The Gateway Foundation has proposed a rotating space station with solar panels on the "hot side" (always facing the sun)/ This is to maximize power generation and minimize heating by keeping the body of the station in the shadow of the PV panels. What advantages and disadvantages does this have compared to an Earth-facing station like the ISS? Would it actually work?

Considerations: * Fixed arrays are simpler, less massive, and more reliable than movable arrays. * You will still want to communicate with and observe Earth. But I think it would be much easier to gimbal a small high-gain antenna or camera. * The rotation of the station complicates any effort to point something at Earth. * I think the proposed orbit is a high near-polar orbit that would keep the station out of Earth's shadow most of the time.

More info: https://gatewayspaceport.com/von-braun-station/ I guess they haven't updated the website since changing the name of the station. https://gatewayspaceport.com/reports/ These are a little more technical than the videos, but still leave a lot to the imagination. That is why I am asking the question.

  • $\begingroup$ A link to info about the concept would be nice. $\endgroup$ Commented Apr 24, 2020 at 14:08
  • 3
    $\begingroup$ +1 for adding more information, but I can't tell what kind of an answer you are looking for. "Does X make sense?" One person can leave a one-word "Yes" answer, another can just post "No" and there's no way to know which is right or learn anything from these answers. Do you think you could refine your question somehow? Thanks! $\endgroup$
    – uhoh
    Commented Apr 26, 2020 at 15:15

1 Answer 1


I think one thing to consider here is that the ISS's solar panels are not fixed and rotating with the station, they have their own rotating action (see

) so they always face the sun. The idea to have solar panels always blocking the sun from hitting the habitat (and probably more importantly the propellant tanks which likely will need to be kept at cryo temps) sounds like a great design to me!


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