One of the things I suspect we can look forward to in 2016 - along with an ever-crazier geopolitical situation, if current trends continue - is the expansion of international space industry, and this pace, I suspect, will only intensify in the coming year. Consider this story from Dec. 21st last year, shared by Mr. J.H.:

RUSSIAN SPACE Russia, China Sign Range of Space Industry Agreements

The sweeping implications here are worth spelling out explicitly. Ponder these revelations;

The sides signed a cooperation agreement on navigation technologies and the use of the Russian satellite navigation system Glonass. Russian state-owned nanotechnology company RUSNANO and the China Aerospace Science and Industry Corporation also signed a strategic partnership agreement.

Among other documents, Russia and China also signed a strategic cooperation agreement on the development of Russian company I-Teco's cloud computing and data processing center, the other parties to the deal were the China-Eurasia Economic Cooperation Fund and the Huawei company.

Russia, China Develop High-Precision Navigation System Draft for SCO, BRICS
On Monday, Russia's GLONASS Union said Russia and China would also finalize a deal this month to establish two joint ventures to develop, manufacture and sell new satellite navigation devices that would receive signals from three major navigation systems, BeiDou, GLONASS and US Global Positioning System (GPS).

If one reads a bit between the lines here, there are several implications that bear mentioning. Firstly, while the earth-bound competition between the BRICSA bloc and the West will ratchet up, particularly in space matters as well as geopolitically, the real question is why there is a need for such a muscular presence in space, one that is clearly designed to integrate the Russian and American GPS systems, as well as to crunch enormous amounts of data. I strongly suspect that this is because space-monitoring and communications redundancy is being built into the global space monitoring systems in the guise of this competition between the West and Russia/China. As more and more satellites - and the coming age of microsatellites - turn local Earth-space into a debris cloud, that the ability to monitor all those satellites via open and not military systems had become the major pressing issue. The bottom line here is that redundancy is being built into the system, and this brings us to our second point:

Secondly, this redundancy - plus the mention of nanotechnology - implies that we are in the initial stages of a global "build out and build up" of orbit based capacity, both in communications and in the crucial area of on-board repair systems capability. After all, why launch expense rockets to repair a satellite if onboard  nanosystems can be developed to repair damage to satellites. Such a capability implies the long term capability of the design of complex onboard nanosystems repair for long-term manned and unmanned missions out of Earth orbit. Such capabilities would be essential to any plans for the commercial exploitation of space, such as asteroid mining and/or permanent off-world human bases. In short, the Russian-Chinese deal is, as the article suggests, part of a strategic, i.e., long term vision, and that long term vision itself implies a final point:

Thirdly, it suggests that what is being created over the long-term is an infrastructure platform to sustain a global economy to support and sustain large scale efforts in space, and space commercialization. Here the mention of adaptability of the planned Russo-Chinese systems to existing US capability are an important clue and corroboration of such an interpretation. We also need to consider, in this regard , the Russian and Chinese plans for a massive expansion of infrastructure and development throughout Eurasia. The Russian plans for railroad expansion in the far north and Arctic regions of the country, creating in effect an Arctic version of the Trans-Siberian railroad, and similar Chinese plans for high speed rail networks from China to Europe, suggest the creation of a massive economic structure and infrastructure that would be necessary for a similarly massive expansion into space as well as its applications to more terrestrial-bound economic considerations.

Like it was in 2015, I strongly suspect that space will continue to be an important, though quiet story(like it also was in 2015).

See you on the flip side...

Posted in

Joseph P. Farrell

Joseph P. Farrell has a doctorate in patristics from the University of Oxford, and pursues research in physics, alternative history and science, and "strange stuff". His book The Giza DeathStar, for which the Giza Community is named, was published in the spring of 2002, and was his first venture into "alternative history and science".


  1. zendogbreath on January 5, 2016 at 11:50 pm

    roger and dasavin,
    does the movie silent running come to mind? these scenarios envisioned seem the most likely and simplest ones. confirms the likelihood of massive water production constantly and everywhere. starwater is a term that gets hits worth looking. water is the basis of the universe and not some anomalous commodity limited to one little planet.

