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Old 06-15-2019, 06:45 PM   #11
AlexanderHowl
 
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Default Re: Sol-1 [Infinite Worlds]

In addition, I imagine that the setting uses a lot more espionage and assassinations than OTL, as military force against the USA would seem counterproductive (it and its allies control 80% of space, after all, with China and Russia desperately attempting to keep control of the remaining 20%). The nations that were left out (Brazil, India, Pakistan, etc.) would probably be desperately trying to catch up.

Of course, it is a better world in some ways. Iran is a developed liberal democracy, heavily invested in space, with a 2% share in the orbital solar array, making it equal to Japan or the UK. Taiwan is an independent nation with a 1% share in the orbital solar array, making it equal to France or South Korea.

In some ways, it is less advanced. Due to butterflies, there was never a push to shield Internet platforms from liability related to the content that they hosted, meaning that advancements in computers slowed after 1996, meaning that the ATL computers in 2020 are equal to OTL computers in 2008, as it just made more sense to invest in space than computers. The music industry, because it could sue Internet platforms for the activity of pirates, is much the way it was in the early 90s, as is the rest of the media environment. Without advanced computing and with the move during the 90s to national health care under Brown, biotechnology was likewise slowed, with medicine in ATL 2020 being equal to medicine OTL in 2008, as it just made more sense to invest in space than biotech.
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Old 06-15-2019, 07:09 PM   #12
Fred Brackin
 
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Originally Posted by whswhs View Post
I'

I'm not seeing how Hillary Clinton gets into the Senate if her husband was never President.
It's politics that make this a weird timeline. If Gerald Ford can just evaporate Hilary can precipitate out of nowhere.

Then there's the whole "Democrats in favor of the space program" weirdness. The last one in our timeline was LBJ.

I suppose the Alien Space Bats might have personal cloaking devices to go with their mind control rays. :)
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Old 06-15-2019, 07:24 PM   #13
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Default Re: Sol-1 [Infinite Worlds]

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I'm not seeing how Hillary Clinton gets into the Senate if her husband was never President.
Well, Bill was Governor of Arkansas so that might be one possibility. I admit that I know nothing about the state apart from the fact that I can locate it on a map.
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Old 06-15-2019, 07:56 PM   #14
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The adventures would be in trying to infiltrate and spy on off planet research bases. Done right you can have nerve racking claustrophobic adventures.
Bah. "infiltrating" an off planet research base is no more difficult than infiltrating an on planet research base. Either your credentials as a visiting physicist/auditor/military officer/high school field trip hold up or they don't. Or you don't bother to infiltrate but just honey trap a returning physicist and pump for everything he knows about how the research is going.
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Old 06-16-2019, 04:15 AM   #15
Mysterious Dark Lord v3.2
 
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Default Re: Sol-1 [Infinite Worlds]

Just out of curiosity, is William Proxmire dead in this reality? Because I can't imagine a massive space initiative happening while that ... person is alive.
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Old 06-16-2019, 06:21 AM   #16
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Just out of curiosity, is William Proxmire dead in this reality? Because I can't imagine a massive space initiative happening while that ... person is alive.
Perhaps this also the timeline wherein he went back in time to inoculate Robert Heinlein against TB?
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Old 06-16-2019, 07:58 AM   #17
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This timeline is treading a fine line where the forum's RealPolitics rules are concerned, I think. Let's not focus too hard on the politics.
Well the recent politics is, but I don't think much of it after Kennedy actually matters much to the setting. The collapse of the Soviet Union may be nice, but not really necessary. Not even for there to be some improvements in the Russian economy - the PRC hasn't "collapsed" after all, but has evolved. And the relegation of the Middle East to mostly a non-problem is an automatic consequence of anything that shifts global energy away from oil, so even if none of those "better" outcomes happen it probably doesn't matter much, its assorted brutal dictatorships and failed states are of no more interest than the ones in eastern Africa these days.

I think the key political hurdle is the one that has to be solved for the 1970s US. I remember the Carter administration actually pushed pretty hard for nuclear energy to deal with the "moral equivalent of war" from OPEC, and it went basically nowhere, despite being both considerably cheaper than orbital solar could ever hope to be, and using proven technology. I don't see a Kennedy administration pulling off allocating huge amounts of funding to something more expensive that might not work. It is after all something there hasn't been a successful prototype of even now, and which the launch costs for the solar panels alone, never mind what you'd need for the rest of the process would still exceed the costs of going full nuclear even with our cheaper panels and more expensive fission plants, so if it does work here it pretty much requires something that would still be technologically revolutionary to be developed in the late 1970s.
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Old 06-16-2019, 09:20 AM   #18
AlexanderHowl
 
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Nuclear was never 'cheaper' than orbital solar. Even in the late-70s, it was experiencing delays, cost overruns, and safety issues due to scaling that concerned many of the scientists involved in the initial designs. At best, nuclear required a wholesale price of electricity of $100/MW-H (2019) to be profitable while orbital solar was potentially profitable at $25/MW-h (2019). In addition, orbital solar power is exportable while nuclear power is not, requiring only an easily built receiving field that can be assembled quickly and safely without issue.

An orbital solar array also has the advantage of avoiding the NIMBY problems that crippled the spread of nuclear. People can see the cooling towers of nuclear power plants from miles away. The receiving fields of the orbital solar arrays can be hidden by tall hedges.

As for the allocation of money, JFK managed to get a lot of money allocated to the Apollo mission, and there was no guarantee that it would work. I imagine that Teddy would have attempted to tap into the same optimism and the same hope that his brother had, and he would have had an accidental ally in George Lucas. With the release of Star Wars triggering the dreams and hopes of the American people in mid-1977, Teddy could have found an unexpected upwelling of support for such an ambitious idea.
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Old 06-16-2019, 09:56 AM   #19
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Originally Posted by Fred Brackin View Post
It's politics that make this a weird timeline. If Gerald Ford can just evaporate Hilary can precipitate out of nowhere.

Then there's the whole "Democrats in favor of the space program" weirdness. The last one in our timeline was LBJ.

I suppose the Alien Space Bats might have personal cloaking devices to go with their mind control rays. :)
Actually polling and analysis shows that Democrats, other than Jimmy Carter, are very pro-space. The problem is that they have other priorities. The Republicans aren't pro-science generally unless they see a profit. This leaves space on a backburner, a distant backburner.

As to alien space bats. I used the Cabal in Goddard-7
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Old 06-16-2019, 09:57 AM   #20
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With the support of the President, NASA proposed an ambitious plan that required 1% of the US GDP, which Teddy was able to push through Congress through supporting modest increases in military and domestic spending.
NASA's OTL budget peaked at 0.8% of a much smaller GDP in 1966, and hasn't exceeded 0.25% since 1972, so this is a substantial increase. I don't think "modest increases" in other programs are a realistic trade-off.

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In 1984, John Glenn, a longtime ally of Teddy, became president of the USA, easily winning against George H.W. Bush. Famous for his work as an astronaut and as a Senator of Colorado, he continued the construction of the orbital solar array.
In OTL, John Glenn was elected to the Senate from his home state of Ohio in 1974. I suppose it's possible that he moved to Colorado for some reason in this one.
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