Friday, November 13, 2009

Heir to the Saturn 5

NASA weighs Ares alternatives, including an heir to the Saturn V

However, the rocket received high marks from NASA engineers over the shuttle derived systems in the following areas:

1) Ground Operations Safety: It eliminates the danger of stacking the Solid Rocket Boosters in the Vehicle Assembly Building at the Kennedy Space Center. Currently nobody can be in the building during stacking. It also opens up the VAB to other uses because you can have offices in the building again.

2) Costs: It eliminates at least $1 billion a year in solid costs and tens of millions more in recurring costs of shuttle-derived systems.It also takes fewer people to operate.

3) Maintenance: Boosters are heavy and thus inflict a lot of wear and tear on KSC facilities, including the Crawler-Transporter that carries the rocket on its mobile launchpad, and the 130-ft wide Crawlerway track that leads from the VAB to the pad. As this rocket would be stacked empty and fueled on the pad it would be much lighter than a rocket using SRBs.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Buzz Aldrin - Cancel the Ares 1 and V

Why We Need Better Rockets
What do we need? One rocket for all our deep space missions. Save the taxpayer's money by canceling the Ares 1 and V. And go "back to the future" in designing the big beast. So how do we get to the space station without Ares 1? Let the commercial space firms develop their own crew launchers, and crew vehicles. Why should Uncle Sam be in the people hauling business?

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Peter Sage Speaks On SSP at TED

TED Space Energy Presentation - Peter Sage - 1/2

Peter Sage of Space Energy Inc. giving a presentation on Space Based Solar Power (SBSP) at the TED conference.

TED Space Energy Presentation - Peter Sage - 2/2

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Orlando Sentiel Editorial for Scrapping Ares I

Pull the plug on Ares- The gist: NASA needs a new approach to keep its manned program relevant. from the Orlando Sentinel

If U.S. space-policy decisions were dictated based solely on spectacle, the Ares I would be a shoo-in as NASA's next manned vehicle. Unfortunately for fans of the rocket, cost, design and timing also matter.

Problems with all three argue for scrapping Ares I and assigning commercial rockets the task of flying to the international space station in low-Earth orbit. That would allow the agency to concentrate on its pre-shuttle mission of cutting-edge exploration.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Sherry Bell's Book is Out

Congratulations Sherry,

Living in Space edited by Sherry Bell

Living in Space is a captivating study across a wide spectrum of the issues that humanity faces, as we look beyond our home planet at future needs, future business endeavors, future learning opportunities, and future homes for our children and theirs. The authors who contributed to this volume present us with a wonderful diversity of perspectives, including the arts, philosophy, business, science, and technology, and the story that emerges from their fine writings engages the imagination. These chapters also engage our vision, and I hope this book helps us to muster the will and the commitment to proceed with the development of space for the benefit of all humanity, as it should be. I hope you enjoy this book as much as I did. -- Edgar Mitchell, Sc.D., Apollo 14 Astronaut, March 26, 2009

Friday, October 30, 2009

New NASA Advisory Council Committees

Bolden Revamps NASA Advisory Council By Debra Werner in Space News

Commercial Space Committee led by Brett Alexander

Information Technology and Associated Infrastructure led by retired U.S. Air Force Lt. Gen. Al Edmonds

Public Outreach and Education led by Miles O’Brien

Technology and Innovation led by Esther Dyson

Thursday, October 29, 2009

$10 per kilowatt Hour Market of Space Solar Power

Snagging Free-Range Solar Power in Space Is An Option - Floating solar cells far above Earth and beaming the energy to the grid has shifted from loony to funded. By: Bruce Dorminey in Miller-McCune

In Iraq, for example, electricity is still being generated by costly diesel fuel, at a price of some $10 per kilowatt electric hour. Meanwhile, large numbers of troops have been killed or wounded while protecting convoys transporting that diesel fuel. A fixed forward base equipped with space solar rectennas could save lives, money and might give the war fighters — or even the nation-builders — a competitive advantage.

Ralph Nansen's Inspiring New Book

Energy Crisis: Solution from Space

Presenting a bold solution for global climate change and dependence on oil—and the threat of war over its diminishing supply—this visionary reference explores how developing solar energy could bring about unprecedented economic prosperity and opportunity on a global scale. By using existing technology in revolutionary ways, this new energy plan would have the potential to create jobs and revitalize the economy while offering a clean, affordable, and long-term solution. Asserting that the current generation can develop this innovative energy source to change the world economically, environmentally, and politically for the better, this stunning guide offers an unexpected new hope for the future.

About the Author

Ralph Nansen has been involved with space engineering for more than four decades. He is the founder and president of Solar Space Industries and the former Boeing solar-power satellite program manager. He is the author of Sun Power: The Global Solution for the Coming Energy Crisis. He lives in Lopez Island, Washington.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Bring Back NIAC

The Aeronautics and Space Engineering Board (ASEB) and the Engineering and Physical Sciences Board (DEPS)of the National Academy of Sciences call for the re-establishment of the NASA Institute for Advanced Concepts (NIAC)

Fostering Visions for the Future: A Review of the NASA Institute for Advanced Concepts
The NASA Institute for Advanced Concepts (NIAC) was formed in 1998 to provide an independent source of advanced aeronautical and space concepts that could dramatically impact how NASA develops and conducts its missions. Until the program's termination in August 2007, NIAC provided an independent open forum, a high-level point of entry to NASA for an external community of innovators, and an external capability for analysis and definition of advanced aeronautics and space concepts to complement the advanced concept activities conducted within NASA. Throughout its 9-year existence, NIAC inspired an atmosphere for innovation that stretched the imagination and encouraged creativity.

As requested by Congress, this volume reviews the effectiveness of NIAC and makes recommendations concerning the importance of such a program to NASA and to the nation as a whole, including the proper role of NASA and the federal government in fostering scientific innovation and creativity and in developing advanced concepts for future systems. Key findings and recommendations include that in order to achieve its mission, NASA must have, and is currently lacking, a mechanism to investigate visionary, far-reaching advanced concepts. Therefore, a NIAC-like entity should be reestablished to fill this gap.

