from as early as 1958, monied interests have always paid to subvert and avert any efforts to address Climate Change.

Civilization has run out of time and a catastrophe is in the making. Space Solar Power by way of lunar resources can power civilization from space. The only thing stopping it from happening and saving millions, or even billions of lives, and ending “the sixth extinction”, is propaganda paid for by those holding fossil fuel wealth. It would be great if space enthusiasts were to help make 2023 the year Space Solar became the solution to Climate Change. The news should be about endless satellites beaming power down from space.

I have been waiting for this story to appear but Parabolic Arc seems to have missed it. I really want to comment on this but not on SpacexNews, which swarms with trolls, so here goes:

“DARPA is investing in nuclear propulsion for space vehicles in hopes of successfully demonstrating an engine that can fly across vast distances in cislunar space, the area between Earth and the moon. Nuclear thermal propulsion achieves high thrust-to-weight similar to chemical propulsion but with two to five times the efficiency,” said DARPA. NASA is participating in the project, with the goal of also using nuclear thermal propulsion for long-duration human spaceflight missions.”

It is hard to believe NTP is being developed considering the extreme inefficiency of this system. It is possible some new principle could be involved to make Nuclear Thermal practical but not probable and nothing even inferring this has been mentioned. “Five times the efficiency” is not really credible as the temperatures required melt anything and make such a claim almost handwavium. For only about twice the Isp of chemical engines, using hydrogen which is not a “long-duration” propellent, a vast amount of funding will go into Nuclear Thermal. Only twice as efficient is a fail as it does NOT enable long duration deep space human missions, not carrying cosmic ray shielding anyway. Fission is, literally, a million times more powerful than chemical reactions. The only two viable options for using fission efficiently are Nuclear Pulse and Nuclear Electric. Nuclear Thermal is quite simply the worst path and looks like a money machine.

Nuclear Pulse is absolutely the best path, but universally condemned, undeservedly, as “politically unacceptable”, because it uses repurposed nuclear weapons. The other option is Nuclear Electric and recent advances in Thermophotovoltaic cells (TPV) make such a system far less complicated and this might happen. The dream machine is Fission Fragment but this system would require an entirely new trillion dollar nuclear industry to produce the easily fragmenting isotope and is not likely to happen for a very long time. “Ronen’s group at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev further showed that nuclear fuel based on 242mAm could speed space vehicles from Earth to Mars in as little as two weeks.[7]” (wiki)

“The private sector can build an alternative to SLS and Orion.”

A good point. They can build an alternative, but whether it will be any good is the question.

The Moon landing was the benchmark, the guide, the single great lesson of the 20th century. How America accomplished that while a totalitarian soviet republic failed is what we should use as a model. Especially considering we have accomplished nothing comparable in over half a century since. The space age essentially ended in 1972 with Apollo 17.

I would ask first what is the raison d’être of space flight? Is it to just make money with satellites and anything else is a waste of tax dollars? Should NASA be disbanded and space left to “entrepreneurs”? Or is there some defining reason for space exploration that validates state sponsorship of a second space age?

There was World War ll, which saw totalitarian fascism and communism locked in a death struggle and our Democracy involved in an exercise in self-preservation. Then the Cold War which I remember very well and was fairly sure would be the end of the world. The Moon landing was a Cold War battle and also an attempt to mitigate poverty in the south and many other things besides. Now in the 21st century what do we have that justifies “a new war”?

Climate Change is the new conflict and the reason beyond the profit motive. Space Solar Power is our defense, the new priority. Trillions of dollars spent to stop the degradation of the environment, to end this sixth extinction, to avert catastrophe, is the battle. Simple.

Just as NASA specified the general design of the Saturn V, it is obvious what this design for future Space Solar Power missions should be. And the Shiny is not it.

“Government is less efficient than the private sector.”

That, in regards to trickle-down economics, for-profit medicine, private prisons, etc., is propaganda bought and paid for by faux think tanks. Efficiency is an easily corrupted measure and the private sector is forever spinning the numbers and paying off politicians and academia to create this widely held false assumption. In reality it is a half and half proposition with ideally balanced public and private sectors, the public enabling the private.

“The private sector can build an alternative to SLS and Orion. But it can’t spin up a lunar water operation, or mine an asteroid, or build a solar power satellite, because the technological risks and the long time horizon for an uncertain return won’t attract investors.”

For-profit production of space hardware makes sense because corporations are a kind of mini-government with shareholders voting out boards of directors who do not succeed in turning a profit. If a single major shareholder runs the company, this is the fine line between timocracy and plutocracy/oligarchy. Betting civilization on the whimsy of narcissist billionaires is not the path We the people should take.

America became great beyond all other nations for a few decades as a mixed economy with a complicated dance of strictly regulated and taxed capitalism backed up by a social safety net. The main driver of American exceptionalism being a highly motivated, healthy, and educated middle class. The enabler of that driven work force was a 90% tax on top earners. That is now gone.

I think our last hope to avoid a global catastrophe is for the state to mandate the end of burning fossil fuels and direct industry toward a total conversion to Space Solar Power.

Bottom line: the fossil fuel industry continues to enrich shareholders for the remainder of their lives. And the rest of the world pays for their morbid wealth in the end. “Transition” is all about not changing anything.

The reality is the vast amounts of money pouring like a waterfall over the DOD and the defense industry could just as easily be diverted, the majority of it diverted, into building rockets for Space Solar Power missions. We ramped up and converted many industries to war production in World War ll and can do it again for Space Solar Power. Taxing Oligarchy into oblivion and transforming our industrial base from military-centered into Space Solar Power-centered is what is required to avert a Climate Catastrophe.

But because of all the enablers with charts we are not talking about that. In fact, any such discussion is called, “the stupidest idea ever.”

A new Cold War is emerging in space driven by desire of the Communist Chinese Party to dominate the world. Ignoring this threat by focusing on utopian dreams is foolish. No other nation but the United States is capable of.… kickstarting a new cold war in space as a new money-maker. Thus continuing to divert attention and funding from Space Solar Power and continuing to protect fossil fuel interests.

Space Solar Power is not a utopian dream, but sinophobe-profiteering is an old nightmare I am familiar with from the turn of the century. The defense industry and fossil fuel interests are determined to avoid any response to Climate Change that would cut into their profits. China is one way to divert attention and make money doing it.

(First) “Such democratic space developments will include harnessing renewable energy in space like space-based solar power (SBSP) that will help tackle climate change, development of the Moon as an industrial hub enabled by responsible regulation,-“

This is confusing to citizens when it must first be understood that democracy began as a way to tax and regulate Oligarchs in ancient Greece. These individuals kept avoiding paying anything to the city-state that protected them and whose people and port made their wealth possible. These Oligarchs also were constantly arranging for war with other city-states to steal their wealth. Athenians collectively created their democracy to limit Oligarch power. Democracy is the enemy of Oligarchy and the vast wealth inequality present in the world today is not something to present monolithically.

This is a modern age cult of “freedom” with millions programmed to worship money and the greed of the individual, placing profit above human life. This cult demonizes the collective by direction and funding to influencers serving Oligarchs.

(Second) “-utilization of space resources like helium-3 and water ice is galvanizing-“

The ice is “galvanizing” only to those of us who understand what a critical resource it is in effecting “SBSP.” Helium-3 is really a farce and citing a farce is not credible.

(Third) “By resources, I mean stable long-term financing and joint ventures, such as, for example, a joint venture between the US and Japan or other members of the Quad on SBSP or lunar development for resource utilization. That would be a gamechanger, something innovative and inspiring. If successful, it will have the potential to change the world energy situation.”

