U is for: UP and DOWN

On a clear day, from the base of the Beanstalk, it’s just about possible to see the small object at the top of the tether, known generally as UP.

Of course, small is relative. What was once a small, pristine microgravity habitat has extended outwards, with extra habitation and industrial modules added until now the small sprawl that is UPtown contains as many as 10,000 people.

As one of the few footholds of humanity in low orbit, UPtown is the first stop on the way to the Lagrange stations or Luna. It sees plenty of crew rotation, as people move up and down the Beanstalk, or jump on shuttles to other habitats.

 

The primary mission of the Beanstalk is to generate power. From the tip of the habitat extends a large solar cell array mimicking the branches and leaves of trees. Energy is then sent down the Beanstalk to the IICP.

The phytosteel construction of the Beanstalk itself is also able to generate some power, though to a much lesser degree than the array at its tip.

 

Most citizens never see UPtown, and so believe everything they hear and read about it. In truth, the last few years have not been kind to it.

Since the terrorist attacks on Luna and further threats to the Lagrange station construction habitats, security has become much tighter. What was once a matter for the Department of Justice and some corporate security services has slowly been taken over by the Department of Defense.

 

The finished construction of direct competition in the Pan-African Space Initiative elevator project and a new build off the coast of Central America has moved corporate and UN funding away from the Beanstalk, and more will likely be lost if the plans for an equivalent structure are finalised for the Moon itself.

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