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Open-Source Business Developer Nikolay Agapov and Transhumanist Party Presidential Primary Candidate Johannon Ben Zion In Conversation: On Near-Earth/Space Development, the Orbital Ring, and the Design for the Agapov Orbital Lift

Open-Source Business Developer Nikolay Agapov and Transhumanist Party Presidential Primary Candidate Johannon Ben Zion In Conversation: On Near-Earth/Space Development, the Orbital Ring, and the Design for the Agapov Orbital Lift

Nikolay Agapov
Johannon Ben Zion


Editor’s Note: The U.S. Transhumanist Party / Transhuman Party (USTP) publishes this interview between Johannon Ben Zion and Nikolay Agapov to advance the goals of Section XVII of the USTP Platform, which states that “The United States Transhumanist Party holds that present and future societies should take all reasonable measures to embrace and fund space travel, not only for the spirit of adventure and to gain knowledge by exploring the universe, but as an ultimate safeguard to its citizens and transhumanity should planet Earth become uninhabitable or be destroyed.” The construction of a highly economical infrastructure project such as the Agapov Orbital Lift would greatly reduce the costs of space travel and thus enable rapid exploration and development of space for the benefit of humankind and all sentient entities – thus also accelerating our transition into the next era of our civilization. As of this time, the USTP has not yet endorsed a Presidential candidate but welcomes activity from all of our Presidential Primary candidates to advance the USTP Platform. 

~ Gennady Stolyarov II, Chairman, United States Transhumanist Party / Transhuman Party, June 11, 2019

Read the English-language outline for the Agapov Orbital Lift, written by Nikolay Agapov, here

Johannon Ben Zion:  We live in different countries; we’ve never met!  Should we talk about how we met?

Nikolay Agapov:  Yes, Ben, having heard of your Arizona Transhumanist Party‘s “Orbital Ring” publicity push, I felt I would have been remiss if I didn’t reach out to the Arizona Transhumanist Party and your U.S.  Presidential candidacy with the Transhumanist Party, and offer to make a comparison and further study of the respective designs, my team’s included.  I like to tell people that I am an “open-source” business developer in this context, and an avid supporter of the near-earth industrialization, in contrast to “pure exploration.”

I principally come from an educational background in economics with a specialization in business administration. I have made an extensive study of the global economic environment in the course of my international business studies and striven to understand and emulate the careers and novel methods of innovators like Henry Ford and Steve Jobs.

I have always been interested in the topic of space exploration and in the process of studying at the university, I began to develop extensive plans for near-earth industrialization with the relatively smaller-budgeted space agencies in mind, as Roscosmos now has, and also a focus on high attractiveness to investors.

In addition, I have often written of as well as developed several designs in the field of solid-fuel rocket engines.  Making solid propellant rockets cheaper and more environmentally friendly with the ability to raise their efficiency to the level of liquid engines has been a central focus of my work.

After writing and developing in these areas for quite some time, I am convinced that space agencies and businesses are not nearly focused enough on outcomes or growth, which is why I have become an “open-source” business developer; network effects and “crowd-sourcing” effects in research and development must be better utilized if we are to quicken the pace of technological advancement.

The main goal of space businesses and agencies is the development of civilizational impacts of space-faring, the transition of humanity to the level of a true space-faring civilization. And all smaller projects should be viewed as merely steps to this larger goal.

It is not so much of an overstatement to say that modern space administrations in fact remain mechanisms of the state-run propaganda that arose during the period of escalation during the Cold War. Their goal is to maintain a certain prestige and visibility, through periodic campaigns and in the launching of scientific probes, etc.  A “Space Age cynic” such as myself will view many of these endeavors as not always directly contributing to the aforementioned “transition to a space-faring civilization.” As for the real, practical, space exploration, they have no idea how to develop it and do not strive for it.

As a result, I have completely updated my approaches to the industrialization of space, in the form of more networked or “crowdsourcing-ready” businesses and more results-oriented public agencies.  Since I’ve read more recently of your “Futurist New Deal”, I do hope that you will continue your commitment to near-earth industrialization as we first discussed.

JBZ: Well, yes, we absolutely will.  Although our campaign is focused on domestic economic  policy and e-governance issues now, all of our near-term undertakings are intended to set the stage for your “transition to a space-faring civilization,” or a true post-industrial society more broadly.

