Rand Simberg proposed a resilient low-earth orbit infrastructure.
The concept is to use modules similar to shipping container modules on earth.
The elements of the system and different uses of modules are
* Depots – fuel and other supplies
* Propulsion Unit
* Crew Module
* Cargo modules
* Service Modules
Any given orbit planes needs its own systems. It can be as difficult to make major orbit and plane changes as re-launching from earth.
Increased low-cost access to space will increase the demand for more infrastructure in space. The more people in space means more needs for lifeboats and places to evacuate.
Modularity and standardized connections and docking will provide flexibility and enalbe redundancy.
The modules need to live and stay in orbit. The only resource being used up is the fuel.
The designs require modules that are only launched once with low delta vee.
SOURCE – Live coverage of Rand Simberg at Space Access 2019
Written By Brian Wang, Nextbigfuture.com
Brian Wang is a Futurist Thought Leader and a popular Science blogger with 1 million readers per month. His blog Nextbigfuture.com is ranked #1 Science News Blog. It covers many disruptive technology and trends including Space, Robotics, Artificial Intelligence, Medicine, Anti-aging Biotechnology, and Nanotechnology.
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3 thoughts on “Co-Orbital Transportation Infrastructure”
This has all the hallmarks of a “build it and they will come” problem. There have been past proposals for “Space Corral” aggregate designs that might make some sense for GEO, but other planes/orbits are more problematic.
I presented the same idea at an ESA space architecture competition last august. It wasn’t selected because it appears to be an idea that pops up every year.
I there is the level of traffic in orbit this plan envisions, it becomes economic to use other means of gaining momentum, and kinetic energy than throwing mass(fuel) overboard.
Tethers, electrodynamic, and not, and photonic techniques are fairly obvious. In particular, using a tether to slow reentering masses, lowering reentry heating, and raising the orbit of what I will call the lifting station is fairly obvious. Electrodynamic tethers can raise, and lower orbits over time using the earth as reaction mass, coupled by the planet’s magnetic field. At the very least these technologies make sense for common inclinations, particularly equatorial.
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