  2. goshawks on January 5, 2016 at 2:10 pm

    Joseph’s column triggered an interesting thought:

    What if Earth is intentionally ‘isolated’ from the rest of the universe by an orbiting debris cloud? If there is a statistically-high chance of running into damaging debris before clearing near-Earth orbit, that would effectively shut-down (ordinary) humanity’s access to space. A ‘hostile’ space-based economy could isolate us, without appearing to do so…

    That scenario, rather than nukes, might also be an important ‘Samson Option’ in ordinary Earth politics. It is one engineering-class to orbit a technologically-advanced satellite. It is a much-lower-class ‘skillset’ to simply loft a cargo of small, metallic shards and disperse them. Any minor nation ‘in trouble’ could hold the rest of Earth hostage with such an elementary capability. Iran? Pakistan? North Korea?

    If simply used for ‘blackmail’, this scenario probably would not come to screaming-headlines visibility. Just the appearance of a large ‘aid package’ to that country…

  3. Roger on January 5, 2016 at 12:35 am

    Unlike the memes of so many syfy novels and movies, water is not a scarce resource in space or most planets. It can also be made by splitting hydrogen and oxygen atoms from other substances and minerals that are rich in them. Much of the water used can also be recycled. While many solar bodies are rich in rare Earth minerals(if they are really indeed all that scarce on this planet even) this should be our secondary purpose for exploiting space. Some manufacturing of specialty items such as large semi-conductor crystals that can’t be easily grown to massive size on Earth would also be another consideration. Even building super conductor based power plants cooled by the vacuum of space itself yet powered by the sun and then beaming the power in various wavelengths and forms to receiving stations on Earth or other structures could be a great boon. But the most important and interesting potential in my opinion that could be exploited in our solar system is that of 24/7 access to sunlight to grow crops year around in huge rotating green house positioned around the sun. The rotating platforms would generated the desired artificial gravity and ideally reflectively coated(to avoid too much of the wrong kind of radiation)transparent aluminum panels could allow the crops to receive the sunlight yet have the strength withstand the pressures of vacuum.

  4. Dasavin on January 5, 2016 at 12:00 am

    Governments have not reached the point when they are ready to admit to the possession of intergalactic travel technology. Common sense and personal accounts tell us that such technology has been operating for decades. Ben Rich and several whistleblowers have confirmed this. Amateur astronomers are videotaping the comings and goings of spacecraft between the Earth and the Moon. In other words, the off world mining operations being discussed are window dressing and calculated. Such mining and commerce have been a fact of life for over 50 years, just not a fact of OUR lives. To take these public “space” announcements seriously, it is necessary to ignore that the so-called “Secret government” has been operating on the Moon and on Mars and various moons in the solar system while we have been entertained with air-brushed NASA photos and high-sounding political exhortations to one day achieve space travel.

  5. Dan on January 4, 2016 at 5:58 pm

    Excellent content. Thank you .

    Wonder if they are considering a space elevator?
    Surely it’s the only way to go for all your space mining transportation needs.
    It would need to a sea platform I imagine with some handy islands nearby and I imagine those island will be man made…
    Apart from the occasional choreographed comedy coming out of NK and the manouverings of natoamerikcorp I don’t see anyone else instigating war.
    Could These be the grown ups we’ve been waiting for?
    Putin shows tremendous restraint and restraint amongst the Chinese is pretty much genetic so I’m still taking mine sunny side up thanks.

  6. WalkingDead on January 4, 2016 at 1:47 pm

    One problem at a time please. Before we go attempting to colonize space, we had better figure out how to avert WW3 and find some way to coexist in a more peaceful manner, don’t you think. Otherwise these plans are just dreams never to come to fruition. This will also require releasing the technology to do so. I don’t see it happening with our current technological means which is just another way to bilk the taxpayers out of more of their already miniscule funds.
    Whoever is running this comedy needs to get their $#&@ together and come up with a viable plan instead of more of the same old idiotic BS. It will have to be a plan that includes more than just the elite and their debt slavery because that’s just a disaster waiting to happen. Eventually even sheep realize there is a wolf among them and act accordingly; this won’t bode well for the wolves.
    My bet is they are planning on the global corporations to be the only ones allowed out there with their private militaries and black project technologies while keeping the rest of us here existing in a third world existence on earth; more of an Elysium type scenario. These people don’t share their power or their wealth with the unwashed masses. I don’t see that changing anytime soon.

    • Robert Barricklow on January 4, 2016 at 3:11 pm

      Loved it!
      Literally A Third World!

    • Robert Barricklow on January 4, 2016 at 3:11 pm

      Loved it!
      Literally A Third World!

