The Bottleneck Years by H. E. Taylor - Chapter 45

The Bottleneck Years

by H.E. Taylor
Chapter 44 Table of Contents Chapter 46

Chapter 45

Daedalus, August 19, 2056

What is it that makes the PR efforts of the space industry always look so lame? Don't get me wrong. I love space. I think humans are bound to colonize the solar system sooner or later. As Tsiolkovsky said, "The earth is the cradle of mankind, but we cannot stay in the cradle forever." But I have yet to see a space agency that could sell their mother a ride to the corner, let alone to Pluto.

Carson Tyler Inc. announced the Daedalus Project with great fanfare when the five astronauts were in orbit and about to embark. For a couple of days it was all people talked about.

The Daedalus was not your storybook rocket ship. It was more an arrangement of struts, tubes and tanks with nozzles at one end, and storage and crew compartment at the other. The crew cabin had a superconducting ring for protection from solar storms. The reactors and uranium fuel rods were stored at the base of the ship as far from the humans as possible. The various cargo holds were packed with robots and food --- all the supplies they could conceivably need on their four year long voyage.

Then, one fine day in August, as the cliched descriptions went, five intrepid spirits sailed into history. Daedalus set off for the asteroid belt, towards one conveniently sized hunk of rock known as Petrov.

At first they were all over the media, but as the distance to their ship increased, interviews became of necessity interspersed monologs. The monotony of long distance spaceflight set in and interest fell off.

The Swiss-German consortium, Brahmaputra, also started launches in early August. They were sending supply rockets toward the moon. A lot of the preliminary work, unpacking and preparing a prefab shelter, was done by semi-autonomous robots. A website was set up where you could watch the work proceed 24 hours a day if you were so inclined.

The company made a big deal out of the special solar arrays they were using. On earth the carbon nano-antennae solar arrays are typically 45% efficient, but for the moon project, special three layer arrays were used which boosted efficiency to 65%.

That was the first time I noticed how expertly Brahmaputra was managing the media. When they started a public relations campaign promoting the brave moon colonists who were going to run the factory and rail gun, it made me look into their corporate history. They had started out in armaments and mutated. I was not surprised.

Excerpted from _The Bottleneck Years_ by H.E. Taylor

For further information see:
A Gentle Introduction.

Last modified June 18, 2013

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