SPACE STUDIES INSTITUTE
285 ROSEDALE ROAD, P.O. BOX 82
PRINCETON, NEW JERSEY 08540
[[librarian note: This address is here, as it was in the original printed newsletter, for historical reasons. It is no longer the physical address of SSI. For contributions, please see this page]]
THE HIGH FRONTIER® NEWSLETTER
VOLUME XI ISSUE 2 MARCH/APRIL 1985
VICE PRESIDENT’S COLUMN
RETURN TO THE MOON
On December 7, 1972 Apollo 17 lifted into the night sky beginning its 12 day mission to the Moon. Amid the excitement of a lunar flight one can imagine that NASA personnel felt the disappointment of knowing that this would be the final Apollo journey to our nearest celestial neighbor. The drastic budget cuts that the space program sustained were so serious that two complete Saturn V vehicles were constructed but never flown. These two spacecraft now lie on their sides, one at the Johnson Space Center in Houston, the other at Cape Canaveral near the Vehicle Assembly Building. They exist as monuments, not only to the achievements of the Apollo program but also to the vagaries of political support for important scientific and technical programs.
It may seem ironical to future historians that the Space Studies Institute was founded during a time when humankind seemed to turn its back on our nearest neighbor in space. SSI members have always accepted as an article of faith that one day we would return to the Moon. This time the purpose would be to establish a permanent base for the recovery of valuable resources which would fuel the human breakout into space. Much of the Institute’s research has been directed toward demonstrating the feasibility of transporting lunar material into free space using inexpensive electrical means instead of costly rockets as well as the methods of chemically processing these lunar materials.
In addition to directly conducting and sponsoring research on the use and transport of lunar materials, SSI’s Princeton Conferences have provided a key forum for discussion and publication of lunar research. SSI has been the “keeper of the flame” in keeping the concept of harvesting lunar resources alive.
Now however, thanks in no small part to your efforts as supporters of the Institute, we are beginning to see growing support for a permanent return to the Moon. Evidence of the growing interest in this area includes several major symposia on Lunar Bases and Lunar Resources held during 1984 and the fact that our own Princeton Conference appears to be a certain “sell-out” event.
During the Summer of 1984 a 10 week summer study was conducted by NASA under the auspices of the American Society for Engineering Education. The study made several main recommendations. These suggestions will be familiar to SSI supporters:
“Include growth provisions in current space station and orbital transfer vehicle systems to enable them to evolve into a cislunar infrastructure.”
“Conduct laboratory research and development on a variety of ways to process lunar and meteoritic materials and make useful products from them.”
“Support planetary observer missions with objectives of gathering scientific information and exploring resources. Such missions might include Lunar polar geochemical orbiters, Mars (and Martian satellite) observer and multiple near-Earth asteroid rendezvous.”
“Discover and characterize more nearEarth asteroids.”
“Develop advanced propulsion technology to permit comparison and selection of systems for transport beyond Earth orbit.”
“Continue closed-ecosystem research and development with the aim of reducing resupply transport demand.”
“Expand research on the problems of off-Earth living, including habitat design,
human/machine interactions, human-rating of equipment, and human behavior -physiological, psychological, and social.”
“Emphasize physical experiments and hardware development in preference to more paper studies.”
Through our research at Princeton, as well as SSI sponsored work around the US, and work published at our Princeton Conferences, the Institute is engaged in each of the areas of research recommended above. The Executive Summary of the summer study acknowledged SSI’s research efforts and expressed the hope that private support for this research would continue in the future.
Another major “Return to the Moon” event for 1984 was the symposium entitled: “Lunar Bases and Space Activities of the 21st Century.” This meeting, held in Washington, DC at the National Academy of Sciences was attended by hundreds of scientists including members of the Institute. This group examined the technical, economic, political and legal considerations of a lunar base.
The general feeling among the participants is that the basic idea of using lunar resources is gaining wide acceptance within the aerospace community. However, it is imperative that research such as that underway at SSI be accelerated in order to demonc strate the practicality of using lunar resources at the earliest possible date.
