SpacePolicyOnline won’t post this…

Halting the militarization of space can best be accomplished with large geosynchronous orbit human crewed platforms serving as sovereign territory of various nations. With all telecom interests concentrated on these space stations the rest of near Earth space can be laser-broomed clean of all junk and overflights by military satellites in low orbits strictly regulated.

The main obstacle to solving the problems in space is of course radiation. A human presence anywhere Beyond Low Earth Orbit (BLEO) will require massive shielding. The ice on the Moon, harvested by robot landers, and the derived water transferred to wet workshops in cislunar space, can provide the tens of thousands of tons of shielding that will be needed for the initial chain of telecom platforms.

The landers can convert a fraction of the ice they harvest into fuel, and in a semi-expendable fashion maintain a pipeline of water and chemical propellants to facilitate a cislunar infrastructure. A shuttle era schedule of Super Heavy Lift Vehicle missions with capabilities exceeding a minimum lift of 100 tons (like the SLS) for the next 30 years would not only effect a chain of large GEO space stations around the Earth but also create a pipeline for spaceship construction.

Of special interest to Secretary Wilson would be the eventual transfer of the nuclear deterrent into deep space on human-crewed spaceships and the ratcheting down of the present launch-on-warning scenario. As well as providing for deflection of comet or asteroid impact threats to Earth.

The plans by NewSpace “entrepreneurs” to essentially flood Earth orbit with cheap and nasty networks of thousands of mini-satellites is the opposite path that will immensely complicate any efforts to establish stability and sustainability in near Earth space.

But SpacePolicyOnline did post this:

The problem with this (space travel) is what I call “The Parker-Dyson-Spudis continuum” and I have yet to have a single person put forth a convincing argument against it. It goes like this:

1. Due to the heavy nuclei component of galactic cosmic radiation there is only one guaranteed way to protect astronauts from dosing during long duration deep space missions- as detailed by Eugene Parker- this requires about 500 tons of water or plastic for a small capsule. For a spaceship water is the utilitarian choice and for any practical living space the compartment would need well over a thousand tons.

2. The only practical system for pushing a kiloton range water shield Beyond Earth and Lunar Orbit (BELO) on an interplanetary mission is Nuclear Pulse Propulsion (specially designed atomic or more likely hydrogen bombs). The work of Freeman Dyson on Project Orion infers such a system could only be used outside the Earth’s magnetosphere. Star Wars data on directed energy weapons research and the global stockpile of bomb grade material further validate this concept.

3. The only shallow gravity well available from which to acquire the water shielding and assemble, test, and launch a nuclear mission (outside the Earth’s magnetosphere) is the Moon. The work of Paul Spudis enables exploitation of the ice resources at the lunar poles and the creation of a cislunar infrastructure capable of supporting construction of a true spaceship capable of interplanetary travel.

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More Comments for Dr. Spudis

We live at the bottom of gravity well that dictates design, similar to Feynman’s quote- “For a successful technology, reality must take precedence over public relations, for nature cannot be fooled.”

This means that no matter how many sci-fi movies portray SSTO and no matter how many NewSpace infomercials scream cheap, “there is no free lunch.” By the way, the other famous Heinlein quote about Earth orbit being “halfway to anywhere” was revised to “Low Earth Orbit” as a NewSpace marketing ploy – He never said LEO and may just as easily have meant GEO.
LEO is not really space and is a dead end.

To achieve escape velocity (not so much orbital velocity) hydrogen upper stages are almost a necessity. To go anywhere Beyond Earth and Lunar Orbit (BELO) with humans requires massive shielding and chemical propulsion will not work. Only nuclear energy can push such mass (until some kind of beam propulsion infrastructure exists). That said, the only practical form of nuclear propulsion is “pulse” or, to put it bluntly, bombs.

This means that inside the Earth’s magnetosphere only chemical propulsion is practical due to fallout eventually being sucked into the atmosphere. This works out fine because just outside the magnetosphere is the Moon and that is where we have to go for the water-as-radiation-shielding anyway.