The fossil fuel industry has trillions of dollars in future profits dependent on NOT suddenly being called upon, through taxation and regulation, to immediately begin an emergency plan to switch off all powerplants, stop burning all fossil fuels, and to power civilization from space. This goes unstated. At present there are no technical obstacles to Space Solar Power as the technology has been under development since the first patent in 1969, the year we landed on the Moon.
It will be successful.

They mention hydrogen because of the propellent mixture and exhaust products from certain rocket engine designs. However a full-flow design, as used with Raptor, minimizes this- unfortunately Raptor does not use hydrogen, methane being far worse no matter what kind of engine. The other worry is reentry byproducts which affect the atmosphere in ways micrometeorites do not. The figure I have seen is 10 to the 5th, or 100,000 launches per year, as being where problems could begin. I suspect bad things at a far lower number based on past experience with CFC’s. Economy of scale means using SHLV’s would greatly reduce the effects. SHLV’s are, and always have been, the best path. The myriad small launchers should not be allowed.

With smaller launchers supporting megaconstellations that will likely number well over 100,000 satellites, with many going up daily to replace those coming down, this will certainly do harm to the environment. For megaconstellations this is only one of several problems, with the law of unintended consequences making a bad outcome a certainty.

The solution is in the opposite direction with a very few, very large GEO platforms, constructed with very large full flow hydrogen engine reusable launch vehicles, and nothing coming back down. Too bad for the rural video gamers, which is really the only group that will suffer. Megaconstellations were a bad idea that never should have been permitted.

Sadly, this 10 to the 5th criticism is now sometimes used to malign Space Solar Power as not being the solution to the looming Climate Catastrophe. The reality is studies showing that turning the Moon into a factory site means no fantastic number of launches are required. The irony is that state-sponsored Space Solar Power is the sure path to expanding humankind into space, as foreseen by Gerard K. O’Neill, while the NewSpace libertarian “entrepreneur” mess is the worst thing that could have happened. NewSpace proponents, intentionally or duped, are working directly against Human Space Flight and colonization. For many it is not about space and only about conservative ideology.

Not a long discussion really. I see the common good served by a mixed economy. The complex formula of a strictly regulated economy and highly taxed top earners backed up by a social safety net, and an appropriately funded infrastructure is what made America great. Privatization has repeatedly been a poor move for Americans. Texas power grid woes, private prisons, charter schools, health care….all have failed miserably to privative efficiently with only the very few successes held up as their totality. A massive neoliberal con job. Much of the grand free market success claimed by the right is very often subsidized heavily by the government and taxpayer in some way. Things like highways and bridges and airports and many other requirements for people to get rich all start with taxes. And now the rich do not pay anything close to what they did, which is the beginning of the end.

“The Shiny Starship” is the avatar of the end of the dream. As it stands, Starship, Starlink, and Space Force are the NewSpace nightmare come true. The very worst path to follow and the propaganda manipulated public is allowing this unfolding calamity. Several horrendous cults and extreme right-wing groups are hoping to “accelerate” their agendas by way of “free speech absolutism” and the destabilization NewSpace is contributing to . We have profoundly changed the ecosystem burning fossil fuels for over a century and mitigating this by beaming down energy from space has been called “the stupidest idea ever.” By the person behind Starship and Starlink of course. Instead of shifting money from the military to Space Solar Power to avert a Climate Catastrophe, a new branch of the military created to wage satellite war now has more funding than NASA. With a good chunk of those billions going to everyone’s favorite rocket company. Instead of a state-sponsored international public works project funding Space Solar Power missions, we have private and military megaconstellations of satellites filling Earth orbit with junk. All of this enabled and supported by a proto-fascist cabal that tried and will certainly continue to try to overthrow the government.

Far from the vision of the true prophet of space colonization, Gerard K. O’Neill. His group sought to expand humankind into the solar system by way of the economic engine of Space Solar Power. His hope was to curb poverty and warfare, and end the overpopulation and overheating of the planet by moving the majority of the human race into space. And in the coming centuries return the Earth to a pristine state. Instead we have the corrosive corruption of Neoliberalism actively pursuing the end of democracy and a return of civilization to a neo-feudalist condition. NewSpace and several silicon valley Oligarchs are all integral to this dystopian future.

“There are approximately 900,000 pieces from 1 to 10 cm. The current count of large debris (defined as 10 cm across or larger) is 34,000.”

It is going to take laser brooms sweeping the debris back down into the atmosphere. Eventually, processing stations to recycle old satellites in orbit so they stop burning up in the atmosphere. Alumina and other elements not found in meteorites are doing things to the upper atmosphere that can only have bad consequences. Along with going to Hydrogen Oxygen Super Heavy Lift Vehicles, this is the future of space. Megaconstellations will at some point be first restricted, and then completely forbidden. They are an incredibly bad idea and never should have been allowed.

Inflatable heat shields and Heli-capture are not new ideas and have been proposed since the 1960’s. Making them work now is better late than never. The Shuttle concept, which was a Saturn V class launch vehicle that sacrificed a single tank on the altar of the rocket equation- was excellent- but executed in about the worst way possible.

The inflatable heat shield is a critical piece of hardware that would have allowed a 1.5 to 2 million pound thrust hydrogen oxygen engine like the 1966 M-1 to be mounted at the bottom of the Shuttle External Tank and parachute captured with a heavy lift helicopter. Another concept was propellent cross-feed which, unlike the SRB’s, would have been enabled by pressure-fed or semi-pressure-fed hydrogen oxygen boosters to feed the core stage of the Shuttle. The pressure-fed concept was to use the structurally robust boosters, able to withstand ocean recovery, to be highly pressurized and eliminate, or in a “semi-pressure-fed” design, greatly reduce the size/complexity of turbopumps.

In a configuration much like the SLS, the Space Transportation System could have used boosters with propellent cross-feed, and a single core engine that was heli-captured for reuse. This would have allowed crewed missions with a reusable escape tower and capsule plus a large Human Space Flight payload. Or, like the new SpaceX entry, this would have allowed very large un-crewed cargo launches. And would probably still be flying.

We already know what level of spin gravity counteracts ill effects. 1G.

We already have structures rated for several G’s- the tankage for the vehicles themselves, and the concept for using these empty stages as crew compartments has been around a long time- it is called the Wet Workshop. These stages conveniently use hydrogen and oxygen propellants so an inner and outer hull facilitates the solution to dosing and debilitation- a massive water shield between these inner and outer hulls. Water derived from lunar ice can be lifted from the Moon into space with 20 times less energy than from Earth. Multi-ton slugs of ice can even be fired into space from gas or rail guns on the Moon to processing stations.

As for making do with lesser amounts of gravity, this robs people of their birthright as it weakens the human body and makes returning to Earth an unpleasant process. That we evolved in 1G makes it a prerequisite if humans are expected to thrive and not just survive. This is why Gerard K. O’Neill’s people in the 70’s very quickly ruled out any other natural bodies for colonization. A Near Sea Level Radiation 1 Gravity (NSLR1G) environment is the fundamental requirement for any long duration human activity in space. There is no way around this.

While Spaceships can use tethers, low gravity bodies, especially icy ones, facilitate the construction of circular trains that can keep only small numbers of people healthy. For larger populations the artificial space habitats will necessarily be miles in diameter.
These are called Bernal Spheres.

South Korea builds some of the largest ships on Earth and also their own submarine hulls now. Partnering with Adranos they could build less toxic super powerful SRBs like the 325 inch solid:

“Notional solid rocket engine. Study 1963. Recoverable motors; separation at 1,972 m/s at 53,000 m altitude; splashdown using retrorockets under 3 61 m diameter parachutes 610 km downrange. Solid propellant rocket stage. Massed estimated based on tank volumes, total thrust, and first stage burnout conditions. Recoverable stage; separation at 1,972 m/s at 53,000 m altitude; splashdown using retrorockets under 3 61 m diameter parachutes 610 km downrange.
AKA: Nova GD-S. Status: Study 1963. Thrust: 69,047.00 kN (15,522,383 lbf). Specific impulse: 263 s. Specific impulse sea level: 238 s. Burn time: 116 s. Height: 60.40 m (198.10 ft). Diameter: 8.30 m (27.20 ft).”

