Beyond the Cusp

December 12, 2016

How Bad do Americans Want to be First in Space?

 

It has been a while since NASA and space have been much of a news item. With the cancellation of the Space Shuttle, which really did not go into SPACE Space, NASA has kind of fallen by the wayside. President Obama had set the target as Mars, an Asteroid, but definitely not the Moon; as we have “Been there, Done that.” Well, right about now being capable of getting American Astronauts to the International Space Station (ISS) using an American rocket of any sort would be a step in the right direction. Many of you are probably scratching your heads and wondering where did this idea stem from. Well, I read that NASA has a plan for a space station, all American this time would be nice, in Moon orbit from which to go Mars, Moon, Asteroids, just about anywhere. They want to use this station to test some theoretical shielding systems which should protect against radiation. Yes, radiation, a real set of shields like real science fiction spaceships have. They want to power the station for correcting the orbit with, wait for it, electronic drive systems. Can you say Ion Drivers? I knew you could. Their plans reach into the 2030’s but I bet Americans do not want the race to place an orbiting station in Moon orbit or a real underground Moon Base to be anywhere near or close to the Chinese who claim they will have a Moon base by the early to mid-2030’s. My bet is knowing that the Chinese, yes, the Chinese building on American and Russian know-how, are screaming at their monitors about now, “What’s the holdup?” Well, the usual, funding.

 

Let’s talk NASA funding. Anybody have an idea on the percentage of the budget NASA used to go to the Moon, assist with building the ISS, the entire Shuttle fleet? Not the actual cost in dollars as that is too relative, the percentage? Was it 10%, 15%, 20%? Too low or too high? Well, believe it or not too high so let’s try under 10%. Was it 8%, 5%, 3%, how low would we need to go? Perhaps we should first figure out what it would be worth for the United States to build a Space Wheel with central hub serving as a dock for building any size ship for any destination desired with the ability to tow Asteroids for the metals, ceramics, gold, silver and any other necessary materials including enough water to power the entire venture and transmit power back to fixed Earth stations from space? All of this with a proper Moon Base with the vast majority of the base safely underground protected from Asteroid and Meteor strikes and the Space Wheel and Moon Base entrances all self-sealing from anything smaller than decent rock size holes and a system of lasers, both pulsed and pulse types for differing requirements which automatically fire to destroy larger or even down to as small as an inch projectiles keeping them from striking the sensitive areas where people can even live. A Space Wheel spinning at the correct speed would give five or six levels of near Earth gravity and the central hub could be used for zero gravity manufacturing which allows for perfect crystals and electronics and electronic miniaturization with precisions not possible on Earth due to gravity of the situation. Any ship build from workers based on the Space Wheel could use smaller grabber craft with ion drivers and a pulse driver to assist in gaining return velocity and stopping for fetching Asteroids for materials and resources which would pay for everything in time and give the Earth needed resources of precious metals and who knows what else would be discovered. It all is a dream but would you be willing to invest 3% or maybe, dare we suggest, 5% of the budget set aside just like military spending for NASA and other space related activities by private enterprises which could be subsidized just like General Electric, Chrysler, General Motors and the Banks but actually accomplishing something. This could be done in style at 5% of budget as NASA has rarely cleared 1% of budget.

 

Space Station Double Wheel from Stanley Kubrick Arthur C. Clarke 2001 A Space Odyssey

Space Station Double Wheel
from Stanley Kubrick Arthur C. Clarke
2001 A Space Odyssey

 

You are amazed now, right? Well, there is a reason they always told you how many billions of dollars were “wasted” on NASA and Space things, never going to Mars or propulsion systems for interstellar exploration, or a Moon Base and Space Wheel. No, it was space junk or wasted on space with nothing to show for it. Well, at less than 1% of the budget and often floating around ¾% of the budget, yes, that is 0.75% of the budget, what did you expect, miracles? Well, considering their budget you did get miracles like first men on the Moon, only people to land on the Moon, and with some effort it could be first woman on the Moon, first whatever you choose on the Moon, first Mom to Mars, first family born in space, at 5% of budget we bet NASA could wow the world again. Of course there would be one other item, NASA should be returned to their parent, the Air Force with a General running the show so as to keep things real, just a suggestion as NASA has done some boneheaded things such as crashing a Mars probe because somebody did not transfer the European specifications from meters to feet and thus the speed was grossly underestimated and BOOM! Well, no boom as Mars atmosphere would only transmit a loud clap, yes a series of loud rapid claps as it crashed into Mars way too fast for survival. We all know that many missions NASA had launched were for the Military or the CIA or other even more clandestine agencies so why not quit hiding the link and make it official, the American Military is running the space program and be done with it. Still, 5% or even 3% would seem like they hit the Lottery at NASA and the Military could now put their “black ops space items” onto NASA missions with far less argument, not that NASA ever said no that we know about, nor would we ever know such things or talk about them if we did. Alright, enough with the paranoia and back to Earth or at least Earth bound orbits.