We are pleased to announce that this year’s Conference Banquet speaker will be Astronaut Joseph P. Allen. Dr. Allen, who earned a Ph.D. in Physics from Yale University, was recently in the news for the daring feat performed in space to rescue a satellite whose misfiring caused it to enter a useless orbit. He is also author of Entering Space, An Astronaut’s Odyssey, a general space book which is beautifully illustrated with photographs taken by the astronauts while in space.
If you would be interested in attending the banquet, but do not intend to register for the Conference, there may be a limited number of spaces available. Contact the SSI office for more information.
Thursday, May 10 This year we are implementing a new format for the popular Roundtable Discussion evening which is a vital part of the Space Manufacturing Conference. Below is a message from Gregg Maryniak which will briefly explain this year’s proposed project.
Imagine its the year 2020, and you’ve just been notified that your five digit SSI Senior Associate number has qualified you to apply for citizenship in one of the first five space colonies.
In addition to the usual background data on education, and professional experience, the application form asks you what form of government you’d prefer to live in, so that if you’re a socialist you won’t be stuck in a libertarian colony, and vice-versa.
Indeed, the ever-present “essay question” asks you to write out your version of an ideal Charter for a space colony. You’ve already decided you would not join a colony whose charter is more than a page long, so you write a one-page charter for the ideal self-governing space colony.
Now, what did you write? And can you defend it? If you’re planning to attend the 7th Princeton Conference on Space Manufacturing you can join in a roundtable discussion and debate on “Writing the Ideal Charter for a Space Colony.” Everyone’s welcome, and up to ten people can make a five-minute presentation on their draft before we all haggle over the “final” version.
Dr. O’Neill and I asked Jim Muncy, a Senior Associate who’s currently a consultant to the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, to help put together and moderate this roundtable discussion. If you’re interested in presenting (and defending) your own one-page “ideal” Charter, call Jim at xxx-xxx-xxxx during the day or just mail your typed, one 8 1/2 by 11 charter (no xerox reductions, please) to the SSI office “Attention: Conference Roundtable”
SEVENTH CONFERENCE ON
(May 8-11, 1985)
A tentative schedule for the Conference is as follows:
May 8, 1985
Weds. A.M.: Keynote Address Dr. George A. Keyworth, II
Science Advisor to the President
Space Manufacturing and Solar
Chair: Peter Glaser/ Arthur D.
Space Transportation and Electromagnetic Accelerators
Chair: Ed Bock General Dynamics-Convair
May 9, 1985 Thurs. A.M.:
Space Stations and Habitats
Chair: Gordon Woodcock Boeing Aerospace
Thurs. P.M.: Materials Processing
Chair: Wolfgang Steurer Jet Propulsion Laboratory
Thurs. Evening: Roundtable Discussion
Chair: James Muncy White House Office of Science and Technology
May 10,1985 Fri. A.M.: Biomedical and Social Considerations
Chair: B.J. Bluth NASA Grantee
Fri. P.M.: International/Economic Issues
Chair: Irwin Pikus National Science Foundation
Fri . Evening: Cocktail Hour
Banquet: Nassau Inn, Princeton, New Jersey.
Banquet Speaker: Joseph P. Allen, PhD.
May 11, 1985 Sat. A.M.: Summary Session
For registration information please contact: Conference Coordinator, SSI, 285 Rosedale Road, Princeton, New Jersey 08540.
The American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) will be publishing the proceedings for the 1985 Conference. It will be a limited publication. Each session chairperson and registered participant will receive a copy. If you are unable to attend the conference, but would like to reserve a copy of the proceedings, please send your request and remittance ($29.50 for SSI members and $39.50 for non-SSI members or non-AIAA members) to Space Studies Institute, 285 Rosedale Road, Princeton, NJ 08540. The proceedings will be mailed after December, 1985.
CONFERENCE SUMMARY SESSION
The Summary Session for the Conference on Space Manufacturing is scheduled for Saturday, May 11 beginning at 9:30 am. This Session is open to the public on a space available basis. Each Session Chairperson will present a summary of the papers presented in his session. We expect the session to last until 12:30. It is not necessary to register for the Conference to attend the Summary Session, but it is necessary to contact the Princeton office to reserve your space, since admission is limited.
