Thursday, November 30, 2006

Day 30 of 30 2006 Building Up

Day 30 of 30 2006: "Building Up" by James E D Cline

When the signal was received from the SPS construction site, indicating completion of the local fabrication of the require solar cells for the larger solar power array, Improy and Catalie again made the lift up the partially built KESTS structure, from the Cayambe tunnel in Ecuador, around the Earth upward to GEO above the opposite side of the Earth, where the Solar Power Station was being built, mostly automatically, but occasionally needed on-site human versatility for some specific tasks.

Assembling their space worksuits around themselves, they left their winged spacecraft and moved the huge batch of solar cells into the assembly hopper of the solar panels, for automated placement and electrical connection and testing of each one as installed. The microwave generator and directing array was already in place, all it needed was electrical energy, and lots of it. As the solar cells were hooked into the solar panels by the robotic assembler, the electrical energy of each one would be added to the energy available to the microwave generator and its control circuitry. They setup the manufacturing and transportation monitor equipment, which would continually evaluate the performance of all the systems up here in GEO and also of the KESTS electrodynamic transportation structure itself. THey put in known transients into each system and watched for the monitor's evaluation that resulted.

The systems were growing up here not just in size and complexity, but also in their multiplicity of functions, often interrelated. the Emplos corporation and the Three Musketeers Corporation had very limited resources, which limited what they could do even with their interlinked education-workstations which was still proving extremely powerful in raising the competency of people and their enjoyment of being part of the larger process. Catalie and Improy had a way they hoped would bring significant new resources to the system, so as their endurance time ran out up here unshielded in GEO, they returned to their captive winged spacecraft, rode the KESTS structure down to the fringes of the atmosphere, and set their winged spacecraft free.

They had to drop awhile in order to build up speed, then their large foamed aluminum glider wings rode the relative wind, and they once again did the bounce around the planet, losing altitude and speed slowly enough as to not get uncomfortably hot along the way. But this time their landing destination was neither Cayanbe nor White Sands; they were going to the long-abandoned remains of the space command center in the ghost town of Houston. They landed at the runway of the abandoned airport, skidding to their usual halt. They had to leave their space worksuits there in their glider spacecraft, too bulky for their long hike to the space command center remains.

Historical data was sketchy, as to what happened to the once proud Houston Space Command of NASA. When the mega-corporations arranged to fix the elections, and then have the country turned into a gigantic business instead of a country of people, everything was privatized, including NASA facilities. It was given by the new government to a giant toy manufacturer, the mega-corporations seeing no quick profit in any space ventures, so they got rid of NASA and gave its facilities away. The toy manufacturer saw the Houston space command center, with all its computer monitors, as being most nearly an arcade. So they sent a team in to make the consoles to run computer games for teenagers. The government-super-corporation gave each of its subsidiaries 3 months to streamline their takeover operation, and another 3 months to show a profit. By the end of the second quarter, the Houston space command arcade was not showing a profit, so it was abandoned, its doors closed, and walked away from.

The understandably frustrated kids had gave up trying to play their favorite computer games on the imperfectly modified consoles of the former space command center, and they had gotten in a fight with each other, throwing handy objects, some of which had hit the consoles. The place was then abandoned, decades ago. The world had been a state of collapse from even before that, little of high technological sophistication got built afterward. So Improy and Catalie considered the remains of the former space command a gold mine of parts they could use. The remote eyes and ears of the worldwide communications system was no longer working, of course. But hey did have some big dishes locally, and they manually set one up to aim at a relay link that they had positioned on the KESTS where line of sight existed both to the GEO assembly station above the equatorial ocean, and also to Houston, Cayambe, and to White Sands. Improy set up one of the education-workstations which they had brought along, and connected it through the KESTS repeater transceiver, and was immediately locked into both the home base at White Sands and the GEO assembly site. Indulging in only the briefest welcoming chats with the people at White Sands, Catalie went through the checklist of monitor functions and data output from the GEO site. Based on that data, she made some changes in the timing and sequense of the manufacturing process, and left the manufacturing assembly automation to run some more.

She then turned her attention to the monitoring of the KESTS transportation structure. There were two particular concerns she had tight now, involving the structure's ability to servo-position adequately in response to transients. One kind of possible transient was that of the seismic wave of an earthquake; one such had been recorded long ago on the opposite side of Cayambe peak from the village of Cayambe, so it was possible to happen again. The other transient type was from winds causing shifting lateral loads on the KESTS structure in the atmosphere. Such lateral loads were compensated for by unbalancing the distribution of armature segment velocities around the perimeter of the cross-section of the KESTS, the lateral stresses produced intended to balance the stresses produced by wind loads. But the energy distribution amount the armature segments was set when they left the Cayanmbe tunnel accelerator site, and little was possible after that to change their pattern of sideway push against the structure from within it. Sudden and sustained wind shifts that had not been predicted adequately, was the big worry and so was being monitored and relayed to the ground for human evaluation, getting data for the computers that would do it automatically thereafter, mimicking the human's responses. The KESTS structure was essentially horizontal out across Brazil in one direction and the Pacific Ocean in the other, for a long way before the curvature of the earth surface was dropping away out from under the KESTS lesser curvature. If the winds broadsided the structure across a large distance, it could put quite a lateral wind load on the KESTS structure. And if the winds shifted to rapidly, it could cause possibly insufficiently unbalanced forces within the KESTS internal trackways. They were doing reality testing a bit more than she liked. So far, things seemed to be well within the limits of compensation.

Meanwhile, Improy was taking stock of the abandoned equipment that might still be useful. The electronics technology utilized in the consoles had become obsoleted with advances in technology for awhile, but then with the implosion of civilization, its technology became irreproducible. Some of the circuit boards population of integrated circuits would be best used as models, when put into the new manufacturing system used for making the education-workstations. Their imprint could be copied into the knowledge base, perhaps new things would result.

Whatever, Improy and Catalie were stranded here in Houston, no way to fly their spacecraft out of there.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Day 29 of 30

Day 29 of 30

The construction and use of the space access structure was energy starved. As there were no electric power lines existing servicing Cayanbe, the Ecuadoreans pitched in and got a powdered-coal fueled electric power plant brought in to the construction site, and while that fuel supply lasted, they could speed up the scaling up construction of the structure. At some point they would need to shift to using energy resources for lifting materials up to GEO to build a Satellite Solar electric Power plant, with which to power the transportation structure thereafter.

The supplies available to fuel the coal-powered electric power plant were rationed and getting less each week. So when the diameter of the KESTS structure to GEO reached 36 cm, they called a temporary halt to the scaling up process. At this point the mass of the structure was 4E10kg, and the structure was capable of receiving 600 megawatts per hour while lifting 20 million kg of mass to GEO each hour, so it was extremely underused, being only powered by the small powerplant on site. And that powerplant was running out of allowed fuel ration, too. They had to get to building the solar electric powerplant built in GEO as soon as possible.

They had instructed the old dual wheel space station to be towed to where it could continually beam microwave energy to rectennas to either the White Sands location, or to the Cayanbe location. They arranged to time share the energy beamed down from its solar power source, a kind of SSPS, but welcome addition to the petrochemical powerplant. They used the energy primarily to lift the construction materials for a SSPS capable of delivering 600 MW of solar-sourced energy continuously to the earth surface, If they could achieve that before their earth sourced energy supplies ran out, they could at least run this KESTS at full capacity, building more solar electric powerplants, and start negotiating with countries for delivered electric power, and start having an income. From then on, things would be easier.

