Orbital Reconnaissance and Radiation Technology
The opening decades of the Twentieth Century were years yet carried by the visionary winds of a previous new awakening. Accompanied by forty years of the most intense auroral demonstrations ever observed in this millennium, the “Victorian” storm first penetrated the social mind with new and thrilling advancements in consciousness. The subsequent effects of this new awareness took the form of extraordinary and unexpected developments in technology. Primarily transacted as a new awareness of visionary potentials, working class persons found themselves receiving imagery and means for achieving their dreams. Representing an eideric upheaval of long forgotten archane power, visionary writers and experimenters suddenly provided new future dreamlines; into which society could and would move. Those who have no power might at least have vision. Recall that technology, especially technology of a biody-namic nature, represents a conundrum to the rulership.
Technology of the kind to which we refer, has great power. It is not easily eliminated. It generates power at a working class level. Primary technological discovery cannot be “poised” within the superstructure by bureaucrats, regulated by decree, or employed by aristocrats. The conundrum which this kind of technology poses to the whole pyramidal gantry disturbs the structure, bringing the geopolitical structure and all of its synthetic authorities into proper proportion and poise within the natural hierarchy. To see the weak points in rulership and in the bureaucratic superstructure is to know exactly where to direct specific kinds of technological conundrums. Recall that the flow of power which best serves civilization is that which flows from the base to the point
Jules Verne wrote extensively on the topic of space travel, his great adventure tales fulfilling part of the powerful Victorian tide which was then sweeping the world of the Northern Hemisphere. “From The Earth To The Moon” (1865), and “Around The Moon” (1870)) each stimulated such a degree of excitement, that experimenters everywhere immediately began seeking means for imitating the space travel theme. In 1869, E. E. Hale described an artificial moon which could be used as a manned military base, a story entided “The Brick Moon” which appeared in Atlantic Monthly. The idea was taken with the seriousness usually ascribed to dreamers and their dreams. But the imagery of space and space travel was so strong, so compelling, that a great number of practical researchers began seeking the means to accomplish the objective. Hermann Ganswindt (1891) lectured in Berlin on rocket-propelled vessels for interplanetary travel.
Konstantin Ziolkovsky wrote a great number of aeronautical works which included “The Theory of Dirigibles” (1885), a 480 page tome containing over 800 formulas and descriptions of lighter than air craft. This was followed by “The Possibility of Constructing A Metal Dirigible” (1890), and “Maneuver-able Dirigibles” (1892). Turning his mind toward greater heights, Ziolkovsky wrote the first technical treatises on space travel. “Dreams About Earth and Skies”, “On The Moon”, and “Gravitation As a Source of Cosmic Energy”, were all written in 1894. These were followed by his classic “Investigation of Cosmic Reactive Machines” (1898), which engages a detailed description of propellants such as liquid oxygen and liquid hydrogen. In these works, Ziolkovsky also discussed the problems of life support in long space journeys, offering possible solutions in closed reservoir systems. In each of these engineering areas, Ziolkovsky opened the realistic engineering dialogues which yet remain the foundation of rocketry and life support as we know it. His wonderful model crafts illustrate the use of external sensors and signal lights, as well as the detailed design of both cabin and engine structures. This he achieved with neither the benefit of formal education nor the much needed funding which would have taken his theoretics into the realm of physical reality. Besides later having suffered the loss of his small basement workshop by fire, Ziolkovsky the pure researcher, was beset by many personal handicaps and frustrating resistances. Completely deaf, often hungry and ill, deprived of personal necessities, and never encouraged or supported by colleagues, he remained enthralled by transcendent realms of vision and revelation until death; the resolution of genius to limitations whenever encountered.
Victorian science-based fantasy stories written by H. G. Wells (“War of The Worlds and “First Men In The Moon”, 1898 and 1901 respectively) and sagas written Edgar Rice Burroughs (“The Princess Of Mars”, 1917) voiced the strong mythical themes associated with space travel and the discovery of alien civilizations of the day. Fueled with these themes of wonder, society began seeking the means for achieving the dreams. This preoccupation suddenly reemerged as an engineering proposal. In 1913 Rene Lorin patented a ramjet powerplant. The next major work on space travel was a technical description “On A Means For Reaching High Altitudes”, published in the Smithsonian by Robert H. Goddard (1920). Professor Hermann Oberth (1922) wrote a thesis dealing with chemical rockets and their potential use as engines for travelling into interplanetary space. In his “Die Rakete zu den Planetenraumen” (“The Rocket Into Interplanetary Space”) Professor Oberth wrote of multi-staged “step-rockets”, instrument-carrying probes, orbital manned stations, and interplanetary vessels for carrying research crews. His wonderful and visionary descriptions told of permanent space stations, manned space satellites. Serviced by a continual stream of shuttle rockets, whose regular visits would bring supplies and fresh space crew members, such a manned station would be but one step closer to achieving a lunar landing.
Dr. Oberth advanced the notion that a trip to the moon could be well achieved by the establishment of successive high orbital and interorbital manned stations. Short shuttle jumps between each station, journeys well supplied and sufficiently prepared, could bridge the relatively long distance to the moon with ease. Dr. Walter Hohmann published “The Attainment of the Celestial Bodies” (1925), a discussion of interplanetary vehicles and interplanetary ventures. He detailed the engineering calculations required in fueling proposed ventures from Earth to Venus. He provided remarkable instructions on life support systems and materials required for such journeys. Dr. Hohmann devoted much of his writings to a consideration of various orbits, their characteristics, and the probable best selection of interplanetary pathways. All of these technically oriented books provided an inestimable stimulus to designers and engineers. Dr. Goddard began designing and testing small chemical rocket engines in 1926. These first launches rarely achieved altitudes exceeding the height of rooftops, but did serve as validation of the essential notion concerning liquid fuel propellants and valved rocket engines. Working afterhours in his self-funded machine shop, his later designs would form the basis of all future rocket technologies.
- CHAPTER 7