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Built of lighter-than-air bubbleTech, these super-efficient airplanes also incorporated a skin surface made of doped diamond. Using diamond gave the plane super-strong construction. By 'doping' the diamond layers with just the right impurities made the diamond layers capable of generating power from the surrounding light hitting the plane's jewel-like skin. This power would be stored or directed to a fist-sized, but very powerful, super-conducting motor to power the plane's flight.
The great deal of unused bubble-tech that filled the plane's structual elements was used for onboard electrical storage. An AirGel plane could also be flash-charged at an airport, or by a 'tanker' plane in a matter of seconds. Newer plane models could be literally flash charged from ground stations that employed banks of lasers tuned to the exact wavelength required by an empty airplane's particular light-to-electricity frequency.
The super-conducting armatures of an airGel plane's electric tubines spinning in their magnetic bearings were super efficient. When recharged from it's photoelectric outer diamond skin or by a photoelectric gound-based recharging station, airGel planes were totally non-polluting.
As the airGel plane's outer surface could be adjusted by its underlying servoGel layers the airfoil surface of these planes could be changed to be the best for changing air pressure at higher altitudes. This gave the electric powered planes the ability to fly extremely high where they would land on floating spacePorts. These immense structures were rigid-balloons also made from lighter-than-air bubble tech. Layer upon layer of stressed-diamond skin all superbly braced by an intricate network of interconnected diamond trusses and braces.
From any spacePort, the airGel plane's passengers and cargo could catch the next 'sling-shot' assisted space plane launch or simply visit the many levels of the spacePort. There were those who would also spend many moments in awe of the incredible view of the earth as it traveled along many thousands of feet below the spacePort. Very much like airGel planes and stormBoards, the enormous surface area of the entire outer skin of the gigantic bubble tech, torus-shaped structure of a spacePort was capable of generating electricity. Even with its own, not small, energy needs, each space port generated a lot of excess power. As a result of the strict limits on intra-atmospheric energy-beaming most of the excess was transferred in the energy storage areas of planes capable of returning to earth by gliding.Some of the space port's power was used to collect water vapor from the atmosphere to be broken down electrically into oxygen and hydrogen to be used as fuel and air for the growing fleet of corporate and private inter-orbital spacePlanes.
The spacePlanes were launched through the 1000 foot keel structure that pierced the center of the Space Port torus to hang below the giant-doughnut shape to function as a stabilizer much like the keel on an old surface-water, sail boat from the Eart's old Twen'cen. The electromagnetic 'rail-gun' like, magnetic sling-shot that ran straight up through the space port's keel which was used to launch the space planes, made it so the space planes used very little of the hydogen and oxgen they carried to achieve orbit. Which gave them plenty for manuvering between the Spacer MegaCorp Clan's Orbital Domains, and for de-orbiting, so the surplus H2 and O2 could be off-loaded for use at the orbital domains for water and air supplies, as well as power or heating.
By using prophetware and small super-conducting motor powered turbines placed around the outer edge of the torus the space ports maintained their proper ELOPs or Extremely Low Orbit Positions. Thus, the space port captains and pilot/navigators were able to align the space plane's launch angle to near perfection,while they were also able to keep the Terra-legged tourists from becoming 'sea-sick' while bobbing in the whispy ocean of the earth's outer atmosphere.
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Copyright (c) 1996-2002 Lee Skidmore