Motto: "Ad Astra Per Aspera"
(To the stars through hardship)
Location: Distributed across orbital space.
Above: locations of all L1 Federal installations.
Not to scale.
Population: ~750 million
Capital: Orbis Station Alpha-1
Largest City: Ibid
Official Language: English
National Language: English
Government: Limited-franchise Federal Republic
WA Category: Capitalist Paradise
- Executive: James Haywood
- Vice Executive: David Du
- Chief of the Senate: Chrisjen Avasarala
- Chief of the Tribune: Anton Sakharov
- Upper House: Senate
- Lower House: Tribune
Establishment: from World Assembly
Independence: August 23rd, 2108 AD
Land Area: N/A
Water Area: N/A
Water %: N/A
Relative to Earth sea level
Highest Point: 4 million km
Lowest Point: 100 km
GDP (nominal) per capita:
Human Development Index: 82.20
Currency: Federal credit
Time Zone: Federal Standard Time (Eastern Standard Time)
Drives on the: right
Calling code: +23
(routes through Light Delay Compensation Network)
Internet TLD: .fed
THE FEDERATION OF EARTH ORBIT
The Federation of Earth Orbit, or just the Federation, is a Limited-Franchise Federal Republic occupying all orbital space from the Kármán line at 100 kilometers to the edge of Earth's sphere of gravitational influence at 1.5 million kilometers, encompassing tens of thousands of orbital installations within this area. The Federation has an estimated population of 750 million people, and is comprised of three stratified "layers" of space.
Additionally, the Federation maintains several spaceports across the globe - most notably Port Einstein, located in the South Pacific. In addition to being the largest public space travel facility on Earth, Port Einstein is the seat of what little Federal government is maintained on the ground. Therefore, legislatively speaking, the Federation exists within the South Pacific.
The Federation is an economic powerhouse, with the vast majority of its GDP coming from asteroid mining, with the remainder accounted for by agriculture, consumer goods, and tourism. As such, the Federation is the world's foremost supplier of raw metals, including iron, gold, silver, platinum, and uranium. The Federation also holds a key position in keeping the peace on Earth - with allies across the globe, attacking almost anyone is nearly guaranteed to draw the ire of the Federation government, placing the offender in a highly precarious situation.
The Federation is named for the fact that each station is technically a semi-autonomous independent state; however, all stations are federated together under one constitution and government, forming the Federation of Earth Orbit.
The standard way to refer to a citizen of the Federation is as an "Orbiter." This term comes from the 20th-century word used to refer to any man-made orbiting vehicle.
The Federation, being a distributed space-borne state, does not adhere to traditional land-based geography. However, in the interests of navigation and visualization, the Federation does have its own unique orbital mapping system.
Federation space consists of several spherical layers, nestled within each other like an onion with Earth at its core.
Layer One (L1) comprises all orbital space from 100 kilometers in height (the Kármán line, an internationally recognized delineation point between atmosphere and space) to 500 kilometers. L1 is the most densely populated layer, containing over 70% of all Federal installations and 98% of all residential/agricultural stations, with a total of twenty thousand stations within its boundaries. This has lead to some unique challenges in space management; the sheer number of orbital paths involved must be simulated forwards over decades and centuries of time, and adjusted as necessary to prevent any collisions or other interference. Over the half-century that the Federation has existed, only one incident involving two unmanned relay stations has occurred.
Layer Two (L2) comprises all orbital space from 500 kilometers in height to 1000 kilometers in height. L2 has a much sparser population of stations than L1, and holds 25% of all Federal installations. Almost all stations in L2 are dedicated to non-agricultural industry; most prevalently, massive shipyards and asteroid harvesting facilities, but also smaller manufacturing plants for consumer goods.
Layer Three (L3) comprises all orbital space from 1000 kilometers in height out to the edge of Earth's SoI (sphere of influence.) Holding a paltry 5% of Federal installations, L3 is largely dedicated to automated structures, as well as a few skeleton-crew way-stations used as top-off points for autonomous interplanetary craft.
Federal influence does not extend below the Karman line or beyond Earth's SoI cutoff. Federal governance does not apply to Luna, which is governed by the independent Commonwealth of Luna.