To keep this as short as possible, only progressively more powerful iterations of a Super Heavy Lift Vehicle used in a state sponsored public works project to develop a cislunar infrastructure has any chance of success. NewSpace is a scam that ends in the dead end of LEO.

And that makes their flagship companies inferior lift launch vehicle a hobby rocket.

NewSpace has been doing one thing for years yet nobody ever talks about it: the Ayn-Rand-in-Space Musk groupies damn the space agency and cal for it to be done away with on one page and praise NASA for pouring several billion tax dollars into commercial cargo and commercial crew on another.

They have nothing bad to say about the over one hundred billion dollar space station to nowhere yet curse all government “porkonaut projects” not connected to SpaceX (like the SLS) as pure evil. If these two-faced deceivers were not so damaging to the future of space exploration their idiotic contradictions would be funny.

Three very easy to digest sources giving some understanding to the situation concerning space exploration. Also very indicative of the complete inadequacy of NewSpace efforts.


2. Infographic (on page 23 depicting the depths of the Earth and Lunar gravity wells.


Anybody with basic critical thinking skills can figure out how these examples apply to Human Space Flight Beyond Low Earth Orbit (HSF-BLEO). Unfortunately there are those so completely brainwashed by NewSpace infomercials they cannot process this basic data, so I will supply some hints:

1. Radiation? LEO is not really space; it has about as much in common with the space environment above LEO as a catfish pond does with the North Atlantic.

2. Water? The only place to get the shielding required for HSF-BLEO is the lunar poles.

3. Spaceships? Super Heavy Lift Vehicle iterations far more powerful than the evolved SLS are necessary for constructing a cislunar infrastructure. Saying anything otherwise is completely false and misleading.

The Apollo 1 fire made the aerospace industry take a step back from Human Space Flight and look to defense for profits. The 1972 Solar Flare would have killed or profoundly dosed an Apollo crew if they had been in transit to or from the Moon. Skylab’s main instrument was a solar telescope to try and predict solar events so as to allow missions Beyond Low Earth Orbit (BLEO) without having crews in constant danger. Space weather is still not predictable and probably never will be. All this points to hobby rockets and entrepreneurs as simply incapable of “opening the solar system up.”
It’s a scam.

NewSpace is essentially an Orwellian construct that will deliver exactly the opposite of what it promises. There is no cheap.

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Letter to Paul

After watching this downhill slide into mediocrity for years I have to say in regards to space there is no truer maxim than “truth is stranger than fiction.”

There are a short list of guiding principles concerning space exploration that are simply ignored in a bizarro manifestation of collective cognitive dissonance. They are simple truths that for whatever reasons- be they political or ideological or vested interests in some scam- are not acknowledged by the powers that be and completely denied by those who have vested interests in quite different agendas. Here we go:

1. Radiation is square one. Beyond Low Earth Orbit a sustained human presence requires massive radiation shielding. Eugene Parker spelled this out clearly in language the public could understand in 2006. There is no dancing around the minimum of something like a thousand tons of water to shield a small spaceship crew. The NewSpace and Mars zealots go into automatic denial mode over this. They blather every kind of nonsense imaginable to obfuscate on this issue.

2. There is only one practical propulsion system for pushing such massively shielded constructs around the solar system- as spelled out by Freeman Dyson half a century ago- Nuclear Pulse Propulsion using atomic bombs. The eye-roll factor on this one is an order of magnitude greater than 1000 ton radiation shields. Like the space radiation elephant in the room, pulse propulsion is simply verboten in any serious discussion because… is. Yet it remains and will remain the only solution to Human Space Flight Beyond Earth and Lunar Orbit for the foreseeable future. And it is incidentally the ideal method of lifting millions of tons off the surface of the Moon.

3. A simple infographic (on page 23 depicting the depths of the Earth and Lunar gravity wells shows that bringing water up out of Earth’s gravity well is a non-starter while the Moon is absolutely and without question (as spelled out by the work of Paul Spudis) the very best place to go to get that radiation shielding. Such a graphic representation (which I have cited a couple times in comments here) also clearly shows that LEO is not really space. It is halfway to nowhere despite NewSpace hype. The true boundary of outer space is Geosynchronous Earth Orbit (GEO) and this domain is also where the over 100 billion dollars in satellite revenues are to be had.

