The Solar Express is a space train, designed to ferry humans, supplies between celestial bodies and space stations in our solar system.
It would run non-stop, so smaller vessels would need to catch the train when it passed by.
However, once the train reached its cruising speed, its energy consumption would be minimal. That’s the idea behind the Solar Express concept.
It would never stop. Instead, space wagons, capsules would rendezvous with it.
According to the designers it can travel between Earth and Mars, in less than two days.
The Solar Express would take the form of a series of aligned cylinders. Each cylinder would have a length of at least 50 meters, and one train would be composed of six of them placed in a straight line. These cylinders/torus would be split into four cargo bays and could be swapped in-flight with the help of maintenance robots.
The Solar Express would first accelerate with rocket boosters. Stored fuel contained in the vessel’s core could be used to make course adjustments. The train would also use the force of gravity to slingshot around planets or moons. The speed of the Solar Express could be set at 1% of the speed of light, or about 3 000km/s.
“Huge solar arrays located along the train’s path could be used to capture solar energy and transfer it by laser to super capacitors. Water harvested from comets or small moons would be used for humans living on the train and transported to other stations.”