As it was, the combined energy input from the coal-fired electric power and their average share of the space station's beamed energy was only half a megawatt, with which they could only deliver 15,000 kg to GEO each hour. They chose to build the main structure of the powerplant out of glass cast in a hard vacuum, which had enormous strength to mass ratio, far greater than the finest steel or aluminum, so long as it could be kept free of the atmosphere's molecules wiggling into glass surface microcracks, wedging into the glass until it was as fragile as it is normally on the earth's surface. They chose to melt the glass down at the KESTS ground terminal, and haul it up to the GEO construction site while still in the melted state, for feeding the extrusion facilities making the SSPS.

The structure had severe limits to the amount of concentrated load it could carry, however. It was very efficient at lifting a fairly continuous series of payloads of about equal mass, but the limits to concentrated mass load meant that they could not just haul up a solar powerplant ready-made. So Improy and Catalie went up in their little two-person spacecraft again, this time being lifted up by the KESTS, about its limit of a concentrated mass load. They only had a brief time they could work in GEO, being without passive radiation protection, and the injected DNA repair substance formula had long since been lost. So they used their space worksuits to assemble the solar-electric power panels into the glass main structure, and connected it to the microwave beam generator.

Looking down from the construction site, in GEO above the opposite side of the planet from the Ecuadorean mountain tunnel site, the world looked mostly watery. They were out of touch with ground facilities, and they dare not try to link into any internet signals that might reach up here. They then set up the silicon solar cell automated fabrication plant, which liked to be in zero g and hard vacuum, solar powered. Then they hurried back down the KESTS back to Cayambe peak tunnel, for a well earned vacation.

Copyright © 2006 James E D Cline as per rules

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Day 28 of 30 2006 Building Up JEDCline

Day 28 of 30 JEDCline 2006 "Building Up"

They hooked another fiber to ride along the first fiber, a barbed point occasionally along the new fiber, which also had magnet inclusions distributed along it, the first fiber carried it with itself around the planet, back into the tunnel, and snapped onto itself to form another continuous loop. The second fiber had its own similar linear electric motor armature down through the tunnel, through which the non-floating fiber was diverted, then was accelerated faster that the floating fiber and as the faster portion traveled around the world the barbs unhooked from the floating fiber, and the thin fiber was being supported by its outward centrifugal force. When it was completely unhooked the floating fiber was cut and reeled back in as it finished its final circuit around the planet and back into the tunnel.

This finer fiber was then speeded up until the stator could push it no faster, overcoming air drag losses. But now this fiber was centrifugally reaching quite high, stretched into the upper atmosphere for half of its path around the planet, so the drag was much less there.

A similar fiber on a new bobbin was brought up to the tunnel, and driven by its own synchronous linear motor stator, laced to the loop already speeding through the tunnel, being carried by the first loop, which was dragged down somewhat for awhile in its higher areas, but as soon as the second lop had completed the circuit of the planet, it had been restored to the original shape, above the atmosphere on the other side of the planet.

The continuous form of armature could not be used for peak altitudes of about 170 km, since the constant velocity had to be about orbital velocity at its highest altitude, and the stress on the fiber's tensile strength had to take up the slack below that altitude. To go much higher, they would have to switch to discontinuous armature segments.

They had to proceed by small steps, learning with everything they did, and that being immediately spread to the furthest corners of the education-workstation network for any who cared to access it. Even a great many of the native Ecuadoreans were following the progress every step. They also had to wait for the dual wheel space station, being leisurely but surely towed by the solar powered ionized aluminum reaction engine on the end of the tether, to finally reach GEO, so as to be out of the way; and hopefully become the initial terminal when the new transportation structure reached GEO.

They were getting useful data out of the current continuous armature structure, however. And the reality of now having a structure that reached entirely around the planet, and extended above the atmosphere in part of the path, had its psychological impact. Something like when the first people flew in the earliest heavier than air aircraft. The moment when analysis and belief that something ought to work, is actually seen and experienced working firsthand.

The easily duplicated microminiature component manufacturing facilities that made the education-workstations, combined with the rapidly expanding competency and enthusiasm of the users of those workstations, began producing test prototypes of sections of laterally coupled magnetic levitation track tubing pairs, along with the microminiature sliding armature segments. When the continuous armature structure had been scaled up sufficiently to carry the passive load of one of these experimental tubing pairs, it was lashed to the speeding loop as it passed through the tunnel, and so it was strung around the planet and joined in the tunnel. It went through its own accelerator as each of the other fiber sections were doing, but this one was different. Once the dual tube track structure was a continuous loop, the synchronous linear motor serving the dual tube, began to pulse electromagnetic acceleration energy to the previously passive armature segments inside the tubes, but one set of armatures went backward to the motion of the supporting fiber motion, while the other set of armature segments in the other tube went in the same direction as the fiber moved. Flapper valves were on the tubing, allowing air to leave the tube but not to enter, and so when the tubing was high above the atmosphere above the far side of the planet, the air inside the tubing was vented to the vacuum of space, gradually creating a good vacuum inside the tubing. This allowed the armature velocity to be unimpeded by gas molecules inside the tubing, and so they were completely floating on their magnetic levitation microtracks. And being speeded up each time the came around through the accelerator in the tunnel, building up speed. In that way, they were able to establish values for the characteristic parameters of the system, including limits that prevented collisions between armature segments and collisions with the track or tubing walls, as they were buffeted laterally by gusts of wind on their journey around the planet when in the atmospheric area.

The real-world values for the parameters thus established, the slowed the dual tube armatures to a stop, and peeled the whole dual tubing off the continuous armature supportive fiber.

Back to the drawing board, for both the track, tubing, and armature segments. And for the tunnel's accelerator pair. Manufacturing the newly optimized value components, they again had the continuous armature speeding fiber strung around the planet, and its dual streams of armature segments in motion, and pumped down by the valves when above the atmosphere. This configuration held together until reaching to twice the orbital velocity all along the path. The average mass of the armature mass stream was the same as the mass of the tubing it passed through. Then the forward-moving armature segments were triggered to deliver a small portion of their momentum to the tubing through electrodynamic tubing through which it passed, speeding it a bit faster that the supporting fiber loop was going, freeing it of the distributed barbs, unzipping it free of the continuous armature fiber; then the velocities of the pair of armature mass stream was adjusted and braked such that the tubing became slowed, gradually reaching a state of motionlessness , while the armature mass streams inside it were going far above orbital velocity, their outward resultant centrifugal force balancing the weight of the tubing inside which it flowed. The targeted configuration had been achieved. The tubing was anchored to the inside of the tunnel, and a new characterization was made, refining the parameters of components for this motionless tubing track configuration.

Several more similar tubing pairs were put in place by the continuous armature fiber speeding structure, and each of these then were internally sped up to support the weight of the tubing, detached from the fiber, slowed to halt the motion of the tubing, and then it was lashed to the first tubing pair. In this way the armature segment form of structure was scaled up until it could support the weight of a passive pair of tubings that were caterpillared along the multiple tube structure, being dragged along by the dynamic braking against the upward-bound set of armature segments excess velocity. Eventually reaching around the planet, that new pair soon joined the bundle, adding to its scale up.

The dual wheel space station had almost reached GEO, so it was time to go for real. The started one of the tubing pairs moving forward, unhooking it from the rest of the bundle, and when it was an independent loop around the planet, its linear stator motor was modified to operate in a pumped down chamber inside the tunnel, where each side of the tubing was opened, its armature segments coasting in the vacuum briefly, re-engering the tubing on the other side of the gap and continuing on as before. In this gap they were able to able to spool a ribbon addition to the exiting tubing, the ribbon folding around and welded to form tubing after the armature segments had inserted in it; and additional armature segments were added in the same process. This was done in both directions of the motor accelerators exits, and thus the overall length of the structure was increasing. As the length of the loop increased, its armatures were speeded up correspondingly, so as to lift the structure ever higher in its planet-encircling loop. Up it went, bit by bit, until it reached GEO above the far side of the planet.

