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ISO standard airlocks and space docks

Standardized spaceship access for rescue situations.
  (+7, -1)
(+7, -1)
  [vote for,

A proposal to mandate by law a standard for personnel airlocks and docking mechanisms for all space-going vehicles.

1) Powerless operation. No electricity is needed to open airlocks or to dock with another ship.

2) Simple mechanical usage. An idiot should be able to open the the door and enter the ship without loss of cabin pressure.

3) Mechanical overrides. Both docking and airlock operations should be designed to be operated by crude mechanical means. This means the parts need to be durable and have large gripping surfaces. It allows for automation of docking procedures without making automation required.

4) All operations are documented in bright paint on the side of the ship in universal symbols.

The benefit is that a Russian party boat that lost fusion power and is drifting towards Titan can be rescued by Chinese, Portugese, or even Canadians.

If an Italian goes out spacewalking on his German lover's ship and develops vertigo while gazing at the stars, he should have a fair chance at returning through the airlock, even if the German partner is passed out on the couch.

Space Firefightering Ships would have robotic door openers which would utilize the mechanical assistance properties of the door to allow for speedy ingress.

Additionally civilian research vehicles could be robotized, yet still remain accessible to anyone, for instance if you are passing Jupiter and your space heater broke, and the only vehicle within any range is a semi-autonomous Europan exporer vehicle, you can dock with that vehicle and either use spare parts to repair your ship, or use the explorer ship to tow your ship back to Mars.

You don't get second chances in space. Access to all human-survivable environments in space should be easy, no matter how drunk, stoned, robotic, or foreign you are.

mylodon, Oct 26 2007


       In that case, let me add:
5) A lock on the door to keep out foreign guests whilst engaging in hanky-panky
6) Burglar alarm to stop space-thefts
vincevincevince, Oct 26 2007

       No, the lock defeats the purpose. There should be no locks at all!   

       If you are in space partaking in hanky-panky, and someone wants to come and visit, you should be obligated to let them join in.   

       It's lonely out there.
mylodon, Oct 26 2007

       Just like any new technology, it would be best if people agreed standards at the outset. For example, plugs for electrical items seem to follow a largely colonial pattern of distribution that might have been better organised from the start.   

       However, the design process for sending something into space has to consider a number of factors, and settling on a compromise that everyone can agree globally with might take some effort.   

       Like electrical plugs, or camera lens flanges, I imagine the problem will be addressed after it's too late with a myriad of adaptors. Perhaps these could be arranged on the surface of the spacecraft, around the airlock, allowing the docking party to select the one that marries up to their own docking mechanism.
zen_tom, Oct 26 2007

       //6) Burglar alarm to stop space-thefts// Space theft is a growing problem. We need to act NOW.
Jscotty, Oct 26 2007

       And submarines.
wagster, Oct 27 2007

       Good. Things like this should be decided upon early! A global standard for many other things would have been good- like power outlets/voltages, language, religeon and hairstyles. Um, except for point two. Can't you make it idiot proof?(or at least idiot resistant!)
the dog's breakfast, Oct 29 2007

       The "I" in "ISO" stands for "Interplanetary", I take it?
hippo, Oct 29 2007

       Standardization means open specs and open bidding, with maufacture awarded to the lowest bidder. Therefore all standard airlocks and space docks will be made in China from reprocessed Zils and Trabants.
nuclear hobo, Oct 29 2007


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