I have been working on a model of a proposed artificial gravity facility by Joe Carroll, based on this paper. It is an initial concept paper and it doesn't spell everything out, so I am trying to figure out how to handle some things.
It calculates that most of the reboost needs of the station could be achieved with average-sized ion drives. So, I've placed two such drives on the station such that they can remain pointed retrograde throughout its orbit while the whole station rotates on a plane coplanar with its orbital plane.
Above, the pink circle indicates the plane of rotation, the green the orbital plane, and the red spots are the ion drives on booms rotating around the module at the center of mass of the station.
This gives a clearer shot of the booms, with a view looking more down the shaft that connects all the modules together.
This is clearly a work in progress. What I'd like to sort out here is how those booms should be. They have to rotate around the center module on a rail in order to remain facing retrograde while the rest rotates. The drives will have to fire for long periods of time, meaning a tenuous spray of hot xenon wafts over the connecting shaft and the outer modules when they pass through the exhaust plume of the ion drives.
Would that present a danger, over months or years? Would the ion drives have to fire in pulses to avoid that issue, firing only when the modules are clear?
There are other reboost issues relating to sudden needs for big reboosts due to failures or the increased drag from solar storms. For now I just want to handle this issue.