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#1 2004-04-29 00:20:39

Hazer
Member
From: Texas/Oklahoma
Registered: 2003-10-26
Posts: 173

Re: Orbital Construction Platforms - Constructive discussion

[color=#000000:post_uid0]Now, I attribute inspiration for this thread directly to the thread entitled "Clunking to Mars."
After being on the boards for a while, I've noticed that quite a few Mars/general Space exploration plans involve assembling ships in orbit.

This is problematic however.  How are you going to assemble things in orbit?  Metals and advanced composites don't join themselves together you know.  I think you will need the on-orbit equivalent of a construction yard, complete with machine shops and robotic welders.

It doesn't have to be inhabited all the time, but you could send Soyuz modules up to carry the work crew, and then send up/bring in whatever it is you want to work on with unmanned craft.

Give it an easily replaceable habitat module, quite a few Ion thrusters, LOTS of solar panels (To power the Arc welders!) and a versatile superstructure with space for storage and expansion-.  Not to mention, you would want to be able to remotely operate the entire thing. 
If you put it in a relatively low orbit, say Shuttle-Orbit, I'd wager that you could autonomously scoop up the thin atmosphere and concentrate it.

Suddenly you have a place to inspect and replace ceramic tiles, assemble Mars Direct, inspect defunct satellites, and play with external tanks.  Not to mention, something of this ilk could change orbits with the ion thrusters

We don't need a next generation orbiting platform for science and learning.  We need a next generation orbiting platform for building and exploration.

So consider this thread a brainstorming thread.  What are your requirements for an on-orbit construction platform?  How long would it have to serve? Could the ISS ever meet such a requirement before its useful life ends?  Would this aid the goals of the Mars Society in any substantial way?[/color:post_uid0]


In the interests of my species
I am a firm supporter of stepping out into this great universe both armed and dangerous.

Bootprints in red dust, or bust!

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#2 2004-04-29 00:57:45

GraemeSkinner
Member
From: Eden Hall, Cumbria
Registered: 2004-02-20
Posts: 563
Website

Re: Orbital Construction Platforms - Constructive discussion

[color=#000000:post_uid0]

So consider this thread a brainstorming thread.  What are your requirements for an on-orbit construction platform?  How long would it have to serve? Could the ISS ever meet such a requirement before its useful life ends?  Would this aid the goals of the Mars Society in any substantial way?[/quote:post_uid0]

An orbital construction platform would need to have a long lifespan, not just to build a few ships to send to Mars and then give up on it. So it would need to be designed with future requirements in mind, we don't know yet what ships will be built in the not so distant future. It would need loads of power, but I'm not sure if arc welders are the way to go - it would depend on the metals being joined. If they ever get round to building a space elevator, an orbiting construction platform nearby would be useful - the elevator for bringing regular supplies of materials and the platform for putting it all together. Unless the ISS could be moved and used as a habitation unit for the construction platform I can't see it being any other use to it. The construction platform would need to be designed as such and modifying the ISS for that purpose would be a lot of work that might only fill half of the platforms requirements.

Graeme[/color:post_uid0]


There was a young lady named Bright.
Whose speed was far faster than light;
She set out one day
in a relative way
And returned on the previous night.
--Arthur Buller--

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#3 2004-04-29 03:13:10

idiom
Member
From: New Zealand
Registered: 2004-04-21
Posts: 312

Re: Orbital Construction Platforms - Constructive discussion

[color=#000000:post_uid0]

How are you going to assemble things in orbit?  Metals and advanced composites don't join themselves together you know.[/quote:post_uid0]

Duct tape bro! Rivets work a joy to. Once it is in orbit, weight is not such a bad thing.

I think you want to build a space staion (not involving the shuttle) for living space, with long tunnels radiating out from it. Around this you need a load bearing truss to support the yards.

The Yards should be Monster Geodesics... Aluminum or graphite tube frame skinned with the engineering flavour of the  month. Start with two, each 50 metres across. Or perhaps the second one should be 75m or 100m.

And I dunno if the could be pressurised to a full atmosphere... Thats a lot of gas to pump in and out.

Anything other than a sphere gets really hard/heavy to build. Also Geodesics can be easily hinged really wide (if you understand the principles right).

The hard bit is going to be pushing it around without any really decent axis...[/color:post_uid0]


Come on to the Future

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#4 2004-04-29 09:21:04

RobS
Member
From: South Bend, IN
Registered: 2002-01-15
Posts: 1,701
Website

Re: Orbital Construction Platforms - Constructive discussion

[color=#000000:post_uid0]No one ever talks about welding things together. Space vehicles dock together or "fasten" together; for example, if you haul fuel up one tank at a time, the tanks don't get welded into place, they're fastened using explosive bolts or some other fastening device. Even satellites don't need welding; rather, you open them up, pull out a unit, and push in a replacement unit. With the use of inflatables, very large structures can be hauled to orbit and inflated, then the interior finishing work is done in a shirtsleeve environment. That's not an easy thing to do because of weightlessness, but the techniques to do it will certainly be developed.

       -- RobS[/color:post_uid0]

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#5 2019-12-11 07:04:45

SpaceNut
Administrator
From: New Hampshire
Registered: 2004-07-22
Posts: 18,565

Re: Orbital Construction Platforms - Constructive discussion

Bump need to fix topic...

More than a Fuel depot with forward thinking to how will be build bigger

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