Technology Arenas

Centristation - Space Escalators - Space Elevators - AppsGeo - WorkEnergy - GroundCommute

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Using what we already know now, the contention here is that civilization potentially can expand in a big way into space, at least the space near the Earth; and start as soon as we choose to do so - if we retain the technology capability by then, that is. Ways to do it are shown in these pages, which may have some new viewpoints for the reader. These are explored in these pages both in the forms of technical papers and slide presentations, as well as in the more lively and detailed form of science fiction adventures.

Background to Technology Arenas as used here: TechnologyArenaBcgnd

and for the actual original files the author wrote for the GEnie Spaceport Space and Science Library relevant files

while the centristation space station, mooncable lunar L-1 space elevator, and carousel escalator hoop were being gradually developed as a hobby during the years 1988 - 1994; these contain little technological gems which may be of interest, such as building a space carousel out of nanotubing.

Exploring the Centristation concept for efficiently building a classic wheel-shaped space station from fuel tanks prefab for linked modules


Let's consider what happens if we build launch vehicle fuel tanks to also be habitat modules after being launched, pre-fitted internally, when emptied of fuel and oxidizer after launch into low earth orbit. Earth launch vehicles could have a final really grand project, that of the emplacement of modules for creation of the classical mile-diameter wheel form of artificial gravity space station, all done unmanned and docked into the mile-diameter wheel shape in orbit before the first spacesuited workman arrives up there. The simple shift of thought from using the spent external tanks of the Space Shuttle for construction material in orbit, change to building habitat modules in the form of fuel tanks whose interior is already equipped for use as a habitat module, and use un-piloted launch vehicles which have all their booster sections as flyback modules, and the main tug vehicle teleoperated docks to the end of the prior emplaced modules in LEO, forming a ring with spokes, all assembled in orbit before any human goes up there. The wheel shaped group of modules would be pre-assembled on the ground and gotten to work on the ground, all the myriads of interacting living and machine systems together, before the wheel's modules are individually disconnected and taken to the launch pad and filled with fuel and oxidizer for their own launch. This way the tankage is efficiently used to provide the large interior living and work space in orbit. Read about this concept in detail here, including access to the paper I have published on the subject: centristation And, even in more detail, read about its construction in the form of a science fiction adventure in "Building Up" starting in Chapter 4.

Exploring a very efficient and high capacity transportation to high earth orbit via Space Escalators


The outward stretch of a spinning loop forms the basis of the KESTS and the special case of KESTS to GEO, is based on the idea of a spinning hoop, like a piece of rope tied into a loop and then spun, for example the cowboy's lariat lasso. The limp crumpled rope is transformed into a fairly rigid circle by the outward centrifugal force of the spin of its parts. In the case of the KESTS, the hoop of rope is spinning in a big elliptical loop with the center of the earth as one of the two axes and is spinning faster than orbital velocity at all points thus has excess outward centrifugal force to keep it taught and be able to provide support for external loads upon it. This is the type of concept which is most thoroughly explored in the technical and science fiction sections of this website. A brief set of presentation slides used in 2005 can be seen here, remember to click on the slide to get it to change to next slide: carousel_f_wobkgndmod.swf and see further below for a list of several more conference slide presentations on the KESTS to GEO or Carousel Space Escalator concept.

Exploring anchored tether based Space Elevators


A weight being swung around on the end of a rope is the basis of the planetary space elevator, The space elevator is based on the idea of swinging a weight around in a circle on the end of a tether. In the case of the space elevator, the 24 hour rotation of Earth does the spinning of the counterweight attached by the tether; the tether becomes a structure which can support transportation along itself. And if a tether material has a sufficiently strong tensile strength for its mass density, it can have a constant cross-section and that enables efficient movement like the ancient belt and pulley system to some extent. A presentation slide set can be seen at this link: 


