Adding orbital space to the

world's resource base

Could large scale access of high earth orbit be able to solve some of mankind's big needs faced now; and if so, what way could that conceivably be economically done?

What kinds of resources potentially would be available if really low cost teransportation toa nd from earth orbit were available? In LEO, Low Earth Orbit, there is some shielding by the radiation belts, and hard vacuum, weigntlessness, and considerable room; there still is a day/night cycle by shielding by the earth during parts of each orbit, but when the sun shines it is full power, 7 to 10 times as much received per area as received on the average ground below.. Higher up in the specific High Earth Orbit called GEO, Geostationary Earth Orbit, there is also a one-to-one match with the Earth surface geography, along the equtorial plane, in addition to nearly continuous solar energy and also the zero-gee and hard vacuum aplenty.

The "needs" which appear to be fulfilled by such large scale economical access to high earth orbit, include plentiful clean energy around the world, which also would provide great reduction in CO2 greenhouse environmental effects; responsible cleanup of environmental toxic materials produced by industrial civilization; even possible vast new room for people to live and even to grow the food needed to live well, in Stanford Torus type wheel cities built in GEO, shielded with water ice; and high efficiency reaching out to lunar and asteroidal resources for  new resource availability.

And the main "way" explored here utilizes a form of escalator transportation structural weight support unique to planetary access transportation systems, that of constrained centrifugal force within structures encircling the planet. The constrained outward high velocity centrifugal force balances the inward force of gravity on non-moving parts of the structure, simple as that. And some of that kinetic energy is tapped off to gently lift the payload-carrying spacecraft up and down the structure between the ground and GEO. The basic conceptual complexity is about the same as that of your CD/DVD drive in your computer or boom-box. The energy added to payload by moving it from the ground up into GEO is only 7.15 KWh per pound lifted, so at 10 cents per KWh that is 72 cents per pound, or $119 for a 165 pound person. The neat thing about it is that it is an electrtically powered transportation system, and once it is used to build Solar Power Stations in GEO, those SPS can thereafter power the space access transportation system independently of earth energy resource availability. The concept neatly interlocks together.

Although each of us, as individuals, are engrossed with our daily joys and struggles, it is also true that we function as an aggregate, if only as combined effects on the planetary system on which we all  depend for life. In the long run, we as individuals will have a better life for ourselves and our families and friends, by conscious awareness of, and sometimes helping out a little, the overall world picture's options. And so, this website is such an effort

A recent phrase has received scornful attention: "building a bridge to nowhere". Although the phrase was coined regarding a bridge in Alaska to an island, some of the basic projects contemplated on this website might initially receive similar scorn. Except for the weather and communications satellites that we depend on daily, which are in GEO, Geostationary Earth Orbit probably seems like "nowhere;", and so building a kinetic energy supported bridge from ground up to there in GEO might seem like "building a bridge to nowhere." Yet, it is that which we put in a place that makes it  a "somewhere" of value. And there is a tremendous amount of room in GEO in which to put things up there to make the place highly valuable.

For example, with adequate continuous payload carrying capacity, environmentally clean, and energy efficient transportation between ground and GEO, we could finally build plenty of  Solar Power Satellites to cleanly provide the enormous electrical power that an industrial worldwide civilization requires, on into the future, without adding CO2 for greenhouse heating effect, nor adding nuclear waste materials. And that is just a start in the enabled applications.

Besides abundant electrical power worldwide, civilization needs to responsibly recycle the huge industrial wastes produced. This could be done by processing plants in GEO. Early type Mass Spectrometer technology could be built up there, and use solar power to recycle toxic materials back into useful form, removing the material's entropy thereby.

whats' new


Solid band KESTS

This alternate technique is an easy read in the form of science fiction in the sci fi section! A continuous armature band type KESTS, instead of armature segments, would have some interesting properties. It would utilize tensile stress in the band instead of the kinetic energy losses with potential energy changes.

Envision it now as part of an adventure story written November 2007, "It's Down to Earth"