Technology (Orbital Structure)
Date of Invention: June 3rd, 2145
Official name: Coriolis Station
Purpose: Medium-capacity orbital population and industry center
Used by: The Federation of Earth Orbit
Coriolis-class Space Station
Coriolis-class stations - deriving their name from the "Coriolis effect" encountered in spin-gravity systems - are the most common orbital structures, housing two million people. Cubaoctahedral in shape, the stations spin along a central axis in order to create a full one gee of artificial gravity for inhabitants. Unlike Orbis-class stations, which have sufficient space for a variety of living environments (ranging from urban to rural), Coriolis-class stations are fully urban living environments.
Key to understanding of Coriolis stations is a knowledge of their internal layout, which can be confusing or vague if one has not visited a Coriolis. The diagram below is an "unfolded" Coriolis - a cuboctahedron laid out flat, with each face's purpose labelled.
The central docking slot, surrounded by the various administrative facilities of the station.
A dense urban landscape placed on faces where gravity is closest to Earth's. Largely residential and non-industry business, with some commercial.
Bays, tanks, and other storage facilities for trade goods, station supplies, etcetera.
Limited industrial facilities, generally focused on low-output, high-value goods.
Dedicated section for long-term storage, maintenance, and overhauls of spacecraft.
Shielded section that includes the station's main reactor, fuel stores, atmospherics, and other core systems.
The empty space in-between faces is filled with the docking cylinder, which is surrounded by additional cargo space. This central assembly is further encased on all sides by the "sky-screen" - an advanced combination of LED lighting and display technology that simulates an Earth-like sky 1000 meters above all internal faces. The display and lighting change with Federal Standard Time to simulate all hours of the day, allowing residents to experience the complete illusion of being under a sky - an important factor in making Coriolis stations feel more open and natural, rather than the closed-in boxes they really are.
The exterior faces of the station are also utilized; several railgun arrays are placed on the exterior, allowing the station to both defend itself and provide offensive support. In the event of a hull breach due to hostile action or an accident, the gap will be automatically sealed by pressure-retention field technology layered inside the 2-meter titanium alloy hull.
A photograph of a "line park" on Coriolis Mu-8. Those in the scene have been shaded for privacy purposes.
The adjacent urban face is just out of sight, hidden below the horizon and behind the sky-screen.
Unlike Orbis stations, which offer a wide range of potential lifestyles, Coriolis-class stations are exclusively urban, with a total of 32 square kilometers of internal surface area dedicated for high-density housing, business, and commercial structures. In order to maximize space efficiency, all buildings are around 90 stories (the mandatory height cutoff.) Despite the towering skyscrapers, dense landscape, and prevailing Earthside stereotype, Coriolis stations are not "urban hellscapes." The lower levels of buildings are built to make the relatively narrow streets feel more open, while parks and other recreational facilities are placed under buildings, utilizing smaller instances of sky-screen technology to illuminate and open up said spaces. Apartments are the near-universal housing solution, but rent is affordable, and living accommodations are large, well-furnished and modern thanks to ruthless competition between corporate landlords. Most adults work in either industry or office, corporate or otherwise.
Utilities such as electricity and plumbing are provided at minimal cost to residents by either the station government or a local station company. Services such as Internet and phone are paid for by tax money and provided to all residents, as the infrastructure is built into the heart of the station (unlike Earth telecom infrastructure, which must be wired into homes at some expense.) Public education is also paid for by tax money, but parents have the freedom to send their children to a private school.
Automobiles are legal, albeit only electric models, but rarely seen - most prefer to walk or utilize the extensive public transportation network built into the station design.
On many stations, certain lower-gravity faces (originally occupied by industry or cargo) have been developed by corporations and station governments for a variety of alternate uses, including parkland, agriculture, and even reduced-gravity senior living. Coriolis Xi-5 is famed for having replaced all of its industry with sprawling parks, which contain lakes, playgrounds, and even amusement park rides.
Images obtained from Elite: Dangerous and Google Images, in no particular order.