Lava Tubes Could Reduce Cost of Lunar Base

Living in Lunar Lava Tubes by Ian O'Neill in Discovery Space

Ian: Personally, what would you expect the mission profile of a lunar mission would look like if we used natural shelter (such as lava tubes) to protect ourselves from radiation? Do you think this would be a cheaper alternative than building surface habitats?

Carolyn: Lava tubes would not only protect us from radiation, but also from meteoroid impacts and the extreme temperature changes over the lunar day. Near the equator, the lunar night is very cold (about -150 °C), and the lunar day, it is very hot (about 110 °C). A lava tube has a constant temperature, about -20 °C -- just like caves on the Earth have very even temperatures.
Not being an engineer, I'm not sure that I can comment on the costs of surface versus subsurface habs. It does seem to make sense that using a natural, easily accessible shelter would help reduce costs.

More insight into Dr. Nozette

Espionage suspect has friends puzzled from the Washington Post by
Nozette wanted to repeat the experiments with more sophisticated equipment, former colleagues said, and he lobbied lawmakers and officials to give him another chance.

But NASA had another probe, the Lunar Prospector. Nozette and a colleague visited top-ranking NASA officials in hopes of ending the mission and getting the funding for their project, said Alan Binder, the lead scientist on the Prospector.

Binder, who fended off the assault, said he never forgave Nozette. "He wanted the glory," Binder said. "He wanted the mission."

Evidently Dr. Nozette's betrayal started much early. I am appalled that Dr. Nozette tried to get Lunar Prospector canceled. It is so difficult to get interest and funding for lunar projects the last thing we need to do is sabotage each other. Trying to grab the Lunar Prospector funding for himself might very well have meant no lunar probe. If Dr. Nozette had been patient he probably could have gotten funding for a Clementine follow up after Lunar Prospector which I am sure Alan Binder would have supported. Instead he endangered the lunar program and made an enemy of Dr. Binder. I guess Dr. Nozette really had no loyalty except to himself.

More on Dr. Nozette's troubles

USA v. Office of Alliance for Competitive Technology

US v. Nozette

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Asteriod Explosion over Indonisia

Asteroid explosion over Indonesia raises fears about Earth's defences in the

On 8 October, the rock crashed into the atmosphere above South Sulawesi, Indonesia. The blast was heard by monitoring stations 10,000 miles away, according to a report by scientists at the University of Western Ontario.

Scientists are concerned that it was not spotted by any telescopes, and that had it been larger it could have caused a disaster.

The asteroid, estimated to have been around 10 metres (30ft) across, hit the atmosphere at an estimated 45,000mph. The sudden deceleration caused it to heat up rapidly and explode with the force of 50,000 tons of TNT.

Here is a video of it from YouTube

The government is now deciding how much to invest in Near Earth Object(NEO) surveys. The argument against investing heavily in NEO surveys is the statistical chance of being injured or killed by a NEO is very low. This argument overlooks the stress which is induced by different types of risk. Equal levels of risk cause significantly different levels of stress. Risk which is known and the individual has control over causes the least stress. Either lack of knowledge or control significantly rise stress levels. Risks that are unknown and out of control causes the highest levels of stress. The risk of Asteroids and other NEO's is neither known nor controlled, so it induces a high level of stress on the population. This shown through in popular culture with numerous disaster movies featuring large rocks in space colliding with the Earth. I think the stress of the unknown and uncontrollable risk NEO's pose, that a higher level of funding is in order. Beyond the funding level pure statistic alone would dictate.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Intact Lunar Lava Tube Found

In New Scientist there is an exciting article, Found: first 'skylight' on the moon. The article describes the finding of a deep hole which is a skylight of an intact lunar lava tube. Many partially collapsed lunar lava tubes have been identified this is the first intact lunar lava tube.

This is wonderful news. A lunar lava tube is big cave which could be used to shelter a lunar base. This lunar lava tube seems to be at least 80 meters deep and 370 meters across.

Lunar lava tubes have roofs tens of meters thick, are hundreds of meters wide and thought to be kilometers long. So they would offer a base a lot of protection from radiation and meteors. As well as lots of room to expand.

Lunar lava tubes are thought to be temperature stable at -20 Celsius which makes operations much easier than a surface base subject to the drastic lunar temperature swings.

Lunar lava tubes might contain significant quantities of lunar ice, which seems to be suggested by recent data. Since lunar lava tubes are temperature stable any water entering the cave would freeze and stay inside the cave. I noticed this phenomena when I toured the lava tubes in northern California in the summer, the lava tube contained significant quantities of ice.

We need to find more intact lava tubes by using gravity, radar and seismic sounding surveys. As they will provide a safe an secure location for human expansion off of Earth. Mars is believed to have even larger lava tubes than the Moon.

For more information - Caves on the Moon? by Paul Spudis in The Once and Future Moon


NASA Watch has has suggested that I am confused. Unfortunately there are no specifics, so I am not sure on what point Keith Cowings thinks I am confused.

I am not experiencing any confusion.

The Battle Over The Augustine Report Has Begun

Below is a video in support option 4B in the Augustine Commission (extending the use of the shuttle and develop a shuttle derived heavy lift) since it is the only way to eliminate the gap in US manned launch capability. But there are problems with continuing to use the Shuttle and Shuttle Derived technology.

1. Maintaining the workforce equals maintaining high launch costs since those workers have to be paid.

2. Maintaining the workforce maintains the failed paradigm NASA has had for the last several decades.

3. The architecture is unsafe if we continue to fly the shuttle technology we are sentencing 7 more people to die in the next shuttle accident.

4. Continuing to use the shuttle architecture guarantees that we will not develop new launch technology.

Keith Cowing did notice an interesting problem with the video - from NASA Watch Inaccuracies at SaveSpace
this video purports to focus on Augustine Option 4b which talks about shuttle derived launch vehicles. Well, it is actually a propoganda piece for the DIRECT concept - one of two shuttle-derived concepts briefed to the Augustine Committee. At one point John Shannon, an advocate for the other shuttle-derived concept that was thoroughly briefed (yet ignore in this video), the Shuttle Sidemount HLV, is shown talking about a shuttle-derived launch vehicle while DIRECT imagery is shown. At no time is the Shuttle Sidemount concept even mentioned. Very deceptive.

