Riding a space-plane into orbit is a lot less exciting than the holos made you believe. It's something like being on a big, comfortable bus which just doesn’t stop. The only real shock comes when, after an hour of acceleration, you suddenly notice a tickle in your stomach and inner ear.
Welcome to Zero Gravity.
Space is an unforgiving dangerous place. When you get here, everything you forgot to bring with you will kill you. Everything you did bring with you that doesn’t work properly will kill you. When in doubt, just assume everything will kill you. If it’s not the lack of air or compromised pressure, will be the radiation, or even malfunctioning cyberware. Why coming to this shithole in the first place?
Motivated by a crumbling ecosystem and accelerating population growth, the human race has exploded out into the stars, because rats are quick to abandon a sinking ship. In the Near Earth Orbit Zones, the skies are crowded with space traffic: busy orbital transfer vehicles unloading cargos from space shuttles, sleek spaceplanes docking among the spiderweb of stations. There are over two thousand factories in orbit, with automated workstations churning out drugs, plastics, alloys and tools for corporate markets on Earth.
Microwave satellites spread lattice wings to catch the solar wind converting its energy to microwaves and beaming it down to the power-starved millions below. Skirting the outer fringes of the atmosphere, the sinister arrowhead shapes of space fighters and delta cruise, seeking out enemy laser sats with their kinetic kill weapons.
At the stable orbit of L-1, hanging suspended between Earth and Luna, is the huge spinning wheel of the Crystal Palace, Mankind’s first true space colony and the glittering crown of the Euro Space Agency’s achievements. Looming just beyond at L-5 is O’Neil One: the titanic micro-planet whose cylindrical bulk spans 33 kilometers, a giant hive of humanity surrounded by a myriad of Orbital Transfer Vehicles and shuttles. On the far side of Earth from O’Neil One lies the equally massive O’Neill cylinder of Paradise Station; situated at the L-4, this is the final cylinder colony, and is eventually planned to extend to approximately 100 km in length. Its design already contains the seeds for its further expansion. You like it big? Go to O'Neill.
In Low Earth Orbit the traffic is fairly light. Communications, weather, and spy sats shift from this zone to Geo-sync Orbit and back as their programmed routines dictate. Low Earth Orbit is also the domain of orbital space fighters and battle satellites, which require closer orbits and a higher degree of maneuverability.
GEO-Synchronous Orbit, as high as 37 km from Earth, is dominated by orbital workstations, small factories and battle satellites, and other stable platforms. It is here that ground-based spaceplanes and shuttles dock with Orbital Transfer Stations, shifting crews and cargo to outbound Orbital Transfer Vehicles.
Home, it’s not where we think it is. Because is not just a house. Let alone a city. Or a Planet. Our home is bigger and reaches to the stars. At Terranova we build new worlds, terraforming landscapes, creating a home to love.
Building worlds beyond the stars
The “L Points” (or LaGrange Stationary Points) occupy stable positions relative to Earth and Luna, making them perfect for long-duration, self-contained bases, factories and construction sites. At the L points orbit the largest space constructions in existence: the Crystal Palace Space Station, the O’Neill One Habitat, Paradise Station and the smaller Galileo Cylinder.
But humans not only settled in space stations scattered around the stars, the Solar System offers other spaces where you don’t need engineering resources to create gravity, so sapiens also settled on Luna, on Mars, and on the Belt. On Luna and Mars are self-sustaining colonies, tunneled into the floors and walls of their respective craters, with miles of solar collectors providing the raw energy to support life on these dead worlds. The mile-long tracks of the Luna mass drivers are buried deep within the crater rock, a dark reminder of the time when the Euro Space Agency used them to hurl multi-toned rocks on Earth.
But why going so far in the first place? Interplanetary travel is a more secure confinement than any prison. Once you’ve started, there’s no turning back. Most of the time will be spent in coldsleep and braindance. Braindance is probably the single item most responsible for allowing human travel through deep space. Coldsleep doesn’t actually freeze people, which would cause irreparable tissue damage, it simply chills them to the point where their metabolism is virtually nil but the brain still remains fairly active. The braindance allows an individual to function within a virtual environment, providing all the stimulation the brain needs because, otherwise, you may find your crew is insane when they land.
Welcome to the Cyberpunk space age and remember: just assume that everything will kill you.