I could go on but these three, which form what I call the Parker-Dyson-Spudis continuum, are enough to show how divorced from reality we are as a civilization concerning space flight.

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Letter to Marcia Smith

Since she will not post any more of my comments on Space Policy Online, I will just have to post them here. In response to

We will either choose to establish humans in space- to expand humankind off world- or we won’t. That is the choice and everything revolves around choosing to do so or playing games that dance around a lack of resolve.

Radiation is square one. Massive shielding is the elephant in the room and the only place to get it is the lunar poles. The only way to dip this water out of the shallow lunar gravity well is to start a new 30 year program of Super Heavy Lift Vehicle launches as the successor to the shuttle. That would be the SLS.

Abandoning the dead end of LEO and Mars is the only logical course. If NewSpace wants to redirect their efforts into lunar landers that will be fine. If they want to continue to pursue their LEO tourist empire fantasy then they will continue to be the worst thing that has ever happened to space exploration.

Dr. Spudis has returned to the blogsphere after a short absence and I have posted several comments on his latest post:

Your comment is awaiting moderation.

The video was excellent except for the fuel depot nonsense at 16:30.

4:00 Whipple and Shackleton anomalous craters almost certainly contain ice and have almost constant solar energy exposure. These two places at the poles should be the focus of all space exploration advocates. These lunar resources are the gateway to the solar system. The first 5 minutes of the presentation make NewSpace efforts look like the bored billionaire hobby projects they are.

11:00 The use of water as an energy storage medium using solar energy and fuel cells, as radiation shielding, and as rocket fuel was explained really well. Radiation shielding is my main concern and getting that water into lunar polar “frozen” orbit and into wet workshops in my view the critical step in building true space stations and eventually spaceships.

13:00 Radiation is square one. Robot landers to harvest ice and volatiles and shuttle water shielding into lunar orbit is the quickest way to establish a permanent human presence Beyond Earth Orbit. The ice on the Moon is THE critical resource for Human Space Flight. An understanding that LEO is not really space is what is needed for the public to support space exploration.

13:50 “Combined together in some future heavy lift vehicle” being the SLS of course. There really is no substitute for sending a Super Heavy Lift Vehicle to the Moon 6 to 8 times a year in the same way we sent the Shuttle into LEO for 30 years. Abandoning LEO and Mars and focusing exclusively on lunar resources is the only path that makes any sense at all.

14:50 The volatiles in the ice is important not only for industrial processes to make fuel (in my view methane is a more appropriate propellant than hydrogen for initial production) but also for…agriculture. An independent human colony will have to grow it’s own food of course.

17:00 and 18:00- Sending the iterations of the SLS to the Moon for the next 30 years like we sent the Shuttle into LEO is really the only option in my view. Future iterations would use pressure fed ocean recovered boosters and send empty upper stage wet workshops into lunar orbit. These workshops would be used first as “long duration” human crewed GEO space stations and eventually with nuclear propulsion systems as true spaceships.

“Newman said that after 15 years of work on the International Space Station, and with all the research and technology development, NASA is well on its way to helping humanity become interplanetary.”

The Deputy Administrator is pushing the same old Mars/LEO dead end that has trapped humanity in Earth Orbit since 1972. The monumental wrong turn was retreating from the Moon and the only salvation is turning our eyes back on that prize.

From Marco Caceres, senior analyst and director of space studies for Teal Group Corp., a provider of aerospace and defense market analysis:
“Now you’re seeing private industry dominate the headlines. At some point, the public starts to wonder, ‘What is NASA good for again?’ ”

Something has to happen to get the U.S. space program off this road to failure. I am hoping Dr. Spudis’ book will be a wake up call to the public. The last book about space to really make an impression on the citizenry was “The High Frontier” by Gerard K. O’Neill in 1976.
Almost completely forgotten now.

It was always obvious to me the SLS is a Moon rocket. As it gets closer to flying the NewSpace crowd is going to go nuts- it is the single most serious threat to their LEO tourist empire fantasy.

