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
This article is published as a printable document . This is the
webpage with the summary
All illustrations are
copyrighted. Permission for their use in any
other publication or format must first be sought by contacting Jan
Kaliciak at firstname.lastname@example.org
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
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
Further issues that have surfaced and need to be looked into are also
The full article is 24 pages, 3.6MB, pdf
Download it HERE
NEAmines group welcomes feedback on these preliminary designs.
welcome people who may want to join the effort.