      • zendogbreath on January 4, 2016 at 9:36 pm

        rb and wd,
        ahhp. i get it. third world third world? is that like being dead dead or pregnant pregnant?

        not sure if it’s pertinent but a new and old facts jumped to mind reading this.

        first, i found out last week that china has and does spend more on internal police than external military. that includes all their torture and work camps for falun gong and any other dissidents. they’re not so much worried about foreign military as they are their own sheep.

        secondly, the wolves most in power don’t much care what happens to all the wolves so long as they (the most powerful wolves) survive and remain the most powerful.

        ever look at the various heads of family who were involved with and/or were denied their survival on the titanic? the astors, vanderbuilts and morgans come to mind. as well as a bunch of other way too jesuit connections. given the distance the breakaway civie leaders have on the rest of us (and over most of the other breakaway civies that they lead), it’s doubtful they’re too worried about losing a few of their lesser wolves.

        thirdly and most importantly, overt and covert taxes (income, real estate, property, inheritance, sales, inflation, deflation, price plunge protection, gold fixes….) are not the main forms of income for this military/industrial/govt/corporati monolith. They derive far more wealth with black ops, black markets, black industry, war,… and all. Those taxes are simply to control the masses, us. Some of the slaves are slightly better off (and better able to understand the system) than others. Either way we’re still slaves. We can’t afford to be self determinant. That requires way more disposable income than we’ll ever hang on to.

        Go ahead. Pay off your mortgage. Grow all your food. Produce all your own energy off grid. Even if you have enough resources left over to provide for your own security properly, you’re still just a renter with little to no power over the land you squat with you govt and hence big corrporati permission. The instant some corporati wants that land for a pipeline or a buffalo ranch or the view or free reign with his drug cartel, eminent domain will kick in and hand it to the larger player. and for cheap. ask john mcafee how he liked belize.

        that’s the reason for fracking. poisoned wells drive down land prices and force current owners sick, dead and to sell out cheap. any lawsuits that do cost energy companies will be peanuts compared to landgrap profits. same for poisoning the sea with oil and radiation. any small fishing ops to contend with anymore? the larger players have a longer lifetime and hence will wait out the poisoned environment. the earth’s been poisoned before and it comes back around after some time.

        like carlin said, perhaps our purpose is to bring plastic. wonder what carlin woulda come up with had he considered the likelihood of abiotic oil, an electric universe and other hidden tech.

        • Robert Barricklow on January 8, 2016 at 12:43 pm

          I enjoyed the concept of the Breakaways world versus, literally 3rd world.
          You bring up some great points.
          Reminds me what we’re also in the midst of: Information Warfare.

  7. Robert Barricklow on January 4, 2016 at 12:24 pm

    Like Victor Hugo said, when referring to cathedrals, architecture[think infrastructure] was developed in proportion of human thought. Now when thinking of cathedrals; what power lay behind those thoughts?
    Flash forward to today’s ships beginning to sail on literal solar winds. Think of the invention of ships as also the invention of shipwrecks. Why? Because there are going to be technologies that are going to be building space infrastructures that are dependent upon these technologies. For example, algorithms. Software that is inherently easily corrupted. Or, think of framing. For example, Facebook. Facebook’s purpose isn’t to make friends, but rather to monetize your social graph through advertising. I/m referring to these disparate ideas to bring focus to the point that we as a civilization[?] are building an infrastructure that will have a significant imprint on what space, the final frontier[?] will become.

    Infrastructure has often been groomed as either an instrument of militarism, or universal nationalism to globalization to interglatical[?].
    I wonder if the current world’s dominant software for making urban space/”the free zone” will be a blueprint for space? The “Free Zone” typically provides premium utilities and a set of incentives – tax exemptions, foreign ownership of properties, streamlined customs, Cheap Labor, and deregulation of labor and environmental laws – to entice businesses. Every country today wants this “spatial technology”/its own Free Zone skyline. These Free Zones have become an essential partner for the state to navigate and profit from very shady shadow economics. Rather from overwhelming state power, the free zones become a new partner that strengthen the state by serving as its proxy or camouflage.

    All this prelude to make this point:
    Disposition is the medium, not the message.
    Not the object form, but the active form. The pretty landscape versus the fluid dynamic of the river – is to read the difference between the declared intent and the underlying disposition.

    • zendogbreath on January 4, 2016 at 8:59 pm

      Wow Robert. Exactly what I was thinking. Only not that well stated. Personal favor? Can you simplify that more?

