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Solar arrays provide power for most of the worlds of humanity by converting star light into usable energy. Solar arrays are run by the Military.

History

"'Solar arrays date back to the days before the invention of interstellar portal technology, so the spiderweb and spider teams got their names from Earth spiders and their webs.'”

–Betha to Drago, [1]

Overview

A solar array is a space station in a geostationary orbit above each colonized continent that provides power to its planet. Solar arrays are composed of at least nine solar wings, large collections of solar panels, and a command center. The solar wings have to be in relatively close proximity so the beam can form. The solar array provides a beam of pure power to a receiving tower. For safety reasons, the beam is locked into place.

The solar array is the first thing set up when a planet is chosen for colonization and is run by the cross-sector Military. Planets in Planet First and Colony Ten do not use solar arrays, instead they use planet-based power plants[2].

Solar arrays turn light from its star into usable power. For real world information on Solar power, see Space based solar power Wikipedia.

Operations

The Military run the solar arrays and have a division of Military officers trained to work on all functions of the solar array. Those people entering the Solar array training have specialized course that runs separate from the Combat Military and slightly less time in training.

Since every planet, except Earth, has only one solar array, the Military tries to arrange for the Solar array specialist to work on the Array for their home planet or at least in their home sector.

In overall command of each planet's solar array(s) is a regular Military Colonel. However, this officer is not a solar array specialist and generally takes the advice of the Chief Technicians. In 2781, the officer of the Earth Solar Arrays was Colonel Ngobi, in 2789 it was Colonel Riak Torrek, followed by Colonel Elith Shirinkin.

Solar array staff use laser pulse weapons to defend their solar arrays from attack.

Command Center

The command center is kept nearby the solar wings, though it can make minor course adjustments to avoid debris. For optimal readiness, the command center has three sections, which are used by the day, evening, and night shifts respectively. Each shift is run by a Chief Technician. The command center operates in zero-gravity.

Free Flyers

Free flyers are people who have learned to use zero gravity wings. Zero gravity wings are worn over impact suits, allow a free range of movement in zero gravity and vacuum conditions, and respond to the wearer's head movements. Virtually everyone on a solar array tries to learn how to use zero gravity wings, but the success rate is less than one in ten. Crucially, free flyers must be able to use zero gravity wings instinctively, rather than consciously controlling them. On the Earth Europe solar array evening shift the free flyers are Chief Technician Koroleva, Betha, Ethan, Laird, Elya, and Colton.

Lightning God

The Lightning God is the person who has the critical job of controlling the power beam going down to the planet and sits at a red console. If the Lightning God speaks, everyone else listens.

Meteor Watch

As of 2781 as a result of Hera, meteor watch is included at all Solar Arrays to monitor and track all sizable space objects.

Solar Watch

The Solar Watch maintains a watch for incoming or potential solar storms. When one is expected they issue a warning.

Spider Teams

Spider teams are people who work out on the solar wings, repairing them. Because it is more convenient not to be tethered to the spider grid, spider team members can work free of safety lines as long as they are near a free flyer.

Stevedores

The stevedores are the people who expertly pack and unpack solar array supplies.

Solar Storms

Solar arrays cannot be kept in operation during solar storms because the high levels of radiation are both harmful to human life and could cause the power beams to break free and cause large levels of destruction on the planetary surface. When a solar storm warning is given, the solar arrays are disconnected and turned off. The Military crew on the solar array then portal out to avoid the increased radiation levels.

“'Standard safety procedures for an incoming solar storm are to disconnect the solar power arrays out in space from their transmitters, turning off the beams supplying power to the planet below. The Military crews manning the solar arrays then portal out to avoid the increased radiation levels during a solar storm.'”

–Jarra, [3]

Because colony worlds are selected for a low level of solar activity, Earth is the only planet with higher levels of solar activity and frequent solar storms. The Earth solar array staff has to deal with additional challenges of the solar storms and more frequent solar panel breakdowns.

Buildings have power storage systems they can tap during solar storms.

Accommodations

Due to the harmful effects of working and living in zero-gravity for extended periods of time, solar array officers do not live on the solar arrays, but on the planet below. On colony worlds with Military bases, solar array officers live on those bases, as do other officers temporarily assigned to the solar array, such as fighter pilots. However, on some worlds there is not a Military base or there are other reasons for alternative accommodations.

Earth

From ???? (Probably exodus century) to 2789 there is no military base on Earth, so the Military that work on the Earth solar arrays live in Military owned civilian-style housing areas. Many of the solar array personal that have family on Earth, such as parents and siblings, besides spouses and children also live in the same housing area with them. There is also guest accommodations for officers temporarily assigned to the solar arrays.

To get between the accommodations and the solar array command centers, there are interplanetary portals with a limited selection of destinations.

Freya

The military officers working the Freya solar arrays are based out of a different star system to prevent their officers from being harassed by genetics fanatics. Harassed by illegally scanning their DNA to see if they have desirable genes and if so, harassed from either having their DNA illegally obtained or from being pestered to create a child with the harasser.

