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Space Station

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Its continuing mission: To boldly stay right where it is. (And occasionally get attacked.)

Batman: This Watchtower will act as an early warning system for detecting other threats of invasion from space.
The Flash: And it has a fully stocked kitchen.

An artificial structure in space, where people live and work. Unlike the Cool Starship, the Space Station is usually fixed in orbit around a planet or at a particular point in space. It also allows for the construction of a standing studio set and avoids expensive location shoots.

Real-world space stations have existed since 1971 (Salyut 1) and four of them — the International Space Station, Tiangong and Genesis I & II (both unmanned) — are currently in orbit. These are all much smaller than what one is used to in sci-fi shows. The list for the interested can be seen below.

Space stations in fiction have a tendency to be very large, sometimes housing an entire city. Many have adopted a wheel design for a centrifuge-based system of gravitynote  (unless Artificial Gravity is employed), but this is not obligatory. If sufficiently large to support a sizable permanent population, a space-station may be referred to as an "orbital habitat" or "space colony". Don't drop it! The problem of gas exchange and food production is often solved by incorporating a closed ecosystem and green plants onboard, sometimes in dirt, sometimes hydroponics, sometimes algae aquaculture.

Put a station near a star, and you have a Stellar Station.

Fictional examples:

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    Anime and Manga 
  • Crest of the Stars: The Abh tend to live almost exclusively on space stations, only visiting planetary surfaces when its absolutely necessary. This fits with their view of themselves; their society's name in their language means "Kin of the Stars", and they consider space to be their "homeland". Their capital Lakfakalle is a gigantic swarm of huge spacestations orbiting a star in a system with no habitable worlds.
  • GaoGaiGar has the Gutsy Galaxy Guard (3G) Orbit Base used during the second half of the show after the 31 Machine Primevals destroyed their Underwater Base.
  • Gundam:
    • Very large space-stations are integral to the background of the anime universe(s). The designs are lifted almost verbatim from O'Neill's The High Frontier, which was new when the first Gundam series was in development.
    • The After Colony timeline (Mobile Suit Gundam Wing) uses the Stanford Torus design instead, while most colonies seen in Mobile Suit Gundam SEED have an hourglass shape.
  • In Legend of the Galactic Heroes, the Galactic Empire has a penchant of constructing large space stations. For example, the two largest space fortresses featured, Iserlohn Fortress and Geiersburg Fortress, were built by the Empire. In the first Gaiden prequel series, it is even revealed that the Empire has constructed a huge artificial resort satellite which orbits a gas giant.
  • Macross:
    • The Zentraedi Factory Satellite are gigantic automated factori for the guns, ships and battlepods of the Zentraedi, with every Zentraedi main fleet having about twenty. They are completely necessary for the Zentraedi continual survival due their inability to build and repair ships anything by themselves (the Protoculture, who created the Zentraedi as their slave soldiers, made sure they wouldn't have these abilities as an additional way to control them. It failed, but they still haven't learned how to repair and build things by themselves). The original series shows the UN Spacy hijacking one of the defeated Bodol Main Fleet, with expanded universe material adding they actually hijacked the whole set and that human emigration fleets will do the same to any satellite they stumble upon.
    • In Macross II's Alternate Continuity Zentraedi Fleets appear to only have a single satellite each, with the UN Spacy capturing the one of the Bodol fleet and the one of a different Zentraedi Main Fleet.
  • In Moonlight Mile, an expanded version of the International Space Station is shown, with more modules and solar panels. The Galileo is essentially a mobile space station that travels between Earth and the Moon. The US military secretly has an even larger space station called "Enterprise," and China launches its own smaller station late in Season 2.
  • The main cast of Planetes operate out of a space station in low Earth orbit.
  • Robotech:
    • Space Station Liberty (first mentioned in the series but only shown in Robotech: The Shadow Chronicles) is a former Zentraedi military base that Earth forces captured and towed in the Sol system.
    • The now non-canon comics also feature the Robotech Refinery Satellite (a refinery for monopole ore orbiting the planet Fantoma) and Space Station V (an Invid base).