Nikolay Agapov: My team has our own approaches to the development of space expansion and the end goal, the preparation for the colonization of space, a goal I believe best achieved through the creation of a permanent transportation system to our nearest neighbor, the Moon.  The more than one trillion dollars that have been spent in the pursuit of space travel have not had this focus, been a rather poor use of funds, with a somewhat disappointing result all told.   I believe that you yourself told me in our first conversation that the efforts of your space agency [NASA] were “the most expensive PR campaign.”

JBZ: Yes, I said, “The most expensive PR campaign in history” and basically one with surprisingly little focus on tangible production outcomes, a concern I share with you. A popular, if a little operatic view of the history of NASA is one to which I do subscribe to a certain degree myself, at least in principle.  It’s a distrustful sentiment that really gets to the heart of most of this confused thinking on the NASA subject in a roundabout sort of way; the NASA “conspiracy theories” are largely rooted, I believe, in this feeling that this whole operation was a “Cold War” publicity stunt – a very expensive one – that didn’t “build” much of anything, in structural engineering terms at least –  although it contributed to the production of any number of groundbreaking technological breakthroughs argued for in hindsight as justification of the expense, and quite rightly argued considering the impact of those things – in spite of the lack of interest in “near-earth industrialization” by the parties in question.

Nikolay Agapov:   I would say that the “Space Age” tropes that both derived from and guided these somewhat odd goals have themselves become codified, leading to impractical implementations (or as we’ve suggested above, a lack thereof) and also a “monoculture,” where what began as nebulous goals, have become codified by science-fiction fanatics, films, and television – so that all interest, popular or industrial, is centering on rockets and journeys beyond our sphere which are very exciting – but a little ineffable as to their purpose relative to the building of things.

JBZ: Most of us at the Transhumanist Party are believers in technocratic solutions, even some beyond the 20th-century or early post-industrial models of today – and I am one of those. The principles of technocracy and automation-centered policy making would do quite a bit to solve these problems in private and public space initiatives.

Nikolay Agapov: Modernized countries share a technocratic approach to their organization.

JBZ: Yes, it’s odd to me that so many in the USA  view technocracy as an ugly word.  I regard myself (and all those involved in the “Futurist New Deal” do as well) as an “economic populist”, but I view this tendency to criticize technocracy as something to be viewed with skepticism, a “false populist phenomenon,” that derives from what is sometimes called in the USA “know-nothing”-ism, a set of anti-science and low-information cultural values that poison, well, many, if not most, earnest efforts in public policy and the ordering of a civil society.  

Nikolay Agapov:  Yes, and your “futurists” would be doing the right thing in trying to counteract this other failing in thinking about technology and progress.

JBZ: How expensive would your space elevator be?  What’s the cost of the most expensive or extravagant elevator or orbital ring you’d like to build, since I know we’ve discussed a few with cost in mind?

Nikolay Agapov: Incorporating the existing but non-operational space stations described in my prospectus into the design, using a tether with a specialized design using Kevlar, carbon fiber,  or polyethylene materials designs that could sustain the tether and a series of relatively small additional payloads, a little smaller than a human at first – as I’ve described in our prospectus.

JBZ: Yes, I was imagining a bunch of little “Roombas” scooting up there to the space station to then be boosted off to the moon and do some work.

Nikolay Agapov:  Yes, these types of remotely controlled or semi-autonomous devices should be among the easier parts of our “work order” to fulfill.  And as the system is judged to be stable, more tethers would be built, a number of these which are stable would perhaps allow for very low-cost space tourism, travel from Earth to the space station in a matter of days at that time shortly after the initial stabilization of the tether, but it is quite likely that other materials designs for tethers would be required, delaying the tourism part, which I regard as the smallest part of this undertaking compared to getting “robots” out in earth’s orbit fixing and building existing and new infrastructure, respectively, and traveling on to do so on the Moon as well.  

Using materials costs from the Eurasian markets and including the estimates of existing but underutilized space infrastructure and present-day tether materials (despite their payload limitations), I would put the total costs at 100 – 500 million dollars.  This 500% variation in costs would be due to the uncertain nature of building in orbit and the problems with constructing and maintaining the tether, as well as market uncertainties for the materials needed.

JBZ: That’s 100-500 million right?  Millions, 1 and six zeroes, 1,000,000? Is that what you are saying?

Nikolay Agapov: Yes.

JBZ: That’s many billions of dollars lower than any of the prospecti I’ve seen, some of which push up to a trillion dollars.