In addition to the layer system, Federal space uses a unique coordinate system. In addition to a standard 3-D (XYZ) coordinate system based off traditional latitude and longitude, Federal coordinates include orbital parameters: periapsis, apoapsis, velocity, and inclination, defined as PAVI respectively. A complete Federal coordinate therefore looks like this: X/Y/Z - P/A/V/I
In 2100, the first Orbis-class space station was constructed by the World Assembly in a joint international attempt to access the resources of the asteroid belt, driven by a growing resource crisis planetside. This station - known simply as Orbis - was one part of the larger World Assembly Space Exploitation Initiative, which was also responsible for the founding of a colony on Luna and the failed attempt at colonization of Mars. Orbis would later become the seed of the Federation, but for now, it was under the control of the WA.
By 2101, asteroid mining had begun - late. A mechanical failure in the ion drive array attached to the first target asteroid led to it getting a gravity assist off Earth before hurtling out above the ecliptic. Colonists onboard Orbis go unpaid and live on minimal supplies for several months, awaiting the next inbound asteroid.
In 2105, as the planetside resource crisis continued to worsen, the World Assembly Space Administration pushed more and more asteroids into Orbis's schedule, giving the colonists no breathing room in-between jobs. Discontent with the WA begins to take root.
Finally, in 2108, Orbis and Armstrong Base (the Luna colony, now a fledgling city) simultaneously revolted against World Assembly control. WA Military Command threatened to launch nuclear missiles at Orbis and Armstrong if both did not re-admit to WA control. Orbis responded by playing their trump card - their revolt had been purposefully timed with the course of an inbound mining asteroid, which they now redirected to slam directly into the WA Space Center in Kenya, annihilating all WA space capabilities and assets, in addition to a large chunk of the surrounding countryside. The WA was grudgingly forced to accept the independence of Orbis and Armstrong. Armstrong immediately formed its own government - the Commonwealth of Luna - while Orbis remained as an unformed colonial state.
In 2110, a second Orbis-class station was constructed, named Alpha-2. The original Orbis became Alpha-1, and together the two stations drafted a constitution and formed a true state - the Federation of Earth Orbit. Immigrants are immediately welcomed from Earth in order to speed population growth.
Taking advantage of the increased resource availability and needs caused by both immigration and a population boom, eight more Orbis-class stations come online in 2125, with several dozen more slated for construction in what is now known as Layer 1.
By 2127, the first dedicated asteroid mining stations are being constructed in the newly-defined Layer 2. With machinery and technology capable of extracting resources from an asteroid at almost triple the efficiency of those found on Orbis stations, these new facilities bring the Federation its first economic boom. Intraorbital and ground/orbit flight is also becoming more commonplace as advances in propulsion and safety technologies drive down the cost and raise public perception. However, intrastation flight still takes several hours and remains quite dangerous.
Construction of the Orbis station constellation is completed towards the end of 2136, almost a decade ahead of schedule thanks to the economic and resource boom. Federal space now contains sixty-four Orbis stations, half of which are at capacity.
In 2140, the first Federal corporations with enough power and financing to invest in asteroid mining emerge. The Federal government auctions off the formerly government-owned mining platforms, and a further economic boom ensues in the mad corporate rush for the limitless resources of the asteroid belt.
By 2145, despite the combined population capacity of Federal space totaling to approximately 256 million, the Federation is starting to run out of space under the load of population growth and immigration. A government-run contest is opened for a medium-sized station design, and the winner - from the Void Corporation - is the Coriolis station. Holding half the population of an Orbis class but at one-tenth of the price, construction begins in earnest.
The Hydrogen Drive is invented in 2151 as part of a joint research effort between Federal and Lunar scientists, bringing about a revolution in space travel overnight. Although still too inefficient for fast interplanetary travel, the Hydrogen Drive brings the cost of transit within Earth's sphere of influence down to almost nothing, while pushing speed and safety numbers through the roof. Trade between Earth, the Federation, and Luna increases severalfold. For the first time, it even becomes possible to commute between stations for work or for a day trip.
In 2152, the Federation engages in a brief war with the Aural Theocracy. The first Federal station is destroyed in a hostile attack, and Federal asteroid bombardment weapons are used on planetside targets for the first time; although a resounding success, it was met with divided opinions from the World Assembly.
The Coriolis station constellation is completed halfway through 2153, boosting Federal population capacity to 1 billion people. Most Coriolis stations are flying dark, awaiting population.
