Space Station Design

What shape do you think would be best for a Space Station?

Sphere
1
100%
Cube
0
No votes
Pyramid
0
No votes
Octagonal
0
No votes
Pentagonal
0
No votes
Other (please specify below)
0
No votes
 
Total votes : 1

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Post Thu Aug 21, 2014 1:54 am

Space Station Design

I have a space station in a new story that I cannot figure out the design for.
It is a classified space station that is hidden between Jupiter and its volcanic moon, Io. The magnetosphere disturbance of the two make the station virtually invisible to sensors of any kind, and the station draws its power from the volcanic activity of the moon, thus making its power usage also near impossible to detect. The purpose of this space station is as a home base for space fleets and fighter pilots, as well as reconnaissance & exploratory teams. It is also a popular place to hold sensitive diplomatic meetings of any kind, and it is the primary base for extraterrestrial military research.
I think I am going to call the station "CAMELOT" (I'm open to different names though, too), and I was originally thinking the station design should be a cube... like a Borg cube. My thought was that the more "sensitive" levels, like research, classified files, transporters, and backup power generators could all be in the center of the cube and would be better protected if an attack were to occur. But then there is so much of the station that is left horribly exposed at the same time. So then I thought about going with a pyramid design.... but that just seems like a whole lot of wasted space to me... and it is way too Goa'uld.
So, to sum it up: What I am looking for is a unique design for a city-sized space station and I want the design to be loaded with great tactical advantages. I am just rotten at coming up with design ideas for anything, so I need a little help brainstorming this.
What would be a cool shape(s) to use?
What would be an inconspicuous design?
Should it be a compact design, or should it be uncondensed?
Any thoughts and ideas regarding the station (not limited only to design) are welcome!
StormCry
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Post Fri Aug 22, 2014 8:56 pm

Re: Space Station Design

Unless your setting includes some sort of "gravity generator" or "pseudogravity" technology, I strongly recommend a sphere or wheel, since those can be spun to provide artificial gravity. If it's to be a fighter base, a wheel (with more surface area from which fighters can be launched) might be better.

StormCry wrote:The station draws its power from the volcanic activity of the moon, thus making its power usage also near impossible to detect.

It's my understanding that it's not the production of electrical power that makes a spaceship or station easier to detect (since many use solar panels, after all), but it's the effects of using power, especially heat.

Fundamentally, I would not recommend trying for a "unique" design, unless you want to convey that the culture that designed or built the station had more money than engineering sense; instead, look at designs used in "hard" science fiction of past decades.
Originally inspired to write by reading C.S. Lewis, but can be as perfectionist as Tolkien or as obscure as Charles Williams.

Author of A Year in Verse, a self-published illustrated collection of poetry: available in paperback and on Kindle.

My blog includes the following "departments":
  • Background on the Shine Cycle, my planned fantasy series, spanning over two centuries of an imagined world's history, several universes (including various alternate histories and our own future), and the stories of dozens of characters (many from our world).
  • Strategic Primer, a strategy game I'm developing, played by email, assisted by programs I'm developing. The current campaign (moving slowly, less than one turn a month) always needs more players.
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Post Fri Aug 22, 2014 9:39 pm

Re: Space Station Design

Thanks for the suggestions kingjon! I hadn't thought of a wheel...
And allow me to explain on the energy usage thing: CAMELOT's energy and power is drawn from the planet/moon so that if an enemy attempts to scan for a solitary energy/power consumer, such as a ship or space station, they will be less likely to find the station because the CAMELOT's heat and energy comes directly from the planet/moon. This would be more effective than solar panels, especially since the station is situated between the moon and the planet at all times and therefore gets less sunlight. Both the planet and the moon put out lots of heat and energy, and if the station draws from one of them (or links to both) it might just look like a power stream running between the planet and moon.
:? I have no idea if I made ANY sense at all....
StormCry
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Post Sat Aug 23, 2014 5:15 am

Re: Space Station Design

StormCry wrote:And allow me to explain on the energy usage thing: CAMELOT's energy and power is drawn from the planet/moon so that if an enemy attempts to scan for a solitary energy/power consumer, such as a ship or space station, they will be less likely to find the station because the CAMELOT's heat and energy comes directly from the planet/moon.

