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20 years from Now

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  • L. Paul Verhage
    The second question I need to address is what things do I foresee happening in 20 years. I will stick with lighter than air craft. I think bigger is better
    Message 1 of 4 , Jul 31, 2010
      The second question I need to address is what things do I foresee happening in 20 years.
       
      I will stick with lighter than air craft.  I think bigger is better and more useful.  Also, a tethered balloon is more useful than a free floater.  I can foresee large platforms tethered with carbon nanotube cables.  Since 20 miles or more in altitude is too great for power cables, they will need solar cells.  The distance to the horizon will be 400 miles, so near space stations could be useful cell phone towers.  Half a dozen fixed platforms could route radio traffic across the US.  Cell phone towers on the ground would decide when to send a message to a neighboring tower or to a balloon platform.  Since the platform doesn't move like a satellite, it should be easier to connect to one.  The tower can use a dish antenna for gain and save power in the transmission of the signal.  The near space platforms are 400 or so miles apart, which is simliar to the distance to LEO satellites.  But LEO satellites are contantly on the move and need more powerful transmitters to communicate with omni antennas.  GEO satellites are fixed, but need more power because of their distance (22,500 miles).  A fixed near space platform has the best benefits of LEO and GEO satellites.        
       
      A fixed platform could observe solar cell arrays on the ground to let utility companies know when the power output of an array will drop from cloud cover (thanks Mark for the idea).  If near space stations (NSS) can measure winds, then wind farms would find them useful. 
       
      Instruments and experiments needing long term exposure could be placed in standardized racks onboard the NSS.  Robots can load, unload, and operate experiments.  Tele-operating in near space is no more difficult than doing the same thing at the bottom of the Gulf of Mexico to plug a BP oil well.     
      For redunacy, several balloons need to be attached to the NSS.  They need to be a tightly woven plastic so hydrogen leaks out very slowly.  Occasionally, additional H2 will need to be brought to the NSS.  How do we bring the H2 and experiments to the NSS?  Use an elevator.  A practical space elevator will use crawlers that creep up a nanocarbon belt.  I think the same thing could be used for the NSS.  Several cables tether the NSS to the ground in a tripod.  A belt directly below the NSS is used by crawlers to bring supplies to the NSS.  This makes a NSS a practical test of ideas for a space elevator (which may be a project for next century).    
       
      What if the NSS could be made larger?  Could one be large enough and dependable enough to host a human crew?  People are planning to spend some $200,000 to take a 15 minutes ride in space.  Would people be willing to spend say $20,000 to spend a day in near space?  You could watch sunrise and sunset, something the space riders of Spaceship 2 won't be doing.  You could don a spacesuit and walk around the platform.  Who wouldn't want to wear a real spacesuit? 
       
      What about combining extreme sports and the NSS?  A NSS should be a safe platform for skydivers.  Ride to the platform, don a spacesuit, exit the station, grabe the rail, and drop off.  It would take specialized training, but I think it would be the ultimate extreme sport.  It's the ultimate BASE jump.  
       
      We build telescopes in airplanes and mountain tops to get above water vapor.  Getting above 99% of the atmopshere may be good enough for many space telescope applications.  I know UVC, gamma, and x-rays are blocked above the stratosphere, but there's more raw light reaching 100,000 feet than the ground.  The images are also steadier.  Perhaps amateur astromomy clubs could afford to place a telescope on a NSS.   

      So, those are some of my initial thoughts.  I need to organize my thoughts and research them in depth.  If you have any suggestions, I'd love to hear them.
       
      Thanks
      --
      Onwards and Upwards,
      Paul
    • Mike Manes
      Ha! 20 years ago, the GPS-based APRS beacons that we all fly today were at best a balloonist s wet dream. In 1975, the PCs were limited to the domain of a
      Message 2 of 4 , Jul 31, 2010
        Ha! 20 years ago, the GPS-based APRS beacons that we all fly today
        were at best a balloonist's wet dream. In 1975, the PCs were limited
        to the domain of a few geeks, and 20 years later, they were common home
        appliances. Whoda guessed?

        Going out 20 years is an exercise in stretching one's grasp to match
        his reach, IMHO. GL with that!

