Science: Space: Orbit
Orbital Hab Unit Delivery   (+3)  [vote for, against]
Request a living space to be dropped from orbit

While planning a pilgrimage, like you do, I've often been thwarted by the local lack of well-distributed rentable spaces for people to sleep in. So here is my near-future solution ...

Using your i-phone descendant you request a Hab Unit to dropped near a location and the app negotiates a dropping fee, a location, an ETA, a duration and a cost. If a deal can be brokered then a Hab Unit is dispatched from an orbital store and navigated through the atmosphere so it lands in the target area.

I imagine that parachutes might be the way to get to the Hab Units ground in an almost safe and reliable manner.

Your iPhone then becomes both the means to located the Hab Unit and the key to open it. Each pod is designed to sleep two easily and five at a pinch. They would be equipped to cope with sanitary and hygenic needs plus also some culinary ones as well.

Landing areas are pre-negotiated and more popular ones might have facilities close to them.

As part of the booking negotiation a collector of Hab Units does the rounds collecting them so they can be turned around and put back into orbit, presumably by the use of a space elevator. The units would break into two for easier, more efficient stacking on said elevator.

Each pod would also have a standard docking hatch just in case someone needs to examine a Hab Unit while it is in space. A Hab Unit is designed to be liveable only in terrestial conditions in order to cut costs.
-- Aristotle, Feb 20 2010

Sub-Orbital Deliverable Hab Unit
U-Haul, PODS, and dozens of other providers will drop a portable 5' X 8' storage container at the address you select and pick it up when you are through with it. Since the units are watertight, you could conceivably use one for rather spartan overnight lodging, just don't oversleep on the scheduled pickup day. [jurist, Feb 20 2010]

Definitely a good one [+]. Also useful for development and disaster relief. I think it would need some kind of fuel though. There would have to be a lot of orbiting units to make them easily accessible or the gaps would be too big, so you would need some kind of engine, i think. However, the strategic use of wings at the right angle would presumably permit some gliding once the air was thick enough, so maybe i'm wrong.
-- nineteenthly, Feb 20 2010

When I was an undergraduate and attendee of Science Fiction cons there was the "Wave Rider" team who proposed that you would drop things from orbit that "surfed" the atmosphere, slowing down as it went. It used a corrigated bottom.

I don't know if they still active or if their idea has been proved to be a no-hoper.
-- Aristotle, Feb 20 2010

Yes, it could be a bit dangerous [duckdodgers] I have to admit but think of the science ...
-- Aristotle, Feb 20 2010

What if it were packed in balloons?
-- nineteenthly, Feb 20 2010

[jurist], a good link. They might be limited to where they are prepared to drop them though, this hopefully would have drop rights factored. Maybe they out to be suggested to provide storage units complete with bedding, to extend their business ...

If this idea really took of people might bulldoze hotels in order to sell landing rights, as they might be able to avoid standing costs.

I did realise that if something was going to collect the units then the same thing could actually deliver them. Naturally I was thinking of some kind of airship doing this, all the better for getting to places that might not have nearby roads that an airship or orbital service might be able to reach.

I actually survived the long stretch from Twyford to Heathrow, which prompted this idea but I had to buy walking poles today to allow me to carry on.
-- Aristotle, Feb 22 2010

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