|Author (cobalt_phoenix @ Aug 12 2018, 18:13)|
|I actually don't think it would be that thrifty. I would suspect that it instead runs into a couple of problems that would jack up the costs even more.|
First, a large number of small craft would be needed to build it in any reasonable time frame. Unfortunately, a large enough number of small craft would likely cost more overall than a single large ship, especially since I can see a number of companies who specialize specifically on transporting such structures and so you are only paying for the temporary use. If you elect instead to build it using anywhere from one to a few small craft, I have a feeling you are going to run into the next problems.
Second, there is a potential to come back and find your previous supplies gone. It could be stolen by others, taken by local creatures, destroyed by weather, or destroyed by the numerous issues that effect objects in space. Yes, you can track large asteroids and comets to ensure none are likely to hit, but how about a meteor shower composed of millions of rocks sized between a ball bearing and a bowling ball? Yes, you can defend against that, but you are probably talking about transporting the armor and defenses of the station first, along with the power plants, sensors, computers, and crew systems needed to operate them effectively all in that first load. Now, that really shouldn't be a problem, but that probably is going to require more than just a couple of ships to pull off.
Third, radiation. Leaving an incomplete station floating out in space is going to increase the amount of radiation bombardment it experiences. If around a planet with an appropriate magnetic field, much of this can be averted (just like spacecraft in low earth orbit). If, however, it is placed in such a way that radiation bombardment isn't mitigated, you could run into a problem where the interior of the station is too radioactive when complete for the crew to survive.
Personally, I would say this: a single small craft could easily carry the equipment (such as fabrication facilities, mining systems, etc) to simply build everything for a station from materials on-hand. The ship arrives, strip mines an asteroid (you need at most only one of them, given the average size of asteroids), maybe strip mines a comet (for water and air) and then uses the resources to build the station. A second small craft arrives at a later date with the station's crew. That would be my recommendation.
|What's required to build a space station, which is more or less like a ship? Starships shows that a Type 3 spaceport can construct small craft. The smallest space station is bigger than a small craft, but the next alternative, that we need a Type 1 port, seems unreasonable. I might say that a specialised small Type 2 spaceport might be able to build a Light Ship and that a specialised Type 2 port can be as small as a general-service Type 3 port.|
So how many Hull Points is a Type 3 spaceport? As discussed elsewhere, we don't really know.
|Assuming then that one construction vessel will bring everything required and remain in the system for the duration of construction (resupplied by others, of course, as needed), what can we say about that ship? It's an interesting discussion that should help with a number of other concerns.|
What's required in equipment and time to locate a body of suitable ore to make a starship hull, then mine enough to build a station? How big is the plant required to smelt and convert the ore into hull material? Warships suggests that an Industrial hull is suitable as a mining ship, but perhaps this function can be smaller. These are hard questions. I might come back to them.