Could space development have been significantly accelerated?

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Caiaphas
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Re: Could space development have been significantly accelerated?

Post by Caiaphas » 2019-04-06 01:37pm

Honestly, I could see the same pressures driving the expansion of the US and Soviet nuclear arsenals also driving us towards lunar military bases. The whole point of such massive nuclear arsenals was precisely to ensure a second-strike capability (in the event of a US/USSR first strike). A moon base is the ultimate protected second-strike capability, provided the USSR doesn't build a similar base, and given that they never really managed to get their own moon rocket to work, I don't think that's an unreasonable possibility for a historical US planner to consider.

As for putting up a Soviet lunar weapons satellite, I genuinely don't know enough about historical Soviet spacelift capabilities to assess the possibilities of that.

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Re: Could space development have been significantly accelerated?

Post by Patroklos » 2019-04-06 07:17pm

You know “Soviet” isn’t a thing anymore, right?

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Re: Could space development have been significantly accelerated?

Post by K. A. Pital » 2019-04-07 03:54am

You know that there was a whole treaty which the US, USSR and a lot of other nations signed that was meant to prevent exacly that (placement of weapons in space?)...
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Re: Could space development have been significantly accelerated?

Post by Tribble » 2019-04-07 10:00am

K. A. Pital wrote:
2019-04-07 03:54am
You know that there was a whole treaty which the US, USSR and a lot of other nations signed that was meant to prevent exacly that (placement of weapons in space?)...
True, though the treaty was promptly ignored by all sides. Didn’t For instance, didn’t Almaz have a cannon built into it?
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Re: Could space development have been significantly accelerated?

Post by Eternal_Freedom » 2019-04-07 10:01am

Mir didn't, but at least one of the Almaz space stations had a 23mm cannon in a fixed mount.
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Re: Could space development have been significantly accelerated?

Post by Tribble » 2019-04-07 10:05am

Eternal_Freedom wrote:
2019-04-07 10:01am
Mir didn't, but at least one of the Almaz space stations had a 23mm cannon in a fixed mount.
Ya, sorry, caught myself too late there lol

I’m sure there are plenty of weapons in orbit right now; why would anyone want to give their opponents an advantage like that?
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Re: Could space development have been significantly accelerated?

Post by K. A. Pital » 2019-04-07 12:11pm

It did not prohibit this, actually (cannons or ordinary weapons in orbit, even kinetic bombs).

But it prohibited the placement of WMDs in orbit and on celestial bodies (killing the Soviet FOBS system) and the militarization of the Moon explicitly.
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Re: Could space development have been significantly accelerated?

Post by Eternal_Freedom » 2019-04-07 12:27pm

Presumably that is why no one screamed about the Outer Space Treaty when Reagan was talking about the SDI thing.

EDIT: Though doesn't that treaty also prevent nations from claiming anything off of Earth as sovereign territory?
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Re: Could space development have been significantly accelerated?

Post by K. A. Pital » 2019-04-07 12:37pm

Eternal_Freedom wrote:
2019-04-07 12:27pm
Though doesn't that treaty also prevent nations from claiming anything off of Earth as sovereign territory?
Yes, for celestial bodies and outer space - so planting a flag on the Moon doesn't mean the Moon is claimed, neither would the placement of a base give a right to that under OST. But spacecraft - even very large, like artificial habitats - under the treaty would constitute "launched objects", over which nations maintain sovereignity.
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Re: Could space development have been significantly accelerated?

Post by Eternal_Freedom » 2019-04-07 12:46pm

Interesting tidbit, thanks.
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Re: Could space development have been significantly accelerated?

Post by LaCroix » 2019-04-07 12:57pm

The thing is that once you go up, it would be stupid to loose the high ground by settling back on the moon - you do not escape a gravity well to drop yourself into another. And on the moon, there is pretty much nothing that can be made to money, fast. And it takes a lot of fuel (relatively) to get back off it.

The only way a civillian space effort would make sense would be to send craft(s) towards an asteroid (ferrous type), and then use the iron parts of it to create a rotating cylinder habitat inside while mining it, using the waste as outer armor layer around the cylinder to shield against impacts and radiation, while selling the nickel and rare metals ( iridium, palladium, platinum, gold, magnesium, osmium, ruthenium, and rhodium occur in these) off to earth to finance necessary deliveries to make it bigger and produce more.

