design to cost

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"Design to cost is a management strategy and supporting methodologies to achieve an affordable product by treating target cost as an independent design parameter that needs to be achieved during the development of a product." [1]

Applications of this methodology include the dollar-a-gallon gasoline project.

(Recent articles, video and ppt links)

Started soon and pushed hard, this project could end the use of fossil fuels short of 440 ppm and bring the level down as much as is wanted. It would lower the cost of energy at the same time.

Paul Allen's StratoLaunch vehicle used to ferry Skylons from factory to equatorial launch sites

Skylon and StratoLaunch.jpg

Skylon Ozone damage (NOx)

Some of you know that in 2014 I asked people at NOAA to look into the potential ozone damage from up to a million Skylon flights per year. There is no point in solving the carbon and energy problem with power satellites if the cost is a billion cases of skin cancer.

They put a lot of effort into modeling the problem, hundreds of hours of supercomputer time on the models, writing a paper and getting it through peer review. I really appreciate what they did.

The paper is available online at


Short answer: the damage to the ozone is not a showstopper for the hydrogen burning Skylon.

Video Animations

This video, Beamed Energy Bootstrapping, won the animation contest at the ISDC May 2016

Shorter version that was shown at the White House in April 2016 as a result of the D3 awards

The videos are about power satellites as a solution for CO2

Power satellite interview

A little out of date.

Power Point

For more detail on the graphs, the slides for a two hours talk to the engineers at Reaction Engines are here:

Boeing and Airbus production since I cited them.

Space Farm Paper from 1975

File:SMF 1975 Closed Ecosystems Chapter.pdf

space farm graphic.png

Colored pencil and chalk by Carolyn Meinel 1975

Other links

Evolutionary Psychology articles:

Sex, Drugs, and Cults. An evolutionary psychology perspective on why and how cult memes get a drug-like hold on people, and what might be done to mitigate the effects
Evolutionary Psychology, Memes and the Origin of War:

Regenexx: Stem Cell Therapy for Arthritis and Injuries Regenexx offers advanced stem cell therapy for arthritis and injuries, including moderate to severe joint, tendon, ligament, disc, or bone pain.

Alagebrium - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia Wikipedia Alagebrium was a drug candidate developed by Alteon Corporation. It was the first drug .... "The effect of alagebrium chloride (ALT-711), a novel glucose cross-link breaker, in the treatment of elderly patients with diastolic heart failure". Journal

Does nicotinamide riboside (Niagen) really have anti-aging or other ... Does nicotinamide riboside (Niagen) really have anti-aging or other health ... Nicotinamide riboside, sold as Niagen (Chromodex), is a form of vitamin B3 ...

Just for fun,

Fast links to Power Satellite topics

The above articles are somewhat out of date but interesting for the objections raised. Current slide set here:

  • Mining Asteroids (Asteroid mining is a natural outgrowth of mining for power satellite parts.)
  • 2015 July
  • We made this animation of transporting parts to GEO and building a thermal power satellite for a contest. We came in second, a team supported by the Chinese government won. 3000 of these could entirely replace the three cubic miles of oil (equivalent) of fossil fuel the human race uses each year. By the early 2030s if we got on it soon.
  • Transport analysis abstract.
  • Preprint
  • Recent developments
  • A power satellite animation in orbit around the earth.
  • Space construction cube unfolding to square power satellite frame on youtube

Space laser




Most recent article on the power satellites project

An article which justifies the 1-2 cent per kWh and $30-$50 per bbl oil assumption.

From Spring 2014 issue of Ad Astra magazine, page 41. (Table of contents only) The article with artwork.

April 2014 article on laser propulsion concept

Slides for talk at Electric Utilities and Environment Conference Feb 2014. Graphics for 3 GW heat radiator and optics.

Laser propulsion station and 3 GW radiator paper draft March 1

Much more ambitious, 100 GW asteroid burner by Dr. Lubin at UCSB.

Historical background.

Topics that need wiki pages

Damage (or not) to the ozone layer from Skylon water exhaust and NOx

Multi GW thermal radiator to get rid of waste heat from the lasers.

Programming to keep the laser beam from intersecting with satellites in lower orbits.

If anyone wants to scope out one of the problems with building power satellites via laser propulsion, I would sure appreciate it. The problem is the big laser beam that provides the energy needed to heat hydrogen for the propulsion into space. It tracks along the equator for about 4000 km accelerating a reusable vehicle into LEO, and does this 3 times an hour. It's not acceptable for the beam to intersect tens of millions of dollars worth of global positioning satellite with 20 MW/m^2.

Either the beam has to be briefly cut off to allow a satellite to pass through, or the acceleration and timing needs to be adjusted to avoid such intersections of the beam and working satellites. The problem isn't that different from the problem of satellites running into a space elevator cable.

Listing of launch sites with consideration for the initial power coming from the Earth.

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