One of the most often described purposes suggested for gravity modification is space travel. Space travel suggests the establishment of a spaceport and spaceports are actually common. They currently exist in California (California Spaceport and Mojave Airport), Alaska (Kodiak Launch Complex), Florida (Kennedy), Virginia, Oklahoma, and Texas . Plans are also in various stages of development for Wisconsin (Sheboygan) and the New Mexico Southwest Regional Spaceport for space tourism.
However, such tourist facilities won’t have the infrastructure for shipping large tonnage of cargo. Why is tonnage a factor? Because even if we we don’t ship slabs of “blueberry” laden hematite from Mars to face building exteriors on Earth, or import tons of diamond-bearing kimberlite pipe ore from Olympus Mons, gMOD would still be useful for delivering suborbital payloads to ports around the world. And for that tonnage we need a candidate port to become the first industrial spaceport. Preferably it will be an existing major international airport or shipping port already transporting millions of tons of cargo a year.
Duluth could act as that first industrial spaceport. The city is already an international port, one of the largest in America as gauged by tonnage. It also has an international airport and an underutilized world-class aircraft facility. The $25 million, 300,000 sq-ft Northwest Airlines Airbus Maintenance facility is located in Duluth International Airport. Despite it capabilities, the underpayment of taxes by Northwest Airlines since May 2005 and the looming potential of a merger with Delta leaves the facility’s future uncertain. So why not reserve it as our first industrial spaceport facility?
Duluth’s location on Lake Superior has ready access to the two most desirable resources for industrial expansion into space: steel for building and fresh water for drinking. Minnesota Steel Industries plans to bring in 2,000 construction workers to the defunct Butler Taconite site in Nashwauk to erect North America’s first fully integrated taconite-mine-to-steel mill. The $1.6 billion plant is on a two year fast track for development.
Also, Lake Superior is the largest freshwater lake in the world. There is enough water in Lake Superior to cover the entire land mass of North and South America with a foot (30 cm) of water. Though water levels have declined in recent years, Superior could still contain all the other Great Lakes and three more Lake Eries.
The long expanse of Lake Superior from Isle Royale eastward would allow space vehicles to depart from the Duluth spaceport, climb over the lake, and reach orbit… matching most currently eastward orbits. This is a necessary step before the first industrial goal: removing the millions of pieces of space debris (space junk) currently in orbit.
Once cleared, satellite platforms could be placed into orbit. Such platforms become not just satellites but potentially (thanks to gMOD) geosynchronous satellites suitable for all sorts of communications needs. Payloads for the platforms could also include anything from orbital hostels (less formal the the five star hotel of the film “2001”) to fueling platforms for flights to the moon and planets.