The Gateway Foundation company intends to create the first orbital station offering artificial gravity. On board, tourists and researchers can stay for several weeks. The foundation wants to make it operational from 2025. If the schedule seems very ambitious, the project remains fascinating, with a structure worthy of a work of science fiction.
Created by John Blincow in 2012, the Gateway Foundation promises us dreams, at least on paper, with his space station project. Named Traveler, and modeled on the concepts imagined by Wernher von Braun, it would take the form of a circular platform in motion of nearly 500 meters wide. The inertia and centripetal force of acceleration would then make it possible to generate pressure on the outer walls of the structure, ultimately creating a gravity almost similar to that of the Moon.
The station would be able to accommodate a few more than 400 peopleincluding crew. The stated objective: that the station be functional by 2025, before opening its doors in 2027 for a cost of around $ 70 billion. If it were to be realized, then it would be the largest man-made structure in space.
Science and tourism
On the structure side, a mooring bay will be available to accommodate the shuttles. An elevator will then take you to the Hub: the “heart” of the station. You will find there in particular the administration, the control center or the storage places, not to mention a magnificent view of our planet.
You will then be driven to the Lunar Gravity Area (LGA) which is the center of life. Voyager will offer twenty-four integrated housing modules measuring twenty by twelve meters. You will find living quarters there, but also a gymnasium, a restaurant, a cinema room, or even a spa. Note that below each room will be offered a small emergency shuttle to borrow only in case of emergency.
The station will also market itself as a leading science center. The planned gravity ring could indeed become a research platform for agencies and other private aerospace companies interested in the effects of partial artificial gravity on non-living and living systems. This work will also pave the way for larger and more complex structures in space.
Looking to the future, government and private companies will be allowed to use Voyager Modules for lunar training missions and beyond, providing a launching pad for entrepreneurs to develop and market tourism activities in space.
First prototypes soon to be tested
More recently, new details have been revealed about this ambitious resort. As part of a question and answer session organized on January 29, we learned in particular that the Orbital Assembly Corporation, which is piloting the project, was now officially open to investors private until April 1, 2021 ($ 0.25 per share).
Before the station can begin to operate, its builders will naturally have to establish the necessary orbital infrastructure and create smaller structures to test the concept. According to John Blincow, an assembly robot named STAR will eventually be responsible for building the frame of the future structure. In preparation, a smaller ground-based prototype known as DSTAR will test the technology on Earth.
The machine, which weighs nearly eight tons in mass, will soon be tested in California. The prototype will produce a section of trellis approximately 90 meters long in less than 90 minutes. It will also be a question of developing an observation drone that will allow researchers to remotely visualize the progress of the work via a virtual reality headset.
The OAC will also need to prove the viability of stable artificial gravity in space. To do this, the company plans to build a prototype measuring approximately 61 meters in diameter designed to create artificial gravity almost similar to that of Mars, or about 40% of that of Earth. The construction and launch of this prototype is expected to take two to three years. Once installed in orbit, its assembly will only take three days.