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Dreaming possible space futures of the 1970s and after. July 19, 2015

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.


Anyone interested in the US space programme, indeed human spaceflight, will find this useful, a blog linked to Wired magazine run until three or four months ago by David S. F. Portree across quite a number of years, which examined the plans for those programmes and that spaceflight in the 1960s. They were – to put it mildly – remarkably ambitious, at least from this point in time. This particular post here examines an uninterrupted Apollo programme which continued after the ones in our timeline ended.

Imagine a space station entitled Olympus, as large or larger than Skylab, but being boosted into orbit years earlier, to be followed by successor stations even larger again. Or multiple landings on the Moon throughout the 1970s. Or a Moonlab, a lunar orbiting station. Human flyby’s of Mars and Venus – year long missions that would see humans reach, if not land, on those planets, and all this before 1980. Stephen Baxter wrote a good novel based on some of this in the 1990s, entitled Voyage, but viewing the original diagrams, reading the outlines, is a different experience again. The sense of these as potential futures is very strong.

I’m a sucker for this, I tend now to the view the Shuttle, remarkable as it was, was a diversion, perhaps even a cul-de-sac, and it seems telling that 1960s era approaches are being revived (and of course in the Soviet Union and Russia, and China, they were never stopped).

There’s also a good insight into attitudes to militarisation of space, as here which discusses views of the military use of the Moon and Asteroids from 1983.

Portree has a book coming out on his very topic next year which I look forward to.


1. EWI - July 19, 2015

There’s at the very least a strong correlation between the militarisation of Space by the US during the Cold War, and the abandonment of envisaged major civilian programs like this.

It seems clear in hindsight that the Shuttle was actually a military program (whether it was successful in that role is a different matter).


WorldbyStorm - July 19, 2015

Yes, I think there’s a lot in that analysis. It’s a desperate pity, isn’t it? I’m unmoved by the arguments for human spaceflight to Mars in the short to medium term, but some sort of presence above low earth orbit seems to be useful. And the sheer strangeness of not engaging more closely with the Moon is depressing.


2. CL - July 19, 2015

Because we are organic creatures evolved on this tiny speck we are completely unsuited for any long term space flights. Space exploration, of necessity, will be done by machines.

“Our era of organic intelligence is a triumph of complexity over entropy, but a transient one, which will be followed by a vastly longer period of inorganic intelligences less constrained by their environment. If life is widespread, worlds orbiting stars older than the sun could have had a head-start. If so, aliens are likely long ago to have transitioned beyond the organic stage.” Martin Rees.


3. 5,7 miliardi in 46 anni | strategie evolutive - July 21, 2015

[…] Dreaming possible space futures of the 1970s and after. […]


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