Video compilation supporting Augustine Commission Report Option 4B by Direct Launcher

Video compilation supporting Augustine Commission Report Option 4B from Direct Launcher on Vimeo.

How the Exploration and Development of Space will Determine The Rise and Fall of Humanity

Turning Point - How the Exploration and Development of Space will Determine The Rise and Fall of Humanity by Douglas Mallette is avalible through Amazon. Read why space is vital & how you can help us get there.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

$8 Billion not enough to go beyond LEO?

From the Orlando Sentiniel - Greason: It's time to base U.S. space policy on the "truth" posted by Robert Block.

OS: Now, let me put something to you that has been put to me. I don’t necessarily agree with it but it is a sentiment that is out there. By not finding anything useful the U.S. can do in space for NASA’s current human space flight budget of $7 billion or $8 billion a year, the committee failed. What’s your reaction to that sentiment?

JG: It’s not failure to point out truth. The truth is the truth. And it is high time that national space policy was made on the basis of truth and not on the basis of convenience. It is not true to say that we found there is nothing NASA can do within its current budget. There are two options laid out in the report that NASA can do with its current budget. What we did not find was a way for NASA to do significant human exploration beyond low Earth orbit in the near term with this current budget. And I don’t like that answer either but that is not going to change it.

With all due respect to Jeff Greason, what the Committee found is that we can do nothing significant beyond Low Earth Orbit, while maintaining the US aerospace work force. The Committee feels it is necessary to fly out the remain shuttle payloads, maintain the station until 2020 and build a heavy lift using traditional techniques and traditional technologies. Of course there is no money to do anything else. Trying to go beyond earth orbit with all that luggage is impossible. It is like trying to fly with an elephant on your back.

When NASA decided to pursue the shuttle and station instead of lunar development they sealed their fate. NASA might someday be able to again do great things but it must stop being a jobs program to do it. Giving NASA more money now will probably only extend the jobs of the current work force, rather than speed space development.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Fall of a Tragic Hero

Dr. Stewart Nozette has been arrested for Spying. Dr. Nozette who was largely responsible for the Clementine Lunar mission which reawaken interest in the Moon. Without whom there would not have been a Lunar Prospector, a New Vision for Space Exploration, or LCROSS or any knowledge of the water on the Moon because no one would have cared or thought we could afford it. This is a tragedy in its most classic sense. A Tragic Hero is one who caused his own downfall with the very things which made him great.

Stu made Clementine possible by stretching and bending the rules. He convinced The Ballistic Missile Defense Organization to fund the Deep Space Program Science Experiment (DSPSE) (better known as Clementine) to test military components for $80 million. Stu then spent all of the money in a matter of weeks so that it would not make any sense to cancel the project. Stu made it work and work spectacularly on a shoe string budget. Stu was also not afraid to ruffle feathers. I remember being in the front row of the first Clementine presentation at Johnson Space Center at the Lunar Planetary Science Conference in a room with hundreds of people, where they were showing live feed from the Moon, the first American lunar exploration since Apollo. Stu Nozette gleefully explained how NASA had nothing to do with this project. I could just feel the anger in the room when he said that.

Stu made himself a target of scrutiny by ruffling a lot of feathers and may have bent the rules too far this time. That which made Stu Nozette a hero, to all of us who long to see lunar development, may have been his downfall. It is so incredibly sad, it brings tears to my eyes. How I wish this was all some cruel joke. But this is reality, and we are watching the fall of a great man because of, not in spite of that which made he great. We are watching a real tragedy, the fall of a lunar hero.

I was not at all surprised that Dr. Nozette ended up in trouble, only that it took so long and was so severe. Dr. Nozette had always struck me as amoral and reckless. He may have had Antisocial Personality Disorder. Once I got to know Dr. Nozette I was surprised they had given such a reckless and amoral fellow a security clearance. Maybe they did because he was amoral and would work on things others with a strong sense of right and wrong wouldn't. He may have had an Ollie North role someone who will do your dirty work then when you are done with him throw him to the wolves. In Nozettes case use him to send a message to Israel that our relationship was cooling.

My only questions are, did Dr. Nozette actually transfer sensitive information or had his down fall been in the works for years, was he told he had important information when he did not? How long had they been planning to trap Dr. Nozette? Revenge is a dish best served cold. In this case it may have been very cold. Who must he have angered and how did he do it for them to want to trap him in to an offense which carries a life sentence. How long must they have thought about it to design the perfect trap for Dr. Nozette.

The silence about Dr. Nozette in the Aerospace community has been deafening Those who do speak, condemn him totally forgetting that a person is innocent until proven guilty and that we do not live in Stalinist Russia where people are wiped from history because they fall out of favor.

Dr. Nozette's gall made Clementine possible when no one else could have. Before Clementine it had been over a decade since anything american had been in near the Moon and there were no plans to ever go back. It is a sad testimate to the US Aerospace community that only a man as manipulative and amoral as Dr. Stewart Nozette could get us back to the Moon.

For More information see -Stewart Nozette, Israeli spy?

NASA Watch

Recently NASA WATCH violated my copyright by posting an entire blog post I had posted on another blog. NASA Watch suggested my comments were bizarre and in the past were odd. Also suggested my rhetoric was goofy, insensetive and ill-advised. I am not sure why NASA WATCH sees my writing as so important.Does Keith Cowing see me as a threatening competior? Is it because he has tied himself so securely to a dying agency? Is it because he doesn't feel qualified to engage in a real debate so he attacks people not ideas?

It is flattering that Keith Cowing thinks my words are so important. I believe he finds my writing odd because I come at the aerospace industry from an entirely different viewpoint than most, one dedicated to space settlement. I also value truth which is not a value shared by many in the space industry. I have found the way to really anger people in the space industry is by pointing out the truth.

Keith also needs to study literature, since he obviously did not understand my reference to the tragic hero of classic Greek and Shakespearian literature. He also misunderstood the literary device of understatement as a way of adding emphasis to an idea. Keith also seems to not understand the concept of innocent until proven guilty. Or the idea that bad acts do not negate past good acts.