Or better yet, a really big hydrogen pressure fed booster. This would put them far ahead of everyone else if Space Solar Power is agreed upon as the solution to Climate Change and multi-national multi-trillion dollar funding is forthcoming.

“The combination of real-time satellite imagery and sophisticated analytics can illuminate many types of risks to our global food systems, helping us adapt agricultural practices, adjust global supply chains, and mitigate risks to poor and vulnerable communities.”

The only thing that is going to mitigate the coming catastrophe is to simply stop pouring greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. Period. And the only way to completely power civilization without fossil or nuclear is to beam the energy down from space. Building renewables on Earth will never catch up with demand. Industrializing the Moon with a fleet of reusable hydrogen-oxygen Super Heavy Lift Vehicles can, by the end of the century, allow Space Solar Power to replace all power plants on Earth. This is the big step for the human race, a multi-trillion dollar international project that will expand humans into the solar system and lower the risk of extinction level events ending our species.

Why does this continue on and on endlessly when it is clear it is not the place to go?
Moon first as the main base from which to launch all space projects and missions. Spaceships can then explore the possible oceans of the icy bodies in the outer system. Never Mars.

Humans must have one gravity to thrive and such an environment for any sizeable population can likely only be provided efficiently by spheres several miles in diameter.
Gerard K. O’Neill’s people figured this out back in the 70’s.

“Will some nations build their own breakout stations?”

I don’t see why China built their station unless it was for testing closed loop life support systems, with those systems being exposed to radiation. Future “true” Spaceships will have a massive cosmic ray water shield that will also provide a medium for such life support systems. Most of the shield will be exposed and making such systems work with biological elements like algae is a critical technology. Human Space Flight Beyond Earth and Lunar Orbit missions to icy bodies like Ceres and the moons of the gas and ice giants will take years and closed loop life support will be necessary.

It is thin justification since developing life support systems can mostly be done on Earth but testing them in space, along with space suits and various other technologies, is probably what the Chinese are doing. As for future space stations, LEO stations have not yielded anything of real value in a half a century. We know pretty much all we need to know about what radiation and microgravity does to the human body and it is all bad. I strongly doubt any more stations in LEO will be built. They are a tremendous waste of money compared to actually going out there, Beyond Earth Orbit. To go BEO for long duration missions will require massive shielding and Tether Generated Artificial Gravity…and some form of nuclear propulsion, but NOT nuclear thermal. Supplying air, water, and food, for years at a time is also a requirement.

No big hydrogen engines in the 1.5 to 2 million pound thrust range are being built to support such missions, and no plans for how to effect such shielding and artificial gravity are in the works to my knowledge. This why NewSpace is failing and exposes it as just a satellite get rich scheme.

What a freak show….comments being marked as spam is as low as it gets.

“-we have to do it with the funding and support there is which includes commercial interests and markets.”

If that is true then we will never “do it.”

Space Solar Power as the solution to Climate Change is the great hope for the future. Momentum is building.
The “commercial interest” and “markets” path goes absolutely nowhere.

This, I believe, is the difference between “free market satellite enthusiasts” and true space advocates.

The reality you have to deal with my friend is Saturn V and landing on the Moon.

Satellite profits are not about space and vice versa. Those that can only parrot “economics is all that matters” are the worst thing that has ever happened to space exploration. They are not advocates for space, they are working directly against it while telling themselves they are the only game in town. They have made a poker game out of what is now a life and death matter for millions.

Space Solar Power is the only real path to averting a Climate Catastrophe and the super-narcissist super-influencer who satellite entrepreneur advocates look to like some kind of messiah called it “the stupidest idea ever.” Those that pursue the anti-space NewSpace scam are absolutely making the world a much worse place. And truly don’t give a damn.

The odds are that an individual given vast power by way of a megafortune will be corrupted by it. They have no checks or balances, only sycophants, and the temptation to satisfy their lowest impulses and indulge in their wildest fantasies is just too great. They lose any sense of responsibility to humankind, if they had much to begin with.

This is why many worship celebrities and wealth. Certain personality types crave this kind of gratification to the point where they are intensely attracted to those that have what they want. The cult of personality.

It would be far better for our species to tax billionaires out of existence instead of gambling on the unique expressions of their often diseased personalities benefiting humankind instead of destroying it.

They hate on Shelby because they consider anything having to do with SLS as taking money away from their favorite rocket company. They hated on many things they considered a threat to that company over the last decade. They hated Super Heavy Lift Vehicles, they hated the Moon because it was not Mars, they hated hydrogen, they hated wet workshops, they hated Space Solar Power, they hated any talk of radiation being a showstopper. They hated and wrote endless comments criticizing or denigrating those concepts or people not in agreement with their belief system. They hated and still hate anything not SpaceX. The company is the symbol of their ideology. It is not really about space.

I am not a big fan of the “public private partnership” scam. It is just privatization by another name.

“PPPs divert money from the pockets of people and resources that should be used for the common good into the hands of very powerful corporations and wealthy individuals.
Joseph Stiglitz, the Nobel-prize winning economist, has a recent take on this:
The fundamental, flawed premise of these initiatives is that the government is inevitably inefficient, so giving control of these assets to the private sector represents an opportunity for arbitrage: Both the private and public sectors can be better off.

Experience around the world shows otherwise. There are several reasons for the disappointing results: For example, the private sector faces much higher costs of capital, and infrastructure projects are long-term investments, where differences in the cost of capital matter a lot. This puts the private sector at a marked disadvantage.

Moreover, it turns out that in many areas, the public sector is remarkably efficient and innovative—more than it is given credit for—and the private sector is less efficient than is commonly recognized. It is rife with what economists refer to as “agency problems,” where conflicts of interests and misguided incentives lead to outcomes that are far from socially desirable—as we saw in the financial crisis (of 2008).”

Nothing is “legit” in free market ideology except profit. That is the only measure of success. Truth does not matter, communities, societies, and humans in general have no meaning except in regards to the revenue they generate for the individual. You have to understand what they are really about. Everything they say is not about what they say…it is about profit. “Truth” is an inside joke to them. Democracy is their enemy and originated in opposition to Oligarchs in Athens 500 years before Christ. Democracies tax and regulate the rich which makes corrupting and castrating democratic systems and using them the big win. They are always worried about losing control of politicians or failing to manipulate the masses with propaganda so they would rather burn a functioning democracy to the ground and replace it with Oligarchy. Which is exactly what is happening. They scream outrage at “jobs programs” because they know they are not in control and cannot make a killing off such constructs because they are first taxed to fund them. They consider taxes to be theft, even though they use the healthy educated workers transported to jobsites by way of taxes to make their fortunes. They are predators that prey on their own species because they do not recognize anything except individual wealth. There are no humans beings, just things that can be used to make a profit.

27 engines was always bad design. But bad designs plod along for years sometimes before they are finally dumped. Sooner is better.

I suspect they figured this out even as they struggled to lash it together and did not pursue propellent cross-feed or human-rating for this reason among others.

Boeing and Airbus are the two largest manufacturers of airliners on planet Earth. Their aircraft are operated by many countries.

If Space Solar Power were to become the agreed upon solution to Climate Change, by powering civilization from space, we could expect “spaceliners” built by a couple companies to dominate production. They would likely be similar in configuration, as all airliners being built now seem to be.

