The Manned Orbital Factory or MOF is a variation of the Modular Unmanned Orbital Factory that would be intended to exploit the potential operation cost dividend enabled by future declining costs in manned spaceflight. Today the cost of manned spaceflight is so inordinately high that the normally impractical costs of automation become nominal compared to the cost of employing human labor in space. But there are, of course, limitations in the capability of automation, particularly in the area of self-maintenance and with the complication of teleoperation relying on ground-based technicians. As margins become nearer in orbital production, the scale of facilities larger, and the increasingly routine nature of space transport brings its costs down, long delays in production for the repair of systems potentially become more costly than the cost of stationing factory support technicians on-orbit in pressurized facilities able to perform repairs at an order of magnitude greater speed than possible by teleoperation –especially where their costs can be shared among a collection of factory facilities. This then would create the impetus for continuously manning an otherwise automated orbital factory.
Architecturally, the MOF would be identical to the Modular Unmanned Orbital Factory - MUOF with one important addition; a small network of pressurized habitat modules that fit into the same bay spaces employed by factory facilities on the platform. Arrayed mostly along one edge of the platform where they can employ independent pressurized docking facilities, these modules would take the form of pneumatic pressure hulls with an internal space frame that links to points of the primary box frame through pass-through node connectors. The habitat would be finished using retrofit fixtures and modular wall panels. These would need little integral shielding, relying on external shielding panels just as with the automated factory complexes. This would allow quite large pressure hull modules –as wide as the 9-12 meter interior span of the MUOF structure– to be packed into very small payload packages and installed largely telerobotically. Large airlock units with generous sized hatchways and recyclable atmosphere systems would be employed at the ends of specialized workshop modules where most repair activity would be performed, the technicians working primarily on components removed by telerobots and brought into these workshops. In the rare situation where they would need to employ space suits, they would still be working primarily within the enclosed space of the corrugated box frame structure of the rest of the platform, thus making these activities much safer than the spacewalks common to today’s manned space activities.
Should the individual MOF facility continue to grow, which would be most likely for those located in GEO, it would begin to adopt progressively larger habitat structures arrayed peripherally to the main panel structure of the platform. These would begin the evolution of the station into an EvoHab type of settlement, with portions of the main panel structure extended into polar core truss booms running through the center of increasingly large and spherical habitat hull structures based on the EvoHab hull system. The MOF would continue in its role as both an industrial facility and an enormous solar collector panel, eventually doubling its solar collector area and possibly being mirrored whole with a second industrial center and docking facility at the opposite polar end of a main habitat structure. Thus the evolution of the original MUOL would at last arrive at the general form of the full scale EvoHab orbital settlement.
- Life In Asgard
- Modular Unmanned Orbital Laboratory - MUOL
- Modular Unmanned Orbital Factory - MUOF
- Asgard SE Upstation
- Asteroid Settlements
- Inter-Orbital Way-Station
- Solar Power Satellite - SPS
- Beamship Concept
- Inter-Orbital Transport
- Cyclic Transport
- Special Mission Vessels
- Orbital Mining Systems
- The Ballistic Railway Network
- Deep Space Telemetry and Telecom Network - DST&TN
- Asgard Supporting Technologies