 

Image of NASA Space Vehicle Concept Ship

Image of NASA Space Vehicle Concept Ship

 

The above picture depicts a NASA prototype of the Orion space vehicles. These would sit upon the new heavy lift rocket systems with smaller support more likely contracted out to Space X, Axiom Space, Bigelow Aerospace, Virgin Galactic or any of the literally dozens of other venture space companies. These other space companies could also place their own experiments or modules onto the Moon Base or Space Wheel as long as they would meet certain specifications as it helps if the seals fit tightly and do not leak because they were made to the wrong size. There could even be an additional wheel with set asides for such projects which required livable requirements with Earth gravity and add on space to the Space Doc built to orbit within workable distance from the Space Wheel central hub unit for anything requiring zero gravity and possibly everything inbetween using the service legs of the wheel. The hardest part, as proven by the landing on the Moon in under a decade starting from more rocket failures at launch with some of the most spectacular and impressive explosions in the early 1960s and the Moon in July 1969, America can do whatever they wish in space if only they commit to do whatever they want in space.

 

There are always those who do not believe that the Human Race must conquer space and claim it is all a waste of money. These people can be vocal while the dreamers are often the quiet sort leaving their noise for cheering launches trying to out shout the deep rumbling grumble of the first stage rocket and boosters. The supporters of active and daring space development programs, despite knowing that the ultimate fruits are not going to materialize in their lifetimes, are committed and hope to make such developments as a driver for interstellar missions become a reality before their grandchildren’s, or to be bolder, children’s lives end. The obvious secret about such grand ventures is that the sooner we, as a people, begin to venture towards these goals, the sooner we will overcome the difficulties we will encounter. NASA has developed a projected mission profile for the initial Orion Mission (see below). Their claim is they may, if all proceeds as well as expected, to have the craft orbit the Moon instead of a single trip around using a free return gravity driven return orbit just in case their craft has problems as they intend for it to return to Earth. All we can say is, “Decent start, now what?”

 

NASA Orion Flight Trajectories Including Lunar Orbits

NASA Orion Flight Trajectories Including Lunar Orbits

 

Now for our dreaming part of this article. We would like to see a spaceport launch facility built in the Negev Desert and for an ambitious Israeli space program built near the 31o Latitude (see map below). While 31o Latitude is somewhat too far north for optimum, but when your country is slightly smaller than New Jersey with largely populated northern half and a more sparsely populated southern desert, then this is perfect for a spaceport launch facility. Israel definitely has more than sufficient technological sophistication for an advanced space program and such a facility would free Israel from dependence upon other nations to launch communications and special satellites and doing so without having to proclaim their launches to the world unless required by treaties. Israel partnering with the United States on certain missions and reserving space on the space wheel for Israeli modules would be one more economical approach and building an Israel space wheel, likely smaller with a higher rotation speed, would be beyond any expectation. Israel having an operating launch facility could also allow other nations to utilize and launch from the spaceport in order to defray costs. Even a partnership with a dependable and consistent ally would be beneficial. Israel reaching into space would also serve to be deterrent to military ventures against Israel especially should Israel launch sufficient spy and mapping satellites as such craft would give early warning capability to Israel allowing early responses which could allay an attack. The secret to forging a well-ordered peaceful planet is the need to control all the high ground, that being space, and that could be something within the reach of Israel. There also exists another reason that Israel should build a spaceport capable of multiple launches in rapid succession possibly as many as six to ten rockets in a single day and perhaps a dozen to a dozen and a half per week and far more than any probable need would arise per month. Such a launch schedule potential would make Israel a preferable launch platform than Europeans or Russians currently possess or are even likely to possess. This capability would make Israel a space center which the developed space-faring world who could come to depend upon Israel thus making Israel even more intertwined with the world and thus having even greater impetus for good relations with all. As we stated, this is our dream space where we fantasize and paint pretty pictures of the future and perhaps also to work to plant a seed, an idea which grows until it has a life of its own. Once that stage is reached more than half the battle has been won. As stated above, the most difficult time is getting the idea accepted and started, once there your dream has a great potential to be realized. Israel in space, almost sounds like a Mel Brooks comedy (see video below map).