I would guess they will be all hydrogen-oxygen, since Super Heavy Lift Rockets burning millions of tons of propellants in the upper atmosphere every year will need to be as clean as possible. I would also guess they will be VTVL two stage vehicles lofting various third stage payloads and returning directly to their launch sites to be restacked on-site. The first stage would need to do a more straight up profile, which would waste propellent, but with an ever increasing number of flights, landing on ships will no longer be practical. The second stage will do one orbit and return.
We have almost come to the point where we can do this now. But what is really missing right now is a hydrogen engine in the 1.5 to 2 million pound thrust range. 

“And an inflatable heat shield was tested-“

“-a helicopter briefly captured a stage during descent.”

This heli-capture and inflatable heat shield in combination looks like the best way to reuse single large engines or clustered engine modules. The largest U.S. heavy lift helicopter, the CH-53K, could probably manage to capture all four engines on the SLS as a module. Even if the first and second stages are VTVL a third stage Lunar booster engine could separate from it’s tankage, do a free return around the Moon to an Earth reentry and recovery. Seems like a lot of trouble but the return would be “free.” This also makes that third stage more attractive as a wet workshop as without the mass of the engine it would be easier to slow down, after interception by a robot lander, and insert into Lunar orbit. This then, is the recipe for building a cislunar infrastructure: A VTVL reusable Super Heavy Lift Vehicle whose first and second stage land back and a third stage that also sends it’s engine back to be reused while it’s tankage is captured in the vicinity of the Moon to be inserted into Lunar orbit as a wet workshop.

“-a free-flying space station set for launch in 2028-“

Airbus space station huh? What do they mean by “free-flying”? It is not going to be free. In fact, LEO space stations have had their day. The ISS is living on borrowed time. Who is going to pay the billions necessary to keep a new one operating?

“Planet will further develop its offerings to enable customers to quantify carbon stocks globally, monitor forest changes and mitigate climate risks.”

The only path that will “mitigate climate risks” is Space Solar Power. How much of that is Planet Labs going to be doing?

The sentence contains “trying.” If you read about the Shuttle you will find out everything about the system was either built on the cheap, such as the Orbiter’s aluminum construction, or meant to be cheap by eliminating something “expensive.” It was the air force cross-range and cargo bay, and political requirements courtesy of Utah that jacked the price up. Side-mounting the Orbiter, for instance, was all about bringing the engines back with the Orbiter instead of some other more expensive method of bringing them back separately. Likewise, the boosters were simply to avoid the expense of a giant fly-back horizontally landed first stage. The horizontal landing winged Orbiter was a mistake. The twin segmented SRB’s were a mistake, The giant cargo bay was a mistake. Mixing cargo and crew was a mistake. All of those features meant to be “cheap” actually added expense in some other way. But launching once a week was going to make up for all those shortcuts. It was in fact impossible to quickly and cheaply turn around the system and the public was being conned.

While extremely powerful monolithic solid rockets had been tested, still the most powerful rockets ever fired, the smaller diameter rail transported SRB segments limited the power of the boosters and this ruled out any kind of escape system. Most of the power of this Saturn V class system was wasted lifting the Orbiter into orbit for a few weeks at most so it could come right back down. Most of the payload was the Orbiter with a too-large cargo bay of dubious utility.

The SRB’s killed a crew that very likely would have survived with any kind of abort system. Some of the Challenger crew might have been able to simply bail out but they did not even have parachutes. I have an emergency parachute about the size of a ladies handbag I use paragliding. The Side-mounting killed a crew due to damage that could have possibly been avoided in the initial design with either a more robust structure or by stacking with the Orbiter on top and the engines on the bottom being recovered separately. Stacking a capsule, or at least a much tougher Orbiter on top and an abort system would have most likely kept the Shuttle in service to this day with no loss of crews.

The concept of only expending a single large tank was excellent but the execution was fatal for two crews and the program due to both the requirement to build cheap and operate cheap. There is no cheap. Interestingly, the SLS is designed much like what would have made the Shuttle very successful. By using liquid boosters instead of solid, the expense of disassembling and rail transport would have been avoided, and by using a reusable escape tower and capsule Challenger and the Columbia disasters never would have happened. Most important of all, large cargo missions would have not also carried crew. The technology was available to fly the original Shuttle and Orbiter un-crewed and automatically deploy payloads. The only crewed flights would probably have been with the spacelab in the cargo bay. But this cargo operation would almost certainly have been more expensive than an expendable rocket carrying the same payload.

Unfortunately, the SLS is not what the Shuttle could have been since almost of all of it, except for some components of Orion, are expended. Future iterations could change that with ocean recovered hydrogen boosters instead of solids and the core engines heli-captured.

NASA did not design that hatch or much hardware at all. It simply directed companies to offer hardware concepts to meet their requirements- and then approved what their experts considered the best design. They paid the aerospace corporations involved very well because it was very challenging work of course. “Punishing” NASA by cutting funding was maybe necessary politically but was the death knell for Human Space Flight Beyond Earth Orbit. As I have been describing, aerospace corporations are for-profit and have a fiduciary duty to their shareholders. If the boards of directors do not provide checks to shareholders they do not keep their jobs. That is my understanding of how it works anyway, correct me if I am wrong. NASA oversight, that is, making sure the Spaceships did not kill the astronauts, put profits, and shareholder checks, and executive positions, at risk. And that ended the push into space before we ever even left orbit for the first time. There was much easier DOD money to go after. That is my thesis.

It’s important, I think, to bear in mind that opinions on exactly what NASA is, beyond their stated mission statement, vary widely. Those with a certain world view want it done away with and it all handed over to certain entrepreneurs. Others, like me, want it to be an insurance policy for humankind.

My point was exactly that the Shuttle was the NASA-operated state subsidized launch vehicle meant to be a boon to the satellite industry. And yes, ONLY Super Heavy Launch Vehicle SHLV’s are going to generate any progress at all in Human Space Flight.

“-it was far from obvious that it would have been possible to keep using it to go to the Moon.”

I think Apollo/Saturn died with the Apollo 1 fire personally. The Aerospace industry as a whole looked at it as nowhere near as profitable as jet fighters, nuclear submarines, ICBM’s, and all the paraphernalia associated with the Cold War.

My point is that the Shuttle promised to launch satellites on the cheap and was a con from start to finish. The Saturn V, in it’s various iterations, either as a stage-and-a-half to orbit by dropping 4 of it’s 5 engines, or by sending up a massive number of satellites at once, could actually have done what the Shuttle promised for the same price. It could have been gradually turned into a reusable vehicle step by step, and still be available for a return to lunar operations. As LBJ remarked with words to the effect that we “pissed away” an amazing capability. We have not learned this lesson. Privatizing space flight is going down a slippery slope to nowhere. The original idea of a non-profit or not-for-profit government Super Heavy Launch Vehicle being used commercially to pay for space exploration was always the best path.

To return to that state launch vehicle model we need a new Super Heavy Launch Vehicle much like the Saturn V using first stage hydrogen oxygen engines like the M-1. And really big, like that Post Saturn Vehicle concept, is the way to go. The flexible path has set humankind back decades.

Peer reviewed by “The New Space Journal” sounds wonderful.
It all sounds wonderful, but many, like myself and the Nobel prize winner I cited, are skeptical.

“I could take up the entire space here with a flood of examples of this fraud. For now, just one. Health care: Medicare is one of the most efficient programs in the nation’s history, operating at something like 2-3% administrative costs—compared to the private sector insurance industry which, depending on what study you look at, rings in at between 15-25 percent administrative costs. Because, obviously, you have CEOs and high-ranking executives making tens of millions of dollars in the private sector versus your basic Medicare government high-level leaders who are making, comparatively, a quite modest low six-figure income of roughly $178,000 on average.”