Nikolay Agapov:  Building systems for space tourism would be a lot more than a few hundred million dollars, as those systems are built and rebuilt to higher standards, but by that time there will occur an immense economic impact from making better use of building in orbit or on the Moon and the ways that they would impact existing markets, with cheaper and better satellites, new energy developments in solar and other renewable energies, and the appeal and benefits of industrializing in earth’s orbit and on the moon. As a result, those significant added costs for stronger elevators would be happily undertaken by those industries.

JBZ: I am still a little taken aback with this “low” budget.   That is a number that Elon Musk, Peter Diamandis, or many of these guys could fund based on their companies’ valuations just by diverting some portion of funds from other space companies.

Nikolay Agapov:  Maybe. Your question about the most expensive project I can think of – I don’t think is a serious one.  The “most expensive design” is to continue building rockets if operating cost and environmental impact are no concern.  

JBZ: Fair enough. Your prospectus states that you could have this design completed and financially self-sustaining in 3-5 years. Do you stand by that?

Nikolay Agapov:  Yes and no.  If the project was fully funded and international cooperation and many other political factors were dealt with independently – then yes, absolutely.  I think that the cooperation of U.S. and Russian space agencies and associated corporations and entities may be enough to accomplish this.

JBZ: It would take a mighty fine group of statesmen and women to accomplish such a thing.

Nikolay Agapov:  Maybe, maybe not.

JBZ: If such a project could be built so cheaply, why hasn’t it been done yet?

Nikolay Agapov:  I would answer “politics” more than “design”, but I would also include with that concern, the lack of motivation and the focus on these “popular imagination” and “sci-fi-genre media-driven” goals we spoke of, resulting in the “rich guys with big rockets” and tourism over industrialization.  Industry is a more controversial design principle because it is perceived as being more “invasive” or “less ecological”, although in practice the opposite is true; rockets have been and still are much worse.  Irony.

JBZ:  The design like the one that I had been sharing with others was to build out an entirely new orbital ring with a “PBO”, also known as  “Zylon” tether and with a $10 billion total price tag.  That’s the “Low Cost Design for an Orbital Ring” by California engineer David Nelson, I believe, and published July of 2017.  I should say it’s possible he’s a bit of a shy character; after a few attempts I’ve not been able to actually identify him (his writing has been republished, and Dave Nelson is an extremely common name in the U.S.) nor contact him for comment.  It’s also a design that requires a 10-plus-year build timeline.

Nikolay Agapov:  I’ve read all about this design, and he’s done a lot of good work, but I think we can do a lot better with a smaller, more industry-focused orbital ring.  The option of using the decommissioned space station as a counterweight is a major selling point for us, but it, too, requires international and national politicking, as well as the business acumen of my organization and other private space companies.

JBZ:  Therein lies the rub, but it starts with getting people excited and having these conversations outside of the typical bluster of these discussions as nationalistic or symbolic endeavors.  If I had 100 million dollars, I would be investing that money into this today, and to that end  I hope we can link to your outline at least, for our readers, here.

Nikolay Agapov:  Yes, that is fine, but bear in mind the full prospectus is written in Russian, and this outline of concepts was also written in English, but there remain a few proofreading concerns, so please be patient.  This outline at the time of its publication had not had the benefit of a translator, as this interview has.

JBZ: But feel free to comment and discuss with us,;we will be happy to engage with you. The function of such a thing is to answer questions and bring in new ideas and hopefully get a working space elevator built soon.

Nikolay Agapov:  Yes, thank you for your time.

 

Update Regarding the Presidential Candidates and Forthcoming Events of the U.S. Transhumanist Party / Transhuman Party

Update Regarding the Presidential Candidates and Forthcoming Events of the U.S. Transhumanist Party / Transhuman Party


June 10, 2019: The U.S. Transhumanist Party / Transhuman Party (USTP) encourages its members to follow the activities of our current declared candidates for President of the United States. While we have not yet endorsed any candidate and will not do so until after the Electronic Primary in August 2019, we wish to offer this update in an informational capacity to give our members more insight into the current candidates and their recent campaign efforts.

Watch this video, created by USTP Director of Media Production Tom Ross, featuring the current four candidates, their campaign slogans, and the USTP Core Ideals.

Any additional candidates have until 11:59 p.m. U.S. Pacific Time on July 31, 2019, to declare themselves. To declare their candidacies, individuals would need to submit the electronic Presidential Candidate Declaration of Interest form. Thereafter, to demonstrate the seriousness of their intentions, all candidates who declare themselves will be asked to respond in writing to the same profile questions that were answered by the four candidates currently running.

