SPACE: ISS (and Other) Thoughts

From: Eugene Leitl (
Date: Sat Oct 21 2000 - 14:05:57 MDT writes:

> <> Suppose someone actually uses the ISS for one of the primary original
> purposes envisioned in the Original Plan, i.e. as a construction and
> maintenance base for further space infrastructure, such as a reusable
> translunar vehicle, planetary transit vehicles and the like. How much
> penalty is imposed by its current orbit?
Excuse me, I don't see any logics behind this. All the mass must come
from the bottom of some nearby gravitational well. There is nothing
else there nearby which doesn't have a prohibitive delta vee. If one
thinks about braking down some near earth asteroids with a barrage of
nukes sufficient for Earth orbit capture, lowering down asteroid belt
material with solar sails or braking a comet fragment using newly
proposed plasma magnetic solar wind sail these are obviously highly
complex, very expensive missions. Being realistic, we cannot think of
those yet.

If you want to refuel using Earth resources, you need to haul up fuel
using some cheap transportation, hypersonic reusable vehicle (to be
developed, a risky investment) or old-fashioned rockets (proven,
scalable technology, would be much cheaper if built in numbers). It
would be much better to use lunar linear mass drivers for launching
processed materials and probes, so constructing these should be on top
of our priorities.

We can get to the Moon in one piece from Earth surface. Why using
several missions to bring up fuel and system modules before going to
the Moon? It would rather make more sense to build a bigger rocket,
something which can carry twice Proton's payload.
> <> Would it be possible to actually use the ISS as a "construction base" for
> projects such as assembling translunar or interplanetary vehicles? This

The trend goes to smaller system size. It is not obvious why even a
deep space mission would profit from more bulk, unless we're talking
manned missions. But manned missions are an obvious mistake at this
point, anyway.

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