Enhancing extractive corporate power. The private sector’s central goal is to maximize profit, not deliver necessary services. It has proven impossible to ensure that private providers’ incentives match public interest in these arrangements. Too often, contracted companies generate more income by exploiting workers, cutting corners on quality, charging high prices to users, and/or excluding certain groups from service—not by increasing efficiency.

“Weakening public power and democracy. Particularly with something as fundamental as infrastructure (broadly defined, as President Biden has done), democratic input and accountability are essential. Infrastructure proposals represent a unique opportunity to invest in and empower public institutions while building a more cohesive and responsive government and economy. Privatization does just the opposite: It dilutes the role and responsibilities of government in an often-deliberate attempt to diminish the capacity of public institutions and weaken already-low public trust. And it does this without any proven public benefit—and with a long history of harms that result from subjecting people to the whims of profit-driven executives.”

Dismantling public organizations working as essentially non-profits for We the people with private companies looking for, above all else, profit. This is wildly exaggerated as the answer to all problems by “peer reviewed” think tanks funded by those very same private companies. Who would have thought?

Aerospace is about making a profit for shareholders. This is why NewSpace is the death knell of space exploration. Zero profit in sending humans to the Moon or any kind of science missions. Satellites are the only revenue generators and we see that in the size of engines being built. The 1.8 million pound thrust F-1A and the follow-on M-1 hydrogen engines were in the minimum thrust range for Super Heavy Lift Vehicles supporting Human Space Flight. The half a million pound thrust methane rocket engines are actually priced and sized for satellite launch. Mounting so many on the two publicized SHLV’s in development was not the best path but cheaper.

The great hope is Space Solar Power by way of lunar resources which would use human workers in factories on the Moon and involve trillions of dollars in international investment.

It is not so much the sun, which is pretty bad because of solar events, but cosmic radiation found anywhere in the solar system, that rules out these long duration missions without massive shielding. “Dosing and Debilitation” is the term that denotes the single greatest challenge to astronauts on interplanetary missions. The massive shielding and spinning that shielded crew compartment to provide artificial gravity entails thousands of tons for even a pair of astronauts. It is that or permanently damage their bodies and greatly increase their risk of cancer in an unshielded zero G craft. Completely unacceptable.

IMO any Human Space Flight Beyond Earth and Lunar Orbit comes in three parts. The first is cosmic radiation with the only solution being hundreds of tons of plastic or water or probably a combination. No way around that. The second part is Tether Generated Artificial Gravity with an equal mass on the end of the shielded crew compartment. The third part is nuclear propulsion but NOT nuclear thermal which is not that much higher Isp powerful than chemicals. Nuclear Electric is the only politically acceptable propulsion system.

There is new technology like Thermo-photo voltaic cells and improved X3 Hall thrusters that could push several thousand tons of spinning Spaceship to the outer system. I would suggest Ceres as the first destination after the “shakedown” cruise around the Earth-Moon system you mentioned. The astronauts come home without any permanent damage from dosing or debilitation or even much added to their career dose.

This idea of sending people in zero-G unshielded spacecraft beyond Earth for long duration missions is a fantasy kept alive in the interest of obtaining funding. I cannot see any such mission as ever happening because nobody will sign off on it simply because of what it will certainly do to the astronauts bodies.

These notional missions are impossible without very large nuclear propelled Spaceships. Ceres is the best first destination when we get them. Then Callisto. And if humans are going to icy bodies then they need to bring submarines. Mars has too much gravity and no oceans and is not on the list of places to go anymore than Venus is.

I suspect some bad stuff went on with the private ISS mission that is being kept quiet. A few hints of it and likely one day it will be remembered as a low point in the history of space.

I am not a big fan of the “public private partnership” scam. It is just privatization by another name.

“PPPs divert money from the pockets of people and resources that should be used for the common good into the hands of very powerful corporations and wealthy individuals.
Joseph Stiglitz, the Nobel-prize winning economist, has a recent take on this:
The fundamental, flawed premise of these initiatives is that the government is inevitably inefficient, so giving control of these assets to the private sector represents an opportunity for arbitrage: Both the private and public sectors can be better off.

Experience around the world shows otherwise. There are several reasons for the disappointing results: For example, the private sector faces much higher costs of capital, and infrastructure projects are long-term investments, where differences in the cost of capital matter a lot. This puts the private sector at a marked disadvantage.

Moreover, it turns out that in many areas, the public sector is remarkably efficient and innovative—more than it is given credit for—and the private sector is less efficient than is commonly recognized. It is rife with what economists refer to as “agency problems,” where conflicts of interests and misguided incentives lead to outcomes that are far from socially desirable—as we saw in the financial crisis (of 2008).”

I am fascinated with small-singularity-propelled Starships, or, “Black Hole Starships.”

The Crane and Westmoreland paper has a connection to Space Solar Power. Only the immense power of a Space Solar Power network could make available the energies necessary to create small black hole engines for use in this concept.

The cancellation of the Saturn V was certainly one of the most egregiously political and idiotic actions ever taken. They wanted something that would “make space pay for itself”, the Space Shuttle, and swallowed that whole scam hook line and sinker. The Reagan Revolution was as responsible for the Challenger and Columbia disasters as anything else.

The logical path, a progression from expendable to reusable Super Heavy Lift Vehicle stages and hardware, did not happen with the Saturn V, and the Shuttle Concept, promising airline-like operations once a week, was soon revealed to be a monumental con.

The M-1 rocket engine, which Dwayne did a wonderful article on last week, was really the most grievous lost opportunity. As early studies on space indicated, the first step was to recover the engines which the Space Shuttle did, while expending a single tank. And did this in the very worst way it could possibly be done. Amazing. Phil Bono had been proposing Vertical Take-off Vertical Landing (VTVL) concepts with some tanks being parachuted into the ocean for recovery since the early sixties.

The need was for a much larger vehicle than the Saturn V that started by returning the engines. Such a vehicle could have launched a much larger 500 ton hypergolic lunar lander (instead of 17 tons) into parking orbit and then launched the other half of the mission hardware to dock with it and take it to the Moon.

And of course that is the exact opposite of what is being described in the article.

The Post Saturn Vehicle depiction in the M-1 article is, as I commented, what should have been and is heartbreaking to any true space enthusiast. The Space Shuttle was originally going to be the “national launch vehicle” that charged for sending all the commercial space payloads up as a kind of taxpayer subsidized non-profit. And this would pay for space exploration. Just one of a long list of mistakes was sending crew up with cargo. The Post Saturn monster rocket would have lifted 500 tons of anything anyone could possibly want. And this program would have started by recovering the first stage engines, then the second stage engines, and at some point then recovering the stages with the engines.

Instead we had the “do more with less” philosophy that has wrecked organizations and been putting people out of work since the free market maniacs hijacked the economy in the 80’s.

Like a hobbyist blowing stuff up and the newest hobby rocket has blown up so many times I lost count. It is clear that the PR about a second home for humankind is just pandering to the gullible left and now the playing of both sides against the middle pandering to the gullible right. All great fun that has burned 200 billion dollars so far. Any narcissist tech billionaire would say this attempt at taking over the internet with a megamonstrosity smallsat constellation, if successful, would make the owner the king of the world. Transparent.

All of it obscenely wasteful and setting humankind back year after year from any real progress. So obvious that billionaires need to be taxed out of existence as an existential threat.

The “genius” of it is simple grifter logic. Instead of fleets of bizjets and super-yachts and ranches and mansions and etc., etc., just turn a hobby into a hole to pour a taxpayer subsidized fortune into. So it seems great. But it is not. Statements like Space Solar Power being, “the stupidest idea ever” and “the Covid panic is dumb” have done inestimable harm. The future of humankind depending on the whimsy and weird eccentricities of super-rich individuals is incredibly dangerous.

