[ExI] Trying for a minimum technical comment

Adrian Tymes atymes at gmail.com
Fri Dec 14 18:07:46 UTC 2012

On Fri, Dec 14, 2012 at 8:20 AM, Keith Henson <hkeithhenson at gmail.com> wrote:
> At huge effort

If you have to say "at huge effort" when describing the
approach, you do not in fact have the "minimum

For instance: at less effort, build a large solar plant - in
the desert, perhaps.  Use that to power laser launches,
and sell its output to the grid when not launching.  At
first, do a hybrid system: initial boost phase with lasers,
then traditional chemical rocket once it is over the laser's
horizon (and above the atmosphere: a rocket that is
designed to operate only in vacuum can operate more
efficiently in vacuum, over and above the mass fraction
savings that the initial laser boost gives).

Also: launch some cubesat solar satellites to
demonstrate, test out, and validate the on-orbit power
systems.  Of course these are too small to transmit
useful amounts of power - but perhaps they can
transmit detectable amounts of power, and thus debug
ways to keep a beam on target?

Yes, these might not actually be part of the end solar
satellite.  They might even ultimately be throwaway,
like scaffolding.  That does not mean they are not
worth doing, to lay the path from here to there.

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