Three SpaceX Starships for a Space Station With Simulated Gravity

Here is a proposal to use three SpaceX Starships for a space station with centrifugal force for simulated gravity.

A rigid truss system would be used to connect the modules. This will allow the motors of the Starships to control the spin and accelerate, decelerate and stabilize it.

Gravity is needed to make prevent health impacts like weakened bones, muscles and eyes.

The suggested plan is to use 100 meters of truss and three rotations per minute.

A central starship is needed where there is a hub and docking port for ships that resupply.

Another video on artificial gravity in space stations.

SOURCE – Smallstars Youtube
Written by Brian Wang,

36 thoughts on “Three SpaceX Starships for a Space Station With Simulated Gravity”

  1. “How to Feed a Moon Colony of 1 Million People” All you need is a giant can of spam the size of a spacex rocket…then you land it on the moon….

  2. I don’t mind a tether to a disposable, spent Earth return stage with biolation–but would prefere large circular craft be sent out by launching a Super-Heavy–esp the 19 meter version–refueling that–and using that to push a huge cycler station out to Mars and back for Starships/Red Dragons to meet up with.

  3. Well, I’d dispute that “given that”; 1 g is certainly possible, but the structural demands scale approximately with the square of the acceleration, so if 0.5 gravity was good enough, it would be seriously economical.

  4. This concept has asymmetry flaws that can’t be mended by the Starship design. And you’d need internal symmetry as well, which means internal fuel storage and consumption would need to be moved and loaded correctly. I’m not sure about the internal stresses that would be caused by the engineering of the Starship, but the truss looks like it would be inadequate for the job. My Gravity concept utilizes a kevlar tether, which can be reeled in during inertial momentum, then once terminal velocity is reached, the spacecraft’s orientation thrusters can spin the craft and the tether can be unfurled through centripetal force. Take note of the external symmetry of the Gravity concept

  5. And now you’ve changed the plan to be nothing like the huge inflatable torus that I was originally disagreeing with.

  6. Would make it impossible to reverse the spin at the end unless they just separate and leave the stupid thing spinning off into space.

  7. What ever part of the ship you attached that thing to would be experiencing full weight of the ship at one gravity, and on top of that it would also have to rotate against that gravity to face the other ship.

  8. If SpaceX were planning to do this, then it would make more sense to use just 2 Starships nose to nose with a tension cable connecting them. Fit each Starship with an 2 enlarged RCS engines (if needed) at the base on opposing sides, facing perpendicular to the ship. Attach the cable to both noses and use the regular RCS to unfurl the cable to the necessary length. Then when taut, use coordinated burns of the perpendicular RCS engines at the base to spin up. Use the opposing engines to slow upon arrival, detach the tether and wind back into the nose of one Starship.

    Inflight, there is no need for a central hub, and this saves the mass of an entire Starship and truss for the journey, as well as simplifying the “assembly” phase. Transport between the Starships during the cruise could be via a climber attached to the tether.

  9. “That’s the big unanswered question of space exploration so far. How much gravity do we actually need to have a viable healthy life outside of Earth?”
    Given that 1 g will be fairly easy, and we *know* it works, the question is “Why do we have to wait to find out anything about other g values, unless we plan to go to a planet?”

  10. We know that walking in Lunar gravity wearing the Apollo style excursion suit is surprisingly difficult; No kidding, the joints don’t bend easily, and the suit masses as much as you do, maybe more with a fully loaded backpack.

    It would be interesting to see what walking around in street clothes in lunar gravity was like, but it’s not like there was a lot of room to take a stroll on the LEM.

  11. You say that like modules can’t be reused. You only need a few of the things (6?), rigid trusses between them along the circumference and tension cables through the middle, it’s barely major by ISS standards, and all parts except the cables can be reused in a larger station.

  12. And now you’ve gone from a simple (by space station standards) and fast experimental project to building a major construction.

    The purpose of this was to get something that is fast and simple, exactly so they could test the gravity and other requirements needed to design and build a much larger, complex and permanent structure.

  13. We don’t have any ships large enough to launch the ISS, and that’s ~75m long. Sending things in parts is easily doable, especially truss. You could quite happily use cables in tension to begin with, akin to the spokes on a bicycle, adding more a bit later so the tension is at a low, safe level with plenty of redundancy.

