Tuesday, May 23, 2017

The Doorways to Luna

The post on Luna's engines has to wait a bit. I know what I want them to do and I am in correspondence with wiser heads as to what that entails. So this post deals with Luna's main airlocks.

Luna has four largish airlocks around her hull near the stern (which is the bottom in tail landers). Each one is on the Machine Shop Deck.

Why so many airlocks? Well they aren't all what you would consider an airlock.

All right dammit, there's a fifth airlock. But Ill get to that in another post!
The lock by the ladder is the main personnel lock. It can easily hold four people in spacesuits, even the big armored dieselpunk types. It gives access to the Machine Deck for a simple reason. People entering the ship from a walk on, say the Moon, will have dust and grit from their spacesuits. That grit has to end up somewhere. The Machine Shop already has additional filters built into the air vents there to deal with shavings and other cast off metal bits and vacuums and similar equipment to clean up as well. The deck also has far less machinery vulnerable to such debris and personnel habitually wear protective goggles and breathing masks. The upshot is dust does less damage there than elsewhere on the Luna.

The black boxes over the locks have lateral sensors. The sensor box over each lock has a light to illuminate the lock for people boarding. The locks are high off the ground because the personnel wear lift belts and can easily jump up and grab a ladder rung. Locals without belts would find it harder to get onboard though you could throw a friend a rope.

The airlock to the right of the main lock. Instead of an inner door to very heavily armored suits stand here with their back hatches mated to similar port on the inner bulkhead. To use the lock you open a suit's backpack and climb into the suit. Your lovely (or handsome) assistant then shuts your backpack hatch up and off you go. The lock also has heavy duty clean up gear incase you come back doused in toxic goo or radioactive dust. With the outer door shut you can disengage a suit and shove it out of the way to enter the lock and exit the ship. 

The lock to the left isn't a lock at all really. It's a closet for tools and gear used outside the ship. A small airlock on the inner bulkhead lets personnel pass equipment or stores to spacesuited crew in the lock (usually with some choice comments about forget their head if they weren't strongly attached.) A pair or armored and vacuum tight sleeves on the inner bulkhead also let crew lend a helping hand to crew outside.

The final lock has a very large launch system for a magnetic grapple. This is used to grab another ship for boarding or rescue or to help with berthing. Some ships remove the grapple entirely to allow the full use of the lock.

In an emergency the crew have light weight metal mesh slides that can be used to drop supplies and passengers quickly from the lock.