Rocket Lab is intent on Heli-capturing their stage for reuse and it seems this could work for the SLS core engines also, while expending the tankage. Each RS-25 has a dry weight of 7004 pounds adding up to 28,016 pounds. The CH-53K can sling load 35,000 pounds. This leaves 6984 pounds for structure, reentry hardware, and parachute.

The Space Shuttle was a good concept, better than the Falcon 9 in that it did not expend any engines and of course, if the Orbiter mass is counted, lifted more than the Falcon Heavy. Expending only the core tank of the SLS should be the goal in future iterations, and also launching several times per year minimum.

We will always make plastics from oil so there will always be oil production…it is burning it that makes greenhouse gases and particles that cause health problems. The fossil fuel industry knows there will always be a market for their product but they want to continue to make huge profits by burning it. There are ways now to make “green” hydrogen from oil well byproducts.…

This is not what could have been, it is what should have been.

A picture is worth a thousand words and looking at the post-Saturn depiction of a vehicle with 18 of these engines and 27 million pounds of thrust lifting 500 ton payloads…it is heartbreaking to any true space enthusiast.

Why did we lose the stars?

My view is that this was difficult to make money doing. Far higher profit margins cranking out jet fighters and ICBM’s. And nobody cared if they did not work that well. Not just hundreds, but several thousand aircrew were killed in accidents in the 5o’s, 60’s, and 70’s in very difficult to fly and failure-prone aircraft. Spaceships have to work and this is hard money. So it was greed in my estimation.

This continues with a new cold war, in Earth orbit, with a brand new branch, with about the same budget as NASA, pushing for endless military satellites. And endless profits. It is the same with missile defense. The hangover from Ronnie’s Stars Wars that is easy money forever for something sitting in a silo that might work half the time but probably not. All that treasure going into defense shareholder pockets to counter adversaries who spend a fraction of what we do but still seem to be so terrifying. Table scraps for expanding humankind into the solar system. Almost nothing for Space Solar Power to address climate change, which, by the way, the DOD considers an existential threat.

We fought the cold war race-to-the-Moon-battle using our adversaries own top-down command economy method combined with our mixed economy with it’s super-productive capitalist component. The profit motive functioned well in an intricate balance with infrastructure and social programs supported by high taxes on the top earners. Now that is all gone.

Close to what I have been thinking about! A big outer first stage ring of engines and smaller inner second stage ring and a single center third stage engine on a Chrysler SERV type vehicle. The super heavy has 33 engines and 17 million pounds of thrust using raptors so a larger version of the SERV, using a 2 million pound thrust range hydrogen engine is interesting to think about. With an outer ring of 8 and an inner ring of 4 smaller approximately half a million pound thrust engines and a last single central engine that would all add up to around 19 or 20 million pounds of thrust.

The concept being that the structure containing propellants is a large part of the actual payload so only the engines are returned for reuse, this would make for a huge wet workshop.

Climate Change is driving a big push for green hydrogen and ammonia to replace fossil fuels and Space Solar power is the ultimate solution. Studies have shown that building the Space Solar components in factories on the Moon, while a much larger initial investment and more time consuming, end up costing far less than launching directly from Earth. These giant wet workshop crew compartments would be the critical piece of hardware in creating a cislunar infrastructure.

We could have a sit-down with Bezos. As soon as he gets his problems with unions figured out. His workers started to unionize after he thanked them for making his billionaut suborbital tourist ride possible.

All these billions being spent on a satellite war is really sad and depressing. Space Force has about the same budget as NASA now.

I can only imagine if this vast mountain of money going into orbit for defense and internet mega-constellations was instead focused on Space Solar Power. With all the major industrial powers involved, trillions of dollars would be directed at powering civilization carbon free by beaming down power from space. As a consequence humankind would expand into the solar system. The reasons we are not doing this are crystal clear: greed and political corruption.

“Elon Musk’s company will shift its attention back to Florida for a Falcon Heavy launch on Thursday. The giant rocket will carry a pair of satellites into orbit for the U.S. Space Force.”

They should have stuck with the Delta IV heavy.
Three engines is always better than twenty-seven and hydrogen is what all launch vehicles will likely be burning in the near future anyway.

If you have to shoot down a missile it is all over anyway. The idea of a “limited” nuclear war is completely insane. This makes the idea of fighting any kind of “satellite war” extremely dangerous. The first move by any peer adversary will be to destroy everything in orbit. Then launch everything they have. Space Force was Trumps way of giving the middle finger to all the suckers and losers in the military. He created a branch of the military that does not fight and makes billions of dollars for defense contractors for no purpose at all. A money machine sending endless satellites into orbit that does nothing but make a nuclear war more likely. He must smile every time he thinks about it.

Chrysler SERV has always stuck in my head. It would be perfect as a wet workshop because by having a double hull, with hydrogen in one and oxygen in the other, when empty the outer envelope could then be filled with water for radiation shielding.

The problem was that SERV probably would not have carried much payload if the huge circular aerospike engine had even been practical. It not only carried this and the associated turbopumps into orbit but also a large heat shield and quite a few jet engines for a vertical hover landing. But…an outer ring of first stage engines instead of the aerospike could have separated and landed as well as an inner second stage ring leaving a single final third stage engine in the center.

Sent to the Moon it could have separated from it’s central engine module (which would do a free return back to Earth and reenter) and what was left- the huge empty double envelope stage and payload, would be intercepted and inserted into lunar orbit. I think this might have worked as the ultimate wet workshop. And still might.

The Shuttle teaches so many lessons, with almost all of them being ignored. SRB’s fascinate me and if you look at one of the original Shuttle designs you see the Aerojet monolithic design, based on submarine hull construction. This single booster would have been much more powerful than the segmented twins and would have been taken by ship to the factory in the everglades to be reloaded and then by ship to the launch site- all in once piece. A huge expense with segmented SRB’s was breaking them down and rail transporting them to Utah and then all the way back and reassembling. Rail transport size restrictions were the main factor in limiting their power.

This single monolithic SRB was mounted like the ET was on the belly of the Orbiter and the two LH2/LOX tanks mounted over the wings on either side of the cargo bay. Challenger would not have been lost with this design and it could lift more so in some alternate universe the Orbiter may have had some kind of escape system with perhaps the nose being separated from the rest of the vehicle with a tower. In fact, an un-crewed extension of the nose could have been fitted instead of this crew section for cargo missions and the Shuttle landed by remote control. And it might still be flying today. They just would not spend the money.

Adrianos is a new company working on a new formula that is supposedly more powerful and about 70 percent less polluting than the mixes used now. If they can be made environmentally acceptable and reusable like the Shuttle then they may be around for a long time.

A variant of the Saturn V was proposed using I believe the same monolithic booster but two of them with extensions carrying propellants and cross-feeding the first stage engines. Something SpaceX tried and failed to adopt. Future iterations of the SLS might use that idea or just use vertical landing liquid boosters that feed the core for the first part of the launch.

The comparison with the Hughes Spruce Goose and the two company founders is becoming a thing. It would probably be best if Musk were to retire to the top floor of some hotel where he could watch his SNL episode over and over. Howard liked to watch Ice Station Zebra and I happened to watch that movie the other night. Still great. Rock Hudson was the best nuclear sub commander ever and Patrick McGoohan the best spy. The movie started with a satellite by the way.

“The world is entering a launch vehicle bubble. And all bubbles pop, eventually. When they do, business failures and consolidations are the order of the day.”

