The 1st version was built using Greg Burch’s Station Building Blocks 2006. Started it in early October 2006 (only 7 months into this new “hobby”) and finished it 11 days later RL (real life). Simulation time logged during construction was 11d 6h 55m 16s. The components were launched from Cape Canaveral to LEO (low Earth orbit). I choose the Nova GDB as the launch vehicle, and the Dragonfly lite as orbital tug/assembler. I later used the Clydesdale Heavy Freighter to push it to Mars using TransX as the navigation tool - the IMFD version at the time had a limitation of a maximum number of vessels in a scenario. This first version is made up of a total of 31 docked vessels.
The 2nd version was built using Blocks versions 4.0 and 4.1B – and it was mostly a one-to-one replacement of Blocks 2006. I started construction early May 2009 and finished it 13 days later RL. Simulation time was 4d 23h 52m 46s. The components were launched from Heinlein to high lunar orbit 1000 km altitude. I used the XR5 Vanguard as the launch vehicle, with the Local Space Heavy Utility Lander in a cameo role. The Shuttle-A was the preferred orbital tug/assembler, as I couldn’t deal with the problems with the Dragonfly series. I was working on keeping the vessel count to around 31 – but ended up with 41.
The 3rd version took 2 weeks RL, with a simulation time of 4d 23h 7m 59s. I started it early September 2009. I used the same launch vehicles and tug. As you can see, I expanded the size of it – version #2 looked puny with a Descartes class or a Deepstar docked. The biggest addition was the centrifuge. I easily doubled the number of vessels – now to a whopping 86.
I would claim I was done with this project – but with learning new skills, updates to other Orbiter add-ons, new Orbiter add-ons and just going through a “bored with Orbiter” on a cyclical basis gives me pause.
LAST UPDATED AUGUST 3,2013
With the introduction of a new add-on available in Orbiter, I yet again modified the design of my space station.
Interplanetary Modular Spacecraft (IMS) was initially released on 08/27/2012 and I didn't notice it till about mid June 2013. What attracted me most was the ability to consolidate all modules into one vessel. Plus the fact that it now makes the station ALIVE, i.e., it actually generates and consumes power, needs heating and cooling, and needs consumables to maintain life support on top of just certain parts of a few modules being animated. In addition, it can now be damaged or kill the crew (it now holds 24 but permanently staffed with 12).
Version 4 of the station won't be seen here - it was a trial attempt learning how to use IMS. Currently, the only drawback to this add-on is its documentation - it is there but sparse and still in 'beta'. Because of this, it added build time waiting for answers to questions posted on the O-H forum.
Version 5 (see screen shot) has the following changes over version 3:
1. Added an additional radiator for cooling - the first non GregBurch Space Station Building Block ever. It is added to the node next to rotation habitat. Also mated to the same node is storage for life support: O2, H2O, and food.
2. Reoriented the fuel tanks for less obstructed access for the station's manipulator arms moving cargo from docked vessels. Added 4 more fuel tanks after draining all original 8 while refueling just 1 XR5 Vanguard (and that only to 60%).
3. Replaced the GregBurch Airdocks - there only redeeming feature was the animation. Mostly, they just inhibited manipulator arm access to cargo bays.
4. Got rid of the original cargo racks - they docked to the original and one had to attach cargoes to it - which added complexity. In their place, I am now using non GregBurch modules, called container holders. Cargoes now dock to these - and there is a nice animated part that "holds" the cargo.