SENIOR ASSOCIATE RECEPTION
We are planning a reception for Senior Associates of the Institute for the afternoon of Saturday, May 11. We are hoping you can attend both the Conference Summary Session and the Reception on the 11th. The reception will be held in our new airy office at 285 Rosedale Road, from 2-4pm. Invitations will be mailed in April to all Senior Associates.
Last July SSI was fortunate to meet Robert Bonadurer of La Crosse Wisconsin. Bob was selected out of a wide field of candidates to become the Institute’s first summer intern. We were so pleased with Bob’s performance that we persuaded him to take time out from his career to help us through the Princeton Conference on Space Manufacturing. Bob has been a model employee. Now that he is preparing to return to regular employment, it has ocurred to us that he would be a terrific find for members of the SSI family looking for a person of his talents. Bob has a bachelor’s degree in Marketing from the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse and is looking for an entry level marketing or management position. His geographical preferences include Minneapolis and the Midwest area but is not necessary depending on job description. Any information to Bob can be sent care of the SSI office.
One of SSI’s primary initiatives is research on a chemical process which can recover a wide range of usable elements from lunar soil. This report by Dr. Robert Waldron, principle investigator for the project, describes the HF acid leach process. Most importantly, this research shows that the amount of chemical reagents that must be imported from Earth can be relatively small. Secondly, these important reagents can be recovered with a very high efficiency from the output of the chemical processing plant in space.
By Robert Waldron
During the past 18 months, an experimental investigation of the aqueous processing steps of the HF acid leach process under the direction of Dr. Robert Waldron (of Rockwell lnternational’s Space Division) has established the validity of the proposed steps and furnished approximate reaction rates, solubilities, and other engineering data to permit more refined estimates of plant mass and throughput. The study represents a continuation of a program originated during analytical studies at the Lunar and Planetary Institute, (Houston, Texas) under NASA sponsorship in the late 70’s and supported in its experimental phases by Space Studies Institute begining in 1981.
The process is unique among proposed methods of refining lunar soils in permitting recovery of essentially all of the seven major element constituents (accounting for more than 99% of the total soil mass) either in elemental or commercially pure oxide form. While not all of the major element fractions are equally important in space operations or colonization, a diversified range of purified (refined) feedstock materials will greatly reduce dependence on earth materials and facilitate space industrial operations.
Two crucial requirements exist for Practical processes which employ “lunar deficient” elements in operating reagents and solvents: 1) the reagent losses due to entrapment in output streams must be reduced far below 1%, and 2) the process steps which require appreciable levels of the lunar deficient elements (H, F, N) must proceed rapidly enough to avoid excessive reagent inventories. The experimental program to date has demonstrated upper limits of reagent loss which should virtually guarantee attrition levels below 0.1% of output mass and inventory mass requirements for lunar deficient elements not exceeding the equivalent of 10 hours of total throughput mass.
The recent studies have concentrated on the dissolving step in which the silicate grains are attacked by a mixture of hydrofluoric and fluorotitanic acids, and the subsequent separations of: silica (by vaporization as SiF.), calcium and magnesium (as fluorides by sequential precipitation), and iron, aluminum and titanium (by ion exchange methods).
The use of fluorotitanic acid as a replacement for fluorosilicic acid in the initial leachant permits virtually complete silica separation in highly purified form without appreciable loss of solution acidity which simplifies subsequent separations. Solubility testing established that at least 8 wt percent simulated lunar ore can be dissolved in the mixed leach acid. (Calcium solubility (as CaF2) is sufficiently low that most of the calcium content appears as a fluoride precipitate.) In other tests, vapor pressure of SiF4 was demonstrated to be sufficient to permit over 99% silica removal. After removal and separation of calcium and magnesium as fluorides, the leach solution contains iron, aluminum and titanium as acid fluorides. Ferrous iron can be removed using a cation exchange resin, while the aluminum and titanium are separated as fluoroanion complexes using an anion exchange resin. Procedures for regenerating the resin columns were also developed.
Results of the program will be reported at the 1985 Princeton/AIAA/SSI
Conference on Space Manufacturing.
