The Expansionist Era





2007:  In response to various "in the pipeline" projects at NASA and other agencies, the Nuclear Space Treaty is amended by all concerned nations in order to allow for the utilization of nuclear power sources in space.



2009:  The Mars Smart Lander becomes the first truly nuclear powered extra-planetary probe.



2010:  Development of the CEV comes to fruition.  

(image courtesy NASA)

2010:  In the face of the development of the CEV, the old shuttle fleet is retired.  Some are resold, some are scrapped.  One, the Endeavor, is put on display at the Smithsonian.
2010:  The ISS is completed and at full operational capacity.



2011: The first known occurrence of the New Church Ascendancy, a small group that espouses the virtues of man in the face of a growing technological society.  It is clearly rooted in Catholicism, but is far less conservative, and indeed is more of a society made up of different religions than it is a single, unifying church.



2012: Dancer Nanotech Industries (DNI) begins practical engineering in the field of nanotechnology.



2015:  The return of Humans to the Moon.  This and subsequent visits will be considered "pathfinding" missions, where resources will be scouted and necessary equipment for future expeditions will be left behind.  This bootstrapping will eventually lead to the permanent presence of Man on Luna.  


2015:  The Extrasolar Planetary Mapping Array (ExoMAP) is placed in a solar orbit.  It will map all planetary systems within 50 light years, and will have a resolution down to 0.3 times the diameter of the Earth.  The fifteen year project is destined to revolutionize  the field of planetary geology, and will provide some of the first hints of other Earthlike worlds in other star systems.


((image copyright Orbital Recovery)

2018: Remote Salvaging Systems (RSS) launches its first self-proclaimed "space tug", a teleo-operated, ion-driven vessel capable of rendezvousing with various forms of space junk and collecting it.  Unless otherwise requested by the clients, the material salvaged is used to make more RSS equipment.  RSS thus becomes one of the first industries to operate solely in space.


(image courtesy of SSI)

2020: An unmanned asteroid reconnaissance program is initiated by the Asteroid Mining Technologies corporation (Amtech).  The Forty-Niner Program is aimed at Near Earth Objects, to study their mineralogical potential.  The program utilizes many relatively cheap single-target probes which each contain deep impactors, landers, and orbiters.


2023: The first manned mission to Mars, landing in Gusev Crater.  It is a "heroic" mission much like Apollo, but unlike that 1960's program it does leave behind remotely controlled systems which, over time, construct the infrastructure for a long-term manned base.


(image courtesy of SSI)

2025: The first permanently manned outpost on the Moon, in Shackelton Crater.  It is primarily a scientific outpost, with 20 full-time personnel.  These personnel are rotated on a six-month shift basis in order to preclude any micro-gravity medical problems.  Additional workers telecommunicate from Earth, working through ever-improving teleoperational interfaces.



2030: Remote asteroid mining is begun by Amtech, with both 'adaptive mining technology' (semi-smart tools) and long distance telepresence management.


(image courtesy of SSI)

2033: Sky-Power Unlimited (SPU) begins to construct orbital power satellites.  These convert solar power to low level microwaves, which are then beamed to the Earth for utilization.



2035: The first artificial intelligences are built.  However, they are better described as "advanced systems" rather than true AIs.  Nevertheless, they represent a new revolution in computer-user interaction.



2040: Orbital Habitats (collectively known as the Stations) begin to appear at various points throughout CisLunar Space.



2042: DNI buys out RSS, thus expanding their own space interests.



2043: The Lunar Outpost becomes a full-fledged colony as expansion upgrades are completed.  The population, however, remains low and serves in six-month shifts to lessen any health issues brought on by a micro-G environment.  


2043:  DNI begins its Orbital Sweep Program, geared towards cleaning up orbital space before the United Republic of Congo can complete its Beanstalk.



2044: The International Astronautics Agency is commissioned by the UN.  It is a civilian agency meant to regulate the growing amount of civilian space travel in Earth orbit.  The IAA is imposed by the UN, and protests immediately follow, especially from the private sector.



2045: The second manned mission to Mars, largely funded by Amtech.  This one comes with the equipment for a long term base, although no one will remain when this particular mission is concluded.  However, a literal fleet of robotic workers will remain, constructing a simple outpost for the next mission.



2053: Morris Transtech Fusion Research Laboratories, in collaboration with MITRE/DARBA, achieves stable fusion reactions which generates significantly more power than what it requires to run.  unfortunately, the experiments require a significant investment in hardware which covers an area equal to two football fields.  The dream of fusion power is on the horizon, but remains out of touch.



