pros/cons of LEO manufacturing

Jan 29, 2020
There are a few places to manufacture in space. LEO and GEO. Lagrange Points. Lunar Orbit. Lunar surface. Demios.
Earth orbits aren't stable and are difficult to change station mass. The logistics and materials are simpler for small amounts.
L-Points need radar and meteor defenses. They aren't crowded.
Lunar orbit is good for manufacturing.
The Lunar surface has a dust problem that degrades quality worse than LEO oxygen. It does have structure.
Demios is colder, an advantage designing equipment for somewhere in situ. It is remote. If non-toxic, Phobos might be where to get asteroid in situ simulant. Need radiation and meteor shielding.
Ultimately, Lunar orbits and Lagrange points scale for in situ manufacturing given the free vacuum quality. Exterior station vacuum workstations should be an original part of the station; it is hard to invent a CanadaArm to dangle dangerous experiments away from the station. They will be braced against the station exterior with legs. I wouldn't go over 1000C. Cold welding coin metals lets hermetic containers be the operating environment of the products. Even if you can't make industrial linear induction motors at LEO, you can work with higher quality mag lev smaller systems and determine astronaut time savings of having a low-friction analogue of 1980s workplaces pneumatic tubes. And there are all the applications of layered blanks to work out and figure out inducing cold welding strategies. I imagine USA boots on an outer Saturn Moon leaving for 2049 if the asteroids can be quickly harnessed. From there are many options for complex drama and healthy space living but not before.

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