The similarly expanded another of the low altitude loop tubing pairs, to join the first one. And when the had the whole bundle extending between ground and GEO, they used the whole bundle to support the weight of an added pair of tubings. And when that bundle of tubings was able to support a dual tube of larger diameter and armature segments, the scaling up began to increase rapidly.

When the girth of the bundle had reached 30 square centimeters, they paused the scaling up to attache a tubing pair that carried an additional pair of magnetic levitation tracks on it outside. Then it was looped all the way around the planet, up past GEO and down around to the other entrance of the mountain tunnel, They placed a small test vehicle to slide on the tracks while being dragged along by the upward moving armature segments inside the tubings. Carrying a small video camera and a couple of transducers, it sent its camera and sensor data down the tracks to be picked up in the tunnel.

Watching the video as it crept up and around the planet, it looked down on the planet from GEO briefly, then continued on around and down the other side of the structure, eventually coming in the other end of the Cayambe peak tunnel. The first trip had been made from ground to GEO, carried by that type of structure.

Copyright © 2006 James E D Cline as per rules

Monday, November 27, 2006

Day 27 of 30 2006 - Building Up

Day 27 of 30 2006 JEDCline

The freighter, normally empty when it left the Port of TANFL to go get a boatload of bananas for the RichElite, this time had brought a lot of equipment belonging to Emplos and The Three Musketeers, and five of the original landed ID-less former prisoners had come along too as unregistered passengers, since their work was done in initial setup of the Emplos ways in the Employee sector of TANFL City. There were also three of the ship's crew that would be listed as missing and presumed dead during the voyage; a typical trip would lose that many of the crew anyway, back before the Emplos crew showed the Employees, and ship's crew, better lifestyles.

Idealiana had to be back on board the freighter by the time it was ready to leave with its freshly loaded cargo of bananas, so she said goodbye to her parents and the people who had made the one-way journey here with her aboard the freighter, and headed for the boat. She was looking forward to collecting more knowledge from the Emplos main group over at White Sands, during the brief moments the space station was above, they all could exchange chats and knowledge bases while at sea, but did not dare to do that when near TANFL City for fear the Owner-Manager masters might intercept the messages.

Catalie's focus was now on how to get the local Ecuadoreans to become involved in the new project. The country had not escaped the general economic and environmental failures that the higher latitudes had experienced, and had little government remaining and few people, but some natives were sticking it out to the end up here in their homes. It was hoped that they could become interested in the Emplos ways, and join in. The nearby town of Cayambe stil had over a thousand people struggling to live there, all of which would be very welcome members of the immense enterprise being started here, with such high hopes for helping mankind and the world ecosystem.

They negotiated ownership rights to part of the Cayambe mountain peak area, from the owners of the land, best they could determine in the circumstances. The village of the same name as the peak claimed ownership of the mountain area including the peak. THe villagers acted as if nobody who was sane would want the peak, however; but granted rights to part of it anyway, as requested. Improy's crew had determined the lowest part of the peak that was at least 200 meters higher than any other area in Ecuador or Brazil along the equator, centered that location on the western slope in alignment with the peak in an east-west direction, and started digging eastward into the mountain. There was a deep channel that led from the town of Cayambe right up to the site, which was as an extension of that valley. It was quite a hike up there from the town, but it was fairly direct. Having marked the location of the western end of the tunnel to be, they returned to town, and again negotiated for some land property, next to the place where the spacecraft had glided to a skidding stop; it was hard to move and was needed to be their initial home and office. They built a greenhouse for their usual mini-farm, populated by the grains and animals descended from those that had been in the space station wheel. They bartered again for some nearby dwellings, some of which were then set up to be computer terminal sites, and all the locations were linked by tight beam, forming their usual local network configuration. The moved off a few hundred meters and set up a targeting transmitter and a small rectenna array, so that when the space station was above there area and not beaming to White Sands site, it would beam them microwave energy derived from the Sun. They used the same storage techniques developed for use at White Sands, and so had a small amount of continuous electrical energy to operate their computers; and occasionally had a large input during which they could also run power tools directly.

Among the villagers were some engineers and other well educated people who had retreated up here as their normal world disintegrated in the dying world economy and world ecosystem. Catalie invited them to examine their instant education workstation setups, and invited them to participate by adding their knowledge to the system while having access to all knowledge already in the system, and delivered such that it was just was what was needed to do whatever job they specified at the terminal. The educated folk had their old interest in learning rekindled by the terminals functioning, and soon were gathering around 24 hours a day for their turn at a terminal. As now a familiar pattern, the first workstations were focused mostly on preparing to build more such workstations, identifying the raw materials and instructions for building up from there, each step presented after the preceding one was declared achieved. They had to partially cannibalize the spacecraft for some of the materials, as equivalents were not to be found quickly locally. The rectenna was enlarged to utilize a larger part of the microwave beam delivered occasionally, as the requirement for electrical energy at the Cayambe site increased.

They used the native's techniques as much as possible for providing clothing and shelter, and some metals, so as to put their high-tech materials to use in making more education-workstations. Some of the natives of the village learned of what was going on and wanted to be shown, and soon some of them were inputting their language translation and local lore into the expanding database. The workstations had text onscreen, graphics on screen, audio, and tactile-kinesthetic simulator input-output transducers, so a wide variety of kinds of knowledge could be input, including weaving of decorative baskets and preparing native cuisine. Since the school system had long since failed, the villagers appealed to let their children use the terminals to become educated. The agreement was always to trade knowledge for knowledge, so the network began to accumulate knowledge about how to play children games and find local fauna and flora. As the Ecuadoreans began to comprehend the whole system, some chased down the energy source to operate the computer network and terminals, and found it ended at the rectenna. They asked the terminals about the rectenna and discovered the whole larger picture of an abandoned dual wheel space station was orbiting the planet up there and when convenient it would beam some electrical energy down to the rectenna for their use. It also had the history of the space station, and the knowledge that it was slowly being towed to ever higher orbits by a solar powered ion thruster. It al was a bit hard to believe, but the electrical power that would suddenly appear at the rectenna site was an indication that it likely was true. So then the question came up, why had they come here, to this inhospitable location? Were they just still practicing at coping with inhospitable locations, or did they have something else in mind?

So then they were ready to be told that a horizontal tunnel needed to be made through the mountain peak near there, running in an east-west direction. And into that tunnel would be built the ground terminal of an energy supported structure that would encircle the whole planet, reaching up to GEO above the opposite side of the planet, from where little could be seen except ocean and little bits of land on the edges of the round disk. That place would be the construction site for the immense machines that perhaps could save their civilization and make it possible to take mankind's load enough off of the planetary ecosystem as to enable its resurrection as much as possible, based on whatever species that had been saved at that time. It all required a level of cooperation among all peoples, however. They did not know how to deal with the TANFL Corporations who had only interest in accumulating wealth, not in saving the system which provided wealth. All they could hope to do is provide the technology, the means, the transportation system and the machines up there in GEO to provide all the electrical energy people could possibly want, and without having to damage the ecosystem while doing so. Then they said they hoped all of the people of the village would join in on this effort with them, to whatever extent each was willing and able to participate. Because at this point it was mostly a volunteer activity.

