Alpha LEO station
First Low Earth Orbit Station as base for Asteroid Mining.
An exploration into general structural issues.

NEAmines group, March 2008
With contributions from Jan Kaliciak (EOS Mars Program, graphical design),  Ueli Scheuermeier, James Brown, James Wilson, Terry Wilson

This article is published as a printable document . This is the webpage with the summary

the overview
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All illustrations are copyrighted. Permission for their use in any other publication or format must first be sought by contacting Jan Kaliciak at

Asteroid mining requires a logistical base in Low Earth Orbit that allows to assemble and fuel craft, and in a first phase accepts semi-processed raw materials coming from asteroids and processes them further to saleable fuel, to bullion of platinum group metals, and to construction materials in orbit.

This milestone explores the structural design options for achieving a Low Earth Orbit station that provides a large pressurizable zero gee “garage” for orbital servicing and assembly, combined with a habitat that provides artificial 1 gee through a rotational structure.

The various steps on the way to exploring this challenge are shown and graphically depicted.

The result so far is a static cylinder (stator) that houses a garage and a radiation storm cellar. A habitat is spun on a 100m long strut at 3rpm, with a counterweight out in the other direction. This rotor is attached to the stator through a ring sliding along the outside of the stator on magnetic bearings.

Transfer of crew is through a “Synchromesh Airlock” at the rotational axis to the storm cellar inside the stator.

To counteract rotational instability and precession a long boom is attached to the stator that is tidally locked with Earth, ie. always pointing down to Earth. This provides the anchor for the stator.

The LEOstation will be travelling a circular equatorial orbit at a presumed 500-800km altitude. The rotational plane of the rotor will be the same as the plane of the orbit in order to avoid precession problems.

Further issues that have surfaced and need to be looked into are also touched.

The full article is 24 pages, 3.6MB, pdf

Download it HERE



The NEAmines group welcomes feedback on these preliminary designs.
We also welcome people who may want to join the effort.
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