Space Exploration/space station

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Question
Hello:  This idea is not a joke. I am not a Physicist nor a mechanical engineer but was wondering...how about if we built a space station that was round literally almost like the "death star" from star wars. A round object would be structurally sound.  After getting it in orbit around the earth we could possibly put a "spin" on it to create some amount of artificial gravity. The outside of the station could be covered with solar panels on half of the station.  The other half would be used for docking other types of spacecraft.  Seeing that we have built a space station that is manned 24 / 365 and is supposed to continue operating until at least another ten years it would be wise to begin preparations for a new generation of space stations.  We certainly don't want to lose the station in 2024 or so and then stop there. Sometimes the most simple ideas are the best. Do you think it could at all be possible to create a station such as this?

Thank You,

Paul DePietro

Answer
Hi, Paul, thanks for writing.  Although I am not sure of all the technical requirements of a space station, I think you have some good ideas.  Gravitation simulation is better for the health requirements of the astronauts, although I am not sure of the needs of microgravity research.  I am not sure if only one side having solar panels would have the geometry needed for solar pointing, but both sides would be possible and would work.  Docking should be possible on the one side.  Antennae on both sides would take care of telemetry.  Nice ideas.  Write anytime.

Space Exploration

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Kenneth Renshaw

Expertise

Answer basic space flight questions, research info on specific space flights. Answer questions on astronomy

Experience

Amateur astronomer and avid astronomy/space flight fan for 31 years.

Organizations
Official NASA/JPL Solar System Ambassador for Arkansas and Missouri (one of about 300 nationwide). (http://www2.jpl.nasa.gov/ambassador/profiles/Kenneth_Renshaw.htm)

Publications
Numerous local and area newspapers.

Education/Credentials
AA/BME/MME

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