Applications in space enabled by KESTS to GEO
The primary technical concept described on these pages, an innovative potential technique for economically providing electrically powered equatorial ground-to-GEO centrifugally-supported transportation, so as to open up the Geostationary Earth Orbit (GEO) to feasable construction and use of such large scale facilities as Solar Power Satellites, solar powered total recycling facilities, very efficient high level rocket spaceports, and even large passively shielded (by water ice) wheel-type space cities, as shown on the diagram; the centrifugally-supported KESTS (Kinetic Energy Supported Transportation Structure) is an elliptical hoop shaped like an Orbital Transfer Trajectory around the planet connecting ground up to GEO.
Functions of Major Facilities Enabled Built in GEO by Use of KESTS Technology
The following is a diagram showing the KESTS Space Escalator Carousel, showing the Earth in the center, and the Geostationary Earth Orbital ringing it; and some of the major kinds of infrastructure that the KESTS could enable be built and maintained in high earth orbit, as is involved in this novel.
(Graphic from the author's presentation slides used in presenting the technical paper “The Space Escalator Carousel's Unique Potentials” Space Exploration 2005 Conference Proceedings, SESI, 2005, 230-238 at the Space Exploration 2005 conference in Albuquerque, NM in 2005. In this paper, and the above graphic, "KESTS to GEO" is called a more logical name "Space Escalator Carousel" to help people visualize it.)
Solar Power Satellites have been proposed for the past four decades to provide abundant clean electrical power to all the nations of the earth, but there has been no economical means to lift construction materials to build them up there in space, if limited to conventional, rocket propelled launch vehicle means to reach space. The KESTS would finally enable those Solar Power Satellites to be built and maintained up in high earth orbit, GEO. The electrical energy to run the KESTS itself would be beamed down from a Solar Power Satellite in GEO, to the accelerator site on the ground in the mountain tunnel in Ecuador.
The Total Recycling Plant is a second primary kind of facility that probably could be economically built and operated in GEO as enabled by KESTS transportation. These would be gigantic basic mass spectrometer type devices built in the free-fall hard-vacuum GEO environment, that would use solar energy to totally convert toxic and otherwise environmentally-dangerous industrial byproduct material as well as worn out electronics materials and nuclear wastes, back into their basic elemental states. The incoming waste material would be vaporized into a plasma state by focused solar energy; then using electrostatic fields to be separated into positive and negative ions, and accelerated down a pathway to uniform exit speed as they launch across a magnetic field, and the ion's trajectories are bent according to their unique mass-charge ratio, there to be collected in containers placed out around the magnet at the appropriate angles to where the ions were bent by the magnetic field. When the containers are filled, the materials would be utilized for manufacturing up there in GEO, or be returned down the KESTS for industrial re-use in their now pure form; or perhaps in the case of some dangerous radioactive isotopes, being launched into the Sun.
High Spaceports in GEO would be for conventional rocket facilities. Since GEO, already 91% up out of the Earth's planetary gravitational energy well, they would be extremely energy efficient terminals for spacecraft to travel to and from other destinations in the solar system, including the Moon, Mars, and the moons of the other planets. Starting as cheaply lifted electrically up the KESTS from the ground up into GEO, the spacecraft would have their assembly completed at the spaceports; fueled with fuel brought up the KESTS; and readied for their duties as very large scale manned space exploration expeditions, or for freighting of industrial materials from the Moon and other sources such as asteroids.
The 1 or 2 mile diameter wheel type of city built in space is the last major type of facility involved in this particular scenario, much like was envisioned as the 10,000-person space settlement originally designed in 1975 under NASA sponsorship at Stanford, for construction and use in the Earth-Moon Lagrange-5 (L-5) location in space; but adapted here for use in GEO; initial construction from materials brought up the KESTS from the ground, including the water and sawdust for use in making the passive ice shields out of water ice instead of from lunar materials; the water ice would be a benign addition to the earth's atmosphere if and when eons later, the ice shields would be returned to the earth via atmospheric entry.