The Optimum Location for an Orbital Materials Processing and Manufacturing Complex (OMPMC)

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S. D. Gunn et al. (2019), JBIS, 72, pp.342-349

Refcode: 2019.72.342
Keywords: ISS, Near-Earth Asteroids, Orbital Materials Processing, GK O’Neill Space Colonies

Orbital development is expected to evolve from the ISS into tourist hotels then 1st generation spacecraft repair and assembly facilities in LEO before 2nd generation facilities utilizing extra-terrestrial materials become necessary. In the 1970’s locations for orbital construction proposed by O’Neill were, either the L4/L5 Earth / Moon libration points or an unspecified HEO with raw materials sourced from the Moon. Carbonaceous NEAs now seem a better source of materials and fuel costs for importing large quantities strongly effect the choice of orbit for the Orbital Materials Processing and Manufacturing Complex (OMPMC). Suitable locations for the first OMPMC are investigated and most candidate orbits discounted on the grounds of safety, crowding or because they are energetically unfavourable. This leaves HEO, certain special cases of HEO including DROs, L3 and L4/L5 as the main contenders although it is likely that a final choice of orbit must await detailed studies using high-fidelity ephemeris models.

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