The NASA Ames Research Center organize a yearly Space Settlement Design Contest open to 6 to 12th grade students. Eric Yam, a Canadian high school student (at the time, he's getting a Bachelor of Applied Science in Mechatronics Engineering at the University of Waterloo those days) one of the 2009 winners proposed a truly impressive work.
Fully illustrated with Google SketchUP 3D views, his Asten Space Settlement doesn't stop at the design and construction of a massive space station (massive by ISS standard, not so much by Death Star standards I guess) but also consider, among other things, emergency procedures, demography or social organisation. Definitely worth a read!
So what's in for a roleplayer?
- The station can be dropped as it is in pretty much any near-future campaign. It would be a very good fit for Transhuman Space for example.
- The design itself is quite ingenious (and makes a lot of sense to me). It can be readily adapted to various settings...
- Travellerize it! Keep the hub and vestibules (the five long white bands on the pictures, housing the station larger communal areas) and use the ubiquitous 30dTon modules to fill in the structure and provide habitat, shops, establishments, labs storage... Have a look in GURPS Traveller: Modular Cutter for dozens of such module, complete with deckplans.
- Using Future Armada (A.K.A 0 hr: art & technology A.K.A. Ki Ryn Studios) awesome deckplans to map one! "Unroll" the Argos III Deep Space Port main hull to use as vestibule, and use the various containers from the MisFortune container ship for the pods... Play on the length/number of vestibule and rows/number of containers to make everything from a free-floating village to a whole city in space!