I remember reading a retrospective on O'Neill's "The High Frontier" in
the National Space Society magazine a few years ago. The article
pointed out that O'Neill's 1970s scenario of large-scale space
industrialisation by the 1990s, was built on cheap shuttle flights and
paid for by space power satellites. This relied on two assumptions:
that the price of getting into space (the shuttle) would go down, and
the the price of energy (especially oil) would go up. In the event,
neither assumption has panned out - but Clarke and Sheffield weren't to
[log in to unmask] wrote:
>"The interesting thing is that, if these guys are right, we'll be
>getting a space elevator *before* we have widespread space travel. Both
>Clarke & Sheffield had their elevators built well after space flight
>using more conventional means had become widespread."
>Clarke and Sheffield released their books prior to a pair of horrific
>shuttle disasters and while the Cold War simmered. I wonder if these
>were factors in our halting exploration over the High Frontier?