2154, the year of World War III, is arguably the defining time of the Federation's military. In February, violent Marxist coups, overthrows, and revolutions took place across Central Asia, against the will of much of thneutral in the conflict - a position supported by most Federal citizens, fearing that their station could be targeted and destroyed at a moments notice should the Federation enter the conflict.
e general populace and the World Assembly. This "Neo-Communist Bloc" immediately targeted the surrounding area, including Europe and the Far East, launching multi-frontal attacks. The targeted nations were quickly overrun by the unexpected blitzkrieg attacks. The Federation, with the war with the Aural Theocracy still fresh in its collective mind, initially stays However, as the pleas for help from planetside grew louder and more myriad, Federal public opinion began to shift. Many military higher-ups, including the Executive (Michael Xi) himself, believed that the best solution would be to counter the Bloc would be to use the Federation version of blitzkrieg - stealth-pigment coated asteroids, launched at the heart of the Bloc, tearing it apart while leaving its conquered nations untouched. The Tribune and Senate came to a shared agreement in June to launch the attack.
Twenty-four hours later, the Bloc lay in ruins - and several Federal stations had been annihilated. Three Orbis stations, two Coriolis, and one mining platform were struck by nuclear weapons, killing ten million Federal citizens and shutting down almost all space travel for months while the resultant debris was captured and recycled. While the stealth-pigment coating on the asteroids had prevented an interdiction by the Bloc, a leak had revealed to the Bloc's High Command that the weapons were inbound. Rather than going peacefully, the Bloc took out as many Federal assets as possible before the asteroids hit. Practically every Federal station was fired upon, but thanks to upgraded point-defense systems created in the wake of the previous conflict with the Aural Theocracy, only the above-mentioned were hit.
The aftermath was horrifying. Earth entered into a brief ice age due to the amount of ash and dust launched into the atmosphere by Federal asteroid weapons, with rampant famine and economic collapse claiming hundreds of millions of lives. The Federation was less impacted, but the loss of ten million of its citizens did not go unnoticed. Federal society and infrastructure had been hobbled for the immediate future, with millions of families lost or separated and billions of pieces of debris still interfering with spaceflight.
By 2170 - the present year - both the Federation and Earth have thankfully recovered, and are in the process of rebuilding towards a better future.
The Federation has an approximate population of 750 million people, spread out across tens of thousands of stations. Most of the population is concentrated in Orbis-class stations (cap. 4 million) and Coriolis-class stations (cap. 2 million). Both Orbis and Coriolis stations spin at a rate sufficient to generate a full 1 gee of artificial gravity, making them the residence of choice for most Federal citizens. The remaining population is smeared over thousands of small to medium sized outposts, with varying levels of facilities ranging from Orbis-class in miniature to tiny platforms barely capable of hosting more than a few dozen families.
The official language of the Federation is English, which is spoken by the vast majority of the population and is the language of choice in official Federal business. However, a pidgin language unique to the Federation has been emerging; an amalgam of English, Russian, Spanish and dozens of other miscellaneous languages have been combined to create an unofficial, poorly defined language that is nonetheless on the rise among the Federal population.
The Federation Constitution recognizes the right to Freedom of Religion; however, there is no official state religion. The "unofficial" religion - practiced by the majority of Federal citizens - is Christianity at almost 90% of the population. This is further subdivided into 40% Protestant denominations, 30% neo-Catholocism, and 20% Orthodox denominations.
The racial and ethnic composition of the Federation is incredibly diverse, as immigrants have migrated to the Federation from across the planet to pursue a better life in orbit. However, the majority (>75%) of the Federal population is Caucasian; this is due to most nations with economies and citizens capable of affording the original cost of a launch from Earth to orbit being Caucasian in majority, such as the United States. This has changed in recent years, as the revelation of the hydrogen drive has pushed launch costs down to levels previously thought to be impossible, allowing those from poorer countries and backgrounds to emigrate to the Federation.