    Comic Books 
  • Dan In Space: Dan Johnson lives on a space station across the galaxy from planet Earth.
  • Justice League of America:
    • The Justice League have the Watchtower and its larger, improved successor, Watchtower II. Its position in orbit with a giant laser cannon pointing down become a point of contention with the US government (at least in the cartoon).
    • And for many years before the Watchtower, the JLA had an orbiting satellite space station, through the 70s and part of the 80s (until the "Detroit League" era and the Crisis finished it off).
  • The Marvel Universe has had a lot over the years.
    • The Peak (multiple versions of it), is the base of SWORD, SHIELD's off-world counterpart, which also had Pandora's Box, a research station.
    • The Lighthouse, which served as the base of the Secret Avengers.
    • The Alpha Flight Low-Earth Orbit Space Station, after Alpha Flight more or less took over from SWORD in extraterrestrial diplomacy, which has been destroyed and rebuilt at least once.
    • Many of them, surprisingly, have been built by Magneto, including:
      • Multiple versions of his space station, 'Asteroid M', all of which tend to be absolutely enormous — as in, the remains of the original were turned into Utopia, the X-Men's island haven in the late 00s/early New 10s, and it was far from the largest.
      • He also built Avalon out of a mixture of one of the versions of Asteroid M and Cable's then deactivated space station, Graymalkin, before it was eventually destroyed in a brutal battle between Exodus and Holocaust. The result was so vast that Cable successfully used the remains to build Providence, an entire floating city-state, home to over 200,000 people, with plenty of room to spare.
    • Knowhere, which, like in the MCU, is a floating celestial head in deep space, and the Kyln, which is the main prison of the Nova Corps.
  • Star Wars (Marvel 1977) has Droid World, an enormous space station overseen by a cyborg named Kligson, which is home to countless droids who want nothing to do with the organic races of the galaxy.

    Fan Works 
  • Child of the Storm has Magneto's base of Asteroid M/Avalon (it's referred to by both names, usually the former to avoid confusion with the extradimensional realm of Avalon). It's absolutely enormous, being confirmed to be at least 3/4 the size of Hogwarts, modular (which means that Magneto can and does rearrange it as he wishes), and more or less entirely of Magneto's own construction, via asteroid mining — though as he notes, he got a second opinion from Mar-Vell on the designs, as well as help with more complex systems like life-support and artificial gravity. Transport is usually via teleporter, and it doesn't have many permanent residents, with the only named examples being Amelia Voght (the teleporter and medic), Piotr Rasputin a.k.a. Colossus (present because he prefers quiet and solitude), and Ruth Aldine a.k.a. Blindfold, whose nature as a mildly Mad Oracle (to begin with) led to Magneto taking her in as his ward.

    Films — Animation 

    Films — Live-Action 
  • The opening space scenes of 2001: A Space Odyssey feature the wheel-like Station Five.
  • The 2023 Russian film The Challenge (Вызов) is the world's first feature-length fiction film to have scenes shot in space by a professional filmmaker. The scenes in space were shot onboard the ISS.
  • Conquest of Space (George Pal's 1955 sci-fi flop after his previous blockbusters Destination Moon and When Worlds Collide) has The Wheel, whose design was taken from the famous illustrated book of that name. It's the first thing seen in the movie.
    The Narrator: This is a story of tomorrow, or the day after tomorrow, when men have built a station in space, constructed in the form of a great wheel, and set a thousand miles out from the Earth, fixed by gravity, and turning about the world every two hours, serving a double purpose: an observation post in the heavens, and a place where a spaceship can be assembled, and then launched to explore other planets, and the vast universe itself, in the last and greatest adventure of mankind, the plunge toward the... CONQUEST OF SPACE!
  • Elysium is a man-made installation orbiting Earth, where the privileged of humanity live apart from the destitute masses.
  • The made-for-TV Epoch Evolution starts with a Chinese General Ripper launching three nukes to destroy the American station, whose purpose is to destroy ballistic nukes with lasers. The station personnel manages to destroy two of the nukes far enough away, but a Chinese satellite jams the third laser turret, preventing a lock until the nuke is too close. It's still destroyed, but the blast wave destroys the station as well.
  • In I.S.S., World War III breaks out on Earth and the titular space station is soon embroiled in the conflict.
  • Moonraker features a station that serves as the villain's main lair. Incidentally, it was the last set built for the Bond films by Ken Adam, who was production designer for the Bond films until then.
  • Mutiny In Outer Space (1965). The mutiny takes place on Space Station X-7 (a classic wheel design), which has become contaminated by an alien fungus.
  • Project Moonbase (1953) has the protagonists stop off at a US military space station on the way to the moon. We see people walking along the corridors upside down past people going the other way due to its variable Artificial Gravity.
  • The camp B-Movie Queen of Outer Space has the unimaginatively named Space Station A being destroyed by a Death Ray from the planet Venus! It forms the classic wheel design, is shown spinning fast enough to give everyone on board space sickness, and took 22 years to build from the moment the first man stepped into space in the far-future of 1963.
  • There's a toroid space station in the 1957 Soviet movie Road to the Stars.
  • Rubikon is the space station in a But What About the Astronauts? plot. It's actually what used to be the ISS.
  • At the beginning of Saturn 3 one of the characters leaves a space station also featuring people walking on the floor and ceiling.
  • The space station over Solaris in Solaris is large, but falling apart due to madness and disuse.
  • The 2014 comedy Space Station 76 is a Stepford Suburbia in space. The station has a Space: 1999 Retraux look about it.
  • Fleet Battlestation Ticonderoga in Starship Troopers serves as a staging point for the Federation invasion of Klendathu and background material indicates it is FTL-capable.
  • The Yorktown in Star Trek Beyond is a veritable city in space, surrounded by a bubble. While everyone is impressed by the feat of engineering, McCoy's reaction is to compare it to a snowglobe that's about to break. He points out that it would've made far better sense to just rent out space on a planet instead. Spock says the decision was political: The Federation didn't want to show favoritism to any particular member planet, so they put it in deep space.
  • The Star Wars Expanded Universe and the Legends continuity feature space stations used for everything from shipyards and defense platforms to casinos. (The Death Star is invariably referred to in-universe as a "space station" — or sometimes as a "battle station" — but given that it clearly has the capability to travel between star systems, it's really more of a very large space ship.) A great many of these space stations end up in little bitty pieces by the end of whatever work they appear in...
  • The introduction to Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets shows the evolution of a space station into the eponymous city in space, and its role as a diplomatic nexus first for human races, then alien ones.
  • Disney Channel Zenon movies; a lot of the action is based in Space Stations.

