Sunday, May 21, 2006


From TJIC.…

…The [ shuttle’s external fuel tank, brought into orbit, and converted into a space station ] would provide a huge working space, and one major problem with various wet workshop designs is what to do with all the space. The oxygen tank, the smaller of the two tanks inside the ET, is itself much larger than the entire Space Station Freedom in its fully expanded form. Additionally, getting access to the interior is possible though “manholes” used for inspection during construction, but it is not clear if realistic amounts of building materials could be inserted into the tank after reaching orbit. Nevertheless the problem has been studied repeatedly, a number of such studies are collected in the links section below…

Leave it to NASA to see a completely empty space station, vastly larger than the Freedom, launched in a single mission, for free (as part of the throw-away materials) as a “problem”.

Yes, the SE is a work in progress, all designs are preliminary and subject to revision. Still, after our first ribbon is deployed the plan is to have several hundred expended lifters parked nose-tail at the bitter end of the ribbon. A modest amount of onboard computational ability, solar panels, drive train, framework. Just waiting for someone to come along and reuse them.

Not thousands of cubic feet of living space, but it is something.
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