The Space Review article Aerospaceplanes and Space Solar Power said
Taylor Dinerman’s recent essay, The chicken and the egg: RLV’s and space-based solar power, raised several important questions regarding the next generation of space access capabilities. Specifically, he drew attention to the recent National Security Space Office (NSSO) summer study on space-based solar power (SBSP) that included discussions about the spacefaring logistics capabilities that would be needed. He addressed his questions, rhetorically, to the authors of the study. As the primary author of the Appendix D of the report that focused on the needed logistics capabilities, I would like to respond to his questions and expand upon several of the points raised.
First, a little background on the preparation of the study. The NSSO SBSP study was not, as noted in the report, a traditional government study. The preparation efforts were not conducted under government contract, as are most such studies. Rather, the reach and flexibility of the Internet were exploited to gather knowledgeable volunteers to address the broad issue of SBSP broken down into these areas: politics, policy, and law; science and technology; logistics infrastructure; and, business case analysis. The NSSO, with the assistance of the Space Frontier Foundation, facilitated these efforts, but did not direct the efforts. While the main body of the final report was generally written by NSSO members, it was based on the inputs of the four breakout groups. This approach provided substantially greater flexibility in introducing new and different ideas into the debate.
James Michael “Mike” Snead, MS, P.E. was the author of this article and is an aerospace consultant focusing on near-future space infrastructure development including commercial human spaceflight, advanced subsonic multi-mission aircraft (tanker/airlifter/air power platform), and nuclear physics research (thermal neutron capture). He worked with the United States Air Force from 1970 to 2007 at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, OH. During his Air Force employment, he participated in flight readiness Executive Independent Review Teams supporting the first flights of the F-16XL, TR-1, YF-22, and YF-23.
His Air Force days included him as Lead, Agile Combat Support, Aeronautical Systems Branch, Air Systems Division, Plans and Programs Directorate, Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL/XPAS) from 2004 to 2007, Modeling and Analysis Division, Plans and Programs Directorate, Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL/XPZ) from 1998 to 2004, Directorate of Science & Technology, HQ Air Force Materiel Command (HQ AFMC/ST) from 1992 to 1998, Lead Structures Engineer, Structures Division, Deputy for Engineering, Aeronautical Systems Division (ASD/ENFS) from 1989 to 1992, Chief Flight Systems Engineer (Phase I) / Lead Structures Engineer (Phase II), Systems Engineering, National Aerospace Plane Joint Program Office (NASP JPO/EN) from 1986 to 1989, Project Engineer, Transatmospheric Vehicle (TAV) Project Office, Deputy for Development Planning, Aeronautical Systems Division (ASD/XR) from 1984 to 1986, and Strength Branch, Structures Division, Deputy for Engineering, Aeronautical Systems Division (ASD/ENFSS) from 1974 to 1984.
Mike authored American Needs to Become Spacefaring, A Space Logistics Infrastructure for the Near Term, Technically-achievable, Near-Term Space Logistics, Near-Term Manned Space Logistics Operations, Becoming a True Spacefaring America, Architecting Rapid Growth in Space Logistics Capabilities, Global Air Mobility and Persistent Airpower Operations, Cost Estimates of Near-Term, Fully-Reusable Space Access Systems, U.N. Law of the Sea Convention and America’s spacefaring future, and Configurable Air Transport, and coauthored Near-Future Space Logistics Vehicles.