  • Angel Station is an enormous Stanford torus, which serves as a hub in that part of space, although much of the novel actually takes place aboard starships. The main plot is kicked off, when the Sibling Team (Ubu Roy and Beautiful Maria, yes those are their actual names) arrives to the titular station with a cargo of mining computers only to discover that the company that has requested them has gone bankrupt, making their contract null and void, leaving them in debt and stuck with a cargo no one wants. They end up absconding with their ship and making a Blind Jump, accidentally encountering a Living Ship.
  • C. J. Cherryh's Alliance/Union universe features many space stations, most of humanity's exosolar colonies are torus stations built first as research stations and later as trading posts since inhabitable planets are rare and Faster-Than-Light Travel wasn't developed for centuries after expansion started. Even afterwards "stationers" remain a significant cultural force due to Hyperspace Lanes.
  • Alien in a Small Town has Felice Station orbiting Earth, described as "the most vital port city in the solar system."
  • Arrivals from the Dark and Trevelyan's Mission:
    • The Lo'ona Aeo space has a number of heavily-armed space fortresses protecting their borders. Unfortunately, some of them have been somehow taken over by the Dromi, who use them as staging areas for raids into Lo'ona Aeo space. They typically have a mushroom-like shape, with the "stalk" being centered around a massive acceleration shaft — the central component of every contour drive. The third Arivals novel involves the assault on one such fortress, dubbed the Rathole, by the human mercenaries employed by the Lo'ona Aeo (they use the above-mentioned acceleration shaft to enter the station). There are also unarmed trading posts located in the border sectors, from where large trade ships depart to alien worlds.
    • In The Faraway Saikat, the recently-built Saikat Research Station is a massive circle built by the Kni'lina for the joint human-Kni'lina research team, whose purpose is to study the primitive natives of Saikat. Given the Kni'lina cultural emphasis on personal space, the huge station has been designed for a relatively small research team (roughly two dozen Kni'lina). The station is separated into the human and Kni'lina halves of equal area, even though humans don't require nearly as much space. While the station is unarmed, it does feature a bio-emitter, which can be used to wipe out all life within a certain area on the planet below. The purpose is to decide which of the two hominid races on the planet to wipe out for the benefit of the other.
  • The Martians in the novel Auf zwei Planeten ("Two Planets", 1897, incomplete English edition 1971) by German science-fiction pioneer Kurd Laßwitz have a circular space station (diameter: 320 metres) above Earth. It is not in orbit, but suspended in space above the North Pole, where they installed an anti-gravity device.
  • Wernher von Braun, a fan of Laßwitz', wrote a short story obviously inspired by the opening of Auf zwei Planeten, about members of an Arctic expedition being rescued and taken to a space station. The story, Lunetta, was printed in 1930 in the school magazine of the Hermann-Lietz-Schule, which the 17-to-18-year old Braun attended. The eponymous station ("Lunetta" = "small moon") is among other things used for weather control, using a giant mirror.
  • In David Wingrove's Chung Kuo series, there are gigantic space stations for growing food.
  • Part of Sergey Lukyanenko's novel Competitors takes place on a large, disc-shaped station called the Platform or Bun. Nobody knows for sure who built the station, it was the Bugs, but ordinary people keep getting sent there and are given enough funds to purchase a small ship and start their career in space. Occasionally, the Platform undergoes attacks by a race known only as the Bugs. No matter their clan affiliation or criminal status, all gather to defend the station.
  • Dungeon Engineer: As the story's description says:
    Ike was a hobbyist clockmaker and former aerospace engineer enjoying his retirement on a habitat station orbiting Saturn. Unfortunately, his hard-earned peace was disturbed by a rapid decompression event and his resulting death.
