-Z- (Z@Gundam.Com)
Fri, 31 Dec 1999 13:24:26 -0800

At 10:13 12/31/1999 -0500, you wrote:
>I wish you all an happy new year !
>Only 45 years to go before Universal Century ;)

No, I'm afraid not. Mark's recent post, based on the Monday, 14 January
0080 dateline, pushes it from forward from 2045 AD (based on an odd bit of
typography in some early timelines) to 2053 AD at the earliest. That entry
gave the date of construction of Side 1 as "2045 AD ~ UC 0001" and was
interpreted by some to mean that 2045 AD and UC 0001 were the same year, a
convention that I myself have used mainly because it conserved the leap year.

Now, Mark has shown that there are several dates subsequent to 2045 AD that
would suffice in that regard. As he was fond of noting some years ago, it
must've taken years to build the first space colony. I second that. The
question then becomes "How many years?" and I've been running the numbers
to narrow that down.

It should first be noted that there was not yet a permanent Moon colony
when the first space colony was built. Von Braun wasn't constructed until
UC 0027, a full generation after Side 1 Bunch 1 (Shangri-La) was built in
L5. This means that there were only "boom town" temporary or
semi-permanent Moon bases and mining complexes to support the
construction. Construction of Side 3 began almost another decade later, in
UC 0035, and asteroid 3 Juno wasn't brought in until UC 0045, another
decade later. About 40% of the population was already living in space by
UC 0040 and that number swelled to 82% by UC 0050, only a decade
later. The Federation halted new construction in UC 0051 and held a
moratorium on it until UC 0070 -- another generation.

So we have a generation between the completion of the first space colony
and the first Moon colony and space colonization all but complete another
generation thereafter. The Federation decides that it's done a mere five
years later -- they've moved all but two billion "caretakers" and the elite
off the planet.

Now let's turn to the data points that Mark has provided and that anyone
with a perpetual calendar can confirm. The UC had to start sometime after
2045 AD, when construction of the first space colony began. Previously, I
allowed as how they might've started in January and finished in December:
the One Year Work, if you will. But we're talking about a construct in
which you could replicate New York City's Manhattan Island, in its
entirety, three times over.

First up, 2053 AD. That's an eight year construction job, from 2045 AD to
2052 AD inclusive, with 2053 AD being declared UC 0001 upon its completion.

It took us that long to put a man on the Moon, starting with Project
Mercury on 31 January 1961 and ending with Apollo 11 on 16 July 1969. That
was just a Man in a Can. And, although early timelines had the Federation
established on 29 July 1999, announcing its space colonization plan in 2000
AD, putting up the first solar power stations in 2005 AD, establishing a
space-base military in 2009 AD, and launching the Jupiter Energy Fleet in
2026 AD, it was another generation before work on the first permanent space
colony began in earnest.

In his 1977 book, THE HIGH FRONTIER, Gerard K. O'Neill doesn't give a time
frame for construction, but does note that "Island Three" -- the
"open-type" colony design for which he's justly famous -- "is efficient
enough in the use of materials that it could be built in the early years of
the next century" if we began working on the infrastructure -- solar power
stations and Moon bases -- immediately. That's a 30-year construction
project, albeit including the building of the prerequisite "Island One" and
"Island Two" intermediate designs.

The next candidate is 2081 AD, a 36-year construction job, from 2045 AD to
2080 AD inclusive, with 2081 AD being declared UC 0001 upon its completion.

Making allowances for government corruption, I'd say that's spot on!

The next possibility is 2109 AD, a 65-year construction job. The one after
that is another 40 years down the road, for a 105-year construction job.

Using the Goldilocks Method, and against all expectations, I've decided on
2081 AD as the start date for the Universal Century and am updating my
Gundam High Frontier web pages accordingly.

So, Happy New Year!

Only 81 years to go until the start of the Universal Century....


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