Friday, July 03, 2009

Building the Space Station

Construction of International Space Station Alpha is almost done. It now has a six person crew. It has been a long, slow, slog, with intense pool training for every mission as doctors, scientists and pilots are turned into extraterrestiral construction workers.

There has to be a better way - and there is one.

Most station modules have been ready for a long, long time. Instead of making building the station a long, drawn out program to keep NASA and the aerospace firms in eating money, I would have sent up a crew of real construction workers and started with a life-boat like station. I would then have begun launching modules one after the other on big, dumb, boosters - letting the crew go home when the job was done. In order to forestall serious damage, I would have put up as part of the "construction shack" two or three modules linked with a cross beam and rotating to produce artificial gravity. Of course, if that becomes your base site, the whole station might have gravity in the add on process, with mirco-gravity platforms in station annexes or in a center portion which is connected to the spinning portion with a flywheel so that it doesn't move.

As parts of the station get done, scientists or tourists could come aboard - as long as they stay out of the way - and have something to offer in the way of budget.

Think of how much money could have been saved if we had built the station in this fashion. I'm not going to say we could have knocked it out in a weekend, but it would not have taken years to finish. Some modules may be ending their useful life before the whole thing is put up! Unreal.

If you like my approach, drop me a line at There are a group of us who want to do space much more cost effectively than the current welfare program for bureaucrats and aerospace companies. The sad thing is, if you do it cheaply, as I am proposing, you end up doing more of it - so the aerospace companies are shooting themselves in the foot for going with the Construction Project as Test Flight Program approach.

The other thing I would do is drop ground based mission control from the equation. Control will come entirely from space. If instrument monitoring of systems is necessary 24-7, then the station should have a control room that does that, with watches posted to do that. If your agree, contact me.


Blogger dyana said...

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8/19/2009 7:11 AM  

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