Space habitats are the most recent additions to the orbital hardware display. Habitats are designed to be stationed in deep space between the Earth and the Moon, they are isolated from regular supply runs, so they must be self-supporting mini-worlds, capable of generating their own air, water, and food. To do so, they must be very large to start with, and they also must be capable of generating their own spin gravity.
The largest space habitats have been nicknamed “L-5’s”, after their orbital position at the LaGrange Points around Earth and the Moon. The most famous of these is the jewel of the European Space Agency: the orbital colony Crystal Palace.
The Palace was constructed between 2000 and 2011, although during the year 2005, construction was slowed due to the First Corporate War, that confronted Orbital Air with the German giant Euro Business Machines, for the control of the wrecks of the space giant Transworld Airlines who declared bankruptcy. According to corporate propaganda, in its effort to aid Transworld Airlines, the megacorporation Orbital Air was forced to use much of its resources to counter the attacks of the European corporate giant, Euro Business Machines, this kept much-needed supplies from reaching the station. What propaganda doesn’t say is the vultures at Orbital Air, wanted to take control of the crumbling Transworld Airlines to expand their services and supremacy and, as Orbital Air and the European Space Agency play together, they also go to war together: the enemies of my friends are my enemies, and European political powers are not very fond of the interference of the German megacorp Euro Business Machines, so this also was a good moment for the Euro government to show their metaphorical middle finger to the German megacorp.
But this wasn’t the only interruption, in 2008 the Euro-Yank war interrupted its construction again, shortly, though, the war didn’t last long, you need to be really stupid to mess with the Euros. After this short delay, the construction continued until 2010 and, after a year of testing and refitting, in 2011 the Crystal Palace was opened for business and pleasure.
The Palace is a ring structure built around a large core extending for one mile through the center of the station, made up of five toroids connected to the main core by four spokes each. Each ring of the station has a radius of 2 km, while the three central rings are entirely enclosed, the outer two rings have a 2-meter thick leaded glass window to permit light to enter. Hence the name, Crystal Palace. But don’t worry for radiation, one of the biggest enemies in space, the Crystal Palace is protected from hard radiation by a thick shield of lunar rock on the outside, and shielded against Electro Magnetic Pulses on the inside.
Inside the Crystal Palace
Inside each inner torus are four levels of living facilities, manufacturing plants, life support systems, and apartment blocks, that the European Space Agency rents to the highest bidder, and they must bid really high because only people on the top of the top can afford such lavishness. You can also find leisure spaces as the two outer toroids have huge open parks, not only for recreation but also to provide a good part of the oxygen supply. This is the posh part of the station, well, the poshest part, most of this area is devoted to open space and has common buildings, restaurants, and housing for high ranking corporates and European Space Agency officials because in such a beautiful space station we just can’t get rid of the mega-corporations.
Crystal Palace generates gravity indeed, I can’t imagine corpos learning to walk in zero gee. The station spins at a rate of 7.5 revolutions per hour to generate such gravity, which produces the Coriolis effect, so if you manage to get bored there, you can always play with the toilets.
While the European Space Agency technically owns the Palace, all nations that are capable of sending their people to space have an embassy there. Living spaces are leased by the agency to the highest bidders on a twenty year renewable basis and, you guessed right, they are not cheap, but this money is well spent in providing emergency services, general security, and general services to keep the station going, including police services, courtesy of the intra-European police organization, the Interpol, who reserves the right of judicial power over criminal offenses. And they take their job seriously, they don’t fool around. Security is tight and weapons are not allowed, no matter if cybernetic or other, they will be confiscated. And, if cybernetic, they may take your arm with it.