The Concept

The Tsven is a modular space station designed to conduct research on the effects of artificial gravity on humans. The Tsven can extend two opposite modules from its central core and vary the rotational speed, radius, and duration of each experiment. The modules can be brought back together periodically to evaluate and improve each test.

The Context

Last June, I was discussing the Aldrin Mars Cycler project with Dr. Buzz Aldrin. He talked about using existing commercial equipment to test various artificial gravity scenarios on astronauts before sending them into long trips in space. This is how the Tsven came to be. The name of this concept was inspired by Seveneves, an excellent novel written by Neil Stephenson (who also inspired me to create this concept).

How It Works

The Tsven is built out of two B330 modules which are linked to a central core by retractable cables which also carry electricity from the Tsven’s large solar array.

To conduct one experiment, astronauts enter each B330 module, which are then deployed away from the central station. Each B330 Module uses a propellant to move away from the central core, and they are maintained by cables. Once the modules are extended to a chosen length, they use side thrusters to induce a spinning movement around the central axis. This creates a centrifugal force on the astronauts, which creates artificial gravity. Once the whole system is balanced and stabilized, the astronauts start carrying out their daily routine. Scientists back on earth can monitor their health and ask them to carry out different tasks to observe the effect of the experiment on them.

Once the experiment ends, the modules would be pulled back by electrical winches to the central module. The astronauts would then be free to discuss face to face, relax a few days, maybe switch place with other crews, and prepare the next experiments.

Of course the goal is finding the optimal rotational speed and cable length (radius). It’s also to develop reliable coupling mechanisms, winches, power transfer systems, orbital mechanic algorithms, sensors, solar arrays, and so on. The system should be designed so that multiple rotating modules could be attached to it, and an additional central core could also be added.

What It’s Used For

The Tsven would be used by space agencies and private space contractors to explore various artificial gravity scenarios on humans and also measure their effects on different types of human morphology to better understand them. The Tsven would also be used to conduct other paid research projects in space.

If we want to send humans to Mars one day, we will need to design vessels that will be as comfortable as possible to get them there. Studying artificial gravity on humans and developing all the technologies required to operate the Tsven research station efficiently is one step that will bring us closer to that goal.

The Industrial Designer

I would like to thank Dr. Buzz Aldrin and Neil Stephenson for inspiring me with their visions. I would also like to thank Martin Rico for creating the images of the Tsven concept. Martin lives near Buenos Aires, Argentina. He studied Design at the University of Buenos Aires and now works as a Freelance Industrial Designer. Martin also designed the Iris urban shipping concept and the Sutton mobile snowboard rental station.