 

Israel Space Port Launch Facility

Israel Space Port Launch Facility

 

 

Beyond the Cusp

 

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December 29, 2013

China Making Foundational Maneuvers for Preeminence

This end of 2013 may be depicted in history as the period where China cemented her role as the up and coming super power ready to take up the call when the United States collapses into a financial and economic shambles. There are three items in particular signaled that China is ready and desires a seat at the head of the table, not just a seat among coequals. The first of these was covered with headlines it deserved as China claimed an unparalleled maritime and air defense zone over the East China Sea that includes the Senkaku Islands, islands which are claimed and recognized as belonging to Japan which China has disputed over the years. The Japanese, Philippine and South Korean governments all denounced China’s claim giving orders to their military and civilian air and shipping companies that they were not to recognize this bullying from China and continue to operate as normal. This was a blatant challenge of the Chinese claim as the Chinese demanded that air traffic must gain permission from Chinese air controllers in order to penetrate into their newly claimed zone. The United States was far more compliant as their military has orders to continue as normal and ignore Chinese demands while civilian and private cargo flights are to request Chinese approval before entering these claimed areas of the South China Sea. The United States partial recognition and capitulation was seen by her allies as surrender before the Chinese giving them reasons to doubt the will of the United States to back the treaties and promises made to the nations in the far Pacific Ocean and South China Sea. Now that Far East Asia has been given a taste of the new Obama America similar and in kind to that received by the Saudis, Egyptians and Israelis over President Obama’s weak and tepid doctrines and responses to Iran, the Muslim Brotherhood, Libya including specially Benghazi, Syria and the basic abandonment of Iraq and soon Afghanistan, they too are having doubts about depending on the United States and her word.

 

The second event announcing the Chinese arrival and crossing a definitive demarcation was their successful landing of an unmanned probe on the Moon. The Chang’e 3, named after a lunar goddess in traditional Chinese mythology, landed on the lunar surface Saturday, December 14 softly placing the probe to survey the lunar surface and dig into the soil and test samples. Xinhua news agency said, “The dream for lunar exploration once again lights up the China Dream.” This is all part of an ambitious Chinese space program which includes the building and manning of a fully operational spacestation by 2020. Where, in my opinion, that will prove to be a formidable task to complete in such a short period but this landing is a huge step towards that goal. The Chinese most definitely have the technology to place a spacestation on the Moon and likely even keep it supplied and operational on a permanent basis. The question is not one of capability but of affordability. Such an operation would probably consume funding equal to their entire current military budget and then some. The only feasible way to finance such a venture would require two items, mining the Moon which contains almost unmeasurable quantities of Helium-3, also called Deuterium which is an isotope of hydrogen that has a neutron next to the proton in the nucleus, which can be used in energy generation by fusion along with claiming sole possession of the Moon and collecting a sizeable charge from any nation wishing to land on the Moon and even more so if they require or wish to use the Chinese facility. Betting that the Chinese would respect the United Nations treaty which made space universal and a place free from the claims by any one nation may not be the wisest way of proceeding.

 

The final was more of a brandishing of their naval sword as a Chinese warship cut across the bow of the United States missile cruiser Cowpens on December 5, 2013 causing the latter to take emergency procedures in order to avoid a collision. United States warships were in the area observing China’s new aircraft carrier, the Liaoning, which was on maneuvers. The Chinese warship crossed the Cowpen’s bow at a distance of less than 200 yards. Other commentary has claimed that the Chinese actions “was particularly aggressive” and definitely “unhelpful in trying to increase cooperation between the two navies.” This was also a further move by the Chinese to demonstrate their newly claimed area of the South China Sea is unwelcome waters for other nations by their acting with disregard of the United States warship probably intending to send a warning for all to stay out. Such maneuvers are uneasily reminiscent of Cold War provocative maneuvers and challenges which occurred regularly between the Soviet Navy and the American Navy. This may simply be a foreboding of things to come as China spreads her newly established blue water navy further into the Pacific Ocean that she had previously operated. This along with the other actions will have allies of the United States in the Pacific near China worried and rightfully so. Japan especially as the Japanese and Chinese have a less than amicable history and there is little love lost between these two nations. South Korea also will feel the threats strongly as they may also find North Korea being more forceful and bold as China becomes another force in the Pacific Ocean.

 

The glove has been tossed at the feet of the United States by China, will President Obama pick up the glove or run scared from any confrontation and simply resign giving the whole of the Far East over to Chinese hegemony. Hope and Change has worked well in Basically Transforming the United States. Maybe somebody should have asked for what we were hoping and what we were changing and into what would that change lead. Why do I have so little faith that the majority of Americans remain clueless and actually work to remain clueless?

 

Beyond the Cusp

 

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