(Note, I had previously written this along with the isotope separation, but wanted to give that idea a chance for discussion first.)
Another possible use for hypergravity is for training humans.
A big 2-gee facility on Earth would be expensive to build and maintain and would necessarily be small enough that you’d get large Coriolis effects. You’d be limited in size. But in orbit, you could build a large training facility that top athletes could train in, much like athletes train at high altitude. The athletes would develop denser bones, stronger muscles, and you could also reduce the oxygen concentration to get the benefits of high altitude training for lung capacity, etc. Soldiers, especially special forces, could train for months in such a facility as well.
Considering that the top 100 athletes make over $3.2 billion per year, you’ve got to think about the next 101-200 top athletes… Would they be willing to invest, say, $1-2 million so they could get in the top 100? If this proves to be a decisive advantage and is cheap enough (say $50,000 per person per week?), you could have entire teams training in large equatorial LEO (where the radiation levels are quite low, with shielding for the rest) rotating hypergravity training facilities which could also serve as orbital hotels at the lower gravity levels.
And what is a few hundred (or even thousand) supersoldiers worth per soldier? (I leave aside the idea of using the station as launch-point for special forces soldiers… There are plenty of military applications of space already.)
Each market could be multiple billion per year, and it’d intrinsically involve a real advantage to human spaceflight.
Another thing: Space tourism and settlement and even the NASA astronaut corp are for space nuts. This is one of the very few reasons why non-space-nuts would want to fly in orbit (for more than just point-to-point), and it could potentially be tens of thousands of people (athletes, soldiers, fitness nuts) in very large facilities. It’s not just because “space is neat.”
Latest posts by Chris Stelter (see all)
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