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Disclaimer: Space stations are currently sitting at “CONFIRMED FREQUENT SUGGESTION, BUT NOT WORKED ON AT ALL” in the development itinerary. That means it’s a suggestion that will make into the game, but is in the lowest of all priority. This thread is about the discussion of how stations might work in Astroneer, and isn't intended as a suggestion. Topic What will orbital stations be like? Will they have interiors, or be more like ground based modules as a single plane? How will Astroneers move around them? Why even build one? There are many questions to be answered. Feel free to voice how you think space stations might be implemented in Astroneer. Considerations Construction: building stations, location, and all things regarding presence Purpose: the functionality stations could serve Example: Platform modules are constructed to be support structures, with the purpose of forming a stable base for items and modules. The basic concept of a station is straightforward, but when theorizing about yet non-existent elements it can get little blurry. Something as simple as adding wheels a platform, and you’ve conceptually created a vehicle. Medium and Large rovers are essentially wheeled platforms with independent power supply (an obscure definition of a rover). With that in mind, I'll describe my own thoughts on the subject. Theory How might stations be constructed? I imagine stations would have fixed orbits, but perhaps some relocation from docked shuttles. Each could be constructed using purpose made station modules; not unlike a real world examples, such as the International Space Station (ISS). The ISS can rotate using gyroscopes, but it cannot change altitude under its own power (relocation via boosting with shuttles). The station's component modules, if they have internal volume, would be quite large (larger than anything ground based). Astroneers would conduct EVAs to interact with the exterior and construct/add new modules. Building a station would be large undertaking; with each separate piece needing raw materials shipped into space and constructed, or prefabricated modules made, launched, expanded, and connected. The size of station modules might also exceed the current tiers that ground modules occupy (Tier 4+). This means they would be limited to late game content, and likely gated by research cost and resource demand. What purpose do stations fill? More specifically, what are advantages? Space environments don't have storms (solar wind notwithstanding) Unlimited expansion without need for modifying surroundings (as with ground bases) Depending on orbit, limitless access to solar energy Unparalleled fuel efficiency for travel Already in orbit, immediate access to all landing sites The first three points are very important, but the last one is the real kicker. Consider this scenario: there are two ground bases needing materials transported between them. Astroneers have to move material by land vehicle. Ground travel over large distances is time consuming, and treacherous. The current alternative is to use a shuttle; lifting cargo to orbit, and landing (hopefully) near the destination. A round trip between two ground bases by shuttle costs a whopping 4 fuel charges, or 2 canisters of Hydrazine. For anyone needing a reminder, that’s half a Hydrazine Catalyzer production run, and two production runs for Fuel Catalyzers. This is where having a station comes into play. Move one base to space, and now it only take 2 fuel charges, or a single canister to ferry materials via shuttle. Station save time, and fuel. Only takeoff, landing, and interplanetary travel cost fuel charges. With station docking costing no fuel, there is more reason to build one. Astroneers collecting resources at distant planets, rather than landing on a centrally located planet, could dock at a station, eliminating landing costs. Besides the entire cool factor of making your own space station, one less fuel canister per journey is massive savings, and space travel is all about mass efficiency. Of course, no storms is awesome too. Are there any other purposes that stations could fill? First up is deep space geostationary orbit, whereby a station orbits by maintaining a fixed point matching planet rotation. Because the station orbits above a fixed point on the surface, it could be readily accessible from bases situated below, as the travel time would be fixed for docking/disembarking. Another cool benefit of geostationary orbit is wireless energy transmission. Yeah, it’s a real thing - stations collect power with solar, and then use use lasers/microwaves to beam energy to ground based power grids. Next up are Lagrange points, or areas of space with combined gravitational forces that are in equilibrium. Basically, stations built at Lagrange points act as midpoints between planets. Traveling to a midpoint station would cost less fuel compared to traveling between planets. The cost/benefit of a midpoint base is an equidistant local, allowing dual access from two locations. This partially compensated for the necessity of a building a station around both planets - trading off a smidgen of fuel each trip. Another possibility is that of elliptical orbits. Unlike circular orbits that maintain a fixed distance, elliptical orbits follow a path which periodically changes distance. Large enough elliptical orbits transition between planets. To make a journey, dock with a close station, and simply wait. The station will eventually close distance with the other planet. Elliptical orbits reduce fuel cost, trading it for time. This cuts travel fuel cost in half for short orbits, but consider a station with an orbit the distance of a system! Traveling five planets over would cost two fuel - albeit Astroneers would have to wait a bit, but processing and fabrication would bide the time. Other mechanics: Asteroid mining Larger scale trading Larger spacecraft (interplanetary; between player sessions) Space elevators So, what do you guys think? Is this how you imagine stations, or are your ideas a bit different?