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For my book, I need a simple, basic layout to work with for a space station. I am using a typical spinning cylindrical design, a core in the center, a number of levels surrounding the core (in my case 5), with a dock on either end. I have loosely based this on a sketch from C.J. Cherryh (below).

EDIT: How are the levels organized in relation to the core? I get the whole thing is spinning. I'm unclear on how the levels are oriented per the drawing.

They look vertical to the core, but that doesn't make sense to me. It would seem that from the top of the core, the levels would be stacked horizontally in the drawing.

If I am thinking of the core as a stairway that goes up/down, it looks like the levels are like a vertical shaft - like I'd be walking up the "wall" of the core. This is just a cross-section of course, and that level circles the core. So if you were thinking of like a house level diagram, would that be "flat against" the side of the core, circling it?

Space Station

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  • $\begingroup$ @sphennings yes - editing the original question. $\endgroup$
    – MajorTom
    Commented Dec 29, 2022 at 16:07
  • $\begingroup$ @JBH - you are getting to the heart of my question, I will rephrase. $\endgroup$
    – MajorTom
    Commented Dec 29, 2022 at 16:08
  • $\begingroup$ @JBH - So would that mean my feet would be standing at the bottom of each number in the side view? $\endgroup$
    – MajorTom
    Commented Dec 29, 2022 at 16:15
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    $\begingroup$ Thanks, ,Tom. It's a breath of fresh air to meet a user willing to fix the problems in their questions. VTC retracted and +1. $\endgroup$
    – JBH
    Commented Dec 29, 2022 at 16:50
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    $\begingroup$ @JBH Not at all! I'm here to play by the rules and try to learn what I need to know. I really appreciate the help from everyone. $\endgroup$
    – MajorTom
    Commented Dec 29, 2022 at 17:26

2 Answers 2

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Hmm... To my knowledge, the pull of gravity will be perpendicular to the axis of rotation, and away from the center.

If you were to imagine this station as a giant rolling pin, then the 'surface' (in this case the inside of the cylinder) would be the habitable sections. If you cut the station in half, perpendicular to the core axis, it would look like an onion, with layers.

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  • $\begingroup$ I like the rolling pin analogy and it makes sense with comments others have made. A person would be standing in the same orientation as the numbers on the levels, and that level wraps all around. I think I get it now. $\endgroup$
    – MajorTom
    Commented Dec 29, 2022 at 17:53
  • $\begingroup$ Well... when you ask about the difference in gravity, depending on its radius, I.E. the size of your station, it might be small if the station is large, but if your station is of relatively small size (roughly a kilometer or so wide and only producing 0.3 to 0.5 gravities at the outermost layers), the difference may be very large. $\endgroup$ Commented Dec 29, 2022 at 18:10
  • $\begingroup$ Imagine the core being a docking and loading platform. If this were some kind of mining or cargo station, the innermost layers will have very bad Coriolis forces, you'd feel lightheaded as the weight of your head will be less than that of your feet, and the gravity would be slight, meaning that it would be the least valued and dirtiest part of the station. $\endgroup$ Commented Dec 29, 2022 at 18:13
  • $\begingroup$ and the outermost layers would be the most valuable section, as it would have the most comfortable conditions. $\endgroup$ Commented Dec 29, 2022 at 18:13
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    $\begingroup$ In that case, (I'm assuming by large were talking anywhere from 40 kilometers to 100 onwards (Elysium station from the namesake movie is 128Km in diameter.)) then the difference in gravity and coriolis between a layer 40 and 41 kilometers from the center will be negligible. If you want a very accurate explanation, then watch/read The Expanse by James SE Corey. $\endgroup$ Commented Dec 29, 2022 at 18:44
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That space station is structured similar to the stalk of a leek. Each layer wraps around the previous layer. Since the station is being spun the felt force will be directed outwards from the center of the long axis. At any moment in time down will be away from the center, towards the surface of the station. A result of this is that anything not firmly attached to the surface of the station will be flung off into the blackness of space.

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