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Small shipyard in space

Basic design of a small orbital shipyard.
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Start with a decent sized earth-made ship that can be put into orbit on a large rocket. This will be the crew quarters and docking/staging area for materials in cargo pods, becoming a station for the shipyard.

On one end of the station is a large air tight door with a special ring around it. Fitting into the ring is a geodesic grid of panels made of layers of lexan covering solar collectors, all inside a frame that connects(structurally and electrically) to it's neighbors.

Inside this outer shell is a rubber balloon with a tight zipper, a mylar balloon, another rubber balloon, and an inner shell. The rubber balloons keep any rough edges from slicing the mylar that keeps the air in. The inner and outer shells are to keep projectiles from penetrating.(space debris or a dropped tool) The inner shell doesn't need to be very thick.

The station will have several docks to attach cargo pods that carry parts for the ship under construction. There would also be ports for food, air and water supplys to aid lifesupport. At least one space tug would be required to move cargo containers into the docks.

The ship would be assembled in zero G and in an atmosphere so that workers could wear thin, flexible emergency suits that would allow them to get to the station and through an airlock on a small tank of air.

Once a ship is built, the panels would be disassembled, the rubber balloons unzipped, and the mylar balloon popped, freeing the new ship. Constuction of the next ship could begin with the arrival of a new mylar balloon and reconstruction of the shipyard area.

Scale is not important outside of the lifting capacity of the rockets involved. I've sure I've left out some details, so please feel free to bring up any problems you see with this, except for funding. I'll hit the lottery sooner or later. :-)

gryphon327, Jun 09 2009

More shortcuts, lower budget, probably higher accident rate Low_20budget_20spacecraft
[normzone, Jun 10 2009]

Halfbakery: Foam Hulled Spacecraft Foam Hulled Spacecraft
Another orbital spacecraft idea - only instead of using inflated globes as a working environment, the inflated membranes (forming a blob of foam) becomes the hull of the spacecraft itself. [zen_tom, Jun 10 2009]

Project Orion http://en.wikipedia...nuclear_propulsion)
[normzone, Jun 10 2009]


       Yes, you left out something. Paragraph breaks. You put them in, I'll read it.
normzone, Jun 09 2009

       Hmmmm. I don't really think with paragraph breaks. I barely think in sentences. Most of my ideas are a really fast rush of information. I'll try to edit it, but the paragraphs might not make the most coherent sense.
gryphon327, Jun 10 2009

       I'm not sure what you mean about the big splash.
gryphon327, Jun 10 2009

       They don't need to be perfect, prose rarely is, but they help keep me sane(er). Thanks, now I'll look at it.   

       Okay, looks like it might work, although if you waded through enough science fiction you may find some of this work may have been done already.   

       I don't know how well rubber or mylar holds air at the molecular level, but at this scale that's probably the least of your worries - there's enough danger from welders, tools, chips from machining, etc.
normzone, Jun 10 2009

       //the big splash// Err, [gryphon], I think it means you forgot to specify that the ships to be built here would be *space* ships. I think someone was imagining a geostationary orbit over a handy marina, and the world's steepest slipway.
pertinax, Jun 10 2009

       Wow. Never would have considered building a sea going ship in space. I guess I thought that would have been a bit obvious.
gryphon327, Jun 10 2009

       //Never would have considered building a sea going ship in space// Whyever not?
AbsintheWithoutLeave, Jun 10 2009

       In Larry Niven's "Footfall" a modified battleship is launched into space via a Project Orion engine.
normzone, Jun 10 2009

       Just read the link to the foam hulled spacecraft. That would be a great thing to build in this shipyard. Alot fewer tools and bolts flying around would be alot safer. Using the foam on the inside of the shell might be a better idea than the mylar to hold the air. How hard would it be to split though?
gryphon327, Jun 11 2009


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