[ExI] Power sats and the industrial development of space

Tom Nowell nebathenemi at yahoo.co.uk
Mon Mar 23 23:46:11 UTC 2009

Jeff, whenever we've asked Mr Henson why he favours massive earth-launch as soon as possible, he's always pointed to the time taken to set up lunar mining or asteroid mining facilities, and how they'd probably add a significant amount to start-up costs. Keith is of the opinion we need solar power satellites in 10-15 years, which means getting the whole project under way NOW.

 Those who are worried about peak oil and energy shortages understand the sooner we get power satellites the less we have to worry about economical collapse (or maybe even civilisation collapse) from energy shortages.

Those who are worried about anthropogenic climate change believe the sooner we stop burning fossil fuels and start getting our energy from other sources, the safer it is for all of us.

Therefore, many people see that time is quite important, so Keith's obsession with getting as much material to GEO as quickly as possible to start the whole programme is understandable. The laser launches, space elevators, ORION launchers, plus other things like cannons, balloon launchers, launch loops/tracks/space piers et al are just the way to get as much from earth to GEO as you can soon. The lunar solution is more energy efficient, and in the long term could well be cheaper, and would provide interesting side benefits. However, purely from the point of view of weaning our civilisation off burning fuel it suffers seriously timewise.

Tom (hoping for a room temperature superconductor someday soon)


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