Looking at engines like the Raptor and BE-4 and comparing them to the RS-25, what we see is a lack of imagination and support for Human Space Flight that has dragged space exploration down for half a century. The prototype and guide, the original construct that made the space age a reality, last flew a half a century ago this year. The Saturn V used five 1.5 million pound thrust engines in it’s first stage.

Supercomputers have made combustion instability far less of an obstacle though it is often whined about by debbie-downers. Two decades after Saturn V the Russian RD-170 and subsequent RD-180 engines showed that a single turbopump or set of turbopumps could provide propellants for multiple thrust chambers. And the U.S. Integrated Power Head Demonstrator in the 90’s took the next step with a hydrogen Full-Flow-Staged-Combustion-Cycle.

The launch vehicle grand consolidation will be made when Space Solar Power is agreed upon by the major powers to be the solution to Climate Change. The need will then be for a hydrogen oxygen reusable VTVL Super Heavy Lift Vehicle. This new class of vehicles will all likely use FFSCC engines in a configuration resembling the Saturn V. The first stage with turbopump sets driving two combustion chambers each and a single variable thrust center engine with it’s own set. The second stage will likely have four small steering engines also used for landing and a main central engine.

(Banned for this) I had to stop reading the comments after the first two. Over the top sinophobia. When I was in the military (I was not a general) I remember just before 911 there was a huge push to make China the new cold war adversary. We were treated to many visits by representatives from various defense companies explaining this new great satan. That this forum about space is dominated by far right conspiracy fanatics is sad. The climate change deniers, and now the Covid conspiracy idiocy….just sad. The characteristics of fascism are well known and all here. Malice, promoting of violence (that something must be done!), the lies and disinformation and conspiracy theories.

The Zimmermans, the Cowings, and all the other shills pandering to a base of Ayn-Rand-in-space libertarian nutjobs, many also Trumpists, has been the worst thing that has ever happened to space exploration. Worse than both shuttle disasters. This tribe of toxic creeps has done inestimable damage. Momentum is building and the future of space is about space solar power and that one of the guiding lights of these far right fake space enthusiasts called that, “the stupidest idea ever.” That it will be an international effort makes the toxic fascist element angry.

Makes sense that CNSA is putting the space telescope close to the space station and can even dock with it.

I am super interested in Callisto as the third human mission destination after the Moon and Ceres. It is outside the main radiation belts. The Moon is the first step, from which nuclear missions to the outer solar system can be launched.

As much as I would like to know more about the icy moons of the gas and ice giants I would rather see all resources focused on the Moon first. Space Solar Power by way of lunar resources as the solution to climate change will ultimately direct trillions of dollars toward Human Space Flight.

The beginning of thousands of robot landers that will become larger and larger as they prospect for ice and lava tubes and other resources in preparation for massive industrialization of the Moon. Underground arc furnaces and foundries, thorium breeder reactors, and a steadily increasing population of workers doing tours. With hopefully no useless tourists allowed.

As international momentum for Space Solar Power as the solution to Climate Change builds, the Moon becomes the place to build the satellites. Endless satellite components, and not for streaming data, for beaming down the energy to power a carbon-free civilization.
The Moon people are coming with trillion-dollar investments pushing them farther than we have ever gone before.

“The privatization of human spaceflight is set to accelerate this year with an increase in the number of commercial launches to the International Space Station (ISS) and the long-delayed start of suborbital space tourism flights by Virgin Galactic.”

An extremely bad sign for space exploration. Fake astronaut wings for the rich. Taking seats from those who earned the right to sit in them.
One step away from zero G strip clubs. Sad.

Any way you look at it this is being subsidized by the taxpayer and it’s absolutely wrong in so many ways.

“Vigoride 5 is carrying Caltech’s Space Solar Power Demonstrator (SSPD) as a hosted payload that will operate for several months.”

These many experiments and demonstrators that have gone up and are going up are all proving Space Solar Power technology is practical and is the solution to climate change. Once the governments of the world agree to this solution it will be like nothing ever seen before. The Apollo program times a hundred with a trillion dollar initial investment.

The hydrogen oxygen two-stage reusable “monster” lift vehicle will come into it’s own with America, Europe, China, and other countries building, or licensing and building, their own versions.

2023 could be the year that Space Solar Power becomes the focus of of the majority of the governments on planet Earth. All pouring a tsunami of funding into the companies building the rockets and infrastructure capable of collectively throwing hundreds of tons a day, and eventually thousands of tons a day, into space.

“SpaceX in particular has made launch seem routine. Not only were all 61 of its launches successful last year, every booster landing attempt—something that still seemed experimental five years ago—was also a success.
However, 65 years after the launch of Sputnik, spaceflight is still not routine.”

The writing is on the wall and most of it, but not all of it, written by SpaceX. The future is clearly going to be full flow liquid hydrogen oxygen engines on two stage VTVL reusable Super Heavy Lift Vehicles. The sooner these rockets become standardized by all the major powers the better.

The great hope of the future is Space Solar Power, and momentum in that direction is building.

This is a carbon copy of the nuclear warfighting strategies to “win” a thermonuclear exchange. Except it is satellites. It was always kind of a joke talking about winning when MAD was going to be the end of the world and everyone knew it. MAD was doctrine. This kind of satellite war is also a joke. It makes Earth orbit a piggybank of free defense money.

It is a replay of the cold war with satellites instead of nukes.

 25 days ago

“Had it been built, the M-1 would have been a monster, the most powerful rocket engine ever developed. It would have fueled the upper stages and possibly even the first stage of rockets to follow the Saturn V.”

The future is the full-flow hydrogen oxygen rocket engine, in this thrust range, powering VTVL reusable two-stage rockets like the Starship. All the major players will be building their own or licensed versions of these “Monster” Launch Vehicles.

Two hundred launches a year of Super Heavy Lift Vehicles I would guess averages about ten tons per payload for a couple thousand tons total. Two hundred launches a year of SHLV’s with one hundred tons per payload would loft twenty thousand tons.

An international Space Solar Power effort launching an order of magnitude more rockets, all SHLV’s, could be lofting two hundred thousand tons per year within a decade, by 2035.That 200K per year could easily be doubled every decade, to 400K from 2045 to 2055, and then to 800K from 2055 to 2065.

Those thirty years (the duration of the Shuttle program) would see 14 million tons launched from Earth.

Last flight of the Delta IV in 2022. The only all hydrogen launch vehicle.

The writing is on the wall with some of it but certainly not all of it written by SpaceX. Future launch vehicles will, IMO, be “Monster Lift Vehicles”, using all hydrogen full flow engines and with two stages landing back to the launch site. Each nation that can will build the largest version with the largest engines they can of a reusable launch vehicle.

It is my most ardent hope these MLV’s will be instrumental in establishing Space Solar Power as the solution to Climate Change. Perhaps dozens of these MLV’s will at some point be launching every day.

The future of space flight is Monster Lift two stage reusable hydrogen/oxygen VTVL vehicles. Rotating detonation engines may be soon or never but for now the full-flow cycle is the best that can be had. A MLV can launch straight up and the first stage come straight back down by sacrificing payload. The second stage goes around once and then also lands where it launched from. Spaceports can be located almost anywhere considered a safe distance from population centers and sacrifice some payload due to location. Both stages of a reusable MLV can land near the launch tower and that structure used to restack. Though SpaceX is doing some of this they are doing other things that do not seem to me very well thought out. Like the twin engine jetliner, I predict most developed nations eventually operating their own state sponsored versions of the largest rocket and rocket engines their industrial base is capable of building. Happy New Year and I hope to post many creative and enlightening comments for all of you.

“If commercial human spaceflight takes off, which we think it will the same way commercial aviation did, at some point the industry will have to learn its lessons on its own,” Melroy said at the town hall.

Melroy has also expressed support for extending the lifetime of the International Space Station. Which is not a good recommendation since it should have been deorbited in 2016.