The people of the village exhibited an amazing enthusiasm for the project, and in their spare time and when not on the education-workstations, were busy making a pathway up the valley to the site of the tunnel entrance marked location, and were building a dwelling there out of local materials.
They made the dwelling an outpost of the village; and powered by a hand crank generator, installed one of the newly built education workstations there, linked with the others by a tight RF beam, as the others were, but of a bit higher power. Some people began staying there for days at a time, hiking up there with food and water, then using the education-workstation in between using pick and shovel to begin the tunnel through the mountain. They had caught the enthusiasm of the Emplos Corporation, taking on a project even though it seemed nearly impossible to do; if the purpose was valuable enough, it was worth the struggle, they had learned, and so they were whacking away at the rock of the mountain chip by chip, preparing the way for a pathway to Geostationary Earth Orbit, place to build that which civilization needed to survive and even eventually prosper on a world again blooming with life.

One of the village refugee engineers had been a mining engineer, and knew of some mining supplies which had been long abandoned, but possible useful. So a group made the journey to there on foot, returning with the supplies, and soon the progress on the tunnel was being driven quite rapidly. More trips were made to the old mining site, bringing back the old tram that had been set up there, cables and all, hauled by some burros. Once it had been set up, the weight of tunnel debris in the downward buckets lifted people and goods up the us side of the tram, no motor required.

Meanwhile the banana freighters had been bringing down material from the Three Musketeers Corporation, who had access to the abandoned remains of the wider city around their outskirts for all sorts of materials as starting points for the building of the space transportation structure. It had been stockpiling at the Ecuadorean dock facilities, and eventually word got to Improy of the stockpile's existence, a crew from the village took on the task of getting it to Cayambe. It also made it a lot easier to build the education-workstaations, so much work was done to make them and install them in every home in the village that wanted one, which was most of the dwellings. These were powered by hand cranked generators, so they were operated only a little bit of each day, but it was a high point in each household where that was happening. Kids could do their schoolwork on the education-workstations, one would crank on the generator while another would use the terminal; then they would switch places.

Part of the charm of the education-workstations was that its data presentation was in a form that was cheerful and easygoing, as well as concise and integrated to the context of the work being done at the station at that instant. And the user had choices of preferred formats, including some were anthropomorphic, while others were more abstract without the personification of the significant items. This made it blend in with various ways peoples' brains were wired.

Word about this traveled to neighboring villages, and when weather was permitting, people were showing up at the villager's homes, asking to see the thing. Many of those people wanted the terminals too.The Cayenbe villagers by then were fully capable of building the terminals themselves, and easily looked up how to run a relay beam across the rugged terrain to other villages, and the system was expanding. They were bartering for supplies, materials and labor, as o currency was functional there anymore. In those terms of wealth, the village was becoming wealthy, materials which they hoped would help build the new transportation system as well as make their own more immediate existence better.

The dream of the new space transportation was spreading along with the education-workstations, too. And with it hope for the future. Catalie put out onto the network a request for people to save breeding populations of any species they could preserve, somehow keep them going for another decade or two, then things might have turned around enough to release them back into the environment in an orchestrated way. But they had to be alive still at that time; extinct would not work. Diversity was needed to give a re-seeded world its best chance to recover.

Hundreds of volunteers showed up each day to help do something. Most of then brought picks and shovels for digging in the tunnel, but since only a few could do tunneling at any given time, the volunteers chose to widen the foot trail up the channel, making it wide enough for two way traffic of wheeled motorized vehicles. Optimism was a characteristic of those who had been using the education-workstations with its database for whatever they needed doing, and were seeing it as a way out of the big mess things were in.

But they were ignoring the fact that at the present time, they were forgotten, left to die in the middle of nowhere, by those who were masters of collecting the wealth of others. Sooner or later, it was likely that the Mega-Corporation Owner-Manager masters would show up and rip it all off, having no regard for what it was needed to do, obsessed with accumulating their own wealth without end.

Life does proceed on when possible, so they continued to dig tunnel through the mountain, and improve the road to the tunnel, having gotten the dream of what it was for. Meanwhile they were continually getting a combination of education and skill simulation practice on whatever was interesting to each individual, on the education-workstations that they were now themselves also building, mere months from their peasant life in the high altitude refuge village state of life and mind.

The miners worked day and night, disregarding the stormy weather that sometimes made their trip to and from the construction site quite uncomfortable; yet they came and worked. And one day they broke through to the other side of the mountain, and looked out across the rugged canyons below them off toward Brazil. A milestone had been achieved. Through this tunnel would pass a structure which would reach GEO above the opposite side of the planet, as it looped around to the other side of this tunel. It would happen right here, in their home.

Word spread far across Ecuador and Brazil, about the education workstations and the transportation structure that was being attempted to be built. Donated materials began to come in, hauled on the remaining trucks that were powered by pulverized coal. Some of them carried sections of aircraft from an abandoned airport. Improy and Catalie used some of this material and the remains of the glider spacecraft that had brought them here, and built a new kind of spacecraft, one that had the same cast foamed aluminum wings, nose cone and underbelly, but was only a two seater and was equipped with a rocket engine. A former large solid fueled missile was found and brought over, its warhead removed, and set up to be a launch booster for the manned part of the vehicle. The rocket also carried a huge bobbin, wound with a tiny fiber that had rigid hydrogen-filled pockets spaced along it, and small magnets also periodically embedded along the fiber, and was overall lighter than air, designed to float at 15 kilometers altitude.

One end of the fiber was anchored inside the tunnel, then the fiber was strung down the mountain and out to where the launch vehicle sat atop its booster rocket; the fiber was kept taught so it was at a steep angle, well away from the exhaust plume that would come from the vehicles during launch. As soon as the vehicle was fueled and ready, Improy and Catalie climbed up the ladder and into their seats in the cockpit, again wearing their space worksuits. The solid fueled booster fired first, kicking the main vehicle vertically until it ran out of fuel, then dropped away; the bobbin's fiber had been madly paying out all the time. Improy ignited their own engines and kept heading up, a little toward the east, soon out over Brazil, and the bobbin was gust a blur of motion as layer after layer was pulled off, as the fiber was payed out behind them. They tilted more towards the horizontal, then their engines ran out of fuel. Then they began the now familiar bounce and skip across the upper atmosphere, coasting around the planet, leaving the trail of fiber behind them. Out across the atlantic ocean they went, bounced and across Africa, bounced and across the Pacific Ocean, losing speed and latitude. As they approached the Ecuadorean west coast, Improy used swung the glider to yaw to the side and the vehicle shuddered as it lost velocity and dropped rapidly toward Cayambe mountain. Beginning as wing around past the peak, he jettisoned the bobbin with the remainder of the fiber on it, then he circled until losing enough speed and altitude to once again come into a skidding landing on the road where that had landed before, that time back from a visit to the space Station.

Crews had already headed off to where the bobbin had landed, and eventually brought it back to the west end of the tunnel Inside the tunnel they joined the two ends of the floating fiber, now a strand that encircled the whole world, somewhat raggedly in shape, winds blowing here and there. They had not time to waste, so they placed the now continuous loop into the linear electric motor stator they had built through the tunnel, and powered by a coal-burning electric generator, the magnets along the fiber where alternately pulled and pushed by hall-effect-sensing driven magnetic pulses. Not too fast so as to bunch up, nor to over tension the part of the fiber off toward the west. the accelerated part was like a pulse of energy that traveled around the fiber, all the way around the planet, and when it had reached Ecuador from the other direction, the electric motor was speeded up again. And so the fiber began rotating around the planet, adding a centrifugal force component to its lighter-than-air urge to altitude.

