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Member since: Wed Oct 13, 2004, 05:42 PM
Number of posts: 8,636

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The backstory to Team B and the pro-space movement

General Daniel O. Graham of Team B was part of the movement to introduce the concept of Strategic Missile Defense (Star Wars) during the Reagan administration. Danny Graham attempted to co-opt the pro-space movement built around the space settlement ideas of Princeton physicist Gerard K. O'Neill. Graham even titled his book: High Frontier, shamelessly stealing the title of Gerry O'Neill's book: The High Frontier: Human Colonies in Space.

I was a member of the L-5 Society, dedicated to promoting Gerry O'Neill's concepts; I even organized a chapter in Tulsa. Starting around 1980, Dr. Jerry Pournelle, a follower and friend of Danny Graham became a powerful voice in the leadership of the L-5 Society. In 1981, Pournelle, along with aerospace executives, writers and others, including members of the L-5 Society leadership formed The Citizens Advisory Council on Space Policy which prepared a report to be submitted to the Reagan administration.

There were aspects to the Citizens Advisory Council report that I would consider positive: advocacy for solar system exploration and development, including the solar power satellite concepts that L-5 and Gerry O'Neill's Space Studies Institute championed. Another was advocacy of a space station, which the Reagan administration championed as "Space Station Freedom," which became the International Space Station under the Clinton Administration.

But, the report did have a strongly militaristic bent. Pournelle and others wanted the L-5 Society to become a vehicle for promoting SDI more than promoting space settlements. Actually, the L-5 Society ended up not taking any position on space weaponry. That alienated both the strategic defense advocates and those opposed, splitting the society. In 1987, the remains of the L-5 Society were merged with Wernher von Braun's National Space Institute to form the National Space Society, which still exists.

Actually, L-5 was never a large organization; but, it was vocal and I believe it was an effective voice for O'Neill's space development and settlement concepts. The National Space Society gives lip service to Dr. O'Neill's concepts; but, I see it as more a public relations arm for the Aerospace industries Association and other industry groups.

Gerry O'Neill's vision is still being kept alive by The Space Studies Institute, which he founded.
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