There is nothing that can possibly make “commercial human spaceflight” worth the millions spent on looking out a window while floating in a radiation bath and vomiting. The novelty will soon wear off and the fake astronaut wings will become objects of derision. Why the number 2 at NASA would say this is a mystery and very disappointing. The Moon is the place to go and Bridenstine made that clear. He never should have left.

The escape tower abort system on the SLS is the same concept used on Mercury and Apollo and like many ideas developed in the 60’s is almost impossible to improve upon.

The hypergolic designs used in the Starliner and especially the Dragon are no good. The shiny will never carry a human without an escape system and reading comments saying it’s fine and is somehow it’s own escape system is over the top gullibility and sycophancy.

The first solution is to stop this new cold war in space that was created to make hundreds of billions of dollars for the defense industry. The weaponization of Earth orbit goes hand in hand with the megaconstellation abomination. The Space Force now has essentially the same budget as NASA and was created specifically to add yet another service branch to suck up tax dollars and enrich shareholders. Like Ronnie Reagans gift of never-ending free money in the form of ballistic missile defense…that might work half the time against a half a dozen missiles, this satellite war in space is absolutely huge profits forever for doing nothing except going in circles. Any kind of orbital bombardment system going in circles overhead is a huge red flag that much of civilization is about to be incinerated. The recent low yield nuke system was bad enough and horrified anyone who knows anything about nuclear deterrence. Trumpism and Musk and greed are a nasty cocktail of corruption.

That we have known for decades our species is at risk of extinction due to impact threats and has done essentially nothing is proof to any alien observers that we are too stupid to survive. We have H-bombs and instead of defending our planet we threaten each other with Armageddon. There is a critical lesson to be learned from this but we still make plans for “limited nuclear conflict” with low yield warheads and weaponize Earth orbit. Do we really have any doubt what the Fermi Paradox great filter is? Fairly obvious.

Directional H-bombs can project a very large plasma cloud that will deflect piles of rubble just as efficiently as they do big rocks. It is Star Wars technology they could not make work for destroying Soviet missiles warheads but is perfect for repurposing in Nuclear Pulse Propulsion systems and asteroid and comet deflection. We should have a fleet of “Space Boomers” months away in deep space instead of wasting a trillion dollars modernizing our terrestrial systems which are the equivalent of holding cocked pistols up to each others heads. Those human-crewed Spaceships can also defend Earth from impact threats.

I want a fleet of human-crewed “space boomers” several months from Earth instead of launch on warning nukes and one mistake incinerating most of civilization in half an hour. They would of course also be on the lookout for any impact threats and deflect them with H-bombs. And also take guest scientists on research missions to icy bodies in the outer solar system, much like like our subs taking scientists under the polar ice. These true Spaceships would not cost much more than the immense amount of money spent on our ICBM’s, submarines, and bombers.

If we had sent up just one Saturn V mission per year for ten years, or two per year for five, with the second stage remaining attached as a wet workshop to the dry workshop third stage, the resulting station could have supported a hundred people instead of six. Instead of the thirty missions spread over ten years for the ISS. At approximately 140 feet long, these wet/dry workshops, attached end to end, would have made a station over a quarter mile long, or a 500 foot ring. Spun at 1 rotation per minute this ring would provide 8 percent of Earth gravity which would be enough to allow astronauts to far more easily go to the bathroom, eat food, and keep particles from floating around. With a central module for microgravity experiments.

The better option would have been to actually attach end to end and spin this 1400 foot stack at 2 RPM for 1G. A center connector/docking module would provide microgravity for experiments while the two end sections would eliminate debilitation. This would not stop dosing though and if provided that shielding the construct might as well be stationed in GEO, or a Lunar Cycler orbit, or best of all provided with nuclear propulsion as a Spaceship.

Constructing one S-IVB dry workshop, likely with a combination of plastic and water, to effect an approximately 1000 ton cosmic ray shield, with an equal mass approximately 1000 ton nuclear power section at the other end of a 6000 foot long tether system, would allow a nuclear electric propulsion system to take this assembled Spaceship on multi-year missions to the outer solar system. With the astronauts suffering very minimal dosing and debilitation and no permanent damage. A more powerful cargo iteration of the Saturn V could have lofted the components of such a true Spaceship with approximately the same number of missions and time required to assemble the ISS.

I would speculate the best modern solution would be a 100 ft plus diameter double hulled wet workshop resembling the Chrysler SERV that returns two “rings” of engines for reuse, counting these components, and not the main tank, as stages. The tank itself, designed to serve as a crew compartment when no longer “wet”, as the majority of the payload mass.

If we had sent up just one Saturn V mission per year for ten years, or two per year for five, with the second stage remaining attached as a wet workshop to the dry workshop third stage, the resulting station could have supported a hundred people instead of six. Instead of the thirty missions spread over ten years for the ISS. At approximately 140 feet long, these wet/dry workshops, attached end to end, would have made a station over a quarter mile long, or a 500 foot ring. Spun at 1 rotation per minute this ring would provide 8 percent of Earth gravity which would be enough to allow astronauts to far more easily go to the bathroom, eat food, and keep particles from floating around. With a central module for microgravity experiments.

The better option would have been to actually attach end to end and spin this 1400 foot stack at 2 RPM for 1G. A center connector/docking module would provide microgravity for experiments while the two end sections would eliminate debilitation. This would not stop dosing though and if provided that shielding the construct might as well be stationed in GEO, or a Lunar Cycler orbit, or best of all provided with nuclear propulsion as a Spaceship.

Constructing one S-IVB dry workshop, likely with a combination of plastic and water, to effect an approximately 1000 ton cosmic ray shield, with an equal mass approximately 1000 ton nuclear power section at the other end of a 6000 foot long tether system, would allow a nuclear electric propulsion system to take this assembled Spaceship on multi-year missions to the outer solar system. With the astronauts suffering very minimal dosing and debilitation and no permanent damage. A more powerful cargo iteration of the Saturn V could have lofted the components of such a true Spaceship with approximately the same number of missions and time required to assemble the ISS.

I would speculate the best modern solution would be a 100 ft plus diameter double hulled wet workshop resembling the Chrysler SERV that returns two “rings” of engines for reuse, counting these components, and not the main tank, as stages. The tank itself, designed to serve as a crew compartment when no longer “wet”, as the majority of the payload mass.

Don’t worry, NASA is NOT going to land on the Moon anytime soon. The number of tanker missions required to fuel up the shiny makes that obvious to anyone but gullible true believers. It would take a decade, at least, to get the shiny operational and able to transfer propellants. If ever. It has yet to attain orbit. In fact, considering all of the far less challenging projects that have failed, the SpaceX lander has little chance of ever happening. It is very different than the Falcon, which was essentially a redux of the 1966 Saturn lB.

What I foresee happening is semi-expendable robot landers processing lunar ice-derived water into propellants and transporting the water back up to frozen lunar orbit to be used as cosmic ray shielding in special stages; “Fat Workshops.” These will allow astronauts to stay on long duration missions without dosing and eventually, with tether systems, to spin these compartments around each other, and also suffer no debilitation. Eliminating dosing and debilitation is the only path that makes sense.

First the crew compartments and tether systems providing a Near Sea Level Radiation 1 Gravity (NSLR1G) environment and Lunar Space Stations. Then Lunar Cyclers and Spaceships. When habitats have been constructed robotically, probably in covered over craters if no lava tubes can be found, then significant numbers of people will go there for tours of duty, not just short bunny hop photo ops. A permanent presence, no visits. A big help would be splashing the ISS asap and using those resources for more capable iterations of the ISS and future SHLV’s.

Published by billgamesh

Revivable Cryopreservation Advocate

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