The Final Augustine Report

The Augustine Report is out. Reading it makes me wonder is this the best way to spent $100 billion? Will any of there plans get us any closer to space development?

Sure we should fly out the shuttle payloads, and Ares I has become pointless but what about the rest of it. Is continuing Space Station operations until 2020 going to help space development or has the Space Station just been an expensive detour on the road to space development like the shuttle. Although extending the Station does give good opportunities and money for commercial launch services. This may be the silver lining of a very dark cloud.

The plan calls for heavy lift but all options are reconfigurations of existing technology. Don't you think 40 years after the Saturn 5 technology may have changed enough to consider a blank slate start? Maybe using existed parts maybe not, but starting from scratch, applying the newest technology from all fields. On the subject of heavy lift the report doesn't mention space solar power which is an excellent reason to build a heavy lift vehicle.

The report suggests that Mars is the best planetary surface for settlement. Why are they only looking at planets not moons, why are they only thinking in terms of surface rather than subsurface or orbit. The Moon has a more greater potential for economic development than Mars does.

When is NASA going to look at actual settlement and what it would require rather than just exploration. Do we need a different agency to do space development? NASA and the aerospace community certainly don't seem to be interested.

Thursday, September 24, 2009


Sept. 24, 2009

Dwayne Brown
Headquarters, Washington

DC Agle
Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif.

RELEASE: 09-222


WASHINGTON -- NASA scientists have discovered water molecules in the
polar regions of the moon. Instruments aboard three separate spacecraft revealed water molecules in amounts that are greater than predicted, but still relatively small. Hydroxyl, a molecule consisting of one oxygen atom and one hydrogen atom, also was found in the lunar soil. The findings were published in Thursday's edition of the journal Science.

NASA's Moon Mineralogy Mapper, or M3, instrument reported the observations. M3 was carried into space on Oct. 22, 2008, aboard the Indian Space Research Organization's Chandrayaan-1 spacecraft. Data from the Visual and Infrared Mapping Spectrometer, or VIMS, on NASA's Cassini spacecraft and the High-Resolution Infrared Imaging Spectrometer on NASA's EPOXI spacecraft contributed to confirmation
of the finding. The spacecraft imaging spectrometers made it possible to map lunar water more effectively than ever before.

The confirmation of elevated water molecules and hydroxyl at these concentrations in the moon's polar regions raises new questions about its origin and effect on the mineralogy of the moon. Answers to these questions will be studied and debated for years to come.

"Water ice on the moon has been something of a holy grail for lunar scientists for a very long time," said Jim Green, director of the Planetary Science Division at NASA Headquarters in Washington. "This surprising finding has come about through the ingenuity, perseverance
and international cooperation between NASA and the India Space Research Organization."

From its perch in lunar orbit, M3's state-of-the-art spectrometer measured light reflecting off the moon's surface at infrared wavelengths, splitting the spectral colors of the lunar surface into small enough bits to reveal a new level of detail in surface composition. When the M3 science team analyzed data from the instrument, they found the wavelengths of light being absorbed were consistent with the absorption patterns for water molecules and hydroxyl.

"For silicate bodies, such features are typically attributed to water and hydroxyl-bearing materials," said Carle Pieters, M3's principal
investigator from Brown University. "When we say 'water on the moon,'
we are not talking about lakes, oceans or even puddles. Water on the
moon means molecules of water and hydroxyl that interact with
molecules of rock and dust specifically in the top millimeters of the
moon's surface. "

The M3 team found water molecules and hydroxyl at diverse areas of the sunlit region of the moon's surface, but the water signature appeared stronger at the moon's higher latitudes. Water molecules and hydroxyl previously were suspected in data from a Cassini flyby of the moon in
1999, but the findings were not published until now.

"The data from Cassini's VIMS instrument and M3 closely agree," said Roger Clark, a U.S. Geological Survey scientist in Denver and member of both the VIMS and M3 teams. "We see both water and hydroxyl. While the abundances are not precisely known, as much as 1,000 water molecule parts-per-million could be in the lunar soil. To put that into perspective, if you harvested one ton of the top layer of the moon's surface, you could get as much as 32 ounces of water."

For additional confirmation, scientists turned to the EPOXI mission while it was flying past the moon in June 2009 on its way to a November 2010 encounter with comet Hartley 2. The spacecraft not only confirmed the VIMS and M3 findings, but also expanded on them.

"With our extended spectral range and views over the north pole, we were able to explore the distribution of both water and hydroxyl as a function of temperature, latitude, composition, and time of day," said Jessica Sunshine of the University of Maryland. Sunshine is
EPOXI's deputy principal investigator and a scientist on the M3 team. "Our analysis unequivocally confirms the presence of these molecules on the moon's surface and reveals that the entire surface appears to be hydrated during at least some portion of the lunar day."

NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif., manages the M3
instrument, Cassini mission and EPOXI spacecraft for NASA's Science Mission Directorate in Washington. The Indian Space Research
Organization built, launched and operated the Chandrayaan-1 spacecraft.

For additional information and images from the instruments, visit:

For more information about the Chandrayaan-1 mission, visit:

For more information about the EPOXI mission, visit:

For more information about the Cassini mission, visit:

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Response to ARPA-E RFI

Karen Cramer Shea

ARPA-E Request for Information: Space Solar Power

Executive summary

Space solar power is a scalable, base load, carbon emission free power source which has been overlooked in our search for alternatives to fossil fuels. Since its inception in 1968 only $80 Million has been spent to study and develop Space Solar Power as compared with $21 Billion for Fusion1. While both are power sources of the future, we know space solar power can produce more energy than it requires. It is time to invest in space solar power development.

