The Mooncable Concept

A technical paper by James E. D. Cline

This is a paper that I have reformatted into a semblance of current conventionality, but as html too. Originally written on March 25, 1972, it was intended for evaluation by NASA, a condensation of a more complete document I had written called "The Mooncable: Gravitational-Electric Siphon in Space."  And the following June it did get a brief response from the NASA Inventions and Contribution Board Chairman, saying why they could not proceed with it. But it was a dead issue from then on, my wife divorcing me then when she found my efforts were producing no incom, and I had no energy to continue on with the effort, in my extreme despair. That was 3 decades ago, and life has continued to happen.

Back then, all I had was a concept that I felt would work, and was a worthy follow-on to the then-ongoing Apollo project's lunar landings. I did not know how to really prepare a formal paper, nor who to send on to if I did. In this case, I lucked out because I was working as a contracter at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory as an Electronics Technician, and had happened to see a place called a NASA counsel office there, and stoped in one day to give this and other info to, during a break time.

In late 1969 I had been one of those many people who, as Arthur C. Clarke later put it so well at the end of his novel "Fountains of Paradise", had independently re-invented the earth "space elevator' concept only to soo0n calculate that no material existing came even close to being able to be used to make such a structure, unable to even support its own weight dangling down from GEO to the ground. However, after long thinking about it more, I realized that something similar could be built out of realistic space-rated fiberglass (of which glass is plentiful on the Lunar surface, note)  as an anchored tether on the Moon, dangling across L-1 to balance into the Earth's gravitational field, sustaining the very tall structure in place. And so the concept developed from there, as is shown in the following description of the concept.

(The paper proceeds below; and the table of contents is to the right side of this page)

whats' new

mooncable logo

a reformatting of my 1972 paper on the mooncalbe concept

This paper showed that an anchored tether space elevator could be made of an existing material, ingredients abundant on the Lunar surface; and showed uses of such a structure in a profit-making enteprise, starting with the Saturn-5 vehicle which was still in use at the time. It appeared to be an adequate follow-on to the Apollo project; but the Space Shuttle had already been selected as the next project, consuming all of the budget. Even it did not have quite enough money to do the job right, using liquid fueled boosters, so the infamous solid fueled boosters had to be adopted. Anyway, the Mooncable Lunar space elevator project was lost in the political games of the time. It is still interesting to read of what might have been.