Many vessels built across the Asgard phase will be created for individual missions or projects, exploiting the modular components and simple architecture of beamships to allow for on-demand custom design. These Special Mission Vessels will often be built for scientific and exploratory projects, the most numerous being employed as space probes for asteroid prospecting and lunar/planetary survey while the largest of them may be created to support specific settlement missions. Convention today suggests that leanness in the design of lunar and planetary missions is the most efficient strategy. But with a robust orbital industrial capability supporting the crafting of vessels on-orbit this may not be as critical. Early development, based largely on telerobotics as we will discuss in the Elysium section, may always remain lean but successive settlement missions –supported by shrinking costs of on-orbit materials– may take progressively larger scale approaches, particularly in terms of establishing on-orbit support infrastructures and surface industrial systems. This may lead to one-off mission vessels of great size intended to become permanent way-station and telecommunications facilities on arrival.
Some such vessels may also be created as deployable satellites or way-stations, assembled and launched whole from an orbital settlement as a transport vessel that takes up permanent positions on orbits elsewhere in the solar system. These might be deployed in fleets in advance of a settlement effort, to enhance existing settlement infrastructures, or to create local communications infrastructures in support of teleoperated mining operation, forming the basis of a Deep Space Telemetry and Telecom Network – DST&TN, as we will discuss later. Many of these may be based on structures and systems quite identical to the MUOL and MUOF, save for the propulsion systems which send them to their destinations.
Some of the most exotic Special Mission Vessels may be those employed for astronomy research, their structures stretching the beamship architecture concept to its limits in variation. Much as space frames are commonly employed with terrestrial telescopes, the truss beam structure could serve as the basis of self-deploying orbital telescopes of enormous size. Assembled on-orbit at space settlements and launched whole using gentle plasma propulsion, these structures would not need the intricate self-transforming features or extreme ruggedizing common to systems that must be launched with terrestrial launch systems and could achieve extreme proportions. It is likely that the settlement of orbital space could produce a tremendous boom in astronomical research thanks to such vastly superior on-orbit instrument construction ability.
- Life In Asgard
- Modular Unmanned Orbital Laboratory - MUOL
- Modular Unmanned Orbital Factory - MUOF
- Manned Orbital Factory - MOF
- Asgard SE Upstation
- Asteroid Settlements
- Inter-Orbital Way-Station
- Solar Power Satellite - SPS
- Beamship Concept
- Inter-Orbital Transport
- Cyclic Transport
- Orbital Mining Systems
- The Ballistic Railway Network
- Deep Space Telemetry and Telecom Network - DST&TN
- Asgard Supporting Technologies