"We can remain the world's leading importer of foreign oil, or we can become the world's leading exporter of renewable energy. We can allow climate change to wreck unnatural havoc, or we can create jobs preventing its worst effects. We can hand over the jobs of the 21st century to our competitors, or we can create those jobs right here in America.” President Barack Obama

The Case for Space Solar Power

Space solar power is the new technology the nation needs and the President has been looking for. The US needs new energy sources. The US used to be an energy exporter now we send billions of dollars every month abroad to supply our energy needs and our standard of living is faltering because of it. Conventional energy sources are being stretched to the limit and still three quarters of the human population lives with little or no electricity. Every energy option seems to fall short of a solution. Fossil fuels release carbon which seems to be causing climate change. Current renewable energy resources can not support base load power needs and make up a tiny fraction of our energy portfolio. Biomass might be used for base load but competes with food supply and may only transform energy from one form to another rather than produce energy. All of the Earth’s energy sources are being stretched to the limit and still not meeting demand. Prices are rising and the environment is suffering. We need to think outside of the box, beyond the limits of the Earth.

The Sun is a vast energy source which is the ultimate source of all power on Earth. What we need is a way to tap into the Sun’s energy directly. Putting solar collectors is space is the way to do this. Solar cells in space collect 7 times more power than those on Earth. This is because in space there is no night, no atmosphere, no weather, and the sun angle is always ideal because the collectors are always pointed at the sun.

Space solar power would collect solar energy in space and transmits it down to the surface of the Earth using microwaves or lasers. Power would be transmitted near end users, nearly anywhere on Earth. The solar collectors could be in low earth orbit, geosynchronous orbit or even on the lunar surface. In the beginning solar arrays would be manufactured on Earth and assembled in space. In the longer term solar arrays could be constructed on the Moon from lunar materials which would make this a virtually pollution free energy source.

Space solar power satellites were first proposed by Dr. Peter Glaser in 1968. The Concept was studied by DOE and NASA during the 1970’s. In 1975 Goldstone Deep Space Communications Complex did experiments in wireless power transmission. During the 1990’s NASA studied the space solar power. In 2007, the Pentagon’s National Security Space Office issued a report on space based solar power which included a discussion of using it to power forward military bases. In 2008 Discovery Channel did a special featuring John Mankins testing wireless power transmission between two Hawaiian Islands, a key space solar power technology. In 2009 Pacific Gas and Electric (PG&E) announced an agreement to by 2000 MW of space solar power starting in 20162. Also in 2009 the Japanese make space solar power a national priority and plan to spend $21 billion to build a space solar power satellite over the next 30 years3.

Space solar power already powers a hundred billion dollar industry, the satellite industry. We know we can build space solar power satellites and have for years. Satellites in space have used solar collectors for decades. We have shown we can wirelessly transmit power in the Goldstone test decades ago. We know how to build and deploy large structures in space, Sky Lab and the International space Station. Space solar power is not new and does not have any road blocks. Space solar power has not been deployed because there has never been enough money to determine the best way to deploy this transformational energy technology and bring down the cost to match terrestrial alternatives. Fusion has received over the $21 billion of funding for its development. While space solar power has only received $80 million almost none of that in the past decade. Even wood has been better at $95 million since 19854.

Space solar power is the Cinderella of alternative energy. The alternative no one talks about, hidden, wearing rags and starved. Like Cinderella, space solar power has enormous untapped potential which will remain dormant unless it is given the proper attention. It is time space solar power was invited to the Ball and given the resources to make a reasonable showing. ARPA-E support could bring this promising source of unlimited, carbon-free base load power over the threshold and into market deployment. Space solar power is the path back to American energy independence and allowing the US once again to become an energy exporter.

Why Space Solar Power Has Not Been Developed

The Giggle Factor – space solar power seems like science fiction; people have a difficult time taking it seriously.

Future Shock - we can not psychologically accept we are advanced enough to deploy space solar power, which becomes self-fulfilling.

The DOE Focus on Nuclear Technology - has a resulted in fusion receiving over the $21 billion of funding for its development. While Space solar power has only received $80 million almost none of that in the past decade1. Even wood has been better at $95 million since 19854.

Cheap oil - diverted attention from space solar power in the 1970’s and hopefully will not distract us again.


ARPA-E Aim - Enhance our economic security by identifying technologies with the potential to reduce energy imports from foreign sources

Space solar power will enhance American economic security by allowing the US to become a net energy exporter. Once our transportation system can be converted to electric vehicles, the US can stop importing energy entirely.

ARPA-E Aim - Reduce energy-related greenhouse gas emissions

Space Solar Power also has no greenhouse gas emissions

ARPA-E Aim - improve efficiency across the energy spectrum.

Space Solar Power improves efficiency across the energy spectrum because power from space can be wirelessly transmitted right where it is needed.

Once wireless power transmission technology is perfected and if it is sufficiently efficient, power could be beamed through space from one side of the Earth to another, creating a global wireless smart grid. This grid would be like the global communications system, transmitting power instead of information up to satellites and back down thousands of miles away.

ARPA-E Aim - Ensure we remain a technological leader in developing and deploying advanced energy technologies.

Space solar power will ensure the US remains a technological leader in developing and deploying advanced energy technologies. Developing space solar power will include research in solar technologies and wireless power transmission techniques.

ARPA-E Aim - Focus on high risk, high payoff concepts - technologies promising true energy transformations.

Space solar power is a high-payoff concept and promises true energy transformation since it would allow us to collect some of the yottawatts of energy, the Sun puts out.

The only part of ARPA-E’s mission that Space Solar Power doesn’t completely comply with is the high risk requirement. Space solar power is not high risk. The fact that it is not high risk is made evident by the number space solar power companies which have already been organized, for instance, Solaren already has a contract with PG and E. Other countries are also very interested; the Japanese plan to spend 21 billion dollars on development of a space solar power satellite.

The questions involved with space solar power now, are not if or how but who, when and how best.

- Which is the best type of solar collectors to use?

- Which type of solar cell best balances cost, mass and durability issues?

- Which is best wireless transmission method - lasers or microwaves?

- Where and how do we best build the receiving stations?

- Which manufacturing techniques are most scalable?

- Which frequency is best considering size, electronics, atmospheric and, International Telecommunications Union issues?

- What safety precautions need to be taken with space solar power?

- How best do we transmit the power from place to place?

- When in this century will the cost of energy rise high enough and Moore’s law reduce the cost of the technology sufficiently for space solar power to be profitable?

