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The earliest activities of the Bifrost program will likely be pursued from small scale facilities associated with the earliest settlements of the Foundation and Aquarius phases, often having their start in semi-amateur space hobbyist activities. But as initial systems start to demonstrate some commercial potential or increase beyond the scale of a garage workshop, increasingly dedicated facilities will become necessary. In this would be the foundation of the GreenStar Aerospace company, whose financing under GreenStar Ventures would likely be predicated on the investment in these facilities. These initial facilities too are likely to be associated with early settlements but there is a strong possibility that commercial development of Bifrost systems may progress at a much faster pace than the growth of these communities, creating the need for facilities of large scale with immediate access to a safe, NIMBYism-free, bureaucratic hassle-free launch venue. To accommodate this it may become necessary to construct largely independent facilities at the Equator well before Aquarius Seed settlements have grown sufficiently large to migrate there.

Based on full scale PSP components but much smaller than a marine colony, these Equatorial Marine Space Centers would not be self-sufficient by any means and would have few of the amenities of a marine settlement. They might employ small-scale OTEC power plants but most likely would rely on a combination of solar power, PSP wave energy collection, and stored fuel. There may be various structural variations specific to the types of launch systems developed and deployed with these facilities, but in general they would feature a radial organization sprawling from a rectilinear platform and centered on a taller central building that would host offices, computer centers, smaller workshops, and apartments for staff who may reside for weeks or months at a time at the facility. This is a likely form for other independent marine industrial facilities or OTEC stations developed as part of TMP.

Using large three storey level divisions from the ‘base’ deck of the PSP, most internal work facilities would be located within the main platform perimeter and ship docking berth extensions. Taller assembly enclosures would rely on space frame structures topping extensions of the base deck. For platform-launched vehicles a unique form of launch pad may be used. This would be based on a large PSP module that can be detached from the main platform structure and self-propelled to a launch site, carrying its vehicles with it. This could also be employed for the landing of VTOL vehicles. When docked the launch pads would be enclosed in an assembly enclosure which can retract whole from the pad on rails, thus eliminating the need to shift a launch vehicle from the same structure its assembled on. With the more advanced reusable VTOL vehicles using these same pads for landing, this arrangement would offer a rapid launch turn-around.

Large docking berths on radial extensions would support direct vessel docking with the platform and host full-scale container ships as well as more advanced vessels like the EcoCruiser developed at Aquarian settlements. An airstrip, located in a flanking position to the main platform, is also a possibility, but in general these would be prohibitively costly to build early in the phase of Aquarian development and so would be much less likely unless needed for a specific type of launch system or cost-justified by serving extra duty as a vast solar thermal collector and marine container storage facility. Aquarian Airship transport is probably a more practical form of air transit for such facilities and would also be extremely well suited to the role of a recovery vehicle for spacecraft recovered by splashdown, being able to find and intercept these vehicles much more quickly than ships and deploy large recovery cradles from overhead lifts.

An Equatorial Marine Space Center is also a likely initial Downstation facility for space elevator deployment and would be freely expandable in support of growth of GEO Upstation facilities. And since it would be using the same platform technology as the ultimate Aquarius colonies, it would be easy for the facility to be integrated with a colony as it migrates to an Equatorial location. Similarly, there is some potential for these space centers themselves to evolve into full marine colonies as the scale of their operations compel a sufficient increase in local staff population and longer periods of duty which might make it more practical to move whole families to the facility.

Peer TopicsEdit

Parent TopicEdit

Phases Edit

d v e BIFROST
Phases Foundation Aquarius Bifrost Asgard Avalon Elysium Solaria Galactia
Cultural Evolution Transhumanism  •  Economics, Justice, and Government  •  Key Disruptive Technologies
References
Bifrost Space Transportation System
Bifrost Launch Systems SkyScraper  •  Mountain Waverider  •  UltraLight SSTO  •  MODroc  •  Exocet  •  Wizard  •  LightCraft  •  Marine Mass Launcher - MML  •  Bifrost Space Elevator
Bifrost Support Systems Equatorial Marine Space Center  •  Down-Range Telemetry and Telecom Network - DRT&TN  •  Inter-Orbital Shuttle

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