Why not make a centrifugal space-station?

Discussion in 'Science and Technology' started by Urge, Jul 12, 2009.

  1. Urge

    Urge Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    One should make one with centrifugal gravity, so that one can test out how good it works, if the materials are holding, how much energy/rocket-fuel it takes to keep it spinning, if the crew likes it, and so on. It cant be a full-circle "donut" Kubrick-style perhaps, but a solution where forexample the living-quarters are hanging in the end of one cable, and the television-room and exercise-room is hanging from the other shouldnt be to difficult. (The cables must be hollow so that one can walk from the one to the other without taking a EVA offcourse, storagerooms in the midle)

    Also, making such a space-station would give a feeling of progress that might boost fundings for NASA, ESA and the rest. The ISS is kind of boring, just a bigger version of MIR. I have heard that they where not intrested in making a centrifugal spacestation when they made MIR because they wanted to do cero-gravity experiments, but when they are done it might be possible to re-arrange it into a centrifugal one.

    Does annyone know if there are anny plans for a centrifugal spacestation?
     
  2. Urge

    Urge Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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  3. JustAFriend

    JustAFriend Commodore Commodore

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    Actually the donut-style for simulated gravity goes back a lot further than Kubrick.

    Go check out the 3rd picture down of the 1952 Collier's magazine article
    "Crossing the Last Frontier" by Werner von Braun....

    As for building anything else, dont hold your breath.

    With the retirement of the Shuttle next year and the crash of the global economy, it'll be quite a while before anything large gets built.
     
  4. sojourner

    sojourner Admiral Admiral

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    Lots of plans, no money and no reason. The ISS was built for experimentation in zero-g and a low vibration environment. A centrifugal gravity station works against both those conditions.

    Building one just to "try it out" would be a waste of money.
     
  5. Alpha_Geek

    Alpha_Geek Commodore Commodore

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    You'd need a big radius or you'd get some major coriolis effect issues in your victims...err.. passengers inner ears.

    The CAM module wasn't large enough for people to utilize as a faux gravity chamber.
     
  6. romulus

    romulus Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    ^^About how big?

    Yeah I too wondered why one was never built. I know why now, but in the days when governments where practically throwing money at the space program..... It's not like it's a new idea.
     
  7. Candlelight

    Candlelight Admiral Admiral

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    I'm thinking 5 miles long, rotating at 60 miles an hour, 2.5 million tons, capable of holding around 250,000 people, etc...
     
  8. sojourner

    sojourner Admiral Admiral

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    ....and we shall call it: Babylon 5
     
  9. T J

    T J Commodore Commodore

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    :guffaw:

    Great we have the plan, now make it so!
     
  10. Alpha_Geek

    Alpha_Geek Commodore Commodore

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    If Wiki is to be believed, the RPM would need to be kept under 2 in order to assure the majority of passengers suffer little from the disorienting effects of being spun 'round.

    To get 1 G of centrifugal force at 2 RPM, you need a rotational radius of 224 meters (735 feet). That's pretty big compared to what we can fly these days. If you're depending on a counter balance, then you need to double the radius to get the diameter of your craft. On the bright side, if you build a torus this size, you get just under 9/10ths of a mile of deck to play with!


    Also noted in the wiki listing is that an artificial gravity experiment was performed during the Gemini 11 mission. This attempt utilized a 36 meter (about 120 feet) tether between an Angena booster and the spacecraft. The results were unimpressive as rotation was hard to achieve and maintain. The crew felt no obvious effects but did observe that unstowed objects did tend to settle towards the bottom of the cabin.


    Docking would be a challenge unless you put a facility at your rotational center to accomodate rendevous.
     
  11. Alpha_Geek

    Alpha_Geek Commodore Commodore

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    You forgot the "...all alone in the night." part!!!
     
  12. Marc

    Marc Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    Maybe they can start working on it first quarter 2016 after they de-orbit the ISS which has been anounced today.
     
  13. BolianAuthor

    BolianAuthor Writer, Battlestar Urantia Rear Admiral

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    ^

    Even that program would suffer major setbacks, as Babylons 1, 2, and 3 would be sabotaged and destroyed, and number 4 would vanish without a trace.
     
  14. sojourner

    sojourner Admiral Admiral

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    Do you have a link? I cannot find this announcement on any of the space websites I haunt.
     
  15. Marc

    Marc Fleet Admiral Admiral

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  16. FordSVT

    FordSVT Vice Admiral Admiral

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    ^I think all that needs to be said about NASA's statement can be summed up by the last paragraph of the linked article:

    "The cost of the station is both a liability and, paradoxically, a virtue. A figure commonly associated with the ISS is that it will ultimately cost the United States and its international partners about $100 billion. That may add to the political pressure to keep the space laboratory intact and in orbit rather than seeing it plunging back to Earth so soon after completion. "If we've spent a hundred billion dollars, I don't think we want to shut it down in 2015," Sen. Bill Nelson (D-Fla.) told Augustine's committee."


    This is NASA's way of publicly calling attention to the issue. They're waving their hands at Congress for money and permission to carry on the mission. 2016 is a long way away in political years. It might as well be 2060.
     
  17. Urge

    Urge Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    ISS should definitly not be alowed to just drop into the ocean. Why not push it up into stable orbit, and re-use the materials when they decide to build something new? I read that the russians are planning to push their part of ISS up into higher orbit and re-use it in a different spacestation project when they are done. Nothing should be alowed to just drop dead when it takes so much energy to pull it upp there. The MIR-station should have been re-used as well, at least the outer hull.
     
  18. Peter the Younger

    Peter the Younger Commodore Commodore

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    Exactly. They are essentially saying "Well since you don't care about all this money we've spent we're just gonna flush it down the toilet, unless you tell us otherwise." The ISS isn't going to be de-orbited.

    Now having said that, I do think the thing's pricetag is waay out of proportion to its utility. The zero-gee menufacturing experiments never really panned out, and the microgravity medical stuff has been dragged out way, way too long. (In 1970, most experts agreed that long duration spaceflights would require centrifugal gravity. Now here we are in 2009, after dowzens of experiments with space age gym equipment, and - surprise! - most experts still agree that long duration spaceflights will require centrifugal gravity.

    I keep hoping that they can make the ISS more useful by doing something with it beyond that what it was originally designed for (this sort of talk, of course, also makes NASA choke on it's coffee.) If they could move it out to one of the La Grange points, for instance, make it a stopover point - or even an emergency shelter - between here and the moon, that might be worth doing (you would probably need to add a radiation shielded module in case of flares, which would be a hefty piece of hardware, but not unthinkable.)
     
  19. Alpha_Geek

    Alpha_Geek Commodore Commodore

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    If Russia does cut the cord at the unity module, they'd essentially have Mir II on orbit. The Zvezda module has engines poswerful enough to boost the entire ISS orbit, so lifting the Russian segment by itself should be easy.

    Agreed, this is probably NASA calling attention to the need for funding more than an actual plan.
     
  20. flux_29

    flux_29 Commodore Commodore

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    Mabye it's be on the next spacestation, when the ISS gets to old.
     

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