        73 de Mike W5VSI

        On 7/31/2010 20:56, L. Paul Verhage wrote:
        >
        >
        > The second question I need to address is what things do I foresee happening in
        > 20 years.
        > I will stick with lighter than air craft. I think bigger is better and more
        > useful. Also, a tethered balloon is more useful than a free floater. I can
        > foresee large platforms tethered with carbon nanotube cables. Since 20 miles
        > or more in altitude is too great for power cables, they will need solar
        > cells. The distance to the horizon will be 400 miles, so near space stations
        > could be useful cell phone towers. Half a dozen fixed platforms could route
        > radio traffic across the US. Cell phone towers on the ground would decide
        > when to send a message to a neighboring tower or to a balloon platform. Since
        > the platform doesn't move like a satellite, it should be easier to connect to
        > one. The tower can use a dish antenna for gain and save power in the
        > transmission of the signal. The near space platforms are 400 or so miles
        > apart, which is simliar to the distance to LEO satellites. But LEO satellites
        > are contantly on the move and need more powerful transmitters to
        > communicate with omni antennas. GEO satellites are fixed, but need more power
        > because of their distance (22,500 miles). A fixed near space platform has the
        > best benefits of LEO and GEO satellites.
        > A fixed platform could observe solar cell arrays on the ground to let utility
        > companies know when the power output of an array will drop from cloud cover
        > (thanks Mark for the idea). If near space stations (NSS) can measure winds,
        > then wind farms would find them useful.
        > Instruments and experiments needing long term exposure could be placed in
        > standardized racks onboard the NSS. Robots can load, unload, and operate
        > experiments. Tele-operating in near space is no more difficult than doing the
        > same thing at the bottom of the Gulf of Mexico to plug a BP oil well.
        > For redunacy, several balloons need to be attached to the NSS. They need to
        > be a tightly woven plastic so hydrogen leaks out very slowly. Occasionally,
        > additional H2 will need to be brought to the NSS. How do we bring the H2 and
        > experiments to the NSS? Use an elevator. A practical space elevator will use
        > crawlers that creep up a nanocarbon belt. I think the same thing could be
        > used for the NSS. Several cables tether the NSS to the ground in a tripod. A
        > belt directly below the NSS is used by crawlers to bring supplies to the NSS.
        > This makes a NSS a practical test of ideas for a space elevator (which may be
        > a project for next century).
        > What if the NSS could be made larger? Could one be large enough and
        > dependable enough to host a human crew? People are planning to spend some
        > $200,000 to take a 15 minutes ride in space. Would people be willing to spend
        > say $20,000 to spend a day in near space? You could watch sunrise and sunset,
        > something the space riders of Spaceship 2 won't be doing. You could don a
        > spacesuit and walk around the platform. Who wouldn't want to wear a real
        > spacesuit?
        > What about combining extreme sports and the NSS? A NSS should be a safe
        > platform for skydivers. Ride to the platform, don a spacesuit, exit the
        > station, grabe the rail, and drop off. It would take specialized training,
        > but I think it would be the ultimate extreme sport. It's the ultimate BASE jump.
        > We build telescopes in airplanes and mountain tops to get above water vapor.
        > Getting above 99% of the atmopshere may be good enough for many space
        > telescope applications. I know UVC, gamma, and x-rays are blocked above the
        > stratosphere, but there's more raw light reaching 100,000 feet than the
        > ground. The images are also steadier. Perhaps amateur astromomy clubs could
        > afford to place a telescope on a NSS.
        >
        > So, those are some of my initial thoughts. I need to organize my thoughts and
        > research them in depth. If you have any suggestions, I'd love to hear them.
        > Thanks
        > --
        > Onwards and Upwards,
        > Paul
        >
        >
        >

        --
        Mike Manes mrmanes@... Tel: 303-979-4899
        "Things should be made as simple as possible, but not more so."
        A. Einstein
      • Joe
        On 7/31/2010 9:56 PM, L. Paul Verhage wrote: Also, a tethered balloon is more useful than a free floater. I can foresee large platforms tethered with carbon
        Message 3 of 4 , Jul 31, 2010
          On 7/31/2010 9:56 PM, L. Paul Verhage wrote:
          Also, a tethered balloon is more useful than a free floater. I can
          foresee large platforms tethered with carbon nanotube cables.

          How would you tether one in 100 MPh winds?

          Just something that seems terribly hard to do when i know what o a
          tethered one does in only 25MPh winds.

          Joe WB9SBD
        • Mike Manes
          I rather doubt that tethered near space balloons will emerge until after teleportation displaces air travel. Until then, they d serve more as the barrage
          Message 4 of 4 , Aug 1, 2010
            I rather doubt that tethered near space balloons will emerge until
            after teleportation displaces air travel. Until then, they'd serve
            more as the barrage balloons deployed for air defense in WW I & II.
            73 de Mike W5VSI

            On 7/31/2010 22:34, Joe wrote:
            >
            > On 7/31/2010 9:56 PM, L. Paul Verhage wrote:
            > Also, a tethered balloon is more useful than a free floater. I can
            > foresee large platforms tethered with carbon nanotube cables.
            >
            > How would you tether one in 100 MPh winds?
            >
            > Just something that seems terribly hard to do when i know what o a
            > tethered one does in only 25MPh winds.
            >
            > Joe WB9SBD
            >
            >
            > ------------------------------------
            >
            > Yahoo! Groups Links
            >
            >
            >
            >

            --
            Mike Manes mrmanes@... Tel: 303-979-4899
            "Things should be made as simple as possible, but not more so."
            A. Einstein
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