ASCENT TO ORBIT:
A SCIENTIFIC AUTOBIOGRAPHY
by Arthur C. Clarke
Published by John Wiley & Sons, New York, 1984.
226 pages. $19.95
Reviewed by Glenn T. McDavid
Arthur C. Clarke, author of such well-known works of science fiction as Childhood’s End and 2001: A Space Odyssey, has also written a number of technical papers on space travel and related subjects. Ascent to Orbit is a collection of these papers, which originally appeared in periodicals such as the Journal of the British Interplanetary Society. These papers were written at various times from 1938 to 1983. For this collection Clarke has written an introduction to each paper, providing background, and, where appropriate, outlining subsequent developments.
The papers in Ascent to Orbit are somewhat technical: Algebra and basic Netwonian physics are used extensively, and elementary calculus frequently appears. Fourier analysis appears in one paper. However, Clarke’s main interest is in describing basic principles, rather than in working out all of the technical details. There is much in the book for the nonmathematician.
Clarke invented the concept of the communications satellite in geosynchronous orbit. His 1945 papers on the subject, “The Space Station: Its Radio Applications,” and “Extra-Terrestrial Relays,” both appear in this volume. At the time these essays were written, before the development of the semiconductor electronics, Clarke was thinking in terms of large manned space stations. In retrospect, his forecast about communications satellites was much too pessimistic: He suggested that such a system might be operational about 1995. “Extra-Terrestrial Relays” proved to be quite influential, and inspired further development of the idea.
Ascent to Orbit includes several papers on orbital mechanics and space flight. Being based on the laws of physics, these are as valid now as when they were written. One of these, “Stationary Orbits” is a simple derivation of the locations of the Lagrange points L1 and L2. Clarke believes that, despite their instability, these points could be useful for space flight. He used L1 in his novel
about a dramatic space disaster, A Fall of Moondust.
“Principles of Rocket Flight” and “The Dynamics of Space Flight” are among several papers directly concerned with spacecraft motion. The topics include mass ratios, The Earth’s gravitational well, circular and escape velocities, and related concepts. The material is quite similar to that in more recent discussions of the subject, although the notation sometimes varies slightly. However, since these papers were written over 30 years ago, the V-2 is the rocket most frequently mentioned as an example.
“Electromagnetic Launching as a Major Contribution to Space Flight” was first published in 1950. However, it will still interest many SSI readers, since it describes a forerunner of the Mass Driver, as Gerard K. O’Neill pointed out in The High Frontier. The context is also familiar: Clarke proposed that such a system be based on the Moon. The purpose is to launch rocket fuel, mined from
the Moon, into space. A satellite would then retrieve it. With such a system it would not be necessary to lift fuel out of Earth’s gravity well.
“The Space Elevator: ‘Thought Experiment’ or Key to the Universe” first appeared in 1981. This paper is a survey of the space elevator, which has been frequently discussed in recent years. Clarke used it in his novel The Fountains of Paradise. The idea was first developed by Artsutanov in the USSR and was later independently proposed by several authors in the West. Clarke’s paper outlines this history, describes the physics of the system, and discusses the materials that would be required to build it, as well as several related issues.
Ascent to Orbit also includes papers on electronics, mathematical games, and other subjects. Taken altogether, it is a fascinating book. It gives the reader a view of the history of many concepts in astronautics and related fields, while also looking forward to their future development.
SPACE DEVELOPMENT CONFERENCE
The Fourth Annual Space Development Conference will be held on April 27 & 28, 1985 in Washington D.C. at the Shoreham Hotel. This year’s sponsors include the L-5 Society, The National Space Institute, and the Students for the Development and Exploration of Space.
The theme of this conference is “Returns from Space.” The main program will focus on the wide variety of benefits space development will provide during the next two decades and beyond. Space advocates will have the opportunity to discuss present and future activities, to organize space promotional activities, and to display the results of their recent work.
Scheduled activities include sessions on space industrialization, the space station, space science and space resources. Also covered are topics of great current interest – tourism in space and the politics of space. In addition, the programming will link the importance of space to other major interests such as health, education, and international affairs.