The Federation government is a limited-franchise republic, modeled after the ancient Roman Republic, in which only those who meet certain reasonable criteria are allowed to vote for the Federation Executive and for their representative seat(s) in the Senate. Those who do not meet the criteria to qualify as franchised have their rights protected by the Tribune, a council of non-franchised representatives with the power to veto any law proposed by the Senate or passed by the Executive. In original drafts of the Federal Constitution, the Tribune possessed the ability to pass laws only affecting the non-franchised, but this was quickly struck down in later drafts in the interests of keeping all citizens under the same rule of law.
A Federal citizen is considered franchised if they meet one of many criteria. Meeting a criterion means that the citizen is judged to have a reasonable "stake" in Federal society, and is therefore afforded the privilege of voting in the Executive and Senate elections. Some examples of criteria include: having at least two children, owning a business, and owning significant land property. Government employees are allowed no influence in either the Senate or Tribune, to prevent corruption.
Federal government follows the common three-branch model, with Executive, Legislative, and Judicial branches. The Executive branch is concerned with the Executive himself - a single Federal citizen, elected via electoral college by franchised citizens of the Republic. The Executive is the commander in chief of the Federal military, passes or vetoes laws proposed by the Senate, and is the diplomatic face of the Federation.
The Legislative branch contains the Senate and the Tribune. The Senate consists of approximately one thousand representatives, one from each moderately-populated Federal station. Senate representatives are elected by franchised citizens, and convene regularly to observe, refine, and propose laws to the Executive. If the Executive vetoes the law, it can still be passed with a 75% majority vote in the Senate. If the Tribune vetoes a law, it cannot be passed by any majority Senate vote.
The Tribune consists of a further thousand representatives, sourced from the same stations as Senate representatives. However, only the non-franchised can vote for Tribune representatives, and only non-franchised can be Tribune representatives. The Tribune has no political power other than the ability to democratically veto any law proposed by the Senate or passed by the Executive. Unlike an Executive veto, a Tribunal veto cannot be overriden. The offending law will have to be revised and cycled back through the Senate before it can be proposed again.
The Judicial branch is modeled after the United States court system, with a Supreme Court at the top, and descending levels of courts governing smaller and smaller regions below it. However, to prevent the politicization of the Judicial system, the Federal Constitution states that any court ruling against the word of the law only applies to that particular case; for example, if the Supreme Court declared in a case that abortion was legal (despite it being stated as equivalent to infanticide in the Constitution) that ruling would only apply to that case, and is not a valid defense if an unrelated defendant was criminally charged for receiving an abortion.
All Federal government is housed in a special module aboard Orbis Station Alpha-1, which is capable of ejecting and navigating orbital space independently if the station comes under attack. Standard emergency protocols dictate that in the event of module ejection, a course should be laid in for Armstrong City on Luna as a temporary safe harbor for the Federal government.
Below the Federal government, there is the local government of stations. These manage the infrastructure of their respective station, provide public services, and other duties. Each station government has a mayor, a station council, and a local court. The mayor is elected by all station residents, regardless of their Federal franchisement status, and serves a position similar to the Executive - passing laws and serving as a public figurehead. The station council serves as a miniature Senate, creating and proposing laws. Half of the council is occupied by franchised citizens, and half is occupied by non-franchised citizens. The local court is identical to many city courts found in the United States; determining justice for those who break local laws or laws that do not require elevation to a Federal court.
The Federation is a highly-desired ally among planetside nations, since the Federation offers favorable trade deals and defense to its allies. As a result, the majority of planetside nations have some positive affiliation with the Federal government. Those that don't are usually too poor to be capable of engaging in regular interaction with Federal space.
In addition to alliances with planetary nations, the Federation has an especially strong bond with the Commonwealth of Luna. Both revolted against World Assembly control in a joint effort, and have maintained close ties ever since. Both states have ironclad defense treaties and trade agreements with each other, bettering off each other in a mutually beneficial relationship. The Lunar economy is especially focused on production - specifically, consumer goods and spacecraft. Luna also has the benefit of a gravity low enough that specialized products can be made, such as zero-attenuation fiber optic cables. The Federation supplies heavily discounted raw materials used in Lunar factories, in exchange for discounted final products.
The Federation does not have a strong military tradition, being both a relatively young and relatively untouchable nation. However, there have been times in Federal history where the application of military force was necessary against hostile nations. Despite the prevailing peace, the Federation still maintains an acceptably strong military force.