Hopefully Dr. Spudis’ book will help expose the whole ridiculous mess.

30,000 views of this story so hopefully more articles will flood the media after the book comes out. The problem of course will be the NewSpace mob playing their standard disgusting game. The comment by Boozer really made me mad.

So sick of them. At this point they believe the barge landing has given them the last word with the public and that everybody believes their scam without question. No criticism of NewSpace, the flagship company, or the demi-god is allowed anywhere (except here).

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RealSpace or NoSpace

RealSpace or NoSpace

By Gary Michael Church

The 1967 Apollo 1 fire was the key event leading to the end of the 1st space age before it really began. Anticipation by the aerospace industry of astronomical profits came to an abrupt end in one afternoon. It was not the three fatalities that doomed the space age, as aviation mishaps every year before and since result in hundreds of civilian deaths. The realization that space was going to be hard money would be the catalyst that shifted the focus of industry. The problem was that cold war toys generating vast revenues did not really have to perform as required and spaceships had to work as advertised. Concerning Human Space Flight, there are no false promises or rigged tests bringing in money because actual space travel cannot be faked. Industry chose the easy defense money. Despite recent public relations efforts proclaiming a new age of cheap lift the reality has not changed.

There is no cheap.

At the end of 1968, 22 months after Apollo 1, Apollo 8 left the gravitational field of Earth. Human beings left Earth orbit on December 21st to orbit the Moon and the space age began. Four years later the space age ended when Apollo 17 splashed down on December 19, 1972. The Apollo 8 mission lasted six days, Apollo 10 eight days, Apollo 11 another eight days, Apollo 12 ten days, Apollo 13 five days, Apollo 14 nine days, Apollo 15 twelve days, Apollo 16 eleven days, and Apollo 17 twelve days- for a total of 83 days. Those nine missions over four years totaling a week short of three months Beyond Earth Orbit were the space age. Very soon a half a century will have passed since human beings left Earth. A repeat of the Apollo 8 mission is tentatively scheduled for 2023 but the future of the under-funded and highly criticized Space Launch System is in doubt. These SLS critics are almost all NewSpace fans with an Ayn-Rand-in-Space libertarian worldview.
The current circumstances surrounding Human Space Flight are complex and addressing the situation beyond the scope of an opinion column. However, some progress may be made by clarifying the terminology involved in discussing space. Such conversations are often a confusing mess due to years of the relevant terms being used ambiguously in misleading infomercials. Revised definitions are a must-have for sorting out exactly what is happening.  OldSpace is used disparagingly to describe the aerospace “giants” that have passed on public works projects in space in favor of defense dollars. NewSpace is used to signify  entrepreneurial efforts to make space pay-off for private investors by way of “cheap lift” that outbids supposedly corrupt aerospace concerns. These two descriptors are often disputed or modified so transcending and clarifying with a third and fourth are in order.
“RealSpace” is a likely third term designating a set of definitions arguing against “NoSpace.” The fourth term describes the results of OldSpace and NewSpace efforts since Apollo. The first RealSpace definition moves the boundary of “space” from the present Karman line altitude of 62 miles to Geostationary Earth Orbit (GEO) at 22,236 miles. The second definition classifies space platforms and spacecraft as essentially different constructs than space stations and spaceships. A “space station” is properly a minimum-healthy-cubic-foot-per-person compartment providing a near-sea-level radiation environment and artificial Earth gravity Beyond Low Earth Orbit (BLEO). Mating a propulsion system to a large enough station would in effect make it a “spaceship” capable of interplanetary travel Beyond Earth and Lunar Orbit (BELO).
The third RealSpace definition regards space “travel” as necessarily a BLEO/BELO activity. Due to the distances involved, exploring the solar system with humans will require nuclear energy, multi-year missions, and spaceships of a size that, at this point, provoke shock and automatic denial. Due to the radiation problem any long term human presence BLEO will require massive shielding realistically well over one thousand tons for even a small crew. Again, this seemingly impossible requirement provokes shock and automatic denial. Especially outraged are NewSpace enthusiasts whose entrepreneurial visions do not include massively shielded, state sponsored projects. Space travel in the cislunar sea between the Moon and Earth is a risky activity using spacecraft without adequate shielding and must eventually end when true spaceships become available.
A basic guide to the requirements for any RealSpace activity can be gathered from three sources; the magazine article by Eugene Parker “Shielding Space Travelers”, the book “Project Orion, the true story of the atomic spaceship” by George Dyson, and the work of Paul Spudis that half a decade ago revealed the ice resources at the lunar poles. This “Parker-Dyson-Spudis continuum” is the key to any real progress in space exploration and colonization. In 1976 “The High Frontier” by Gerard Kitchen O’Neill was published and this book proposed artificial hollow spinning moons constructed from lunar material as the only practical form of space colonization. O’Neill’s conclusion that no natural bodies in the solar system are suitable for colonization still holds true. Space solar energy was also proposed in this work as the economic driver of colonization and, 40 years ago, the cure for global warming.
The present zeitgeist is to accept the media’s portrayal of LEO and Mars as the “logical” goals of U.S. and international space efforts. NewSpace marketing and NASA public relations are largely responsible for this farce and reversing those effects are a critical first step. The best course would be to abandon both the LEO and Mars dead ends and focus exclusively on lunar resources and Super Heavy Lift Vehicles. Entrepreneurial efforts presently directed at reuse by landing back the lower stages of smaller vehicles would best be redirected into lunar lander development. Unless the next U.S. administration drives change, OldSpace and NewSpace will continue to generate NoSpace for decades to come. The U.S. DOD budget is proof that America has the resources necessary to change direction and begin a second space age without end.