SSI will be very well represented at the conference. President Gerard K. O’Neill will deliver the Keynote Address titled “Before 2000?” on Saturday April 27 at 9:00 am. Executive Vice-President Gregg Maryniak will talk on Space Based Industry along with Washington DC Coordinator Morris Hornik, who is program director. Trustee T. Stephen Cheston will speak in the Space Biomedicine session. Senior Associates Martin Rothblatt, Jim Muncy, C.J. Cherryh, Todd Hawley, Eric Jones, and David Webb will all be speaking at the conference. Senior Associates Peter Diamandis, Geoffrey Holdridge, and Eric Dahlstrom will lead various sessions. SSI/Princeton/AIAA Conference participants B.J. Bluth and Gordon Woodcock and Brian O’Leary will also be making presentations.
For further information on this conference, call toll free 1-800-xxx-xxxx or write: xxxxxxxxxxxx, Des Planes,IL, 60018.
LOCAL SUPPORT TEAM NEWS
San Diego Local Support Team Leader, Jim Bowery, reports that Dave Duemler and Dave & Julie Warner helped represent SSI at the San Diego World’s Future Society Conference by showing a continuous slide show presentation of SSI activities. They are also working on a paper and setting up a liason group with the San Diego Chapter of the Sierra Club to explore ways that space development interests and Earth conservation can work together.
Larry Beyer has started the Local Support Team in Pittsburgh. He would like to start many new projects and work with the L5 Society in the area. Anyone interested in helping can contact Mr. Beyer through the SSI office.
The Florida Support Team will present awards to three students in the Space Science and Technology Degree programs at the Florida Institute of Technology (FIT). The awards, which include a gift membership to SSI, will be presented at 7:00 pm on March 16 at the Evans Library Auditorium on the Melbourne Campus at FIT.
Morris Hornik, leader from the Washington DC area, reports that the National Space Development Conference is coming along fine. (See separate article.) Morris has given many recent lectures, including ones at Georgetown University and AT&T Technology Systems Inc. SSI would like to thank Washington area members, Keith Morton, Eric Dahlstrom, Morris Hornik & Robert Davis, for the stuffing of the last newsletter, a big thanks!
Boston area leader, Peter Diamandis has asked us to remind readers that Spacefair 1985: Careers from Space, will be held during the week of April 12th in Boston. Interested persons contact Spacefair Headquarters at MIT Branch Post Office, Cambridge, MA, 02139.
The first Local Support Team outside the US has been formed. Hans Starlife, the director: of the Swedish Space Movement and member of SSI, is coordinator of the new SSI Swedish Support Team. Contact Hans at: xxxxxxxxxxxxxx, Tumba, SWEDEN, for more information. If you are interested in forming a local support team outside the US, contact SSI International Support Team Leader, Steve Morgan at: xxxxxxxxxx, Palm Bay, FL, 32906.
This news item came to our attention from Moscow World Service in English:
“The Soviet Union intends to carry out already before the end of this century a major program termed by experts as a star electricity project. There’s a plan to build a power plant in outer space working on solar energy. The panels of the solar batteries of that powerful plant will be placed on a territory equal to that of a small town. Units of the plant will be brought to space by spacecraft and assembled by teams of cosmonauts. Methods of the assembly of solar panels in outer space have already been tested by soviet cosmonauts at orbital stations.”
According to Soviet Aerospace, a weekly newsletter, the Soviets are planning to erect this SPS by the end of this century.
Dr. O’Neill’s lecture schedule for Spring 1985 is as follows:
(Asterisk denotes lecture closed to the public)
March 19: Westpoint, NY Westpoint Academy*
Gregg Maryniak’s lecture schedule for Spring 1985 is as follows:
April 3-May 8 7:30-9:00pm Chicago, IL Adler Planetarium
This course will focus on spacecraft, propulsion, and the basic mathematics of space flight, including the rocket equation, trajectories, flight duration, and velocity requirements. Discussion of recent advances such as light sails, mass drivers, and aerobraking, as well as the economics of space travel is included. For spaceflight simulations, the new McCormick Space Computer Center. For registration information please contact the Alder Planetarium.
For information on booking an SSI speaker please contact the Princeton SSI office.
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