Figuring out what happened back then

I was one of the many who independently came up with the general concept of what is now called the Space Elevator. Circa 1969 for me; later I learned others including the incredible A C Clarke also had gone that path. We all eventually independently figured out there was no known or anticipated material adequate for making the tether to just be able to support its own weight between ground and GEO.

But by 1972 I had determined that a lunar tether through L-1 could be made of space-rated fiberglass in a constant-stress-cross-section tapered form - it had taken me two months of my spare time and filling up a notebook with my hand calculations, when only a slide rule was available to me - and had submitted that result as an informal proposal to NASA - who replied back thanks but they were totally busy and financially tied up with ending the Apollo program and building the Space Shuttle. And the subject got dropped. I later had made some efforts to communicate the concept via the L-5 News but I just got a reply that they would not consider it unless it had been published by AIAA first, closing that door. I then also basically abandoned my concept of a lunar tether space elevator through L-1, which I called the "Mooncable." Even though it seemed an ideal follow up to the Apollo program at the time, building up a Lunar industrial infrastructure based on supplying Lunar-sourced and L-1 processed construction material to Earth markets, particularly foamed steel. But, it just was not going to happen.

(I was too naive to comprehend that the Mercury-Gemni-Apollo NASA program was solely truly a military-sponsored "space race" to get to the Moon before the Soviets were able to build rocket bases there aimed at America. When that goal was reached, they had no further reason to maintain a Lunar capability.)

But ever since realizing circa 1970 that earth space elevator tether material severe restraints prevented it from being an alternative to rocket launch vehicle access from ground to space, for building SPS in GEO, I sought ways to do the same function as a space elevator, but somehow bypassing the strength to density tether materials problem.

And in 1988 I got a glimmer of how to do that, and by 1989 it was fleshed out to a fairly well integrated concept, with lots of potential for working and doing the job of economically being used to finally build those solar power satellites in GEO that I foresaw even then as vital for civilization so as to avoid the petrochemical hydrocarbon problems we now endure.

The idea was basically to generate the support force to balance the force of gravity, by making a planet-encircling hoop structure that generated its own outward centrifugal force around the planet, to balance the inward force of gravity on the structure and its live loads. It could be made into essentially a synchronous motor in function. An eccentric hoop around the planet, its earth-motionless stator part enclosing a hard vacuum in the part of the path where the high velocity motor armature segments circulated through the atmosphere portion of the path. Some of the upward-moving armature momentum would be coupled over to lift captive spacecraft from ground up to GEO, and gently return them back to the ground later; thus with no fuel to lift, would be a very efficient transportation process. All electrically powered, and eventually even that provided directly from solar energy received in GEO by solar power satellites up there.

A very clean self-sufficient extremely efficient transportation system to orbit from the ground, operating 24/7, without stress to the fossil fuel derived energy sources, once started.

I figured out how to calculate the energy given to payload mass by moving it from earth equatorial surface up into GEO, adapting some equations I had painstakingly developed in my 1970 efforts on the Space Elevator concept, as being 7,300 KWh per pound mass; which at a cost of electricity of 10 cents per KWh is only 73 cents per pound. Lots could be built in GEO at anywhere near that cost. Besides, the transportation system would power itself once it had a solar power satellite in GEO beaming power down to power the KESTS to GEO itself.

I tossed the concept over to the space community via the NSS's "Spaceport Library" newly formed on the GEnie net, starting in 1988. I thought the space community would be deliriously overjoyed at the prospect of finally being able to build those SPS in GEO without having to wait for "unobtanium" material be be created for tether space elevators.

But I also realized that it is a very complex world, and there could be irrational efforts to block KESTS to GEO. What I did not anticipate was how very intensive that effort would be, how cleverly done.

I had merely thought that the project would involve all the people of the earth ceasing their backbiting and territorial battles, to pitch in to get this new opportunity going to help them all in the relatively near future. But what happened is, that they never got to learn about that opportunity.

Looking back, I can see what probably happened. In the incredible melee of human turmoil that somehow gets our civilization done by fits and starts, the folks who could have made KESTS to GEO happen starting back then, saw their long term investments in coal and oil, and nuclear, on which they planned to have their endless cushy life, would be reduced enormously if Solar Power Satellites in GEO were practical and near-future. Plus the rocket folks would have to go back to college to learn about electric motor technology; they already had prestigious and cushy lifestyle jobs, why rock the boat. So they all pitched in to finance distractions to sap away any who might stumble onto my KESTS to GEO efforts and offer to help out. These "distractions" included corporate front space advocacy groups whose claim was to "enable everyone go to space" (as KESTS to GEO claimed to be able to do) and also hire academic-type research to make dazzling projections of how to reach the future - but with no mention of KESTS to GEO nor anything near-future that would rock the boat of their existing petrochemical and nuclear stranglehold on the world's energy supply; thus pretending to be committed to the future of humanity.

It worked. It has kept the financial status quo solid for these past 23 years and no sign of it changing. Besides, in the meantime they got enormous numbers of below-GEO satellites put in place multinationally, which would risk collision with a KESTS to GEO, thus blocking future opportunities. All to protect their selfish wealth cravings.

Bear in mind I realized this could happen, or at least the turmoil of humanity well known to mess things up at times. I did not want KESTS to GEO to be built if there were significant elements hostile to it. The project had to be an "everybody pitches in to get it done, so all could greatly benefit," kind of project; or it ought to not be built. In the hands of irresponsible people, most anything can be turned to harmful purposes, and KESTS to GEO was not immune either. It had to be a project by humanity for humanity, or not done at all.

As you know, it was a "not done at all," happening.

Most likely the big oil-coal-nuclear folks of the younger kind, have been covertly preparing to build KESTS to GEO, but not until way past the fossil fuel peak curve and nuclear curve's wealth to them has been passed. Then they plan new great glory and power and wealth for themselves as always, using this new KESTS to GEO mechanism. Long after I am gone, of course, and without consulting me.

Thus I continue to publish my KESTS to GEO concept in best detail as I can, realizing only those writings and drawings will be there to guide those who eventually get hired to build it. Hopefully they will not goof it up too much, if I can get all the factors shown and optional variations and mechanisms to explore.

Let's see, one other thing. Looking back, I can see where at times I had great loyalty to people who turned out to only intend me harm. The severity of my Aspergers naive inability to comprehend people's doings apparently is worse than I could guess. So, among my life's lessons to myself, is that factor too, in the huge mix of people's doings.

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