Uniforms

Solar array staff wear special uniforms from regular Military officers, their uniforms are pale blue, short sleeved and one-piece, so they can be taken off in one second and replaced by an impact suit or emergency life support sack.

Specialized Terminology

Crossing the Rubicon

Crossing the Rubicon is the phrase the free flyers use when delivering solar panel packs to the solar sails. It means passing the point of no return[4].

I'm Telling You Twice

The phrase "I'm telling you twice" is used when emphasizing important safety information on the solar arrays. The appropriate response is the phrase "I'm hearing you twice," then repeating the crucial information.

Solar Sails

Solar sails is an alternative term for the solar array wings, based on old Earth ships.

Spider Webs

The spider webs are a grid of beams on the solar array that allows the spider teams to maneuver and work on the solar wings.

Specific Solar Arrays

Artemis

The Artemis solar array was used as a weapon of mass destruction in 2658. Ceron Augustus attempted a coup against his brother, the third Emperor.  When the coup failed, Ceron fled to the Artemis solar array and turned it against the planet. The beam dug huge swathes through the inhabited continent, killing 47,000 people. This catastrophe prompted Beta Sector to overthrow the current Emperor, but secretly beg the Military to end the destruction to Artemis.  The Military portalled in forces. In the end, Ceron was killed, the Second Roman Empire ended and the Military regained control of the solar arrays.

Earth

Earth is the only planet with five solar arrays, one for each of its continents. The Earth solar arrays face extra challenges from solar storms, higher levels of radiation, and more debris orbiting Earth, so the solar arrays need more frequent total re-fits.

Earth has five solar arrays, one for each continent. Many of the military people working on the array's are normal born family members of the handicapped, usually children of handicapped parents. These people are generally the exception that want to stay in contact with their family and their home world so join the Military to train as Solar array specialists.

Earth Girl

In Earth Girl, when Earth was hit by the super solar storm, the solar array staff did not have time to finish disconnecting the power beams before the portals went out and they could not portal back to the surface of Earth. The solar array officers did their duty protecting Earth, turning off the power beams, and then converted the solar array ships to be able to undergo an atmospheric descent.

Earth Star

In Earth Star, the Military kept the Earth Africa solar array offline so it was available to fight the alien sphere if necessary. The Military developed lifeboats, specifically designed to enter the atmosphere, so the Military would be prepared to evacuate officers if necessary.

Hestia 2781

In Hestia 2781, Jaxon and Drago's team are sent to Earth to refurbish the five solar array wings. Because of the mass amount of debris in Earth's orbit, the wings must be refurbished every five years, rather than the ten to fifteen year schedule for the other planets of humanity. Due to one reason after another, the solar array's around Earth have been delayed to the point where they are critically underperforming. So when Drago and Jaxon need to be stashed somewhere out of easy reach their team is sent to the Sol system to repair the sol arrays, without their Dart ships due to their needed repairs or need for the ships by other pilots.

While on Earth Drago learns of the constant delay, they experience in receiving their needed supplies and parts to efficiently run the solar arrays.

“VACUUM KILLS YOU.

MOMENTUM KILLS YOU.
NUKING SPACE KILLS YOU!”

–A warning on the Earth Solar Arrays, [5]

Array 2781

In Array 2781 repairs on the solar wings continue with slow gains. While receiving a shipment of much needed parts, via drop portal, the portal signal incoming position is sabotaged which would have caused a massive lose of life and damage to the European Solar array without Drago's heroic efforts. As a result, the missing and damage parts crises comes to a head and Colonel Leveque as head of Military Security in Alpha Sector is put in charge finding out who is causing the Earth Solar array supply problems. (See Mason Leveque and Drago Tell Dramis for more information.)

Hera

Power beams can be used defensively, as seen in Hera. The Hera solar array was used to vaporize chunks of a rogue comet that threatened the destruction of the planet. After the events in 2781 when a known comet is hit and it's trajectory was changed so that on it's next pass it would hit Hera instead of passing it by as normal, a new position was created for every Solar Array, Meteor Watch. The Meteor Watch duties was to monitor all space debris trajectory to ensure that there is plenty of notice to do something about it so they are not left in the same position as Hera was.

“From now on, the Military staff of each solar array will include a Meteor Watch group of astronomers dedicated to watching the movements of all sizeable space objects, both old and new.”

–Renton Mai, [6]

References and Notes

Notes

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References

  1. Edwards, Janet. Hestia 2781 (p. 172). Wallam-Crane Press. Kindle Edition.
  2. Edwards, Janet. Array 2781 (Drago Tell Dramis Book 3) . Wallam-Crane Press. Kindle Edition.
  3. Edwards, Janet. Earth Girl (Earth Girl series Book 1). Kindle Edition.
  4. Edwards, Janet. Hestia 2781 (p. 178). Wallam-Crane Press. Kindle Edition.
  5. Edwards, Janet. Array 2781 (p. 115). Wallam-Crane Press. Kindle Edition.
  6. Edwards, Janet. Hestia 2781 (p. 39). Wallam-Crane Press. Kindle Edition.
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