Eventually the fiber was traveling at the fastest it could go, with the electric motor's power being expended by air friction losses, it all reaching a balance.

Copyright © 2006 James E D Cline as per rules

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Day 26 of 30 2006

Day 26 of 30 "Building Up"

While Idealiana re-bonded with her parents, she also was learning about the new kind of transportation system they were going to build. It seemed incredible, a non-tether structure so big it would reach from ground up to GEO and go entirely around the planet in so doing. The Space Elevator she understood from when she was a child, living on the floating island for awhile while the former small Space Elevator was being built and anchored there. The tether had its weight supported by mass swinging around, like a ball on the end of a string being swing around, centrifugal force. The upward pull from a counterweight located on the tether on beyond GEO, as it was being swung around by the rotation of the planet itself, to balance the weight of the part of the tether that was between GEO and ground, along with the weight of its live loads, the payload-carrying vehicles moving up and down the tether. With a strong enough material per its mass, the tether could be in the form of a belt rolling around between two pulleys, one at each end, thus the belt also functions as a conveyor belt hauling material up and down between ground and its upper end or points between, such as GEO. Quite understandable.

But this other way of getting a structure from ground to GEO, although it too was supported by centrifugal force, was quite different. It did not use the centrifugal force generated by the planet swinging a weight around. It used the centrifugal force of a stream of mass circulating around the planet along a track, mass going faster than orbital velocity, so that its velocity in excess of orbital velocity expressed as outward centrifugal force against the track that constrained its path, and that outward force was "up" relative to the planet that the mass was circulating around, and so supported the weight of the track's mass. Circulating mass traveling at twice the orbital velocity all along its circulating path, could balance a track and payload mass equal to its own mass.

It was a huge perimeter electric motor, she could understand that, as electric motors were a favorite subject of hers from when she was a child. The circulating mass stream was the motor's armature. The armature was given a push as it passed through the earth terminal, then coasted around the loop, given another push each time it passed the Earth terminal's accelerator site. The armature also could electromagnetically drag other mass up with it, giving up a little of its kinetic energy in doing so, which would be replenished when it went through the ground site accelerator next time. That way, the payload-carrying spacecraft it was lifting, did not need to lift the mass of an energy source on its way up. And it was all-electric so eventually it could be powered entirely by solar-electric powerplants in GEO, which it would make possible to build.

So it was like the tether Space Elevator in what it could enable done. But the electric motor's armature had to be in discontinuous segments, as their distance between each other had to vary as they exchanged kinetic energy with potential energy as they rose and fell in the gravitational field of the planet. Keeping those armatures from bumping into each other required the motor to be a synchronous motor. The whole thing seemed a lot more complicated than the belt loop on pulleys of the anchored tether Space Elevator. Why do it that way? Both techniques for getting construction material from ground to GEO were all-electric and so ultimately could be powered from the Sun's energy as received in GEO. Both could initially be made of small cross-section and then be used to scale itself up to whatever payload-carrying capacity was needed for the job at hand.

Both had the problem that the orbital space between ground and GEO had to be swept clean, eventually, to avoid collision with the structure; but with easy and cheap access to GEO, there was little if any need for satellites in Low Earth Orbit anymore anyway. That was why the space access structures had not been built back when they could have been built in time to have provided the resources to have prevented the big mess civilization was not in, since it would have competed with existing aerospace which used LEO for its business, and business profit was what ruled. People were so irresponsibly shortsighted, she complained to herself, and now they were a dying civilization because of it. And killing a planetary ecosystem along with themselves. Was mankind too powerful for its own wisdom? Or could mankind pull the fat out of the fire? It looked like it was up to this project to see if it could e done, since the powerful business masters were sunk in their ego-driven luxury, partying until the show was over. They wouldn't have lived forever anyway, right? Yuck, what monkeys, she thought. Just very powerful cunning monkeys, addicted to playing games with each other, what ego-driven fun.

The tether material was the problem. It was reaching the limit of physical substances' molecular bonds strength for the mass of the atoms involved. Since it was operating near its limits of strength, it had little resiliency for transients. And in real systems, there inevitably would be transients. Since the earth-encircling structure technique did not have this molecular bond strength to mass ratio limit approached anywhere in its structure, it would be more reliable in the long run, if its greater complexity was adequately coordinated. And the technology for the magnetic levitation synchronous track had yet to be proven, as it would only operate at high velocity in a hard vacuum.

She would focus on how to make those little armature segments the motor needed, that sounded interesting. And zillions of them would need to be made, a manufacturing task, something that was her speciality.

Copyright © 2006 James E D Cline

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Day 25 of 30 Building UP 2006 JEDCline

Day 25 of 30 "Building Up" 2006 NanoWriMo - JEDCline

The "Three Musketeers Corporation" was an idea that caught on quickly, and became the favorite pastime of the Employees of TANFL Corporation, which seemed to not notice it. The specified workload continued to be performed by the Employees during their daily commute by foot into the vast holdings of the RichElite of TANFL city's Owner-Manager section, which occupied 75% of the city land. The Employees did all the physical labor, the menial tasks, for TANFL. When their daily tour of duty was completed, they headed to their homes for a meal, then headed to the Three Musketeers Corporation areas, which were being multiplied throughout the Employee section of the city. Computer terminal manufacturing facilities were being set up in several places in the Employee section, each one set up and run as a self-managed group united by the integrated education-enhanced light industry workstations network that they were manufacturing.

The Port of TANFL shipping facilities were a part of TANFL that was not within the borders of the RichElite. The port served the freighters that linked the Mega-Corporations that had formed throughout the world, as well as was the port berthing the former aircraft carrier now turned private yacht for the RichElite Owner-Managers. The port's operations were handled by Employees who were being directed via video links by the managers who were in offices over in the luxury part of the city. One of the major trade routes was to Ecuador to obtain bananas, routine daily runs on the powdered coal fueled freighters. The port of TANFL City usually had a pall of black smoke hanging over it, which particles caused widespread lung disease and neurological problems from the mercury and other metal particulates laced into the coal that was burned to propel the ships, and also to generate the electric power for the city. The pall of smoke was long a part of Employees' life, shortening their life spans a lot. Some of the TANFL Employees were the sailors that manned the freighters, which had the benefit of usually having better air to breathe despite the atmospheric wake of heavy black smoke they left behind them. Management was only interested in the bananas and other commodities they received from the shipping, so the rest of the freighter operations was done by the Employees mostly on their own. The new Employee education-workstation terminals caught on quickly aboard the freighters, and each one leaving the port found itself newly equipped with the new linking network between all of its crew's workstations, crew quarters and recreation areas.

When out of radio range of the TANFL Corporation City, the freighter's were able to occasionally get brief radio communications with the Emplos Corporation people at White Sands, bounce relayed by the space station whenever it orbited overhead. During those times, the freighter's education-workstations were integrated with the ones at White Sands Emplos Corporation workstations, sharing knowledge and enabling chat with new people during the brief time spans, something that was enjoyed by people both on the freighters and at White Sands.

Although the RichElite of Ownma Corporation, now TANFL Corporation, had denied internet connection for the Employees homes, the Employees did sometimes need to access the worldwide internet connection when performing some kinds of routine jobs for the Managers. During the breaktimes while working over in the RichElite section of the city, Employees were allowed to access the internet and play computer games, saving the results on CD's. Some of the Employees began to download knowledge databases on the internet, bringing them home on CDs and DVDs. Brought on board the freighters by Employees returning from shore leave, the CD and DVD knowledge from the internet was uploaded via the space station links, to the White Sands Emplos Corporation memory banks.

