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The Centrifugal Space Station project concept
By J E D Cline
Explore the Centristation concept for a highly efficient and low-risk way to build the classical wheel-shaped rotating space station in Low Earth Orbit, by designing and building its component wheel segment modules to serve as their own fuel tanks during launch. You may want to go direct to the published document: Re-formatted Wet-Launch of Prefab Habitat Modules (originally published in 1995) wetLaunchofPrefabHabitatModules
Quick look: This concept is built around the basic idea of building each habitat module's primary shell structure as a pre-equipped fuel tank which is used for its own launch into Low Earth Orbit; there the emptied fuel tank in orbit, pre-outfitted for habitation and utilization in space, will become lots of room for people who are living long-term in space, when they all are docked together in the spoked wheel configuration again. And when linked into a circle and spun up, these modules form an artificial gravity environment enabling fairly normal lifestyles inside. We build upon this basic idea here. The modules are first outfitted into the mile-diameter configuration on the ground, except each temporarily rotated 90 degrees to accomodate the different "down" direction when on the ground, and there the space station is de-bugged on the ground into a fully functional semi-self-sufficient space station for 200 - 1000 people's homes, their sustaining agriculture and light industrial shops. When the complex blend of mechanical and living systems is working adequately, the items which need non-cryogenic launch conditions are removed, then the wheel is dissassembled and each modules is launched into high LEO to be re-docked up there into the same configuration. The first manned presence would not be needed until it is readied for initial low-g spinup. To see the process more easily, it is also available described here in adventurous form in the novel "Building Up" beginning in Chapter 4.
Background efforts: This concept was conceived and expanded upon by the author (J E D Cline) over the years starting in 1989, and various attempts to provide awareness of the concept and its potentials were made, including files put on the GEnie Space and Science library, such as the 1989 file GeSp1071 , preparing camera-ready copy for a technical paper that was peer reviewed and presented by the author at the Space Studies Institute space conference at Princeton in 1995 and published in the proceedings, and later correspondence efforts with Rockwell Corporation who would have surely benefitted greatly by such a follow-on project to the space shuttle, upon which much of the technology would be easily adaptable.
Here is my original graphic describing the concept as it existed in November of 1989: (Reference CENTRISTATION III published on GEnie network library in 1989 as file number 1071 )
Here I hold the book in which I got my first technical paper published, the Space Studies Institute AIAA-published 1995 conference proceedings. Location of photo at my mother and stepfather's condo in Hemet, CA.
The classical mile-diameter wheel-shaped space station, pre-assembled from unmanned highly efficient launches of fuel tanks outfitted as specific modules, tele-operated docked into the wheel configuration prior to the first manned presence at the worksite in LEO.
Some related material:
Re-formatted Wet-Launch of Prefab Habitat Modules (originally published in 1995) wetLaunchofPrefabHabitatModules
And the photostory of my journey to present this paper at the SSI 1995 Space Conference 1995SSIwlphmPhotos
Copyright © 2008 James E. D. Cline. Permission granted to reproduce providing inclusion of a link back to this site and acknowledgment of the author and concept designer James E. D. Cline.