MAIN ARTICLE: Space Spells Jobs - Part III.
The third diary in the continuing series on space commercialization and development by America. In this article we plunge into space mining versus developing space closer to home.
Poll Results: Yesterday's poll Had a close finish, scroll down to see the results, click subscribe to stay informed with the latest space polling.
Star Trek: In the News. " 'Star Trek' is among 2009's big movies." Rafer Guzman talks about 2009 movie fare.
Yesterday's Comments: "False dichotomy...Feeding the people and sending a crew to Mars is not an either - or proposition." - kalmoth
Today's Poll: What area of Commerical Space Development should America promote first?
The author of the book "Moon Rush", Dennis Wingo, had an article today on Space Ref. One aspect was covered in another diary today by HamillianActor:
A Compelling Reason For Space Exploration. This will be on a different area of that article that I both agree and disagree with the approach Wingo lays out.
"Space encompasses both chains of reason. The economic development of the solar system, beginning at the Moon and extending on from there addresses the critical national and even global problem of energy and resources, while providing the opportunity for mankind to incorporate the vast riches that await us there. Any other reasoning for the exploration of space is a hollow effort who's prestige value is no more than adding an additional footnote in some future civilization's history book." - Dennis Wingo
While I agree we should be developing a commercial space economy, I disagree where we should start.
WHERE DO WE START:
Dennis, along with a lot of other authors that promote space commercialization, (see Mining The Sky: Untold Riches From The Asteroids, Comets, And Planets), always start with the premise we have to move outwards starting at a minimum the moon.
This is where my fundamental disagreement starts. It assumes that we, America and NASA, have worked Low Earth Orbit (LEO) and Geosynchronous orbit (GEO) to death. We have learned and EARNED all we can there so it is really time to move outward. It seems to assume that, because we have been flying to LEO since the early 1960's and have been putting satellites into GEO for the same amount of time, those areas are now fully developed and it is time to move on. For me, my first thought is "back the truck up". If they are fully commercially developed then I should beable to buy a ticket to an orbital space station and start sucking down chocolate, peanut, pumpkin pie smoothies or some concocation from Star Bucks and lazily view the earth poolside on a Zero-G chaise lounge.
(for a successful diary always try to work pie into it)
That doesn't seem to be the case. This diary has consistantly argued against moon or mars landings, for right now, and instead work on developing space closer to home. A LOT closer. 200 miles above Earth upwards to 25,000 miles (LEO2GEO).
Before we move outward I believe the International community in general, and America in particular, needs to develop a "gas n' go" commercial system for traveling in space. This would entail the development of an International Fuel & Supply Station (IFSS) and vehicles to utilize that station.
This station would be located in LEO and would accept fuel and supplies from international launch companies. That way any country that has developed a launch infrastructure immediatly has a market.
The first LEO2GEO vehicles would be initially developed by NASA and operate from LEO, for crew transfers from commercial stations (see Bigelow Aerospace) and be resupplied at the IFSS, then fly to GEO. The ships would be used intially for demonstration of satellite repair and routine servicing. The repeated missions to the Hubble Space Telescope has shown the extreme value of being able to do this on a regular basis.
NASA would then beable to design and develop a whole new class of Earth Satellites that can take advantage of this. How would the next generation of satellites develop if this was a basic feature of satellite design i.e. they could be routinely serviced for battery swaps, refueling etc.
This process would be repeated for GEO then repeated again out at a lagrange point. Moving outward, developing our ability to "sail" on the oceans of space before we try to land somewhere and colonize. Columbus did not build the first ocean going vessel and then try and cross the ocean. The ability to sail the seas was common as were the number of ship types he could have used.
We have billions in space assets in space already in GEO, and thousands of pieces of space debris (space junk) lets build the space ships of tomorrow and start creating jobs and working in space closer to home.
Space tourism could easily follow these commercial stations as they moved outward.
I know I did not spend a lot of time on mining, if you read either of those authors you will find they present their arguements a lot better then I ever could and you would not see my personal bias in their writings.
Yesterday's poll "What type of fuel depot should America develop?" had a nice turnout and it appears a few converts were made for the idea of a human crewed fuel and supply depot. 30% of DKOS members who responded to the poll still picked the robot fuel station with 24% choosing the human crewed option.
Once again the 'no opinion' were divided into only two camps. No one supports space funding as it is currently funded. 30% would like to see it increased and 15% would like to see it cut. The 2 to 1 margin is pretty consistant across dozens of polls to date.
STAR TREK: In the News.
"Making up stories isn't easy, which is why Hollywood likes to find ones that already exist. That means 2009 is so far shaping up to be another year of adaptations, remakes, "reimaginings" and plain old sequels."
There was just so many great comments yesterday that it was impossible to chose. So I went with a couple light hearted ones. If you missed yesterday's diary you should read through them, a lot of great links were provided also. Yesterday's Comments:
"More bluntly this "tether two orbiters" and go to Mars plan is batshit crazy.
And I am a space enthusiast who would LOVE to see a human mission to Mars" - Bill White
"Its always worth while to hear the Batshit crazy ideas.
You never know..." - Ferris Valyn
"Meeting with aliens. We should have our bankers greet them and show them some funky financial tools, it would interesting to watch someone else's economy collapse for a change." - LaFeminista
"shall we pick the Gaza strip? ...runs quickly to put on her fire-proof underwear!" - In her own Voice
The weekly tracking poll that normally runs on Saturday will be ran one day later then usual and you will see it tomorrow. Today's poll is on commercial space development.