Back at White Sands Emplos Corporation, Improy and Catalie started sifting through the somewhat random areas of knowledge that was being accumulated via the freighter satellite brief links, and organize it into their knowledge network. They were seeking ways to turn around the civilization that was dying along with the worldwide ecosystem it had disrupted too severely. This, too, seemed like an impossibly difficult task, but they were getting used to taking on impossible-seeming tasks, and achieving some significant success at the efforts. What could possibly have such a huge effect to be able to rescue a planet and its human civilization? Catalie found some forgotten ways for recycling and conserving resources, but little that they themselves did not already have better systems for small closed-loop internal environmental life support, developed aboard the space station.

Then she found information on the Space Elevator which they had participated in building and operating a decade past; among the theoretical documents was a description of another kind of transportation structure which did not require the super-strength carbon nanotube matrix ribbon material to build. It had an entirely different technique for providing a transportation bridge between the Earth's surface and Geostationary Earth Orbit. It would utilize a huge hoop which entirely encircled the planet, a hoop which internally had mass circulating sufficiently faster than orbital velocity everywhere along the hoop to create just enough outward centrifugal force to support the weight of the hoop itself and whatever payloads that were climbing up and down the hoop between the earth surface at the low point of the eccentric hoop, up to the high point which would be in GEO, far above the opposite side of the planet. It had to be built in the equatorial plane, in its simplest version. The writer of the concept had proposed one of the possible earth terminal sites would be anchored in the Andes Mountains of Ecuador.

Improy got excited about this prospect, as it looked like it was something that could be initially built small cross-section and then scaled up to whatever size filled a give transportation capacity need. The upward sides of the circulating mass within the hoop could electromagnetically drag spacecraft up between ground and space, so the energy for transportation was thus distributed all along the structure, so no inefficient lifting of the weight of fuel was used in the transportation process. Scaled up big enough, it could lift the construction materials needed to build enough solar electric power stations in GEO to beam down clean electrical energy anywhere in the world that wanted it. The burning of the petrochemicals could finally stop thereby, they hoped, beginning a turn around of the situation which was finishing off the killing off of the ecosystem upon which civilization existed. And with such a transportation capacity to GEO, they could build larger versions of their mass-spectrometer type total element separator plants up there, with which to convert otherwise unrecyclable toxic industrial materials and byproducts, back to useful pure chemicals again, powered by the Sun. Yes, it looked like they had found a way to possibly turn around the dying planet. And the mountain peak named Cayambe in Ecuador looked like the place to build it. A horizontal tunnel through that mountain in an east-west direction would be the ideal location to anchor the planet-encirclng structure, at least ideal in this hemisphere of the world. And Ecuador was a major destination of TANFL freighters, going for bananas.

The Three Musketeers Corporation was also going to Ecuador, but not for bananas; instead they were going there to try to save their planet's life.

Improy and Catalie chose to make side trip on the way to Ecuador. They set up another of their return spacecraft modules fitted to a set of cast foamed aluminum re-entry glider airfoils, like were used to land the group of Emplos people onto the freeway near TANFL city, but it was just going to be themselves, the space worksuit they had brought down, and some equipment they had built. They were traveling light, because they had to go far and fast. They rigged their spacecraft under the airbreathing pilotless booster which had been fitted for carrying such a vehicle, as well as using its landing gear to take off as well as land later. Improy was going to remotely pilot the drone booster from inside its own payload, then transfer remote piloting to the White Sand control center when they were done with it. They also had modified their spacecraft to have a set of guidance thrusters which had been removed from one of the spare habitat modules, along with the thruster fuel supply.

Strapped into their seats, they readied for takeoff down the runway, Improy piloting and Catalie navigating. The huge turbine jet engines roared into life, brought to operating temperature, brakes were released, and the dual craft leapt down the runway, the booster having much less than the load it was designed to lift through the atmosphere. Quickly airborne, the temporary biplane headed almost straight up, barreling toward space. at the greatest acceleration the two could tolerate. Catalie locked her navigation console onto the signal from the small transmitter they had left attached to the bottom of the tether pulley. It was higher now, having been lifted along with the space station during the dropping of the mass of the return spacecraft a year ago. Now, they were making a leap to grab onto the pulley assembly as it swung by overhead, tethered to the dual wheel space station far above it. Their timing had to be nearly perfect, and so the onboard computer continued to update their trajectory and adjusted course to optimize that, using its ailerons and rudder. Then the big jet engines began to have insufficient ozygen to continue to run, so they throttled down those engines, unlatched the conection to the airbreather booster, transfered piloting over to the White Sands ground control, and the drone was headed back to the landing strip. Meanwhile, Improy and Catalie continued coasting upward along a section of a parabolic arc that, onscreen, intersected with the path of the dangling end of the tether. Their direction finder kept locked onto the transmitter signal from the tether, and Doppler shift of its frequency gave them relative velocity data. The end of the tether hove into sight ahead of them, then Improy's skills honed on a simulator they had been using for months, used the docking thrusters to nuzzle up to the tether's latch from which they had been last to unlatch only a year past. Now they were again hanging on the tether. They sent the signal up to the space station to start cranking on the tether, bring them back up again. They did some stress relief exercises, munched the lunch they had brought along, and went along for the ride.

Improy had to use the docking thrusters again to get positioned to dock, then they were attached to the Embarcadero's airlock. Improy put their one spacesuit on, and they used a canister of pressurized air to make up for the air used to fill the airlock as Improy went into it and sealed the outer hatch. Once it was sealed, he opened the inner hatch, went into the Embarcadero control center, and normalized the air in there. Then he opened both hatches of the airlock and Catalie came in. They were back home again, at least one of their homes, they felt. Improy sealed off the airlock leading to the shady side wheel, and normalized the atmosphere and temperature in their wheel, and then made an inspection tour of the facility, particularly the agricultural section, recording how it had fared under automatic control.

The grain had expanded quite a ways into the vacated part of the matrix, and the quail population had doubled in size, feeding on the abundant grain. The cockroaches were as always balancing their population with the available resources.The temperature and humidity were a bit high, so Catalie adjusted the automatic controls based on the time span it took to balance at those higher levels, refining to gradually re-balance at the optimum temperature and humidity. There were enough there to feed the two people for a month and still have plenty of population members to restore their numbers easily.

Catalie assembled the other space worksuit around her, and they went outside again, this time down through the shady side wheel hub airlock. Using material from the huge collection of material from the space busses and supply vehicles, they made the arm for the tether upper pulley into a "V" with a second arm which attached to another de-spun bearing on the Embarcadero's end of the hub.

In the next few weeks they had built another of the solar-concentrator plasma generators like was used in the mass spectrometer type total recycler, and instead of its high velocity vaporized material output going around past a magnetic field, it was just magnetically focused into a reaction beam. They set up a chopper on the space station to methodically cut up the unused section of the space busses, left over from when the return spacecraft were made partly from the habitable part of the lift modules. These chunks of aluminum tank material were brought down the tether to the plasma generator on the lower end of the tether, slung on the pulley. They set up a remote position monitor and directional control on the plasma generator, to be controlled from White Sands when they were done with testing. They started up the tether moving, now functioning as a conveyor belt for the chunks of aluminum tank material being delivered from the space station down to the end of the tether. The chunks of aluminum were vaporized in the intense focused solar energy, ionized and escaped through the exit aperture as a high velocity stream of mass, in effect a rocket engine. Gimbaled to swivel back and forth somewhat randomly, the average thrust vector was controlled so as to be able to tow the huge space station, over a period of about a year, until it reached GEO, where it would be set to have the wheels rotate in the earth's equatorial plane. This had to be done so it would not be a hurtling big object below GEO, which eventually would collide with a structure that extended from the ground up to GEO. To make possible the original Space Elevator tether, Ownma had to first launch boosters to put the old long abandoned Freedom Space Station hulk up into GEO, to get it out of the way, too.