      What I think I got: you’re saying they’re making a new caribbean island/swiss banking system above the old systems (literally and figuratively) to replace the old caribbean/swiss banking system. Seems like a knock off of Frank Herbert’s systems laid out in Dune. So who’s who in the Landsraad, the CHOAM company and the rest of these entities?

      • Robert Barricklow on January 17, 2016 at 5:22 pm

        Sorry zenodogbreath, I missed your reply.
        Yet fortuitous; the answer comes from Reggie Middleton that I posted this AM[Jan 17, 11:25AM].

        This is the future they are trying like hell to derail.

      • Robert Barricklow on January 17, 2016 at 5:28 pm

        Sorry I missed your reply.
        Instead of blaming it all on the bossa nova;
        I’ll blame on it all under moderation.
        Yet it was fortuitous, as the answer to your question posed, is in this morning’s post I made in reference to Reggie Middleton[Jan 17 11:35 AM].

  8. marcos toledo on January 4, 2016 at 11:56 am

    Could this be the beginning of a scenario like in the new SyFy series “The Expanse” a space rivalry ala the European battle for supremacy on the oceans from the sixteenth century to today. And how long will be before we have the space equivalent of the Barbary Pirates and Brethren Of The Coast in space.

    • Roger on January 4, 2016 at 7:32 pm

      Piracy wouldn’t be economically viable for centuries to come. And not even then if technology to reach other solar systems becomes a reality because the resources that we would like to exploit are too vast. Successful technology to economically reach these resources would quickly destroy the value of these resources when the supply quickly over runs the demand for them. Its time we come up with a better reason for doing everything we do and its way past time we do away with socially engineered poverty. Poverty and most profitable crimes are not accidental out comes but purposefully engineered social mechanisms designed to negatively exploit and dominate the masses.

      • zendogbreath on January 4, 2016 at 8:44 pm

        Good point Roger. Thank you. Seems the primary point of all we work on here.

        btw. I hit “report comment” in error trying to hit reply. Hope that doesn’t drive Daniel too crazy in our new grading process.

    • goshawks on January 17, 2016 at 1:57 am

      Hey, marcos, I just did a six-hour marathon of “The Expanse” (Episodes 1-6). Pretty good! It reminds me of the SF series “Babylon 5” crossed with Robert Heinlein’s book “The Moon is a Harsh Mistress” crossed with an old ‘gumshoes’ detective novel. They are taking a long time to lay-out various long-term-arcs of plot and character, so it is slower at first. B5 started the same way, and didn’t plunge-ahead until the second season. Then, Wow!

      They are keeping the ‘mystery high-tech foe’ off-screen as long as possible. It will be interesting to see whether it is a Breakaway Civilization type or alien-influenced. The graphics and sets are above-and-beyond (pardon the pun)! I haven’t seen this kind of ‘upgrade’ since B5 took television special-effects to a whole new level.

      They have built-up suspense around the bad-guys so much that I will be disappointed if it is only a Goldfinger-type or an evil Corporate Entity. I remember when a B5 fighter first discovered a ‘Shadow’ craft and beamed a visual back to B5. They were obviously so far in advance of human tech – and obviously hostile – that I literally muttered “Oh, crap.” I am hoping for that Class of Villain. Think of when “Star Trek NG” first introduced The Borg. “Oh, crap.” That ‘surprise’ is what I am hoping for.

      I do like that they are remaining faithful to how multitudes of early SF writers said the human build-out into the Solar System would happen – colonization-wise, resource-exploitation-wise, and political-wise. Lots of formational SF writers are grinning and nodding.

      So, to other readers, it is definitely worth checking-out…

    • goshawks on January 17, 2016 at 2:03 am

      marcos, I just did a long review of “The Expanse” Episodes 1-6, and it shows “Your comment is awaiting moderation.” How stupid! I’ll try to keep track of it and notify if it reappears… (goshawks – January 17, 2016 at 1:57 am)

    • goshawks on January 17, 2016 at 3:01 pm

      marcos toledo and all, my long review of “The Expanse” Episodes 1-6, is finally out of moderation (stupid). It should be just above this post at 1:57 am…

  9. DanaThomas on January 4, 2016 at 9:55 am

    We can probably assume that some sort of on-board self-repair systems are already in place. And on the flip side, some of those “vulture droids” (or energy based equivalents) that can wreak havoc on other peoples’ space platforms.

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