- Who will control space solar power?

- In 2050, will we be buying power from space from the Japanese in 2050 or selling it to Saudi Arabia?

- Which US agency, if any, will invest in space solar power?

Space Solar Power has suffered from a policy dilemma. The Department of Defense wants to use space solar power for forward bases but can not build it, since, it is clearly not in their mission and because they are looking at lasers and microwave beams for offensive military purposes. This makes DOD lead on this issue politically impossible. Though, the DOD is very interested in being a customer because space solar power would dramatically cut the cost of power in forward bases. Especially, the cost in lives as the generator fuel trucks are easy targets.

Space solar power is clearly within the mission of both NASA and the DOE. Unfortunately, NASA considers space solar power to be energy and the DOE has considered it to be space. Neither is funding space solar power research. Added to this, NASA is in crisis with the retirement of the Space Shuttle, while trying to operate the International Space Station and return to the Moon with a launch system with is behind schedule, over budget and loosing capability. The Augustine Committee is calling for a $3 billion increase in the NASA budget just to keep up with its current commitments. NASA clearly can not take the lead on this issue. As Dr. Scott Pace Director of the Space Policy Institute pointed out, “If an issue cuts across multiple categories and doesn’t fit into any one of them, that’s likely because it’s strategic.” Space Solar Power is clearly a strategic technology.

We need to answer The President’s call and find clean energy, renewable energy sources for America to control, to allow America to again become an energy exporter and to provide American jobs. Space solar power is that energy source. It is a scalable, base load, carbon free energy source which we can control. Now is time the Cinderella of alternative power was allowed to go to the Ball. ARPA-E could be space solar power’s fairy god mother and turn this scrawny, over looked child in rags into a shining jewel for the world to admire. A beauty, the prince (large investors) will fall in love with and have to have and then we will all live happily ever after, in a world with abundant clean power. Space solar power is a renewable source of clean energy which can be developed in the US, manufactured by US workers launched from US territory and export power to anywhere in the world. Space solar power is also nearly technologically ready to implement, is transformational, scalable, renewable, abundant and carbon emissions free.


1. Space-Based Solar Power As an Opportunity for Strategic Security, Phase 0 Architecture Feasibility Study, Report to the National Security Space Office, October 10, 2007

2. SPACE SOLAR POWER: THE NEXT FRONTIER? by: Jonathan Marshall on April 13, 2009, on the Next 100 (Pacific Gas and Electric’s Blog)

3. Mitsubishi, IHI to Join $21 Bln Space Solar Project by Shigeru Sato and Yuji Okada on on August 31, 2009

4. Pork Alert: Senate Agriculture Appropriations CAGW’s Pork PatrolSM Takes a Closer Look at Fiscal 2010 Agriculture Pork by Citizens Against Government Waste

Thursday, September 17, 2009

The Mars Society on The Augustine Comittee

Mars Society Review of Augustine Committee Summary Report

According to the Augustine Committee, despite spending nearly five years and billions of dollars on the new Constellation Program, NASA is nearly twice as far from the Moon today as it was in 1961. At that time, NASA had conducted only one manned space flight when President John F. Kennedy committed the Nation to land a man on the Moon before 1970. The Committee claims that sending humans on a similar mission is a distant goal, even if tens of billions of dollars of additional funding are added to NASA's budget over the next 15 years. It presents a decadal plan that will get us nowhere in the next decade.

The Augustine Report

SUMMARY REPORT of the Review of U.S. Human Space Flight Plans Committee
The U.S. human spaceflight program appears to be on an unsustainable trajectory. It is
perpetuating the perilous practice of pursuing goals that do not match allocated resources. Space
operations are among the most complex and unforgiving pursuits ever undertaken by humans. It
really is rocket science. Space operations become all the more difficult when means do not match
aspirations. Such is the case today.

The nation is facing important decisions on the future of human spaceflight. Will we leave
the close proximity of low-Earth orbit, where astronauts have circled since 1972, and explore the
solar system, charting a path for the eventual expansion of human civilization into space? If so,
how will we ensure that our exploration delivers the greatest benefit to the nation? Can we explore
with reasonable assurances of human safety? And, can the nation marshal the resources to embark
on the mission?

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Japan to Invest $21 Billion in Space Solar Power

Mitsubishi, IHI to Join $21 Bln Space Solar Project By Shigeru Sato and Yuji Okada
Sept. 1 (Bloomberg) -- Mitsubishi Electric Corp. and IHI Corp. will join a 2 trillion yen ($21 billion) Japanese project intending to build a giant solar-power generator in space within three decades and beam electricity to earth.

Astroid Defense

Scientists design spacecraft to save Earth A spacecraft capable of saving the world from a catastrophic asteroid collision has been designed by British space scientists.

Now, a team of British engineers have designed a real-life spacecraft to save the world from destruction.Their invention, called a "gravity tractor", would be deployed when an orbiting rock is detected on a collision course with Earth.

ARPA-E Looking for New Energy Ideas

Let's all tell the dvanced Research Project Agency – Energy, about Space Solar Power.

Request for Information
Program: Advanced Research Project Agency – Energy (ARPA-E)
Release Date: August 31, 2009
Deadline for Responses: September 25, 2009, 5:00PM EST
Submission Method: Responses are to be submitted as email attachments sent to

The Advanced Research Projects Agency – Energy (ARPA-E) seeks public and
stakeholder input on 1) programmatic areas well suited for support by ARPA-E and 2)
specific scientific and technological opportunities to overcome key technological
roadblocks to the development of widely market deployable transformational
technologies relevant to the ARPA-E mission. The information collected through this
process will assist ARPA-E in developing potential programs and funding opportunities.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Pro Space Canidate - Good Space Guy running for King County Executive in Washington State

KPLU Interview

Goodspaceguy, an amateur astronomer, can talk long about space exploration even inhabitating space. In person, he doesn't dwell all that much on space-related talk except for saying, "I want Boeing to build a lot of spacecraft and I want them to build it here in King County."