Saying goodbye, probably for the last time, to their little automatically tended agricultural facility in the wheel, the grain and cockroaches and quail, Improy and Catalie wore both space worksuits as they left the Embarcadero's airlock, re-entering their return winged spacecraft vehicle. They attached it to the descending side of the tether conveyor belt, joining the buckets of chunks of aluminum on the way down; however, they used their thrusters to guide them after release several meters above the solar powered rocket motor which was swung on the tether belt's lower pulley. They stayed far clear of the blast of vaporized aluminum headed downward, soon were out of sight of the end of the tether, and began their second bounce and skip across the upper atmosphere, losing velocity and altitude while staying reasonably cool inside their vehicle, much as they had done about a year before.

But this time, their destination was not White Sands. It was Ecuador, as close to Cayambe as they could land safely. They dropped below the speed of sound high in the atmosphere, then continued their glide on their big wings across the equatorial Pacific Ocean, past the little floating island made of oil rigs where the former Space Elevator had been anchored to the earth's watery surface, and then across the coastline to circle the huge white-capped peak called Cayambe in Ecuador. they continued to lazily circle like an eagle looking for prey, spotting the section of straight dirt road which they could see had been blocked off at each end by Three Musketeers personnel for the landing. They came in low over the heads of some of the astonished natives, and touched down, skidding down the dirt road's ruts until finally stopping. They took a few minutes to calm their heart rates, unhooked their seat belts, popped open the nose hatch, and stepped out into the Ecuadorian high altitude sunshine.

Among the Three Muskateers staff which had gathered at the nose of the spacecraft to greet them was a young woman, who cautiously said "Catalie? Improy?" to them. Catalie affirmed it was indeed them, back safely on the ground again, glad to be so greeted. The young woman said "I am Idealiana, your daughter, and I am so thankful to see you again!" as she rushed over to give them a big hug.

Idealiana had learned from rumors at the Three Musketeers Corporation meetings that Improy and Catalie were going to come to Ecuador, since they could never come to TANFL City because of the ID implant problem. So Idealiana had volunteered to go to Ecuador aboard a freighter, to prepare for the expected arrival of her parents, and so here she was. She would soon have to leave on the freighter to return to her job in TANFL City, as most of them there would also. The crew could report only a few crewmen had died on the journey each trip, as had been common anyway before the Three Musketeers had come into existence. The presumed dead personnel would then never be able to return to anywhere there were TANFL ID pickups. Idealiana had a job to do in TANFL City, two of them, actually. One was her usual job serving the TANFL RichElite masters, then her second job at Three Musketeers Corporation, building computer terminals, and now to prepare to make components for the new space transportation structure to be built here at Cayambe peak. She now, at least, had found her parents again, so long lost. And Catalie and Improy had found their daughter again, last seen when she was only 8 years old, that was 11 years ago.

Copyright © 2006 James E D Cline

Friday, November 24, 2006

Day 24 of 20 2006

Day 24 of 30 2006 Building Up - JEDCline

The next day, despite the storm ongoing outside, Improy went out to get started on two projects. One was to capture and store as much of the currently downpouring rainwater as possible. The other project of the day was to get started on building the rectenna to capture the solar-energy derived microwave electrical energy that was being beamed down from the space station whenever it orbited past overhead.

Rainwater was being captured and sent to downspouts from the old Ownma Corp buildings, an easy starting point for gathering rainwater. He and a volunteer crew willing to endure the battering of the storm, searched the buildings for any kind of container that was empty and could hold water, and set them under the downspouts of the buildings. They also put some tarps out that they had found in the buildings, to also gather rainwater and divert it into some storage containers. Some of the crew stayed to move filled containers to places out of the weather, and to empty the ones that looked like really clean water into the agricultural areas, then returned those containers back to where they had been getting water from the downspouts and the tarp's runoff. They needed water to expand the useful parts of the agricultural areas, particularly the fish tanks. And since they would no longer be a fairly closed ecosystem, with people going in and out of their homes and the partial station's arc facilities, they would be losing water to the hot desert throughout the long desert summertime.

The rest of the crew went with Improy to move the energy beam's target transmitter a bit further from their little settlement, then they set up the rectenna sections which they had built on the space station and brought down during their evacuation of the facility. The rectenna grid was mounted two and a half meters above the ground, permitting freedom to move around under it. Although it was only about ten percent of the full size rectenna array they intended to build eventually to capture most of the incomming energy from the Solar power space station, it was something the could get going quickly. They ran wires from the rectifying antenna over to one of the return modules that had been abandoned in favor of living directly in the unfinished partial space station wheel in which they had the agricultural areas starting to function. The pre-test space station wheels had always been powered by the coal powder flash boiler turbine s driving electrical generators, but the reserves of that energy supply would later be more needed to power their vehicles.

They had to find ways to efficiently utilize the brief periods of electrical energy from space. They measured about a megawatt peak power each pass of the space station, varying with the angle from which it was sent. Their few industrial processes that could use DC power directly at high voltage, were set up for this power source first. They tapped some of the DC off to be used in a DC to AC power converter, and voltage controlled it provided conventional energy for their fixtures, at least for 10 or 15 minutes a pass. They set up an electrolysis facility to use the DC current to convert some of the water that they were catching, into hydrogen and oxygen, gathered in separate bags for now. These gases could then be burned later at will for some industrial processes, and to heat a flash boiler steam turbine electric generator that had formerly been powered by burning powdered coal. This was not very efficient, but it did make it possible to utilize the energy whenever it was needed, all the time, such as for interior lighting and operating their computer system and small appliances, any time day or night.

Catalie set up a system that monitored the performance of each of the electrical power systems, creating a data base that could be used to make decisions for what to invest their resources for later fulfillment of their electrical power needs. Improy bemoaned the loss of the prototype Satellite Solar Power Station that had been set up in GEO on the former Space Elevator, as it would have been nice to have its steady electrical power beam to maintain an even supply of electrical energy for their use. Meanwhile, they were thankful for what they were getting from space, such as it was. Soon they sectioned off parts of the rectenna grid, so that during 80% of the typical energy input time, the voltage would be high enough to power a DC to AC converter mounted under the antenna on a support pole, and then send that directly useful electrical energy to the facilities. Catalie set up a sequence program for typical daily needs, so that heavier loads would be connected when the beam was coming in more intensely; then those shutting off while the others, such as lights, stayed powered for as long as enough energy was being received to power just them; this scheme had good efficiency while it ran during each pass of the space station overhead.

Soon they had enough steady electrical power to provide lights, air circulation and the computer workspace education terminals for everybody. This brought everybody back into their familiar linkage with everybody els and with all of what was happening at the moment everywhere, a powerful sense of belonging and contributing. Their Emplos Corporation was now revived in the new setting, delivering the knowledge needed to do each task at hand, and instructions for simulating the skills that would be needed for the next job coming up for each person. Knowing how they each fit into the big picture, and the daily voting to adjust that big picture, utilized each person's activities well, in a self-guided group coordination, as the flow of jobs progressed and passed between the people's workstations. They resumed their 12 hour workday schedule, with frequent breaks for relaxing and doing exercises designed to integrate the body-mind system, and chatting among themselves via the computer linking. They had no significant commute to do, which gave them much more time to achieve things.

