A Design for an Orbital Assembly Facility for Complex Missions

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S. Feast; A. Bond (2010), JBIS, 63, 151-156

Refcode: 2010.63.151
Keywords: Orbital base, orbitial assembly, space infrastructure, SKYLON, Troy

Abstract:
A design is presented for an Operations Base Station (OBS) in low earth orbit that will function as an integral part of a space transportation system, enabling assembly and maintenance of a Cis-Lunar transportation infrastructure and integration of vehicles for other high energy space missions to be carried out. Construction of the OBS assumes the use of the SKYLON Single-Stage-to-Orbit (SSTO) spaceplane, which imposes design and assembly constraints due to its payload mass limits and payload bay dimensions. It is assumed that the space transport infrastructure and high mission energy vehicles would also make use of SKYLON to deploy standard transport equipment and stages bound by these same constraints. The OBS is therefore a highly modular arrangement, incorporating some of these other vehicle system elements in its layout design. Architecturally, the facilities of the OBS are centred around the Assembly Dock which is in the form of a large cylindrical spaceframe structure with two large doors on either end incorporating a skin of aluminised Mylar to enclose the dock. Longitudinal rails provide internal tether attachments to anchor vehicles and components while manipulators are used for the handling and assembling of vehicle structures. The exterior of the OBS houses the habitation modules for workforce and vehicle crews along with propellant farms and other operational facilities.

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