  14. The secondary question that tends to be ignored in these discussions is how much gravity is comfortable. For example, we know that walking in Lunar gravity is surprisingly difficult. Though it may get easier after enough adaptation time (we also don’t know how much time).

  15. I doubt Starships would handle the stresses of being held up at the middle. The primary supportive force needs to be applied at the base of the rocket – e.g. by attaching cables to the landing legs/fins that are designed to support the ship landing on Earth. A cable attached at the nose of both Starships (pointed at each other) could provide the small forces necessary to keep them ‘upright’ should something disturb their balance. With thus 4 cables run through periodic spacers, possibly with rigid poles between the spacers (a tensegrity design) the thing might be safe, and fairly light compared to a heavy rigid truss.

    The cable/spacer hardware could probably be light enough to be launched on a single Starship, with its own rocket and fuel to let it rendezvous with the mission Starships. It could include a small ‘tug’ rocket that can attach to one of the Starships at its base to handle spin-up/-down. Park it in Mars orbit for a return trip (after refueling it from the Starships now heading home) – no need to land it.

  16. Yeah, that’s how they did it in the Holy Book of Red Mars. Spin it at 1g at the start of the trip, slowly bringing it down to 0.36g by arrival.

  17. It is a great bonus to have different gravity on different floors.  Could be used to sleep on outer floors at the beginning of the trip for G close to one and go to higher and higher levers as approaching Mars for lower and lower gravity until matching Mars gravity.  This way do not need to change rotation speed.

  18. To have a sufficiently large Bigalow ring you’d need something very, very big.

    They are talking 100 m of truss here, plus the size of the spaceships, so maybe 150 m diameter overall.

    We don’t have any ships large enough to launch a 150 m diameter Bigalow ring.

  19. If you spin something with a short radius, you would feel tidal forces over a short distance. Standing in Bigalow, you’d have more gravity at your feet than your head, which would be uncomfortable over long periods.

  20. I think at first, Starship will have to be living quarters on Mars, until better accommodations can be constructed. So it must be vertical, since that’s how it lands.

  21. He’s probably talking about spin-up, which the video proposes to do by using the main engines of the Starship on each end.

  22. Yep it’d be a great way to keep your Mars colonists from getting weakened during the trip. Colonizing Mars will be hard enough, without having to get used to gravity again. Not to mention the health problems that zero-g tends to bring.

  23. Why rotate (noses toward the hub) the two Starships after spinup?
    Why not just keep them in spin direction and
    decorate your interior with the floor horizontal
    instead of vertical.

    There would be less difference in gravity from top to bottom if the ships spin is horizontal vs Vertical.

  24. NO. The truss will buckle. Too much force and is impractical. We do not currently have the material technology. A cenrtifuge has to be housed within the Starship and the passengers take shceduled spin.

  25. You could also use one level of bfr as a centerfuge room… Whenever you get sick of zero g… You just go put your self in the spin dryer room
    …. And go for a run…

  26. I think even lighting up one raptor would turn that truss into scrap.
    SpaceX needs a non athmospheric version of starship with vacuum optimized lower thrust propulsion. Perhaps one or two raptors or some hydrolox engine to get into orbit and be able to land on the moon and a battery of ion thrusters or other high isp propulsion.

    How much propulsion will be needed to loft an empty starship into LEO (no payload) sitting on top of the booster? Getting rid of 25 raptors must be worth something.

    Maybe also it’s worth it making such a version horizontal with at least four landing legs. It’s quite heavy and landing on unprepared surfaces like the moon will be challenging. If the ground is soft, the ship may find itself in horizontal position anyway.

  27. I tend to think it’s overkill for a facility that you’d probably want to keep in operation for at least several years straight; A dedicated facility using Bigelow modules would probably be cheaper than the foregone launch revenue, and could be launched with one Falcon heavy flight.

    Then again, it would be a good way to test long duration life support prior to a manned Mars mission, and you would probably want the Mars trip to be carried out this way anyway so that passengers could aclimate themselves to Mars gravity. So the information gained might be worth it.

  28. Nice. This can be done in LEO/MEO too for testing partial gravity effects upon health, gestation and development in animals far quicker than having a big rotating space station.

    That’s the big unanswered question of space exploration so far. How much gravity do we actually need to have a viable healthy life outside of Earth?

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