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RE: RE: starship-design: YES, we might do it.

> -----Original Message-----
> From:	Zenon Kulpa [SMTP:zkulpa@zmit1.ippt.gov.pl]
> Sent:	Thursday, October 15, 1998 4:06 PM
> To:	starship-design@lists.uoregon.edu
> Cc:	zkulpa@zmit1.ippt.gov.pl
> Subject:	RE: RE: starship-design: YES, we might do it.
> > From: "Walker, Chris" <Chris.Walker@BSKYB.COM>
> > 
> > > From: Zenon Kulpa [SMTP:zkulpa@zmit1.ippt.gov.pl]
> > > 
> > >"Impossible" not in the technical sense, but in the economic-social
> sense.
> > 
> > OK - my misunderstanding! Although I must admit I'm being pedantic when
> I
> > rule out the word "impossible" - I prefer to use that if something
> really
> > cannot be done (physically). A better term would be "unfeasible", 
> > due to the expense, etc.
> > 
> Granted, I should have been more precise.
No worries :-)

> > >Unless some "intermediate industry", like space tourism,
> > >will pave some of the way, making the required investment smaller.
> > >Thou, I am not so sure - we have already tried other intermediate
> > >space industries - commsats, GPS - with rather little impact 
> > >on serious space exploration (except contributing significantly
> > >to the growth of space debris around Earth and outraging Earth-based
> > >astronomers and radio-astronomers...).
> > >
> > Yes, agreed - the problem with things like commsats is that they tend to
> > generate money for industries that aren't really space-related, such as
> the
> > satellite TV and mobile phone companies. A company puts up a commsat,
> and
> > the revenue generated by its use is simply used to expand the comms
> network
> > (for example), not to mention lining the pockets of the company
> directors,
> > etc. 
> >
> Am I right sensing certain hostility to private industry 
> as expressed in your texts? 
No! I am certainly not hostile to private industry. Rather, I feel that it
is much more likely to progress space industry than the government agencies
will, as the latter tend to be more bound by political (and public opinion)
constraints than a private company would be. As you allude to below, the
private sector is essentially financially driven, and doesn't have to rely
nearly so much on public opinion before it can do something useful. As long
as there is (muchos) money in doing something, it is more likely to get

You can sense 'despondency' on my part towards government agencies ;-)

> I think them being private
> and lining the pockets of their directors is not the issue here.
> The issue is if their operation in space does forward building
> interplanetary space infrastructure than can in turn facilitate
> human settling of the system and possibly make us capable of building
> a starship if we will seem it reasonable.
> The pockets of their directors are not especially important here,
> or rather, a possibility to line appropriately these pockets
> is a necessary requirement for the industry to be able to exist
> at all... 
Big agree! I can see why you thought I was hostile about this from my text,
though, after re-reading it. I simply meant it as an example of where the
money went, rather than as a rant at the private space industry (which I
myself work in). 

> > It's just not channeled into space exploration at all, as it's an
> > Earth-bound commercial interest completely separate from the area of
> > interstellar travel. 
> > 
> Yes, that was my point, roughly - that the rather Earth-bound
> "space" indusries, like commsats & the like, and possibly
> space tourism too, may have little impact on building a space
> infrastructure needed for eventual starship building
> (but see the clarification below). 
> > In this vein - why should space tourism necessarily provide some of the
> > investment for our space infrastructure? A space tourism company will
> plough
> > its revenue back into whatever serves *its* interests, which may or may
> not
> > be what *we're* interested in. I guess the only way in which that might
> > happen is if space tourism grows to such an extent that the company
> decides
> > that it is cheaper to mine asteroids for the materials to build its
> lunar
> > hotels than to ship these materials up from Earth. Even if it does this
> > though, would it allow anyone else to use its facilities? Again,
> wouldn't it
> > simply plough it resources back into serving its own commercial
> interests,
> > rather than our interstellar exploration ones? Et voila - space tourism,
> but
> > perhaps no investment that we can make use of.
> > 
> Some clarification seems necessary.
> Namely, I do not postulate to build space infrastructure
> just for the reason of preparing to build a starship.
> I simply say that building a starship will not be possible
> without prior building of such the infrastructure.
> The infrastructure will be build for quite other purposes,
> the main of which is to allow humans settling the system,
> in space colonies and/or on other planets & moons.
> Thus, I do not expect or demand from space tourism companies
> to build starship shipyards, but only to put enough people 
> and structure in space so that starting space mines & industry
> becomes cost effective, for them and for prospective miners.
> Then it will be no question of *using* these industrial facilities
> by "anyone else", but the question of paying in cash for their 
> products, which I think the owners will be quite eager to accept. 
> That can start the construction of the infrastructure,
> provided the tourism companies can & will "grow to such an extent".
> -- Zenon
OK - understood.

Chris Walker