Another rant re potential electric power sources
That the corporate-interest-influenced government chose to suppress KESTS to GEO (Kinetic Energy Supported Transportation Structure to Geostationary Earth Orbit) along with the space-solar electric powerplants it was uniquely able to lift and enable being maintained cheaply, seems irrational to me; but is understandable if wealth and influence is running the show instead of looking out for the country's future ... with the transportation means to build and maintain endless quantities of solar powerplants in GEO, America could have become a major world energy exporter instead of being forever entangled in fossil fuel struggles and wars, and thus KESTS-lifted space solar-electric powerplants made much more sense to me for long range economical energy provisioning for civilization. Surely the remaining fossil fuels will be far more needed in the future for materials uses than mere burning for energy generation.
But political power games rule. The timing was right in step: after a dozen years of effort, the KESTS to GEO concept had finally gotten peer-reviewed and published ("ASCE Space and Robotics 2000" conference proceedings, 2000) just a year and a half before "9/11" happened and we took the bait, squandering the money we could have used to build KESTS to GEO and the plentiful solar-electric SPS powerplants in GEO so that we would be independent of middle-east oil, freed of the stranglehold of foreign oil for energy to run our nation, and a major energy exporter to the world. But no, we took the bait. Check the news for the result, are we trapped in Iraq, getting more scared of other nations, noticing the environmental damage of uses of petrochemicals for energy fuel? Democracy does not always pass the test.
And yes, there are other things to consider, too, in the contemplation of the scenario of creation and usage of KESTS to GEO. Similar to the construction of railroad tracks, there is a contest for usage of the terrain crossed by the tracks; yet the carrying capacity of the railroad enables vastly more utilization of wherever it goes, enabling totally new and immense opportunities; the centrifugal-force-supported KESTS to GEO lifting structure would occupy the equatorial plane all the way from ground to Geostationary Earth Orbital altitude, and thus the 800 currently-working satellites below GEO -- including the ISS -- would need to have their functions moved up to GEO ... that is much like building new freeway through existing town, where the homes and businesses in the needed right-of-way are moved to a better location or purchased for a fair price ... same thing, part of the construction costs is to buy out that which already happens to be in the way of essential progress. But does anybody want to move? Not likely, since big changes to our ways usually are quite unwelcome if we ourselves did not choose them; life is already lots of struggle for most of us. Do we continue to choose to squat solidly in the path of progress needed for all our survival ... maybe with clear pathways shown to all directly involved, can loosen the stolidity.
How best to deal with the wonderful ISS still in construction in Low Earth Orbit, where it is fairly protected from radiation, is a real puzzler to me, however. That the fully scaled KESTS to GEO form of transportation could lift as much payload in an hour than all the Space Shuttles have ever moved or will move, is the key thing for decision. KESTS would be continuously operating, hour after hour, year after year, enabling absolutely immense construction projects unthinkable if limited to mere rocketry transportation from ground up to there, even nuclear powered rocketry. Perhaps the KESTS could be built to drop off the engines and fuel to boost the ISS up into GEO, and then to bring up the passive shielding mass of sawdust-reinforced water ice to pack around the ISS while in GEO for radiation protection. In the meantime, with engines and fuel, with careful orbital positioning and timing, the ISS could be jiggled side to side enough to miss the KESTS during those rare times they would have collided. Space is a big place. Playing a game with mass to react against to move out of the way at they pass in a jitterbug dance at 17,000 mph, then use a launched tether to pull the reaction mass to the ISS; this would save a lot of energy during the maneuver each time.
Maybe when I am out of the picture completely, some big-name bunch will change the name of "KESTS to GEO" to their own, and make fame and fortune big-time off of it, implying it was all their own idea. Business gaming sometimes can get despicable to me; but it has its own crafty rules it lives by, and somehow in the process incredible products sometimes happen. Even in Kindergarden, no matter how much I wanted to play with the other kids doing Rover Red Rover Come Over (they looked like they were having so much fun and I too wanted in on it!) having never learned rough-n-tumble, I never was able to get the hang of its required violence-by-the-rules and so I was banished by those who chose up the team membership ... and this has been a pattern re me from then on. I think rough-n-tumble interactive play's ways are more expected of us boys, however (although in Kindergarden the team captains tended to be girls, I recall), since vestiges of predatory bullying are still laced into our herd mammalian ways. It remains to be seen if our human lifeform's great experiment called civilization can be kept from terminally tripping itself up. Nonetheless, I must keep on doing my best for the survival of all of us, since that is part of responsibility.