A different form of space elevator is useful for access to and from a moon, such as our Moon or say Phobos at Mars. A siphon uses the lower gravitational potential of one end of something so as to lift from a slightly higher gravitational potential at one end up even higher before then lowering to below the ortiginal gravitational potential. Up and over the side of an aquarium to empty the tank, once flow is started, for example. The structure providing teh continuity between the two ends is the siphon and its structure of course also goes higher before going to its lower end. The Mooncable project basic concept was similar in that it started out a gravitational potential of the surface of the Moon, went higher through L-1 of the earth-moon system, and then to a lower grvitational potential within the gravitational field of the earth, a bit deeper than the gravitational potential at the surface of the moon, so as to provide an excess pull toward the earth thus supporting the structure attached to the lunar surface and stretching out toward the earth. Movement of material, analogous to the movement of water over the top of an aquarium to empt it, theoretically cold be done by coupling through electromagnetic energy transference along conductors; if a sufficiently strong tether material were available in quantity, the tether could be in the form of a band circulating between two pulleys, one at the lunar surface and the other at the far end dangling partway down toward the eath, and payload cold be attached to theis circulating band between the two pulleys, to move meaterials up from the lunar surface to its far end.  And read about the construction of a constant cross-section space elevator in the form of a science fiction adventure in "Building Up" starting in Chapter 1.

Presentation graphics I prepared for use in my technical paper space conference presentations:

(Note: the way they work is that you need to use your mouse to click anywhere on the slide's graphic to get it to change to the next slide.)

"Kinetically Supported Bridge Vehicle Lift to GEO"  Paper presented at the ASCE Space 2002 conference in Albuquerque, NM

as2002mod4d.swf as2002mod4d

 "Carousel Spacecraft Electrical Lift Around the Earth Up to GEO" Presented at the Space Exploration 2005 conference in Albuquerque, NM in 2005:


"Energy Flow In Kinetically Strengthened Transportation Structure Systems to Space" ASCE Space 2004 "Energy Flow In Kinetically Strengthened Transportation Structure Systems to Space" 


 "Characteristics of Space escalator Carousels Vs Space Elevators"  Presented at the Space Exploration 2005 conference in Albuquerque, NM in 2005:


"The Space Carousel's Unique Potentials"  Presented at the Space Exploration 2005 conference in Albuquerque, NM in 2005:


Also see for a brief technical paper on the subject.

The reference material here includes presentation slides the author used when presenting technological papers at space conferences; some of the actual papers themselves; the original related technical files the author wrote and placed on the GEnie Space and Science libraries in the late 1980's; and other info by the author and some links to other's related info, such as NASA's 1976 design for a wheel-like space colony of 10,000 people which was at that time envisioned to be located at the Lagrange-5 location in the earth-moon system, and was used as a starting point for a different application enabled by the highly efficient large scale space access concepts found on this website. Also a list of references of the technical papers written by the author and formally published in space conference technical proceedings.

GroundCommute - Exploring the potentials of the Pullband Commute System concept for high time-and-energy-efficiency commute with roots in the old cablecar system, but using high-tech mechanisms.


Large Scale Conceptual Designs, with formal publication already made

centristation: A simple, low-risk, energy efficient way to build the classical wheel-shaped space station in LEO for 200 to 1,000 people

Space Escalators: The kinetically-supported space escalator hoop connecting the ground with high earth orbit for high efficiency transportation to GEO

Space Elevators: Anchored tether space elevators, both of earth-anchored and lunar-anchored forms

Space Station: Efficient and low risk construction of the classical wheel-type space station in low earth orbit, for 200 to 1,000 people in artificial gravity

Ideas for Smaller Scale Sub-Conceptual Designs & Application, as developing in the stories yet are plausible for early reality

  • Powering aircraft from SPS electrical energy beamed from SPS in GEO
  • Powered aircraft built of lighter-than-air components for increased efficiency and safety
  • Ground Commute: A high tech personal commute system stimulated by the old cable car system concept, built during sudden loss of fossil fuel availability

(Almost) Pure Fantasy Technology used in the stories

  • The Holoterminal and Holopaint: workstation enabling expansion of one's consciousness for evaluating performance of equipment and systems in real-time operation

Copyright © 2008 James E. D. Cline. Permission granted to reproduce providing inclusion of a link back to this site and acknowledgment of the author and concept designer James E. D. Cline.