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Putting the Propellant in the Fuel Tank

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Abstract

Gateway Earth Development Group is an initiative proposing new modular space access architecture, centred on operating a combined research space station and commercial space hotel in the geostationary orbit (GEO) – the Gateway Earth complex. At this location, robotic and crewed interplanetary spacecraft could be assembled, and docked before they travel to, and return from, any Solar System destination. Moreover, it is proposed that space tourism would provide a significant part of the funding to build and maintain the complex. In order to do so, various elements of this architecture, which are currently being developed independently by a range of different space firms and agencies, both internationally and in the UK, need to be integrated into a single mission proposal. Hence, it is our aim at GEDG to synthesize all these disparate actors and activities, and focus them on making the Gateway Earth concept possible in the mid-term future. This paper provides a status update on these projects’ progress to date and focuses on the next steps required to ensure this concept becomes an accepted architecture for space access and exploration. The aim is to establish the Gateway Earth approach as a preferred technically-feasible and politically and financially realistic concept and thereby enable a new generation of affordable space exploration missions, backed by revenues generated from commercial space activities.

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Conference Paper
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Gateway Earth Development Group seeks to design a technically and economically viable architecture for interplanetary space exploration. We are proposing to utilise space tourism as an enabler for the development of a space station in Earth’s geostationary orbit (GEO), at which interplanetary spacecraft could be build and serviced to take astronauts on missions across the Solar System. Access to this space gateway will be provided by deploying re-usable vehicles, which will in stages - through Low Earth Orbit (LEO) - deliver goods and people to the station. Gateway Earth itself will be a combined governmental space station and commercial space hotel, located in GEO. At this location it is close to the edge of Earth’s “gravity well”, and so it is a great place for interplanetary spacecraft to dock both as they depart for, and as they return from, distant Solar System destinations. This would apply to both robotic and crewed missions. For the same reason it is a great place to assemble the interplanetary craft, which would then avoid the craft having to withstand the rigors of launch and re-entry through Earth’s atmosphere. Space tourism revenues will provide a significant part of the funding needed to both build the complex and supply the regular reusable tug service. At present, various elements of the concept are being developed independently by different space engineering firms and agencies; some large, and others small and entrepreneurial in nature. Our aim is to synthesize all these disparate activities, and have them focus on making the overall Gateway Earth concept possible. This paper will provide a status update on progress to date and invite feedback on key modules of the projects’ architecture.
Conference Paper
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Gateway Earth is proposed as modular space access architecture, operating a combined governmental space station and commercial space hotel located in the geostationary orbit [1, 2]. This location, close to the edge of the Earth's "gravity well", is ideal for robotic and crewed interplanetary spacecraft to dock as they depart for, or return from, any Solar System destinations. Additionally, assembling interplanetary craft, almost certainly including in-situ (additive) manufactured components, at this location would avoid these vehicles having to withstand the rigors of launch and re-entry through Earth's atmosphere. Moreover, space tourism revenues will provide a significant part of the funding needed to both build the complex and supply the regular reusable tug service via low-earth orbit [3]. Various elements of the architecture are being developed independently by a whole range of different space engineering firms and national and international agencies; some large, and others small and entrepreneurial in nature. Our aim is to synthesize all these disparate activities, and have them focus on making the overall Gateway Earth concept possible and deliverable in the mid-term future [4]. This paper is providing a status update on Gateway Earth Development Group's progress to date and invites feedback on key modules of the architecture as well as Gateway Earth's overall development and operational strategy.
Conference Paper
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Technical Report
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