When I said "especially heat," I meant that heat was the primary evidence of energy usage, not that heat was one of the kinds of energy. And another thing I should have mentioned is that one of the main problems any vehicle in space has is getting rid of the heat its inhabitants and its machinery generate---here on Earth heat can be gotten rid of via conduction, convection, or radiation, but in space conduction and convection can only move the heat to the edge of the vehicle and no farther. (One advantage of a sphere is that none of this radiated heat can pass back into the station.)
StormCry wrote:This would be more effective than solar panels, especially since the station is situated between the moon and the planet at all times and therefore gets less sunlight. Both the planet and the moon put out lots of heat and energy, and if the station draws from one of them (or links to both) it might just look like a power stream running between the planet and moon.

Well, like I said, getting rid of heat is going to be a major problem wherever it is, and the nature of the problem is such that I'm doubtful that it'd be possible to treat waste heat like other forms of waste. Now, hiding a major heat source (or hot object) in an area full of heat sources (or hot objects) seems a reasonable strategy, except that the more heat sources there are in the area the more external heat the station will absorb and then have to get rid of.
Originally inspired to write by reading C.S. Lewis, but can be as perfectionist as Tolkien or as obscure as Charles Williams.

Author of A Year in Verse, a self-published illustrated collection of poetry: available in paperback and on Kindle.

My blog includes the following "departments":
  • Background on the Shine Cycle, my planned fantasy series, spanning over two centuries of an imagined world's history, several universes (including various alternate histories and our own future), and the stories of dozens of characters (many from our world).
  • Strategic Primer, a strategy game I'm developing, played by email, assisted by programs I'm developing. The current campaign (moving slowly, less than one turn a month) always needs more players.
  • My poetry.
  • Miscellaneous essays.

Posts: 29

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Location: Either online or offline....sometimes both!

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Post Wed Aug 27, 2014 9:50 pm

Re: Space Station Design

Oh yes, I see what you mean with the heat thing now. And that would be another reason why I chose putting the station between Jupiter and Io. There is a large plasma and borialis "halo" that wraps around Jupiter and Io. This keeps things quite warm and colorful and fuzzy for our infrared stuff on earth. Not only that, there is a lot of radio waves that go on between the two as well which make even more things bright and fuzzy. This, of course, would cause a problem for most communications systems, but I think I have come up with solution to that for CAMELOT. However, you have presented another issue for me: heat waste. I hadn't really thought about how the station would expel heat. I guess I was only considering that space was usually cold, and the station would be more focused on trying to retain heat, rather than losing it.
Honestly, now, I feel really silly for not thinking about it. I mean, I have the station sitting in the middle of a plasma flow. This keeps it hidden, but then how is it going to get rid of excess heat? :roll:
You can tell that I am a girl *trying* to be technical. Its not working too well. :x Thus why I posted!
So, maybe the location for CAMELOT is a bad idea....? Or is there a way that it could use the plasma flow to its advantage once again?
StormCry
Ι αм α вяσтнɛя тσ ∂яαɢσиƨ αи∂ α cσмpαиισи тσ σωℓƨ. Jσв ₃₀.₂₉
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Post Thu Aug 28, 2014 3:29 am

Re: Space Station Design

StormCry wrote:I guess I was only considering that space was usually cold, and the station would be more focused on trying to retain heat, rather than losing it.

Temperature is the speed at which molecules move; space, except when it's not really space, approximates vacuum, with molecules few and far between. And vacuum is the ideal insulator. Just like if you put a heat source inside a thermos, the one method of heat transfer that works through vacuum would not suffice to maintain equilibrium.

StormCry wrote:I have the station sitting in the middle of a plasma flow. This keeps it hidden, but then how is it going to get rid of excess heat?

Actually, if the station has physical contact with a stream of matter, if that matter is cooler than the station, it should be possible to transfer some of the heat to the matter in that stream by conduction, which is far more efficient than radiation. (If you had some heat sink---violating the laws of thermodynamics as I understand them---that made cold rather than heat the problem, the transfer would work the same but in the opposite direction, like how running nearly-frostbitten fingers under slightly-warm water warms them up quickly.) It might even be possible to set up a heat pump (like an air-conditioner) to transfer some heat to a slightly-hotter outside, but I don't think that would be efficient enough to be worth it.
Originally inspired to write by reading C.S. Lewis, but can be as perfectionist as Tolkien or as obscure as Charles Williams.

Author of A Year in Verse, a self-published illustrated collection of poetry: available in paperback and on Kindle.

My blog includes the following "departments":
  • Background on the Shine Cycle, my planned fantasy series, spanning over two centuries of an imagined world's history, several universes (including various alternate histories and our own future), and the stories of dozens of characters (many from our world).
  • Strategic Primer, a strategy game I'm developing, played by email, assisted by programs I'm developing. The current campaign (moving slowly, less than one turn a month) always needs more players.
  • My poetry.
  • Miscellaneous essays.

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