Polaris Station – Novelette Part 2


(Continued from Part 1) Katya’s eyes narrowed, her head tilted down. “As stated in the presentation, it would be a fraction of the cost of what we would lose in productivity due to a day’s loss of the internet.”

Kendall took a step forward and was about to say something he knew he’d regret when he was stopped by another voice.

“I agree,” a man in a wrinkled white shirt, tie-less on the back row called out. “As we hear in the news everyday, we need a way to remove thousands of pieces of space junk from orbit, not add thousands more. No pun intended but, have you considered the impact your system would have on orbital collisions?”

A few people in the audience laughed.

Kendall again stepped forward, this time stopped by Katya’s grip on his arm.

“We understand your concern.” Katya said. She paused, looked Kendall in the eye, took a deep breath, then pointed toward the microphone.

Kendall followed her prescription and breathed deeply. “International research,” Kendall said, “has shown promising methods to remove space debris. In the mean time, the scientific and ultimate human benefits of developing this new system would be worth the risk. Besides, we have the rockets left over from the cold war. We can launch a hundred satellites at a time. This would reduce the number of launches to approximately seventeen hundred and sixty.”

The man shook his head, and sat down.

“Orbital technology has been mature for six decades,” Kendall added. “We know how to do this.”

Katya ran her fingers through her hair from front to back.

Kendall felt the urge to say more, but before he could speak, a young girl, a teen, raised her hand.

Katya pointed in her direction.

“I don’t get it. Why do you need all those satellites? What are they doing exactly? Can’t you just put the station up in space. There are lots of geostationary satellites above the Earth.”

Katya looked at Kendall and nodded.

“Very good question, young lady.” Kendall said. “The only place around planet Earth where a satellite can remain over the same point on Earth while the Earth rotates, is above the equator, out at an altitude of 35,800 km. There are about 500 active and 1000 inactive satellites there now. Any other altitude and it would move faster or slower than the Earth; any other latitude and gravity would pull it back and forth across the equatorial plane.”

The young girl nodded.

Katya nudged Kendall aside at the podium. “To park a space station anywhere else above the planet, we need something to hold it up. Our station needs lift, like a hawk soaring stationary above a rising hillside, the upward wind steadily exchanging momentum with its wings. The satellites are like wind in space, bearing up the station like a hawk.”

“But why so many satellites?” someone asked.

“To smooth out the ride,” Kendall said.

The room was silent for a few seconds.

Someone back in the corner blurted out, “How will you exchange momentum between the ultra-high speed satellites and the station.”

“Magnetic levitation,” Kendall replied. “Each satellite will be magnetized. Rails on the station, like a roller coaster, will also be magnetized to repel the satellites. The station will be pushed upward, as each passing satellite is pushed slightly downward. You can think of it like tennis balls bouncing back and forth between two rackets. Each time the ball hits a racket, it pushes the racket outward as the ball rebounds back toward the other racket. Any energy lost will be re-supplied by solar panels on each satellite and small electric thrusters.”

Again, silence for a few seconds.

Another person stood and commanded attention by his full gray suit and well groomed hair. “I have a question,” he said in a respectful tone.

(Continue with Part 3)

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2 Responses to Polaris Station – Novelette Part 2

  1. Pingback: Polaris Station – Novelette Part 3 | Engineering Stories

  2. Pingback: Polaris Station – Novelette Part 1 | Engineering Stories

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