The First Virtual Debate among the candidates will be held on Saturday, July 6, 2019, at 3 p.m. U.S. Pacific Time. The public will be able to watch the debate and submit any questions on the YouTube page for the livestream here.

The Electronic Primary to select the USTP Presidential nominee will be held during the week of August 11-17, 2019. A seven-day electronic voting period will be opened on August 11, 2019 (with some time window possible for early voting on August 10, 2019), in order to give all members the opportunity to conveniently vote as their time permits.

Currently, as of June 9, 2019, the U.S. Transhumanist Party / Transhuman Party has 1,525 members who would be eligible to vote in the Electronic Primary. We hope that this number will grow as a result of interest in the Presidential process and as the candidates reach new audiences and also rally support from their constituencies. We have encouraged candidates to recruit new members, and so far this has worked in increasing the volume of members registered each day.

Any individual who joins the U.S. Transhumanist Party / Transhuman Party as a member (see the online Membership Application Form) and expresses agreement with the three USTP Core Ideals, on or prior to August 10, 2019, will be eligible to vote in the Electronic Primary. Additionally, a tiny minority of members (fewer than 10) who did not express agreement with the Core Ideals will be queried by the USTP Chairman to determine whether their ideas are sufficiently in alignment with transhumanist values and aspirations to enable them to become eligible to vote. Such eligibility decisions will be made at the USTP Chairman’s discretion based on the responses of those members.

Charles Holsopple

Candidate Charles Holsopple offers the following update regarding his activities and aspirations.

Project222.org Human Rights Campaign and the Transhumanist Party have so much in common, that when asked just weeks ago, I decided to run for the nomination of the Party for the office of President of the United States.

My platform is rooted in the wise use technology and finite naturally occurring resources to ensure that all people have dignified access to a minimum of 2 gallons of clean water in a day, 2000 nutritional calories and 200 ft.³ of secure shelter. Accomplishing these reasonable and achievable goals is essential in solving the growing refugee crisis and a creating a peaceful, sustainable economy.

For the past year, word of Project222 has been spreading among aid workers, Board members of nonprofits, and my many connections on LinkedIn and social media platforms.

Project222 appeals to a wide audience and has been a great segue into introducing the Transhumanist Party.

Recently I have begun introducing myself as the founder of Project222 and as a Transhumanist candidate for the USTP’s nomination for POTUS.

So far I am very encouraged by the reception this decision has been given.

Whether you support me or another Transhumanist candidate, I ask that you take advantage of free membership in the Transhumanist Party. Also please check out Project222.org and help bring both into the conversation this election season.

If I receive the nomination, I pledge to promote the values of the Transhumanist Party, in their relationship to the benefit of humankind in this and future generations.

Remember! Wherever you live, you are eligible to vote!

“Welcome To The Party!”

Rachel Haywire

Candidate Rachel Haywire has teamed up with Transhuman Tees to develop T-shirts for her campaign. Find them here. See a broader selection of shirts here.

Rachel Haywire has also been featured in a profile by Biohackinfo, entitled “Transhumanist will defeat Trump using a pirate spaceship”.

Watch this video update by Rachel Haywire.

 

Johannon Ben Zion

Candidate Johannon Ben Zion has founded the Arizona Transhumanist Party and has been recruiting members to join it. He offers the following update:

Over the last few months and in cooperation with other Arizona Transhumanist Party members, we have begun development of policy proposals for a healthcare expense-sharing program and a legal fund that would allow Transhumanists to safeguard their life extension protocols and secure “health savings accounts” with longer lives in mind. We have also cultivated deep ties to political and private organizations centered on technology outside of the H+ community. We have, moreover, heavily promoted our increasingly popular platform, “The Futurist New Deal”, to one simple end – to bring new blood into the H+ community.

Watch these video updates by Johannon Ben Zion.

Update 1:

 

Update 2:

***
Become a member of the U.S. Transhumanist Party / Transhuman Party absolutely for free, no matter where you reside. It takes less than a minute to fill out our Membership Application Form.

U.S. Transhumanist Party / Transhuman Party Announces Six Candidates for Its 2019 Presidential Primary

U.S. Transhumanist Party / Transhuman Party Announces Six Candidates for Its 2019 Presidential Primary

The U.S. Transhumanist Party / Transhuman Party (USTP) is pleased to announce the candidates who have put themselves forward for consideration for the USTP’s endorsement in running for the position of President of the United States of America. To become eligible to vote for any of these candidates in August 2019, please register for free as a member of the USTP, no matter where you reside. Only those who register for membership through August 10, 2019, would be eligible to take part in the USTP Electronic Presidential Primary.

