Collier's Station

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This is it; the queen of all the station proposals.  This set the gold standard for all future space station designs and set the bar so high that nothing that was put in orbit could be anything but disappointing in comparison.  Orbiting at an altitude of 1075 miles, this three-deck, 250 foot diameter wonder would be built of reinforced nylon fibre covered with protective plates and rotate at three RPM to provide the occupants with ⅓ simulated Earth gravity. 

Serviced by a fleet of shuttles,  the station with its crew of fifty was to serve as a major jumping off point for exploring the Solar System with bulbous space taxis ferrying astronauts about as they assembled the Moon and Mars fleets.

A closer look at the wheel.

The interior of the Collier's station was thought out in detail.   Modeled after navy ships and manned by military personnel, the station would boast facilities such as weather monitoring rooms, military  surveillance apparatus, navigational aids; all powered by a solar-heated mercury boiler & turbine plant.  In the centre of the wheel was a "despun" section housing the airlock.

Price tag for all this?  Four billion dollars in 1952 American currency.  That is twice the cost of the Manhattan project.  It was the mark of project worth doing well.  It was also a price tag that would plague space programmes around the world from day one.  Space flight is possible, but it is insanely expensive.

 

Artwork copyrightę Bonestell Space Art, used with permission

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