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Re: starship-design: Infrastructure in space [was: FTL travel...]

> >
> Of course, you are right, Kelly, when speaking of building
> a single orbital station (or possibly even some tens of them),
> or a single interstellar ship (and unmanned for that -
> you cannot send people for tens of years journey through space without
> prior experience with long-living self-sufficient space habitats).
> However, the really permanent presence of mankind in space
> (including long-duration long-range interstellar travel)
> cannot be assured without building industrial and settlement
> infrastructure in space (meaning outside Earth) as well.
> You better start to think how to build it as fast as possible,
> instead of finding only excuses for postponing it toward some
> "better future". Otherwise, the "better future" never happens...

This is all going to be tricky, I think. The commercial/industrial-scale
infrastructure will be needed to establish and maintain settlement and
profitability, but nobody will want to pay for it all up front, and I don't see how
it could become profitable until it's established -- a catch-22 of sorts. But once
it is established, there will be a market shift; first profits will go dirtside to
pay the investment, but then the settlement will become its own internal market,
like a new country, and these profit exchanges will overlap somewhat.

This brings up a question of law and administration, of course, and who has rights
to what. That will be a simple matter of contract and treaty _until_ someone up
there sees that they have the resources to become autonomous; then the real fun

It really looks as if someone's going to have to grab their bootstraps and give a
good yank . . .

> > >Third, what do you want to see, a repeat of Apollo?
> > >Okay lets spend ten trillion dollars to put a man
> > >on the third planet of Alpha Centauri and then go home and quit?
> > >Not me.
> > >
> > >I want to see a thriving orbital industry sending hundreds
> > > of ships out to mine asteroids, ferry goods to and from orbital
> > >installations, the moon and the planets. Research stations
> > >all over the solar system, inhabited stations all over the place.
> > >In short lots and LOTS of experienced orbital know how.
> >
> > Then you don't want the interstellar or any exploration missions,
> > you want a  earth side market for your space based industry.
> > Without that it will all blow away to dust like NASA after Apollo.
> > Doesn't mater how much stuff you  put up there.
> > If its up there for no real general pourpose, It'll be abandoned.
> >
> Sure, if you assume that any installations in space are eventually
> Earth-centered, i.e., their only end purpose is to bring
> something useful down here. However, the space infrastructure
> Lee is speaking about will be needed in most part for space
> operations - not for sustaining Earth people,
> but for sustaining people living outside Earth.
> > From owner-starship-design@lists.uoregon.edu Fri Apr 21 05:55:56 2000
> > From: KellySt@aol.com
> > Subject: Re: starship-design: How to build a station.
> >
> [...]
> >
> > Projects ae with current projected reserves, we can meet all
> > growing oil needs for 200-300 years.  Prices have been going down
> > (eratically) for a century, and is likely to keep doing so
> > for another century or so.  If need be, there is LOTS of oil
> > drifting around near earth space.
> >
> So you see, infrastructure in space will be needed anyway... ;-)
> > So if you can cut the launch
> > costs of empty frighters enough, you can sell oil from space down
> > here.  Global warming folks will scream though.  ;)
> >
> One more reason to put the oil-hungry industry in space instead.
> You will get an additional benefits: the industry in space
> will rather use small amounts of oil to burn. That is,
> unless you are ready to ship up lots of oxygen from Earth... ;-))
> -- Zenon Kulpa