|“||For me, a rocket is only a means--only a method of reaching the depths of space--and not an end in itself... There's no doubt that it's very important to have rocket ships since they will help mankind to settle elsewhere in the universe. But what I'm working for is this resettling... The whole idea is to move away from the Earth to settlements in space.||”|
Cislunar Space is the general term for the volume between the edge of Earth's atmosphere and low orbit of Luna. The term doesn't always cover the lower Earth orbits, but is often used as a catch-all by pilots in the area.
Earth orbit is the single most crowded place in the entirety of Fenspace. Along with the approximately 2,500 mundane satellites in orbit serving the needs of the planet, there are dozens if not hundreds of fenships and habitats in orbit around Earth at any given time.
Places of Interest
The major attraction of low Earth orbit (aside from the amazing view of Earth) is the International Space Station. The ISS is the last operational piece of unenhanced manned space hardware left in the solar system. Completed in 2010, the station performs microgravity science experiments. While tourists have made their way onto ISS in the past, the station is not equipped or meant as a tourist destination.
Rockhounds asteroid SR-06, usually referred to by Fen as Nouveau Paris, is in geosynchronous orbit over Paris, France; the European Space Agency operates it as a satellite maintenance depot. Disney's World, the 'Dane theme park, is in geosynchronous orbit above 158°W (midway between Orlando and Tokyo).
The Lagrangian points (also Lagrange point, L-point, or libration point), are the five positions in an orbital configuration where a small object affected only by gravity can theoretically be stationary relative to two larger objects (such as a satellite with respect to the Earth and Moon). The Lagrange points mark positions where the combined gravitational pull of the two large masses provides precisely the centripetal force required to rotate with them. They are analogous to geosynchronous orbits in that they allow an object to be in a "fixed" position in space rather than an orbit in which its relative position changes continuously.
Places of Interest
If space travel took longer than it did, this would be the spot where waystations for the Earth-Luna trip would be found. However, that trip takes a matter of minutes once the ship is clear of Earth's atmosphere. Thus, the only station found here is Thunderbird 5, an emergency-vehicle depot and first-response medical facility jointly administered by the Sailor Armed Militia and the Blue Blazers. Surprise is on their side; that search and rescue craft is based out of Thunderbird 5.
The European Space Agency's Herschel Space Observatory was located at L2 during its functional life between July 2009 and April 2013. The ESA put the telescope in orbit "the hard way" - it was one of the last satellites placed in orbit using only hardtech equipment and procedures.
The Soviet Air Force Deep Space Exploration Forces maintains a staging area here for their larger ships.
Terra Beacon One was dropped at L2 by the Miranda at the start of her historic five-year mission. An interwave transmitter designed to guide the Miranda home, this has become the default "zero point" for all Fen navigation.
The Earth-Luna Lagrange 3 (L3) point is relatively empty, being situated on the opposite side of the planet from Luna and far from the other Lagrange points. The emptiness of the local space explains why L3 is the standard parking orbit for Grover's Corners.
Babylon .5 is one of the earlier converted-asteroid stations to take up orbit around Earth. The station is widely assumed to be the home base of the Fivers faction; initially, the management denied this, but have since given up objecting since no one believed them. Fivers now make up a sizable chunk of the station's inhabitants.
The L4 point is locally known as the "Danelaw toehold," as this is where most 'Danelaw or Space Power-supported habitats are located. The major habitats cluster around TSAB's Benjamin Franklin Station, a base built out of a converted Rockhounds mining asteroid.
Greenwood, the home of Rockhounds' head office and Greenwood City, is also found at L4 for roughly six months out of the year. Considering that the TSAB is one of their larger customers, this is not surprising.
The Warsies began construction of New Yavin around the same time the Stellvians began work upon Stellvia. Not long afterward, Rockhounds mining asteroids SR-01 and SR-02 were placed into orbit around the L5 point; SR-01 would eventually pass to NASA and be renamed Beta Station, and SR-02 became the Herbert Henry Station industrial platform. Other early adopters followed. The Juraians built Tsunami not long after the Space Rocks arrived, and were followed by the Abh and their home base Abliarsec.
The first three "space cities" started going up in 2010. Genaros, the largest habitat in the L5 area, was set up as a cyberpunk playground with a Japanese-American fusion culture. Island One was put in place by a group of American space advocates. Central Station was the work of Australian and European generalist Fen; intended to be the de facto capital of L5, Central only took that title away from Stellvia a few months after the 2016 census.
Other stations at L5 include:
- John Henry Station, an industrial platform that supplies most of the components used to build everything in L5.
- Stardust Station, the primary outpost of Perry Rhodan fen in Fenspace.
- Robur's Eyrie, a French Pulper habitat with excellent manners and a somewhat sinister reputation.
- The heart of Gundam-fen activity in cislunar space, A Baoa Qu is also the headquarters of the Anti-Earth Union Group.
- The small Extropian enclave of Humanitas Excelsior.
- The equally small Wiccan temple-monastery Ravenmoon Station.
- The Colony is the main point of presence for Galactican Cylons. Needless to say, the station is not popular with Galactican Colonials, but maintains good relations with AI-friendly factions. The station's multitude of landing and launch bays also makes Colony the most popular "garage" in L5.
- Libertatia Station, originally the center of the Space Pirates, has declined since the opening of SSX Base on 6565 Reiji. The station acts as a friendly port-of-call for Pirates in the inner system.
- Space Station Three, a Dandelion boarding house/concert hall that may or may not be haunted.
- Meetpoint Station is a minor trade center and conference facility. Built and maintained by a group of CJ Cherryh fen, Meetpoint is considered more "neutral" ground than the more politically-ambitious Stellvia and Central.
- Wonderland Station, a Stellvian subsidary and the major agriculture station in L5.
- Green Planetoidy, a cargo transfer platform built by the Jupiter Mining Corporation.
- Over The Rainbow, originally a failed industrial platform taken over by the construction crew and other squatters. The Space Patrol suspects it may be a waypoint on the Boskonian pipeline.
- O'Neill Station and Kickassia are private habitats belonging to generalist Fen with more money than sense. Both stations are nominal members of the Convention, but don't interact with the rest of Fenspace that often.
- Lief Erickson Station, a post-war station that acts as a bridge between the Discordians and the Space Pirates. Home of the Pirates Who Don't Do Anything.
- The newest addition to the L5 menagerie as of the 2016 census, Clarke County is home to a group of fendanes with Nivenite and Heinleinian tendencies.
- To avoid any chance of the Serious Astronomy being compromised by handwavium contamination.
- And only because Stellvia gave the job to Central.