Every great leap forward, whether technological or social, stems from a number of smaller steps and events. A revolution first needs a spirit of discontent, oppressive leadership, and a spreading philosophy which allows the masses to think about means to freedom. The inventor of the internal combustion engine needed to know about mechanics, metallurgy, chemistry, and these technologies all came from previous inventions.
In the same way, we need to develop a foundation of bridging technologies before mankind can become a truly space-faring race. Robot Guy sets out a detailed description of what we need to do, and why, in his latest Carnival of Space submission. He explains the specific technologies and skills required to achieve such milestones as easily travelling between the ground and Low Earth Orbit. He discusses what sorts of workhorse vehicles are needed to work up there, the construction facilities we need to build in orbit and the technologies they’ll have to use, and the problem of maintenance and supplies.
It’s a well thought out article, and brings together a lot of the problems organisations such as NASA and the ESA should be addressing. The best part: they’re all merely engineering problems!