Because of the formidable hurdles to political-party ballot access on the State level, the candidates seeking the USTP’s endorsement would need to officially run as independent candidates. However, if those candidates qualify for inclusion on their States’ ballots, then, in approximately half of the jurisdictions in the United States, it would be possible to use a “political party designation” of “Transhumanist Party” to accompany the candidate’s name on the ballot.

Learn About the Candidates

The U.S. Transhumanist Party / Transhuman Party (USTP) has asked all of its declared candidates for its 2019 Presidential Primary to answer the same essential questions so as to inform the USTP membership of the candidates’ stances on key issues and provide each USTP member the opportunity to make an informed decision, including through comparisons of the candidates’ answers. The USTP will endeavor to pose the same questions and generate profiles for all of the candidates who make their intentions known to us via the Presidential Candidate Declaration of Interest Form.

The USTP has not, at this time, endorsed any Presidential candidate. Such an endorsement will occur as a consequence of the USTP Electronic Primary, which is intended to be held in August 2019. At this time, all contents of the candidate profiles are for informational purposes only, in order to contribute to a more informed membership and enable knowledge of the candidates and their positions to spread.

The order of presentation of the candidate profiles below is alphabetical by first name. It is not intended to indicate any preference or lack thereof for any of the candidates.

Brent

Reitze

Charles

Holsopple

Dan

Good

Johannon

Ben Zion

Natasha

Vita-More

Rachel

Haywire

Endorsement and Electronic Primary Process – Anticipated Timeline

The following timeline is approximate and subject to change as circumstances may necessitate. However, it is intended to provide an overarching impression of the sequence and desirable speed of steps for reaching an endorsement of a candidate for President of the United States.

– April 5, 2019 – July 5, 2019: Candidates declare their intention to seek the USTP Presidential endorsement and begin to campaign through channels of their choosing (online and/or in person) to attract supporters and spread awareness of their messages.

– July 6, 2019: First Transhumanist Presidential Debate (Virtual)

– July 6 – August 3, 2019: Candidates continue to campaign; the USTP will introduce structured questions on various issues of interest for the candidates to respond to in writing. The candidates’ answers will be spread by the USTP, which will have the effect of further raising awareness of the candidates and their stances.

– July 16, 2019: The Transhumanism Handbook (edited by Newton Lee) is expected to be released. It is hoped that candidates will read this book (or significant portions thereof) and reference the ideas therein as part of their public outreach and campaign-related discussions.

– August 3, 2019: Second Transhumanist Presidential Debate (Virtual)

– August 3-10, 2019: Final week for candidates to campaign prior to the electronic primary.

– August 11-17, 2019: Electronic ranked-preference primary (7-day voting period, simultaneous for all USTP members).

– August 18-24, 2019: Votes from the electronic primary are tabulated and released. The candidate winning the USTP endorsement is announced simultaneously with the release of the results.

– August 24, 2019 – November 3, 2020: The candidate winning the USTP endorsement continues to campaign until Election Day 2020. The other candidates may seek the USTP’s endorsement for other federal, state, or local offices.

– August 24, 2019 – September 30, 2019: Potential separate campaign and primary process for the selection of the USTP Vice-Presidential nominee.

– Early October 2019: Potential for the candidate winning the USTP endorsement to deliver an official acceptance speech in a venue with a large number of attendees.

– October 15, 2019 – November 30, 2019: Selection of a Transhumanist Cabinet to assist the USTP Presidential nominee to demonstrate a model of governance and constructive policymaking in the event of a Transhumanist Presidency.

The USTP is committed to running a fair, transparent, and (small “d”) democratic election with no predetermined outcome. Each of these candidates has the opportunity to make his or her case to the USTP membership and to recruit new members prior to the August 10, 2019, cutoff date for registration. We find each candidate to be insightful, intelligent, accomplished, and representative of perspectives that constitute the transhumanist movement in all of its variety and will help shape that movement in the years to come. Accordingly, it is important that this election give voice to these perspectives and do so in a civil, orderly, and constructive manner. We will have true competition in this election – genuine debates, discussions of issues, consideration of the candidates’ similarities and differences. The candidates will be free to utilize the means, methods, and personal styles at their disposal to engage in such competition. At the same time, we will also have true structure in this election – an objective process that will apply equitably to all and provide a framework for different points of view to be articulated, with an aim of educating the public, raising the profile of the transhumanist movement, and hopefully resolving some key differences along the way, by means of the process itself.