Federal command hierarchy follows the long-standing traditional structure. The Executive occupies the position of commander in chief, while each branch of the military has its own named hierarchy, going all the way down to conscripted men. Federal military has two branches; Space and Planet, heavily budgeted at Space - in this case, space forces (combat vessels) and weapon infrastructure. Planet is much smaller, only deployed planetside if absolutely necessary to retake a region via ground, naval and air force rather than pounding it from orbit.
What's most notable about the Space branch is its leveraging of the advantages of its environment to gain the upper hand in war - best seen in the use of kinetic weaponry, including Godrods - accelerated metal rods dropped from orbit, useful for pinpoint damage - or asteroid redirection, which is capable of utterly pulverizing an entire country or region.
Federal stations are also equipped with a wide array of state-of-the-art defense systems, including point-defense cannons, laser arrays, and counter-slug turrets. Together, Federal stations are protected from any attack possible with current technology, including missiles, railgun slugs, orbital shrapnel bombs, and point-defense rounds.
Currency: Federal credit
Fiscal Year: January 1st - December 31st
GDP (nominal): 82.7 trillion credits
GDP (nominal) per capita: 106,614 credits
Labor Force: ~600 million
The Federation economy is built entirely off of asteroid mining; metal-rich asteroids are captured by autonomous drones and slowly nudged into Earth orbit, where specialized stations and trained employees gut the rock like a fish. Any metals will be extracted, and the remaining stone will be processed for common but useful minerals. A single five hundred meter asteroid can net tens of thousands of tons of metal, including gold, silver, platinum, and iron, as well as smaller quantities of uranium. Some of these raw materials are invested back into Federation infrastructure, while the rest is carefully sold to planetside nations to avoid runaway inflation. Any economic deficit due to the anti-inflation cap is covered with myriad other industries, including agriculture and livestock (in ring stations, which have the advantage of solar exposure) as well as electronics and other consumer products.
The culture of the Federation is best described as "pragmatic and traditional, and seemingly a bit stubborn and confrontational at times, but also kind and high-trust."
The people of the Federation are especially pragmatic after seeing the impact of the opposite - the rise of the Neo-Communist Bloc and WWIII are still fresh in the collective memory of the Federation. The following of traditional values comes hand-in-hand with pragmatism, with people generally choosing the tried-and-tested beliefs and methods of their ancestors over largely hypothetical progressive values.
This can come across as stubborn to more progressive cultures, which often leads to the Federation being mislabeled as culturally backwards. Federal citizens will often reply to this sort of accusation by stating that a more accurate description would be that the Federation is culturally stable, an important trait that is logistically disjointed from being legitimately "backwards." This sort of uncompromising, factual put-down is common in arguments made by Federal citizens, and directly results in the perception of the people as confrontational.
However, on the lighter side, the people of the Federation are renowned for their kindness and extremely high internal trust. The kindness likely comes from the initial wave of settlers after the Federation's independence, which was largely sourced from the American Midwest - a region that was and still is known for commonplace kindness and casual social interaction with strangers. The source of the Federation's high internal trust is more difficult to determine, but most culturologists posit that it originates from the challenges of life in the Federation during those early days. When the Federation consisted of no more than a few Orbis-class stations, essential resources were available, but anything beyond that was scarce. The early pioneers of the Federation learned to share what few luxuries they had amongst themselves, with every exchange of an item or service held to a strict, unspoken code that the favor would be returned. Over time, even as the luxuries available to those on Earth became more readily available in the Federation, this high-trust network remained in place and expanded with each new immigrant. This has vast ramifications - high-trust societies have been shown time and time again in human history to be more highly efficient and stable than a less-trustworthy society.
Federal infrastructure and technology is among the most complex in human history, thanks to the unique challenges posed by occupying space exclusively. Among the keystones of Federal infrastructure and tech are Orbis stations and Coriolis stations. A list of miscellaneous Federal technology and science can be found here.
While larger Federal installations were originally powered by fourth-generation nuclear fission reactors - the only practical power source for the energy-sucking Orbis and Coriolis stations - the invention of the Hydrogen Drive has also brought about the advent of controlled nuclear fusion. All Federal fission reactors have long since been decommissioned and replaced with modern fusion reactors. Smaller installations continue to rely on a combination of solar and battery power.
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Images sourced from the Expanse, Elite: Dangerous, and Google Images (in no particular order.)
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