Why did Tom Swift build his Outpost in Space? Tom Swift had several motives behind building his gigantic space station. When the book begins, Tom Swift needs a factory to manufacture his solar batteries. Since his solar batteries are energized most efficiently in outer space, Tom decided to build
"A space factory where we can manufacture solar batteries."
Phyl gasped. "A space factory!"
"Only a small one," Tom went on. "I'll locate it in an orbit fairly close to the earth, in order to make the job of building it as simple as possible. Say, a little over a thousand miles up. From down here, you could see it racing around the earth like a tiny moon."
However, Tom later greatly expanded his Outpost in Space after the following conversation with a group of engineers:
"Tom," said his father, "Mr. William Bruce is from the Consolidated Broadcasting Network, and is chairman of this committee of engineers from the major broadcasting companies. They've come to discuss a very important problem with us."
The group took seats, then Mr. Bruce addressed the Swifts. "I'll state our problem at once. As you know, high-frequency-signal coverage in its present form is far from being efficient. Distances are short, requiring many relay stations. Sometimes there's distortion. Also, sunspots or magnetic storms may wreck the broadcast completely."
"In fact," he went on, "any reliable system of short-wave broadcasting over great distances is practically hopeless with our present methods. However, there's one solution to this problem--"as a scientist, you've no doubt guessed what Iím about to propose."
"A space station?" Tom burst out in his enthusiasm.
Bruce nodded. "Exactly. Our committee has come to the conclusion that it's the only way we can hope to lick our broadcasting troubles--that is, by setting up a platform in space to which we can beam radio signals and have them relayed directly back to earth. Naturally, this would be a huge project. But we feel that Swift Enterprises is well fitted to undertake the job."