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Basic Information

A statite is an artificial satellite whose defining trait is that it maintains a fixed position, rather than moving in an orbit. (Note that this is not the same thing as a geosynchronous orbit where a satellite moves at the right speed to stay above a particular point on a rotating planet. The concept of a statite implies the satellite is not moving relative to the local star.)

A statite will require some sort of solar sail or renewable/automated engine/propulsion system. Solar-power is generally a pretty good option, as there's very little space weather to obstruct the generation of power. This depends of course on where you've positioned your statite, and towards what purpose. If it's part of a Dyson Swarm there's almost certainly abundant solar power - that's sort of the point of a Dyson Bubble, after all. In such an arrangement, statites may either directly generate solar energy, or may function as just a solar mirror to concentrate or redirect that energy.

On the other hand, a statite could also be used as a navigational aid such as a hazard beacon or to mark and regulate FTL routes so ships don't collide. In such situations, there might not be a good source of solar power, as the hazard might be a black hole or brown dwarf, or might be in the shadow cast by a nebula or planet. In that case you may need to go atomic, or have a zero-point energy battery or other tech with fantastic shelf-life. It's also possible some government or megacorp might be willing to pick up the tab of manned expeditions out to the statite for refueling and maintenance. Anything's possible in the future, I guess.

Sort of the inverse of a solar mirror or solar collector is the idea of a space sunshade whose purpose is to block light and radiation. Such a device might be used to combat global warming by blocking infrared heat waves, or to prevent deadly ionizing radiation from striking a space colony. Or, I suppose it might be weaponized like the "orbital night-cloak" employed by "the Empire" in some of the old Star Wars RPG scenarios.

For more thoughts on what a statite might realistically look like and how it might operate, see our Dyson-Harrop Satellite page.



Game and Story Use

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