The RocShaw or ‘rocket rickshaw’ as it’s lightheartedly named, would be an evolution of the technology of Remotes and Carrier Pallets intended to serve as a general purpose microgravity transportation device for one or two people, used mainly in the large span pressurized spaces of the larger Asgard settlements but also likely to be adapted to use in open space –though most work there would be conducted by Remotes rather than human beings.
The basic RocShaw design would appear rather like a contemporary leg-less chaise lounge or spacecraft cockpit seat equipped with nitrogen, electric fan, and/or compressed air thrusters and sensor systems on its perimeter edges and possibly gyroscopic stabilizers on back, the lounge providing the basic chassis of the vehicle. Passengers strapping in with harness or using simple fold-up thigh and shoulder clamps and waist bars, it would be controlled using multi-axis ‘puck’ controllers in its armrests. A soft elastomeric ‘reticule’ display in the arm rests or fold-down flex-display or head band may be employed as an instrument display. Fabric cargo pouches or conformal cargo containers may also be used as would the same tie-down points used with Carrier Pallets and would all be attached to the back side of the unit.
A quite sophisticated robot in its own right with many of the features of a Remote, the RocShaw would normally be operated in a semi-manual mode where the passenger directs the general motion of the vehicle but the vehicle’s own computers manage precision thrust and motion control to preclude uncontrollable velocities and provide automatic collision avoidance. It would generally be flown in a low profile attitude but would also employ a ‘standing’ mode that would allow the passenger to reach forward with their arms to manipulate objects while still ‘seated’ in the unit. Some designs may ‘transform’ between the bent lounge position and a straighter standing position to accommodate this. The vehicle’s computers would also support a station-keeping mode that provides motion compensation to make the unit easier to climb into and out of.
These control systems would keep careful track of propellant and power use in order to anticipate power needs and thus prevent the user from expending its reserves in a hazardous way. For instance, they would normally not allow the user to employ a velocity greater than the RocShaw can counter in thrust or reserves relative to the distance of the nearest obstacles in its trajectory. Such intelligence is critical to making such vehicles safe inside a habitat environment, small as they may seem. This intelligence would also allow the vehicle to operate in an autonomous mode in concert with remote computer control, allowing it to travel on its own and to be summoned to a user’s side on demand. Asgard colonies would likely employ a ‘ubiquitous computing’ environment and most residents would wear or carry (or be followed around by…) some form of personal communications system, be it an electronic badge, dog-tag, PAD, PSA, or simple ambient voice monitors. This would allow them to communicate with station systems from anywhere and would allow Remotes and RocShaws to be summoned on-demand and to extricate individuals stuck in large open spaces.
Traversing free space in microgravity will always tend to be a bit rare and much less efficient and safe than tracked transport systems thus RocShaw use is likely to be proportional to the scale of a colony. Many variations of RocShaw design are likely –some more utilitarian, others streamlined for performance, and some possibly quite fanciful– and one can anticipate that, in the largest of colonies, with the largest open spaces, their use as a recreational or sporting vehicle is likely, particularly since a certain amount of skill would be required to operate them with speed and precision. RocShaw obstacle courses may be one possibility.
Designs for use in open space are another likely development, these featuring much larger propellant reserves and back-up life support systems intended to integrate with BioSuit wearing passengers. EVA designs employing a complete pressure shell enclosure are also a distinct possibility. These may be employed for tourist activities as well as for some utilitarian purposes, though in general EVAs would be rare events for Asgard inhabitants. Their most likely utilitarian use in open space would be as simple transports between structures under construction.
- Urban Tree Housing Concepts
- Asgard Digitial Infrastructure
- Carrier Pallets
- WristRocket Personal Mobility Unit
- Pallet Truck
- ZipLine Tether Transport System
- MagTrack Transport System
- SkyGarden and SkyFarm Systems
- Meat Culturing
- Microgravity Food Processors
- Pools and Baths in Orbit
- Solar Sails
- Plasma and Fusion Propulsion