(Continued from Part 4)
Kendall finished his breakfast in the control room while checking status monitors for the 4.3 meter Hubble-7 telescope as well as the primary solar and the Arctic earth scanners. All nominal and ready for Earth and deep space exploration by Katya the astronomer and Becca the astro-dynamicist and Earth scientist. Since his arrival, he logged several needed software bugs to pass on to Dmitry, the station’s computer specialist as well as a number of telescope observations of interest for Katya and Becca. He also performed space elevator checks before donning his space suit for final cable inspections up on the wings with A4.
Kendall and two cubic meters of air exited pressure-lock three on the upper deck. Instinctively taking in the view, he had to remember to breathe. Walking slowly around the Hubble pedestal, leaning over the railing, he looked straight down. From an altitude of 619 km, he attempted to make sense of the Earth’s aurora, its slow cloud-like motions appearing and disappearing over the northern portions of Greenland.
Then, tinting his visor, he raised his head and looked straight out toward the sun, the very impetus of the northern lights, perceiving the almost infinite flow of radiation bombarding and passing mother Earth. He again stretched over the railing and looked directly down, his eyes followed the space elevator cable from the faded Arctic atmosphere below upward until it attached to the station. Like the string of a kite, the space elevator cable looked as though it would restrain the station from floating away. He then arched his back while holding the railing, looked straight upward and checked an even more phenomenal sight, the space wing with its parallel maglev rails, solar panels, and cables attaching it to the main station platform.
The continuous procession of heavy mass satellites, or M-Sats, moving at orbital speeds, passed under the rails similar to the wind passing under a paraglider wing. The station wing was lifted by the stream by re-directing each satellite slightly downward thereby imparting vertical momentum to the station which hung by the sixteen cables, each about 500 meters long fanning upward from the station.
Kendall tried to see the North Star, but it was blocked by the wing’s structure above. He made his way over to one of the cables, buckled into an ascension device and began to climb the carbon fiber nanotube to help A4 in the inspection.
Kendall heard a familiar voice in his helmet radio. It was the Flight Director for NASA’s Momentum Class Satellites and Stations (M-Sat) program.
They’re a bit early this morning, Kendall thought.
(Continue at Part 6)
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