Most of all, it greatly multiplied their ability to achieve great goals. And they indeed had many great goals they intended to achieve, somehow. One of their top level goals was to get their form of corporate function into action by their kind over in the Employee sector of the mega-corporation controlled world. They realized that such an activity would not be welcomed by the owner-management wealthy elite, probably thinking it an effort to unionize the employees against their bosses. The counted on acceptance when it showed improved productivity by the employees, therefor more wealth for the managers, and so an acceptance.

There was a transportation problem. They were 900 miles from the southern California coastal area into which the TANFL Mega-corporation had condensed as the environment died out from under them, inadequate biodiversity remaining to cope with the increasing toxic loads of civilization's waste products. The space between the two areas was littered with the waste materials of a dying civilization on a dying ecosystem planet, as they coalesced for a last stand. Emplos Corporation faced a difficult challenge indeed, just in getting over there, and then convincing the Employees to take up the Emplos ways, while fending off the hostility from the powerful owner-manager elite who considered the employees little more than cattle to be farmed for profit.

It was not that TANFL Corporation was unaware of the dire overall situation, having had to retreat. It was just that they had from the beginning chosen the proverbial "eat, drink, and be merry, for tomorrow will take care of itself" attitude, ever reveling in their bully-gained wealth, sustained by cunning and brutality; they did not care which. It worked for them.

Emplos would have to be careful not to look the slightest bit like challenging the TANFL elite's position, but only to increase the wealth of the TANFL Corporation. Hopefully that would placate the Owner-Managers, while also improving the lifestyle of the Employees.

And all that, after figuring out how to merely get over there from the White Sands facility. They held a brainstorming vote on how to achieve those things from where they were at right now. They retrieved the photos their telescope had taken of the TAANFL-Employee city from the space station, It showed that the management lived in 3/4 of the city area, yet had very few members; while the remaining 1/4 land area was occupied by the many millions of employees, in crammed living space. They recalled the formal announcement of TANFL that their borders were closed to all outside immigration or abandonment by employees; TANFL like to keep things constant, made managing easier that way. From space, they had not figured out by what means the city perimeter was maintained; but that it was done so rigorously, was evident. Whatever it was, it surely would make egress by Emplos difficult.

Or maybe not, if the perimeter was maintained merely by limiting life sustaining utility access to just within the perimeter, no way to gain water, power, or sewage processing beyond the perimeter, would make life untenable beyond the border.

The more Emplos thought about it, the more they decided that was the means for maintaining the perimeter of the Employee area, and therefore might be easy to enter from the outside. Those of the Emplos Corporation who had become life prisoners and sent to the space station prison, had their implants removed, thus were non-persons as far as the system cared, thus unable to receive food, water, or shelter, and could not exist for long. But Improy, Catalie, and the others of the original space station still had their ID implants. No doubt as soon as setting foot into the Employees' area, the omnipresent security sensors would identify them, and TANFL would instantly have the knowledge that somehow they had returned, along with what that implied. So, the egress would have to be made by members of the former prison. Nearly all of them offered to volunteer for that task. The ones that were chosen were those who were fairly certain they would have family and friends still alive among the remaining Employee population.

Catalie activated the link with the telescope aboard the space station, and had it send digital pictures of the Employees' part of the city down to Emplos terminal network. What they found was that the occupied city perimeter was an artificial one, probably maintained by the desolation and lack of life support systems beyond the perimeter. So it seemed likely that if they could supply their own water, power, food and sewage functions, they could form an extension along the edge of the existing city. And Emplos people were experts at making an inhospitable placse livable, for sure.

Improy and Catalie had been spending a lot of time learning about how to restore launch facilities for the space buses. One purpose was to see it the airbreathing booster could be modified to get high enough to latch on the space station's tether, if they needed to access the dual wheel space station for some reason in the future. The other was to see if the airbreather booster could be used to transport people and goods over to the TANFL city perimeter. The booster as now configured was a drone, no pilot nor passenger space. And it was designed for vertical launch strapped to a habitat module filled with fuel, and then make an auto-piloted landing after it finished its part of the early launch phase. It was all wings, fuel tanks and huge engines. Unlike the cryogenic fuels needed for the main fuel tanks for the launch, the airbreathing booster used liquid hydrocarbon fuel like JP-4, and plenty of it remained in the underground tanks at White sands.

Not far from one part of TANFL City perimeter were some freeways that were fairly free of abandoned vehicles. So what they decided to do was to reconnect some of the return glider vehicles to their foamed glider wings, use the airbreathing drones to fly in the night to near the city, drop the gliders at low speed to easily land on the freeways, and set up the vehicles as homes and basic survival facilities not far from the Employees section of the city. The first landing would be focused on clearing a larger space free of abandoned vehicles a bit closer to the city for the next vehicles to go here.

They were able to observe the progress of the first landing's crew, using the space station's telescope. It went as they hoped. Then a group of half a dozen more gliders were landed on the newly cleared space on the freeway. They then set up their computer linking by beamed communications between modules, and so a mini-Emplos was established on the outskirts of the Employee section of TANFL City. Progress was being made toward their goal.

When the first foray was made to the edge of the city, what they found was that indeed there was no physical barrier there. It became clear that the Employee section of TANFL city was actually shrinking, as people died from deprivation. The survivors were moving closer to the Rich-Elite section border, as people died off. So the Emplos found the edge of the city was still supplied with the basic utilities of power, water and sewer, but no food. It required a ID implant that was on record as still being productively profitable to the corporation owner-managers, to receive food and thus survive.

So the Emplos team moved into the area which seemed most recently abandoned as the perimeter was shrinking, in the process having to clear out the corpses which had been brought out and left there. It was an unpleasant job but they got it done; then installing their computer linking systems in some abandoned buildings, and setting up their mini-agricultural systems to receive sunshine to grow some grains for food and for their quail and cockroaches, all in a fairly closed recycle system to preserve resources as was developed in the space station. They spent a few weeks there, avoiding any contact with the people of the city, until they had a going system functioning.

They found that the TANFL monitoring of the Employees out here was done entirely by sensors activated by the implanted ID devices in each employee, and did not bother with video or audio monitoring, as far as they could tell. Lacking ID implants, the Emplos people could wander as they pleased, essentially invisible to the Management monitors. They had clothed themselves in clothing taken from some of the corpses they had removed from their new quarters, so they looked like normal people, they hoped, to the average person among the Employees. And they had no intention of going into the Rich-Elite part of the city, where surely there would also be video and audio tracking of everything that went on.

Eventually they were able to locate trustworthy relatives and friends. It turned out that none of them knew why they had vanished, or even for sure that they were gone. So they were spared the effort of explaining they had been imprisoned in space, returned on spacecraft gliders and were trying to save the employees ... no, they were glad they did not have to try to convince anybody of such an implausible thing. But what they could do is bring some of their family and friends to observe their setup, their self sufficiency, their terminal continual education workstations, their computer interlinked team. And some of the employees liked that, wanted in on it.

The Emplos foray team had brought along a bunch of spare education workstations, for the purpose of training new people, and so this was done. In the employee spare time they came to learn how to interact with the combined education and productive work method of progress, and some even moved to be near the Emplos group. An old abandoned light industry factory was located nearby so they turned it into their first factory for producing the computer terminals, and for training new people how to use them. It was really popular with the employees and used it for their off-duty recreation time, far more interesting than watching old DVD movies on dying DVD players. Then the Emplos team suggested that the Employees form their own Corporation over here; TANFL philosophy was founded on the premise that Corporations were righteous by nature. So the beginnings of the re-trained Employees had a vote on their newly built computer work-education terminals, and chose to name themselves the "Three Musketeers Corporation."