Sunday, June 26, 2011

Chapter 9: Expanding the Station

The expansion-procedure:
A second rocket brings the new module into an low-earth orbit. At the same time a space-tug separates from the stations back. The tug is basically an autonomous station-module equipped with its own engines, docking-devices, navigation instruments and power supply. The design is heavily inspired by the real russian space-tug concept Parom.
After separation the tug lowers its orbit until it reaches the new modules flight path. It docks at the modules rear, ignites the main engines and starts to raise back to the stations orbit.
At the station the tug stops several hundred meters behind it. Now the station starts to rotate itself until the designated docking-port at the right side faces to the back.
During the last step the tug docks the module and separates again. The station rotates into the normal position and the tug resumes its original parking position.

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