Goodspaceguy's blog -Our Spaceship Earth

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Lunar Sacrament

A poem by Ron Drummond

Lunar Sacrament

Buzz Aldrin took

the sacrament on the moon,

cup, wine, wafer, prayer:

cross made out of nothing

but bottled air

stirred into brief

cruciform presence

by an articulate hand,

human reverence

hovering in a bubble

above an ancient bone-dry sea

that knew more change

in a few life-pulsing hours

than in the thousand thousand

millennia that came before.

Neil Armstrong bore witness,

spoke not a word,

told no one what,

in that timeless, momentary

ceremony before their

long short walk,

he'd seen and heard,

a flickering cross of life,

or nothing,

on a briefly

untranquil sea.

Copyright © 2009 by Ron Drummond

For more information about the history of this event.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Next Step in Space: Support Commercial Spaceflight!

Next Step in Space: Support Commercial Spaceflight!
Unless we act now... America is 18 months from being dependent on foreign countries to put astronauts into space.

Unless we act now... the United States will be unable to provide human space transportation for a minimum of 5 years.

Unless we act now... we will send more than a billion US taxpayer dollars overseas that could be re-invested in our own economy.

It doesn't have to be this way.

On Facebook Next Step in Space: Support Commercial Spaceflight!

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Posts on Space Settlement Blog Day

I want to thank everyone who particapated in Space Settlement Blog Day. It was very successful. There were several very interesting essays written for the occasion.

Space Settlement Blog Day by Douglas Mallette on The Space Advocate

Settle the Final Frontier by Elizabeth Barrette on Gaiatribe

Can We Afford to Settle Space? by David Brandt-Erichsen on National Space Society Blog

Celebrate the First Steps By Marianne Dyson on Mission Blog

40th Anniversary of the Apollo 11 Moon Landing! by
Shanksow on Aerospace, Technology, Paranormal and Ufos News

Exploration, Development and Settlement of Space by Karen Cramer Shea on The Space Movement

July the 20th: Space Exploration Day/Space Settlement Day on Day of X

Stumping for Space: Three Vignettes from a Layman by Jake Christensen CHILDE JAKE'S PILGRIMAGE

From Olduvai Gorge to the Sea of Tranquility by Alex Michael Bonnic on The Discovery Enterprise

Space Settlement post by David Riseborough on Earth Space Continuum Earth Space Continuum

Space Settlement, Social Media and Blogging by Aron Sora on
Habitation Intention

Intentional Communities in Outer Space by Bob Steinke on The Liber(al)tarian Network

More on Apollo 11 anniversary By Andy Janes on Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Catgirls

Moon Colonization: An American Historical Perspective Nick Azer on Luna C/I: Moon Colonization and Integration

Plasma Wind's Contribution to the Space Settlement Blog Day -Plasma Wind

How will it really happen? by Dale Amon on Samizdata

Space Settlement Blog Day by SpaceCrazed on SpaceCrazed

Opening The Way Out By Gregory Anderson on The Way Out

“Benevolent Science Fiction” on The Scattering

Step by step to space settlement and More about space settlement day Clark S. Lindsey Space Transport News

you can Reach the MOON NOW By Mark on Moonbounce by KB9RQZ

Moon-Mine News by Niklas Järvstråt

Moon Business (Twitter)

Happy Space Settlement Blog Day! By Charles Radley on The Moon Society Blog

Sponsored by the National Space Society, the Space Frontier Foundation, the Space Movement, the Moon Society, and Space Renaissance Initiative.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Exploration, Development and Settlement of Space

Space exploration, space development and space settlement up until now have seen as a continuum which go together. Once we have explored space we will develop it which will mean settling it. That is the way it was always assumed it would work, but today the paths seem to be diverging. One path would lead us to explore Mars. One Path would have us develop Solar Power Satellites. But where is the path that leads to settlement?

The exploration of Mars seems to be the path of choice for many in the space movement. The problem is Mars is the Easter Island of space, far from everything, few unique resources and mainly of interest because of the evidence of past life there. The Moon has a much greater development potential than Mars but she is totally ignored. The Moon is the girl next door and Mars is the Hollywood sweet heart. Nothing shatters a romantic image faster than reality. So maybe we need to go to Mars so we can get past the fixation and really move forward with development.

The development of space solar power is quickly becoming a necessity for the continued economic survival of our society. By default it seems to be our only hope for sufficient amounts of carbon free base load power. Terrestrial solar and wind do not provide base load power, clean coal maybe unworkable, nuclear is too dangerous to spread widely to less stable countries. Space solar power is the ultimate in clean energy source when made from lunar materials, since nothing would imapct earth's environment except the power. The Moon is actually closer to geostationary orbit energy wise than the earth. Providing a reasonable percent of the Earth's power needs with space solar power would most cost effectively be done through developing the Moon. This would seem great for space settlement, but unfortunately the current plans for mining the Moon and building space solar power would be done with automation. The new Movie "The Moon" shows what it might be like, one man one the Moon supervising an automated base. This doesn't bode well for space settlement.

Space settlement must be our ultimate goal. We must have thriving communities off of Earth or we are doomed to extinction on the Earth, it is just a matter of time. Why should humans go into space? There is one reason that can never be automated and isn't dependent on economic justification. That is science. We will never really be able to automate science. While we can automate particular experiments. The scientific exploration is testing the unknown automation can only be done where you know what you are trying to do. To fully understand the history of life on Mars, and the geology of the Moon will require humans on the Moon and Mars for long periods of time. To use the far side of the Moon's radio silence for all the possible radio astronomy observations and the lunar stability and vacuum for all the possible physics experiments would take large numbers of scientists, engineers and support staff. To do these experiments will take years not days. So the scientists will be the settlers of space. Around the science bases the cities will form because they will be the first markets in space.

While many argue that science can be done more effectively on the ground, this will not always be true. First, if we go to Mars and develop space solar power, the cost of space travel will have dropped dramatically. Second, if the goal is science than we will be sending scientist to do their own research. Not doing science by proxy or as an add on to a mission with other purposes. Third, eventually we will research the limits of the the experiments possible on Earth. Eventually, science in space will be justified in terms of cost/ benefit once launch cost go down, missions are designed for science as the main purpose, and as we push the limits of Earth.

