Becoming Spacefaring: America’s Path Forward in Space

VII.   Conclusion – What This All Means

The future national security of the United States depends on having sufficient and affordable sustainable energy supplies. Current efforts to achieve this through haphazard, non-integrated attempts at ground-based renewable energy are inadequate. Quantitative analyses, shown herein, establish that the current approaches will simply not work. Energy security is certainly one area where ignorance of the facts will only bring disaster and waste.

Space-based power transmitted to ground receiving stations is the only approach to sustainable energy that is capable of being scaled up to meet US energy needs. This, however, requires that a spacefaring industrial revolution be undertaken to transform America into a true human commercial spacefaring nation. The scope and favorable impact of this transformation on American society will be immense.

The starting point of this transformation is to do what government typically does best—build new infrastructure. At the same time the research and development of the approaches to be used to actually design and build the space-based power industry are being developed, the Federal Government, in partnership with private industry, must first build the enabling spacefaring logistics infrastructure. In doing this, America must pursue the common sense path of creating a new spacefaring logistics infrastructure comparable in safety and operational effectiveness to the commercial airline industry.

The bottom line that every American needs to understand is that time is not on our side. The rapidly growing American population, driven by immigration, is depleting America’s remaining technically recoverable fossil fuel endowment at an increasing rate. Drawing on White’s Law of Cultural Survival, our increasing fossil fuel energy demand is bringing the end of the era of affordable fossil fuels dangerously close—perhaps only 60 years—without any sound sustainable energy security plan to replace these fossil fuels. The only way to characterize this is cultural suicide.

The need to bring the critical issue of national energy security to the public’s attention is obvious. The only groups positioned within American society to do this effectively are the national engineering societies. It is time for these societies to promote national energy security with sustainable energy and identify space-based power as the only practicable way to achieve this.

America has faced an energy security crisis before when coal rescued an economy faced with diminishing wood fuel supplies. In the process, the American economy and prosperity soared as per-capita supplies of affordable energy increased through the use of domestic fossil fuels. Becoming energy secure with sustainable space-based power will bring the American dream of becoming a true spacefaring nation into reality. It will be technologically challenging and costly, no doubt, but it will also be a lot of fun!

Copyright © 2015, Mike Snead. All rights reserved.