Exciting to see a proposal for a gateway outpost! Looks like its technological necessities will father many novel inventions. Does it have to be another module design, though? Aren't we ready yet to build a wheel space station? I wonder if the proven inflatable space station module technology made by Bigelow Aerospace could be a practical way of achieving a wheel space station design.
At this point, I'd like to see NASA, or any space organization send up something that would incorporate "centrifugal effects" or "centripetal acceleration" to provide astronauts artificial gravity—along with more effective radiation shielding, these are necessary if we are going to have a real, sustained and growing presence in space.
Astro Rosaire
I'm pretty disappointed by the utter lack of imagination for the ISS components. I also would like to see a station with an artificial gravity design. Any long term stay in space needs to have this important counter measure for the ill effects of microgravity.
Not to mention look at the size of it! Would you really want to be cooped up in something the size of a bus with a few other people together for time periods probably lasting up to a year?!? (if not longer)
Wouldn't it be easier to go from Luna to Deimos or Phobos first? (Earth's moon to one of Mars' moons) There was supposed to be a colony on the Moon by now and instead we haven't even been back- the Shuttle made Telecom rich and now too many people seem to want to just play with their phones or video games... while many others starve or slave. I know this is not what was being prognosticated so optimistically by scientists a hundred years ago. Claims without specific,consistent unchanging plans are just hype or propaganda. Old science magazines made fantastic claims- theirs were more imaginative... ours have prettier pictures and more details. Will these turn out any different?
Jon A.
This assumes that SLS ever flies. That's not a completely safe assumption, and getting worse all the time. If this is truly intended as a station, why does it have a cryogenic propulsion stage? Does that move the station into position, then serve as a fuel depot?
This is still too modest. A 'deep space' outpost such as this is an admirable concept, but a Lunar base is also eminently feasible, with exciting prospects for commodity mining and research.
This station is a bad idea. All it would provide is a tiny fuel savings for deep space operations at the much higher costs of maintain the station in L1.
The way station should be in LEO where it can catch and salvage expended liquid fueled boosters that still have a small amount of propellant on board. The crew could then build and fuel boosters for deep space operations, and expand the station itself by cannibalizing the expended rockets. Giving the station a long linear accelerator would give the ability to to provide a little propellant free boost to vehicles but you would have to balance between boosting and deorbiting payloads to maintain your orbit. A spin gravity section would greatly improve the health of the crew as well.
The future of the ISS should figure into this concept, and not with presumption of intentional de-orbit so that some new and glitzy program can take over its previous funding stream. From now on, the space program needs to bootstrap and build upon itself by leveraging the existing infrastructure in which huge investments have already been made, rather than simply discarding them in a continued 'slash-and-burn' path of development. One possibility for establishing a gateway in High Earth Orbit (HEO) or at one of the Earth-Moon Lagrange points that should be considered would involve outfitting the existing ISS with more radiation shielding, then integrating an array of ion-drive motors (used in the Dawn probe now flying from Vesta to Ceres) and fuel tanks (like the Shuttle Orbiter's external tank) into the existing structure. Useful not only for station-keeping in its present LEO position, once the distributed array and initial tanks are fully integrated and complete, the entire orbiting structure could slowly and carefully be lifted into geosynchronous orbit or even to one of the Lagrange points. Resupply of reaction fuel could be accomplished through unmanned transfers using well-proven commercial launch vehicles from the US, Russia, Europe and/or China and on-orbit logistical support by the onboard crew to attach new tanks.