Thursday, January 26, 2012

Gateway Station

Busy, busy, busy.
          Okay, I gotta get back to work on the The Pumpkin-Suit's Manual, and I will; I promise.  But one last thing before I do that...

          This is the unoriginally named "Gateway Station", a commercial hub like those mentioned in our Space Infrastructure series.  It services "Liberty Bell"-type spacecraft and holds cargo moving to and fro from orbit to the La Grange points.  This is just a section; the complete station would have at least two such spines, with a spin hab and power core in the center.  The truss is modular; new sections can be added as needed.

        The truss segments hold docking ports for the cargo 'Bells, radiators, and pressure modules that connect the docking ports of the the segments together.  People can move between the segments and to the central core, and the modules contain bathrooms, vending machines, duty-free shops and all the other things you'd see in an airport.  The crews of the Liberty Bells can mingle together in free-fall, but probably won't tarry very long, as time is money and their cargo (hopefully) won't take long to load.

Schematic view.
         The cargo containers are loaded on horizontal racks on the truss.  These racks have movable cars that the containers attach to; they can move along the truss back and forth so that spacecraft can drop off one cargo, wait a bit, and then pick up a cargo for their return trip.  The tankers dock on the "top" of the truss and feed their propellant into the central cylinder.  The cylinder is heavily insulated to help prevent boil-off of cryogenic fuels.  The whole shebang is controlled, for the most part, by computer with a Mission Control-type crew in the central core to direct flights, supervise the hundreds of cargo transfers that occur daily, and track down and trouble shoot any problems. 

Anyway, I hope you enjoy, and I'll keep you updated on the upcoming P-SM as the project nears completion.


  1. IPV crews might stay for longer if they're waiting for a better launch window. Time is propellant, and propellant is money, after all...

  2. IPVs don't get this far down into Tera's gravity well. They are serviced at the La Grange point stations, which in turn are serviced by Gateway and other commercial hubs. The boost on an IPV is 0.001g, so it would take them weeks to get from LEO to Earth Departure...


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