Rails to Contrails with William Sharples
In collaboration with Eliza Higgins

How do you roll out an unprecedented space based transportation infrastructure while improving and utilizing what already exists? This project is an investigation in the future of freight infrastructure and point-to-point space travel.

Spaceport Calverton is a hybrid system that consolidates the distribution of air and space cargo for the New York region through the proposal of a highly choreographed maglev train line and launching port located in Calverton, Long Island. Based on a 40-50 year timeline, this port is projected to develop from a consolidated transfer point for air cargo into a fully developed air/space cargo hub for the East Coast. This hub would remove cargo shipping from New York City’s existing passenger airports improving flight congestion and eliminating the need for a fourth airport in the metropolitan area. This project was developed on two scales: the space port and rail network as infrastructure and the architecture of the Maglev train and passenger experience.

Spaceport Calverton is a generative system that can grow along a rail loop as demand increases and technology and space safety advance. The architecture on site is open to the air and full enclosure appears only when it is required for clean rooms to sort and process cargo. As part of a new generation of infrastructure the spaceport employs its physical scale to generate wind and solar energy acting as a test bed for technology and research. The semi-permeable roof covering the planes is designed as an airfoil that gathers wind from 150 feet for wind power generation. The second part of the roof is a flexible armature that would be used to test solar energy technologies.

As point-to-point space passenger travel becomes a viable option, a designated space train will be added to an existing high-speed infrastructural network and will act as a mobile space terminal. Check-in, security, space training and lounge amenities are all provided within a customized high-speed train, designed for an effortless transition between boarding the train and the spaceship. Upon reaching the Calverton Site, individual destination cars servicing space hotels and partner spaceports in Tokyo, London and Sweden will disconnect from the terminal train in order to dock with their designated destination spacecraft bays. The cars then reassemble into the complete train and shuttle arriving passengers back to New York. This mobile terminal reduces the need for passenger infrastructure at the Calverton spaceport and increases flight security with no opportunity for outside packages or baggage to board the train or spacecraft.