[ExI] Power sats and the industrial development of space (was global waming again)

Bryan Bishop kanzure at gmail.com
Tue Mar 24 02:56:21 UTC 2009

On Mon, Mar 23, 2009 at 9:40 PM, Keith Henson <hkeithhenson at gmail.com> wrote:
> On Mon, Mar 23, 2009 at 2:21 PM, Jeff Davis <jrd1415 at gmail.com> wrote:
>> The solar sat idea -- precursor to the Dyson sphere -- on the other
>> hand, I find quite thrilling.  I would like to suggest -- and I'm
>> certain others will quickly advise me that this suggestion is both
>> obvious and "ancient" (I make no claim to originality here)-- that the
>> two challenges: escape from Earth's gravity well, and the solar sat
>> provision of abundant, clean, and economical energy, be decoupled.  I
>> would like to see a cost comparison for a solar sat program where the
>> sats don't come from earth, but either directly from the moon, or from
>> the moon to a facility at one of the Lagrange points, and thence to
>> the operating location wherever that may finally be.  Such a
>> calculation would necessarily have to take into account that both the
>> Lunar base and the Lagrange facility would have many uses beyond the
>> provision of solar sats, so that the overall cost need not be assigned
>> completely to the solar sat aspect of their operation.
> You are advocating Gerry O'Neill's space colony program.  It didn't
> get support back in the 70s and I don't see where things have changed.

Not true. Shame on you- didn't you live through that period?


"In 1977 O'Neill saw the peak of interest in space colonization, along
with the publication of his first book, The High Frontier.[36] He and
his wife were flying between meetings, interviews, and hearings.[5] On
October 9, the CBS program 60 Minutes ran a segment about space
colonies. Later they aired responses from the viewers, which included
one from Senator William Proxmire, chairman of the Senate Subcommittee
responsible for NASA's budget. His response was, "it's the best
argument yet for chopping NASA's funding to the bone .... I say not a
penny for this nutty fantasy".[51] He successfully eliminated spending
on space colonization research from the budget.[52] In 1978, Paul
Werbos wrote for the L-5 newsletter, "no one expects Congress to
commit us to O'Neill's concept of large-scale space habitats; people
in NASA are almost paranoid about the public relations aspects of the
idea".[53] When it became clear that a government funded colonization
effort was politically impossible, popular support for O'Neill's ideas
started to evaporate.[36]"

Also see the TOC:

3.1 Origin of the idea (1969)
3.2 First paper (1970–1974)
3.3 NASA studies (1975–1977)
3.4 Private funding (1977–1978)
3.5 Opposition (1977–1985)


"Although NASA was supporting his work with grants of up to $500,000
per year, O'Neill became frustrated by the bureaucracy and politics
inherent in government funded research.[3][21] He thought that small
privately funded groups could develop space technology faster than
government agencies.[2] In 1977 O'Neill and his wife Tasha founded the
Space Studies Institute, a non-profit organization, at Princeton
University.[6][43] SSI received initial funding of almost $100,000
from private donors, and in early 1978 began to support basic research
into technologies needed for space manufacturing and settlement.[44]"

btw, for anyone with more knowledge on this, why the hell did he start
off looking into a mass driver? wtf? priorities?

- Bryan
1 512 203 0507

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