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The NewSpace Flim Flam

By Gary Michael Church

The recent 15 year “celebration” of the ISS drove me to comment on a certain forum and once again, I have been banned. I have been persona non grata on all of the popular space websites for several years now.

The ISS is the “jobs program” the NewSpace mob is always screaming at the top of their lungs about. It is a statement about how stupid they think the public is that the jobs program they wail and gnash their teeth about is actually their own sacred cash cow. Without the ISS there would be no SpaceX or NewSpace. The Flim Flam trapping the U.S. in LEO is made clear by the infographic at the top of the page which explains the energy required to lift radiation shielding from the surface of the Moon to GEO.

The present situation concerning space travel is this- there is only one place to go and that destination is the Moon. LEO is not really space, it is basically a 3 hour drive straight up. The real edge of space is GEO, 23,236 miles up. The radiation environment above LEO in real space means no extended human presence is possible without massive shielding. Short of lifting thousands of tons of plastic or tapwater out of the deep gravity well of Earth, the only place offering a radiation sanctuary is the Moon.

There are actually immense lava tubes that a small city could fit in theorized to exist under the surface of the Moon. Unfortunately, while we have spent billions on science probes to every planet in the solar system (and the space station to nowhere) we do not know where these ready made sanctuaries are in our own back yard. Human beings can dash across the quarter-million-mile-wide cislunar sea between Earth and the Moon but if they get caught in a solar particle event, a “storm”, they will suffer profound life-shortening or fatal radiation exposure.

Robots can possibly create a sanctuary in lunar orbit by way of robot ice harvesters that land on ice deposits and ferry water up to empty rocket stages. When these stages are partially filled with several hundred tons of water they become a radiation sanctuary. Attach a cable system between two such stages and spin them and an Earth gravity and near-sea-level radiation environment exists where a human being can survive indefinitely with no ill effects. These true space stations should be the bare minimum result of several hundred billion dollars and decades of investment. It follows such stations are the precursors to any true spaceships.

Beyond Earth and Lunar Orbit (BELO) any human missions will require a several thousand ton water-filled spinning construct and for pushing such a conveyance around the solar system chemical propulsion is essentially useless. Only nuclear energy will work and LEO is the worst place to acquire shielding, assemble, test, and launch any such nuclear mission. To go anywhere we must go to the Moon first.

LEO and Mars are a dead end on one hand and an impractical fantasy on the other; the only path to space is the Moon and that is not “flexible.”

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Storms in Space

Could get ugly. Better stock up on .22 rimfire.

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