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The Citadel

Space stations are artificial structures built and maintained to facilitate space travel, defence, or resource gathering. Humans have built a large number of space stations as military installations during their expansion in the Milky Way, providing easy access to mass relays.

Stations can be built from scratch or, occasionally, built up on existing bodies like asteroids. They normally occupy a fixed position inside a star system or remain in orbit around a planet. Large structures like the Citadel - which does not orbit a fixed point, aside from its position near the Widow - have sophisticated navigation systems and engines to correct their motion and maintain their position. Most stations have drive discharge points, allowing starships to dump their core charge safely.

Space stations tend to fall into several categories (though due to the expense involved in their creation, stations are often repurposed):

  • Trade / Gateway - As they are often to be found near mass relay nexuses, these space stations can become key points for commerce. 'Gateway' facilities provide communication hubs, and starship docks; some, such as those around Pluto, can build up a sizable population. Orbital stations - such as Asteroid X57 is intended to become - also allow an easy transfer of goods and provide a 'jumping-off point' for travellers.
  • Defence - Having a station in orbit around a colony can give early warning in the event of an attack. Orbital superiority is key in modern warfare, so stations also allow control of situations on the ground. Noveria has several orbital battle stations, which have the capability to both target and destroy approaching vessels, and to destroy surface targets with antimatter warheads.
  • Research - Stations are ideal platforms for long-term experiments, scientific processes that require low or zero-gravity, or astronomical observations. If research is too risky to conduct on a colony - for example, developing an AI - or is highly classified - as was true in BAaT's case - a space station is the ideal alternative, allowing easy containment and isolation. In the event of a catastrophic safety breach, the station can be destroyed to keep the experiment contained.

Known space stations

Milky Way