A torus space station is one of the staples of future thinking. Launching it in one piece from the ground is not. It has however, been occasionally mentioned in various comments. Here are a few numbers on the idea a few of us have kicked around from time to time.
Assume a 100 meter torus with a 10 meter minor diameter. 23,000 net cubic meters of internal volume should do for a start. A 50 meter radius that is not enough for an Earth gravity at under 4 rpm is sufficient for lower levels of artificial gravity that may mitigate some of microgravities’ harmful effects. It is getting it up there that seems to be a bit of a problem.
10,000 square meters of station surface would mass 540 tons if we assume the skin has the equivalent mass of 2 centimeters of aluminum including insulation, braces and such. Internal structure and furnishings would have to go up in subsequent flights. 540 tons in orbit would require something over 10,000 tons GLOW. This is heavy launcher country. Fortunately the internal volume of the torus is sufficient for fuel tanks.
Bladder fuel tanks inside the station could mass under half a percent of fuel mass, while LOX could be carried with simple bulkheads in the appropriate sections. Sooner or later an F1 equivalent will become operational at reasonable prices. 15 of them could push the torus edge on with a sled take off to avoid building launch towers and such. This would be a near SSTO with just engines dropped off for recovery at designated velocities when they are no longer required. Final push to LEO could be with just one engine with all the others recovered from various suborbital velocities.
How the station would be equipped and used would be up to the parties that paid for it.
Four NASA suborbital sounding rockets leapt into the night on January 26, from the University of Alaska's Poker Flat Research Range. This time lapse composite image follows all four launches of the small, multi-stage rockets to explore winter's mesmerizing, aurora-filled skies.
During the exposures, stars trailed around the North Celestial Pole, high above the horizon at the site 30 miles north of Fairbanks, Alaska. Lidar, beams of pulsed green lasers, also left traces through the scene. Ope [...]
Cambridge, MA - Cassiopeia A, or Cas A for short, is one of the most well studied supernova remnants in our galaxy. But it still holds major surprises. Harvard-Smithsonian and Dartmouth College astronomers have generated a new 3-D map of its interior using the astronomical equivalent of a CAT scan. They found that the Cas A supernova remnant is composed of a collection of about a half dozen massive cavities - or "bubbles."
"Our three-dimensional map is a rare look at the insides of an explode [...]
A pair of docked space freighters is being loaded in preparation for next month’s departure activities. The ISS Progress 57 (57P) resupply ship is being packed with trash and discarded gear for a fiery disposal over the Pacific Ocean. The SpaceX Dragon commercial cargo craft is being loaded with experiment samples, spacesuit gear and other hardware to be returned to Earth when the ship splashes down off the Pacific coast of Baja California.
The International Space Station is getting ready f [...]
This NASA Hubble Space Telescope photo of NGC 7714 presents an especially striking view of the galaxy's smoke-ring-like structure. The golden loop is made of sun-like stars that have been pulled deep into space, far from the galaxy's center. The galaxy is located approximately 100 million light-years from Earth in the direction of the constellation Pisces.
The universe is full of such galaxies that are gravitationally stretched and pulled and otherwise distorted in gravitational tug-o'-wars w [...]
The Expedition 42 crew worked Wednesday with fruit flies, a humanoid robot and a Dragon spacecraft. Also, Europe’s Automated Transfer Vehicle-5 fired its engines for nearly five minutes, slightly lowering the station’s orbit to prepare for an upcoming ISS Progress 58 resupply mission.
Commander Barry Wilmore and Italian astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti packed gear inside the SpaceX Dragon private space freighter for retrieval on Earth. The Dragon will return to Earth on Feb. 10 when it wi [...]
On Monday, January 26, well-tracked asteroid 2004 BL86 made its closest approach, a mere 1.2 million kilometers from our fair planet. That's about 3.1 times the Earth-Moon distance or 4 light-seconds away. Moving quickly through Earth's night sky, it left this streak in a 40 minute long exposure on January 27 made from Piemonte, Italy.
The remarkably pretty field of view includes M44, also known as the Beehive or Praesepe star cluster in Cancer. Of course, its close encounter with M44 is only [...]
Researchers studying data from NASA's Cassini mission have observed that Saturn's largest moon, Titan, behaves much like Venus, Mars or a comet when exposed to the raw power of the solar wind. The observations suggest that unmagnetized bodies like Titan might interact with the solar wind in the same basic ways, regardless of their nature or distance from the sun.
Titan is large enough that it could be considered a planet if it orbited the sun on its own, and a flyby of the giant moon in Dec. [...]
Like the gaping mouth of a gigantic celestial creature, the cometary globule CG4 glows menacingly in this new image from ESO’s Very Large Telescope. Although it appears to be big and bright in this picture, this is actually a faint nebula, which makes it very hard for amateur astronomers to spot. The exact nature of CG4 remains a mystery.
In 1976 several elongated comet-like objects were discovered on pictures taken with the UK Schmidt Telescope in Australia. Because of their appearance, th [...]
During November and December 2014, Moon Express successfully conducted its lander test vehicle hot fires and initial flight tests at the Shuttle Landing Facility at Kennedy Space Center, with the support of NASA's Lunar Cargo Transportation and Landing by Soft Touchdown (CATALYST) initiative.
Through an increasingly complex series of tests following vehicle integration, the Moon Express "MTV-1X" proved out its fundamental guidance, navigation and control systems and achieved controlled flight [...]
Which of these night sky icons can you find in this beautiful and deep exposure of the northern winter sky? Skylights include the stars in Orion's belt, the Orion Nebula, the Pleiades star cluster, the bright stars Betelgeuse and Rigel, the California Nebula, Barnard's Loop, and Comet Lovejoy.
The belt stars of Orion are nearly vertical in the central line between the horizon and the image center, with the lowest belt star obscured by the red glowing Flame Nebula. To the belt's left is the r [...]
NASA astronauts Terry Virts and Barry Wilmore are getting a pair of U.S. spacesuits ready for a set of spacewalks beginning in February. Throughout Tuesday in the Quest airlock, they recharged suit batteries and checked out fans and other suit components.
Virts also joined Italian astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti transferring cargo to and from the SpaceX Dragon commercial space freighter. Dragon completed its delivery when it was captured and berthed to the Harmony module Jan. 12. It will ret [...]