Where is the best place for a spaceport?
Posted: Posted November 30th, 2018 by chiarizio
Where are the best places for interplanetary, and separately for interstellar, spacecraft to “land”, and separately to take off from?
When are the best times to land or take off?
Where are the best places to anchor a space-elevator?
Would it be better for some types of spacecraft to land on actual land, and other types to land in water?
If some (or all!) would benefit by making planetfall in water, should it be oceanic, or freshwater lake? Or, some for the ocean and others for lakes?
If a lake, how deep must it be, how wide must it be, and at what altitude should it be?
If some or all should land on and/or take off from land, should it be a mountaintop, or a tableland (plateau), or some other type of elevated flat spot, or a plain?
Should it be Polar or Equatorial?
The South Pole is land and the North Pole is ocean. Which is better for which type of craft?
If the spot chosen is equatorial and oceanic, wouldn’t it be smart to have it near an inhabited island, or an inhabited bit of continental coast? Or would that actually be risky?
Would either the Galápagos Islands, or the Gilbert islands, be good?
How about Equatorial Guinea?
I can’t make an exhaustive list of equatorial locations that are either elevated or populated or both.
Might https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chimborazo be a good spot?
It’s a dormant (last eruption 550 BCE) volcano so it might be scary; but its peak is the piece of land furthest from the Earth’s center.
How about somewhere in the https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rwenzori_Mountains?
They’re not volcanic, or at least Mount Stanley, their highest peak, isn’t. It’s less than half a degree away from the Equator. And they’re near three African Great Lakes, one of which is about 600 meters above sea level, and one of which is about 900 meters above sea level, and at least one of which is smack dab on the Equator.
Is the best design for a space elevator to have its central platform be in geosynchronous orbit around the Equator, with equal lengths of cable descending to the anchor point on the earth, and ascending above the platform out into space?
If a spacecraft takes off from the Equator, is the best time midnight, or six hours before midnight? (Real local time meant, without influence from time zones nor daylight saving time.). And is the best time to land midnight, or six hours after midnight?
Or maybe it depends on whether the ship is arriving from or departing toward a place or direction closer to “towards the sun” or “away from the sun”.
Perhaps, if an interstellar ship is arriving on earth from a destination outside the solar system, close to the plane of the ecliptic, an equatorial base would be better; but if it’s arriving from a direction nearly perpendicular to the ecliptic, a polar base would be better.
If ships land at and take off from a polar location, would midwinter day (the winter solstice) be the best time? Or would whenever the earth is at aphelion be the best time?
What if the interplanetary and interstellar ships don’t land on nor take off from the earth at all?
It seems that the smart things to do might be to build two spaceports on Luna, one in the center of the far side, and one in the center of the near side. Ships coming from deep interplanetary space, with traffic or freight to or from earth, would land at and take off from the far side. There’d be a railroad or something taking freight and people between the farside port and the nearside port. Shuttles would take them between Earth and the nearside port.
When would be the best times to land at or take off from the far side?
I suggest: full moon, or, whenever the moon is on the opposite side of the earth from the sun.
I don’t think it matters so much when to time flights between the near side and the Earth. But maybe it should be when the moon is directly over the Equator.
What if, in addition to the above paragraph, there were also space elevators built ? Then the shuttles wouldn’t have to actually land on the earth; they could just rendezvous with the outer, spaceward ends of the space elevators; or, maybe, with their geosynchronous, central, main platforms.
By the same token, maybe interstellar craft need never approach the earth. The interstellar port(s) could be on Sedna or Pluto or Charon or some other “sednoid”, or a major satellite of Neptune or Uranus or Saturn or Jupiter. Freight and passengers to be carried between Earth and interstellar destinations, could be shuttled between such a port, and Luna’s farside port.
What about other planets than Earth, and other star-systems than Sol’s?
I’d better go ahead and post this now.
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