2055: Amtech begins a recon program of the Asteroid Belt.  This Belt survey is much like the old Forty-Niner Program, but quite a bit more advanced, with a far greater number of targets for investigation.



2057: Amtech establishes a manned outpost on Mars.  Because of new medical breakthroughs and techniques, three year tours in the lesser gravity are promised to be non-detrimental towards workers' and scientists' health.


2060: The first Beanstalk is constructed in the United Republic of Congo, with heavy financial backing from DNI, Amtech, and several other large corporations.  It is called Zaire Tower.  International use "for a fee" makes it the premiere lifting body on Earth.  The URC soon after enjoys an economic explosion.



2063: Amtech begins automated mining of the Belt with telepresence oversight.



2065: The Exploration Society is founded.  It is a science driven organization devoted to an understanding of the natural world.  It essentially replaces the long defunct National Geographic Society.



2070: Energy requirements for the Stations reach a point where serious research is put into fusion energy resources.



2073: The United States and allies complete their beanstalk, named Earhart Tower, located on Howard Island.  Competition between the two towers invigorates the space industry.



2075: Helium-3 mining is begun on the Moon, but it is seen as a temporary resource due to the overall scarcity of the element in Lunar soil.



2077: Colonization of Mars begins, largely performed by Amtech.



2078: Amtech begins work on an on-site mining and refining outpost in the Belt.  This great, movable mining platform will require a manned presence both for construction and operation.  It is planned to be the first of many such platforms.



2080: The New Church has gained a reputation for impartiality and effectiveness in political matters, and have been more than once called in to help with international disputes, however minor or major.  In this year, the New Church begins to actively market this skill by seeking international backing to negotiate fair settlements to some of the world's trouble hot-spots.



2090: Helium-3 mining is begun in the Jovian system by Amtech.



2092: Amtech's first mobile mining platform is completed.



2095: Fusion-driven ships begin to make their appearance.



2100: Driven by competition, SPU begins to work on amat-based power.



2105: The Hermian Project is undertaken by Amtech.  This series of probes, and later manned missions, will open the way for Amtech's exploitation of Mercurian resources.



2112: The Exploration Society begins to launch its fusion-driven interstellar probes to dozens of different star systems.  This is the Sagan Project, and will eventually bring in confirmation of life beyond Earth, in the form of Earth-like worlds.



2115: SPU establishes an amat production facility, largely automated, on Mercury.  However, problems occur frequently enough that a permanent manned presence is quickly established.



2120: A trend of Human migration and establishing population centers where there was only automated facilities before.  For the next 15 years, Mercury, regions of Luna, Mars, various Belt asteroids, and Callisto will begin to gain populations ranging from less than one hundred, to the thousands.



2135: SPU claims sovereignty over Mercury, and has the powerbase entrenched in amat production to back it up.  Amtech is expelled from the planet, beginning a long term rivalry, many times bordering on open war, between them.



2137: Amtech declares independence, both for its colony on Mars and its outposts in the Belt.  


2137: The UN grants the IAA military powers in response to the many cases of succession in the Inner System.



2145: The IAA declares the CisLunar habitats cannot claim independence.  The Stations acquiesce, but resentment remains.



2150: Amtech allies itself with CisLunar Space.  Within a year, Earth allies herself with SPU.  Tensions rise.  The beginning of major defense initiatives on the Stations, both passive and direct.



2153: The Station Wars.  History's first war in space, it is fought sporadically and at very long ranges.  The most intense and frequent battles occur in and near the Stations.



2157: The destruction of a Station, with the loss of the entire population.  The War is shocked into a cease fire.  The New Church Ascendancy is chosen to arbitrate negotiations.



2160: The Exploration Society initiates the Planetary Classification List, a system to generally classify the many worlds and worldlets that have been discovered, both in the Solar System and as a result of the Sagan Project.



2163: Establishment of the Inner System Commonwealth.  Member nations include the major powers -- and several minor ones -- from Earth, the Lunar Republic, the Mercurian Territories (governed by SPU), and the Amtech Corporate Territories, which include their Martian, Belt, and Jovian settlements.


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ArcBuilder Universe concept John M. and Margo L. Dollan 2002-2004
This Page first uploaded January 26, 2004
Other usages cited at Usage Permission Page
Most recent update for this page February 2, 2004
Visual inspiration from M. Alan Kazlev's Palaeos.