Space Stations using the Skylon Launch System
M. Hempsell (2012), JBIS, 65, 392-401
Keywords: Skylon, Space stations, Multi role capsules, Modular construction
After the International Space Station is decommissioned in 2020 or soon after, Skylon will be an operating launch system and it is the obvious means to launch any successor in orbit infrastructure. The study looked at establishing 14 stations of 7 different types located from Low Earth Orbit to the Moon’s surface with common elements all launched by Skylon. The key reason for the study was to validate Skylon could launch such an infrastructure, but the study’s secondary objectives were to contribute to consideration of what should replace the ISS, and explore a “multiple small station” architecture. It was found that the total acquisition costs for LEO stations could be below $1 billion (2010) while for stations beyond LEO total acquisition costs were found to be between $3 and £5 billion. No technical constraints on the Skylon launch system were found that would prevent it launching all 14 stations in under 5 years.