Getting beyond the limits of Earth is why we have to explore, develop and settle space. While the paths of these are diverging because we have already explored the best place to develop and development may no longer require humans. We must continue to strive for the exploration, development and settlement of space even if these goals are pursued separately.

Happy Space Settlement Blog Day

We have 34 blogs participating. This is a great success. What a great way to honor the Apollo 11 landing.

Please let us know which of their blog posts you liked and found interesting.

Thanks to all the blogs which are participating. Thanks to David Brandt-Erichsen and Brice Russ for all their technical work which has made Space Settlement Blog Day so successful. Thanks to all the sponsors the National Space Society, the Space Frontier Foundation, the Space Movement, the Moon Society, and Space Renaissance Initiative.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

6 Days Until Space Settlement Blog Day

Space Settlement Blog Day is now 6 days away. 29 blogs have signed up so far.
For More information go to Space Settlement Blog Day .

Sign up your blog.

Blog for and about space settlement on July 20th.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Space Settlement Blog Day

Space Settlement Blog Day

Blog for and about space settlement on July 20th

July 20th 2009 is the 40th Anniversary of the Apollo 11 Moon landing. July 20th is also Space Exploration Day. After 40 years of space exploration it is time to begin space settlement. In order to honor all who risked their lives for space exploration and all who are dedicated to opening the new era of space settlement, we ask everyone to blog about space settlement on July 20th. Feel free to write about any aspect of space settlement, and about settlement at any space location — orbital settlements, settlements on the Moon, Mars, asteroids, or any place else. If you want more information or need ideas about space settlement go to the NSS Space Settlement Nexus.

SIGN UP YOUR BLOG HERE so we know which blogs are participating and we can send traffic your way. See list of participating blogs.

Sponsored by the National Space Society, the Space Frontier Foundation, the Space Movement, the Moon Society, and Space Renaissance Initiative.

For more information about this event contact Karen Cramer Shea.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Music for Remebering Apollo

Moon Walkers Song by Glyn Bailey &The Many Splendid Things

For All Mankind by Graham Smith

Apollo Guys
Apollo Guys pays tribute to the people in the Apollo Program who landed the first humans on the moon, as well as looks forward to the Constellation Program that will take us back to the moon, to Mars, and then beyond.

Although they may work on trajectories, structures, hypersonic fluid flow, rocket engines, robots, or space suits during the day, the co-ops at NASA are more than just engineers. They are more than mere nerds. They are ambassadors to their generation for NASA. They can sing. They can dance. They can even rap (OK, not really). These videos were made by the co-ops at NASA on their own time, with their own resources. They care deeply about America's space program, and they want to help you get more involved with NASA's activities.

Apollo Guys (Apologize)

Watching on the screen
Saturn V lifts off the ground
After many sims,
Flight control has got it down
You say that its not easy, but
Astronauts are all moonbound and wait
Were watching them on TV
Walking on the lunar ground and say

We did it, Apollo guys
We did iiiiit
In 1969
We landed (on. the. moon)

Well take another chance, take a shot
Do it all for you
Orion and Ares take us back
Back to the mooooon yeaaah yeaaah
Its time for us to move ahead
Having breakthroughs each daaay
The past we have to thank,
Our progress is because of yoooou
And we all say

We did it, Apollo guys
We did iiiiit
In 1969
We landed (on. the. moon)

We did it, Apollo guys
We did iiiiit
In 1969
We landed (on. the. moon)

We did it, Apollo guys, yeaaaah
In 1969, yeaaaah

Watching on the screen
Saturn V lifts off the ground.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Mars Society Convention

Twelfth International Mars Society Convention University of Maryland, College Park,
July 30 - August 2, 2009

Monday, June 15, 2009

NewSpace 2009

Space Frontier Foundations NewSpace 2009 - Agenda Released!
Held at NASA’s Ames Research Center in Mountain View, California, the conference programming will span Friday, July 17, through Monday, July 20.

Friday, July 17: Space Elevator Day:

Hosted by the Space Science and Engineering Institute, a special one-day session will explore the potential and possibilities of space elevator technology with panels such as “Carbon Nanotube Technology”, “Economic Growth Opportunities”, and “Spaceward and the Elevator Games”. In the evening, the regular conference programming will commence with a screening of the film Orphans of Apollo.

Saturday, July 18: Enabling the Future:
“As for the future, your task is not to foresee it, but to enable it.” ~Antoine de Saint-Exupery

Serving as the opening day of the full NewSpace conference, Saturday will begin with a special session organized by NASA Ames, which will explore public and private partnerships, small satellites, and commercial space initiatives at this leading edge research center. The afternoon will investigate what opportunities the future holds for NewSpace and features panels such as “Suborbital Point-to-Point: Going Places or Taking Us for a Ride?”, “Space Solar Power: Is There Light at the End of the Tunnel?”, and “NewSpace in the Age of Economic Uncertainty”.

Sunday, July 19: The Business of NewSpace:

Sunday morning will host a Business Plan Competition, where submitters will compete for real prizes. The afternoon will investigate business and policy of NewSpace with panels such as “Commercial Lunar Opportunities” and “Drawings to Dockings: the Future of COTS”. The day will close with a series of business case studies, where both successful and unsuccessful startups will be investigated and compared.

Monday, July 20: Apollo Anniversary Day: Moon, Mars, and Beyond:

Monday will serve as a look at what destinations lie in the future for NewSpace. To this end, it will investigate not only what destinations exist and how they will be utilized, but also how will we get there. This will be done with panels such as “Commercial Space Facilities”, “Eat or Be Eaten: The Threat and Promise of Near Earth Objects”, and “Lunar Science and Settlement”. The day will conclude with a final view of “Where Do We Go from Here?” The annual gala will follow, which will serve not only to commemorate Apollo, but to investigate what Apollo means to the future.

“For twenty years, the Space Frontier Foundation has led the public conversation about the rapid economic development and settlement of space. Today, amidst global concerns about jobs, the environment, and the future, we invite you to join us help solve those challenges by opening the space frontier. Come to Silicon Valley this July and become a part of this next great era in human history.”

~ James Muncy, Space Frontier Foundation co-Founder