Elevator Key to Secure Heg – 95% Advantage over Other Countries
Bradley C. Edwards, President And Founder Of Carbon Designs Incorporated, And Philip Ragan, Space Expert, 2006, “Leaving The Planet by Space Elevator”]
Will America win the race?
In various discussions, individuals have told us definitively that the United States will build the first Space Elevator. Others have stated just as definitively that a private entity will build the first Elevator. As we will see, there is little that is certain about the future.
It is true that a country such as the United States might build the Space Elevator but when the cost and technological difficulty is reduced sufficiently it will open the way for a number of entities to consider undertaking the endeavor.
A clear example is seen in rocket technology. The United States and Russia both perfected rocket technology in the 1960s and conducted extensive space programs. In addition, China, Japan, France, India, Pakistan, England, Germany and a handful of other countries have various levels of rocket technology. The United States rockets have been built by a set of large aerospace companies.
Since 2004, individuals have built and flown rockets to carry people to space. Rocket technology has matured and spread across the globe. The technology for the Space Elevator is much less complex than that for rockets. Technology in our current society is now chased, developed and distributed with vigor.
The process that took rockets from a national level to the hands of individuals will be short circuited for the Space Elevator. The cost and technology are well within reach of countries, corporations, and individuals. The question is which entity is most likely to overcome the political hurdles, the capital costs and the technical challenges to succeed first.
Americans will of course assume that their country will be the builder, but at this stage nothing is certain. Perhaps “which country?” is not even the right question: with the levels of wealth of the 21st century is it within the reach of the worlds’ richest individuals and the largest Edwards - Ragan 127 companies? The prospect of a Microsoft Space Elevator is not inconceivable, as is a Shell or Exxon Elevator.
Today’s space enabled nations include the USA, Russia, China, Europe, Japan and India. In 20 years time the list may have expanded to include other countries. Private venture space operators are already beginning plans for their first flights and by then may be in a position to fight for market share.
Well before then, it will be apparent that the country launching the first Elevator will take control of space. This is the reverse of today’s technology, where it is often the case that the first-in company bears all the costs of development while others take the idea and build on it. For the Space Elevator, it is, to use an Australian expression, “first-in-bestdressed”.
Whoever owns the first Elevator will have a 95% cost advantage over competitors who still depend on rocket launches, and that advantage translates into the cost of constructing second and subsequent Elevators. So there is a clear economic imperative to win the race and be first. It is not just construction and launch costs: the economic and territorial benefits of expansion into space will accrue to the owner of the Elevator and the owning Country or Company may become the dominant power of the late 21st century.
Space Elevators Key to Sustainable DoD Involvement in Space
Foust 4 (Jeff, the editor and publisher of The Space Review, “Elevators and exploration”, September)
Work to reduce the cost of space access does continue in the private sector, although those efforts, such as SpaceX’s Falcon and the gaggle of suborbital vehicle developers, are still in the nascent stage. The US military’s recent interest in “responsive space” may lead to vehicles that can not only launch on short notice, but also for lower cost. These efforts, though, largely offer evolutionary, not revolutionary, reductions in launch costs. One innovation that has promised such revolutionary reductions is the space elevator: long consigned to the realm of science fiction, the concept has gained support in recent years thanks to new developments such as carbon nanotubes. (See “The space elevator: going up?” Part 1 and Part 2, September 15 and 22, 2003). With NASA’s focus towards the Vision and not on low-cost space transportation, though, is there any hope to get the agency, or some other entity, to fund continued development of the space elevator idea? Seeking other supporters That’s the question a panel of experts considered during the closing session of the Third International Space Elevator Conference in Washington DC in late June. With NASA being focused—at least for the time being—on the new exploration plan, to the point of canceling or cutting back technology programs not related to it, who else is out there that could pick up the slack? With the Vision, NASA has effectively abandoned its decades-long quest for the Holy Grail of cheap access to space. One obvious alternative, at least in terms of the size of its pocketbook and its interest in space access, is the Defense Department. The ability to launch large amounts of mass inexpensively would certainly reshape how the military operates in space.Moreover, the early stage of development of space elevator technologies would seem to be a natural fit for DARPA, the military agency that funds technology development that may take years to come to fruition.“The military will have to be a major factor, I believe, in whatever way we go, whether it is a space elevator or a combination of things, said Robert Sackheim, assistant director of NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center. “It won’t happen without the DoD.” “The space elevator is a fully reusable vehicle, and we’re all agreed that that’s the kind of booster that we need,” said Tom Rogers, chief engineer of the Space Transportation Association. He added that besides offering funding to support the project, the DoD can also provide a sense of fiscal discipline when dealing with large, expensive programs. “There are people in the Defense Department who do pay attention to dollars. Defense can bring that to the table.” Neither Rogers nor Sackheim, though, offered any thoughts about exactly how the Defense Department might get involved, or even if there were people there in positions of influence who might be interested in the concept.
Current military space systems aren’t sustainable-The plan is key to maintain leadership.
Jason R. Kent, Major, USAF, PE, 2007, Getting to Space on a Thread …Space Elevator as Alternative Access to Space April 2007 Blue Horizons Paper Center for Strategy and Technology Air War College.
Should the U.S. Air Force pursue construction of a space elevator as an alternate means for accessing space? This question is critical considering the importance of space assets to the U.S. military and the nation. Today, the military relies on satellite communications, reconnaissance, surveillance, weather, and global positioning systemsin orbit to perform even the most basic of missions.2 The systems U.S. forces uses are not limited to government assets. Commercial and allied communications and imaging systems are routinely used to bolster bandwidth and coverage areas.3 Unfortunately, these crown jewels of the military and commercial world are becoming increasingly vulnerable to enemy actions. Jamming4, direct attack using high powered lasers5 or kinetic kill weapons6, as well as attacks on ground sites7 are but a few of the dangers faced by space assets used by the U.S. military. What happens when an adversary is able to deny U.S. forces of its eyes, ears, timing, and maps (no e-mail!?) provided by satellites? The current method of replacing an orbital asset requires months if not years of lead time and is extremely costly. In the mean-time, the loss of even a single satellite in orbit can greatly impact U.S. air, land, and sea operations. There are neither rockets standing on call to launch nor many replacement satellites in the barn ready for a ride to orbit. It is imperative that the U.S. be prepared to maintain the readiness of its space forces. Launch on demand merely provides a stop-gap means to maintain those capabilities already in place should they fail or be attacked. In order to maintain its superior position in space and to ensure the orbital assets it requires are available at all times, the U.S. must look 2 beyond conventional capabilities to provide cheap, easy, quick, and assured access to space. This method is the space elevator. ____________ Slamming the last crate into the cargo pod of the lifter, the loadmaster stepped back to admire his work. Ten dull gray packing crates crowded the pod. Each one bore the emblem of the United States Air Force. 8 - Thread to the Stars