And maybe construct a orbital ring to make deliveries up more cost efficient. (Down only costs a heat shield, and parachutes, but sending those back up would be a good 50-100k dollars for said set of parachutes, and a lot more for the heat shield.)

Thing is, this means we need a good method to fabricate stuff in space. 3d printing has come far, but it's not quite there, yet. Especially since we first need a method to smelt and forge iron in space. One that can be sent to space with a reasonable budget. Come to think of it, it would be a bit easier to do up there, since vaccuum is the perfect insulator. So cooling down the finished parts could be more of a problem than melting it in first place. Also, the lack of oxigen means that you have no losses to scale when hot-forging(rolling&forming&pressing) parts.

Best solution is to keep hoping that someone realized that ther is literally god and even more valuable things floating around up there for free with little to no regulatory oversight (hard to get inspectors to go there)...
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Re: Could space development have been significantly accelerated?

Post by K. A. Pital » 2019-04-07 03:07pm

LaCroix wrote:
2019-04-07 12:57pm
The thing is that once you go up, it would be stupid to loose the high ground by settling back on the moon - you do not escape a gravity well to drop yourself into another. And on the moon, there is pretty much nothing that can be made to money, fast. And it takes a lot of fuel (relatively) to get back off it.
It is true, but it is also true that without a gravity well, humans tend to deterioriate in peculiar ways. Living in zero-gravity for humans is quite dangerous when done for a prolonged period of time. So in terms of "where do we place our explorers and their bases" gravity wells actually are an advantage, so as long as you cannot adequately shield e.g. your rotating ships/habitats from radiation, after that theoretically you can also place your teams in space directly.
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Re: Could space development have been significantly accelerated?

Post by LaCroix » 2019-04-07 03:13pm

K. A. Pital wrote:
2019-04-07 03:07pm
LaCroix wrote:
2019-04-07 12:57pm
The thing is that once you go up, it would be stupid to loose the high ground by settling back on the moon - you do not escape a gravity well to drop yourself into another. And on the moon, there is pretty much nothing that can be made to money, fast. And it takes a lot of fuel (relatively) to get back off it.
It is true, but it is also true that without a gravity well, humans tend to deterioriate in peculiar ways. Living in zero-gravity for humans is quite dangerous when done for a prolonged period of time. So in terms of "where do we place our explorers and their bases" gravity wells actually are an advantage, so as long as you cannot adequately shield e.g. your rotating ships/habitats from radiation, after that theoretically you can also place your teams in space directly.
Shielding is easy - Just pile lots of material around it - Make the habitat, make a second shell, fill the void between with rocky or carbon asteroid material, or with water&ice. Build additional layers until the shielding is thick enough.
A minute's thought suggests that the very idea of this is stupid. A more detailed examination raises the possibility that it might be an answer to the question "how could the Germans win the war after the US gets involved?" - Captain Seafort, in a thread proposing a 1942 'D-Day' in Quiberon Bay

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Re: Could space development have been significantly accelerated?

Post by K. A. Pital » 2019-04-07 03:15pm

More mass - more energy to move around and rotate to maintain 1g on the inside... It is a tradeoff.
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Re: Could space development have been significantly accelerated?

Post by LaCroix » 2019-04-07 03:26pm

K. A. Pital wrote:
2019-04-07 03:15pm
More mass - more energy to move around and rotate to maintain 1g on the inside... It is a tradeoff.
This is for stations. Habitats&factories. Such a structure will not be made for ships moving around, unless you really want to go spelunking the system, and then, this shielding mass is your least concern (since you would most likely need so much fuel and water that you can use them in the outer layer for shielding).

For the relatively short time you need to travel (crew changes or something like that) in my scenario, 'standard' shuttles or capsules are more than enough. If you really have used up all of the asteroid you were mining and have to move to the next, well, it's just a few km to the next target. Not much dv needed if you have to only move every couple months&years, and can do it in a crawl of some km/h relative speeds.

Also, it is space - once in rotation, it stays so. So you can gradually add to it while correcting the gravity occasionally. But once you stop expanding it, it will keep rotation pretty much forever without extra input needed.
A minute's thought suggests that the very idea of this is stupid. A more detailed examination raises the possibility that it might be an answer to the question "how could the Germans win the war after the US gets involved?" - Captain Seafort, in a thread proposing a 1942 'D-Day' in Quiberon Bay

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