  • The Expanse features a few space stations as key locations in the stories, in particular there's Tycho Station, the de facto capital of the Outer Planets Alliance (or at least the chapter led by Fred Johnson); and Medina, a former would-be Generation Ship Nauvoo which OPA was making for the Latter-day Saints Church, only to keep it for themselves as a warship Behemoth and then leave it hanging in the slow zone as a ready-made interstellar transport hub. The Transport Union, which was formed after the ending of Babylon's Ashes, also has their own void cities, which are basically mobile cities combined with warships that can move anywhere in the interplanetary space.
  • The Battle School in Ender's Game is an orbital facility made for training children for war against Formics. The gravity was said to be provided by rotation, leaving the hub in the middle with no gravity, allowing them to have their battles in weightlessness. However at least one character points out that this explanation doesn't actually add up based on how the battlerooms are actually hooked up. It's made explicit in Ender's Shadow that they actually have gravity-manipulation technology that they reverse engineered from the "dead" Bugger ships in the second Bugger War, although that part ends up being Ret Conned in the prequels, where Artificial Gravity turns out to be a purely human technology that Buggers/Formics don't even have. The station is later renamed Fleet School and is used to train future colony leaders and scout ship commanders, a wholly different skill set than for fleet commanders. It's also exclusive to children of IF officers and enlisted.
  • Halo: First Strike has the Unyielding Hierophant, a Covenant battlestation 30-km long and over 10-km in circumference; Johnson describes it as looking like "two squids kissing". It makes a brief cameo in one of the Halo 2: Anniversary terminals.
  • Harrow the Ninth: The Mithraeum is a private hideout for the God-Emperor and his elite Lyctors, doubling as an ossuary for the most honoured dead. The station is hidden 40 billion years away from The Empire in a cluster of Necromantically "flipped" stars and is only accessed through an Extradimensional Shortcut. At the end, Augustine magically drops it into The Underworld, where it's torn apart by angry ghosts.
  • In Helliconia, the eponymous planet is observed by Terrans from the space station called Avernus.
  • Several space stations are featured in Honor Harrington:
    • The one that gets focused upon most often is HMSS Hephaestus, a massive space station that is also the primary dockyard for the Royal Manticoran Navy.
    • Most of the third book, The Short Victorious War, centers around Hancock Station, and the defense of it during the opening hours of the First Haven-Manticore War.
    • Mission of Honor depicts the destruction of all of the major space stations in the Manticore system, with a death toll in the millions, including civilians. Notably, the three major shipyards are named after smithing gods: Hephaestus (Greek), Vulcan (Roman), Weyland (Norse).
    • In addition to the major space stations used in various places, there are also numerous Space Forts used to guard wormhole junctions, and smaller defensive platforms in orbit over major planets.
    • On Basilisk Station is incorrectly translated into Russian as Space Station "Basilisk", even though there isn't an actual space station of that name in the novel, and the name refers to a posting in the Basilisk System (i.e. Honor is stationed there). Although there is a sort of space station, in the form of a large connected mass of orbiting warehouses and docking equipment used for Baselisk's important role as a hub in Manticore's vast trade network. This gets destroyed during a battle with the Havenites, but is rebuilt later.
    • The Wages of Sin series featured a number of unusual space stations. First an orbiting casino complex in the book Crown of Slaves called The Wages of Sin orbiting the planet Erewhon, and the next book Torch of Freedom, features Parmley Station, a giant amusement park in space that mostly served to impoverish the family of its founder, who generations later still live there, unable to afford to leave. Parmley Station is used as a base for slavers until it is captured by Beowulfian forces, who use it as a base for their anti-slaver operations (to include being Schmuck Bait for any Slavers unfortunate enough to still think it's safe haven).
  • The 1950's sci-fi juvenile Islands in the Sky by Arthur C. Clarke is about a teenager who wins a trip to the Inner Station, a manned satellite in low Earth orbit used for repairing and refueling spacecraft. Clarke was famous for predicting the use of artificial satellites for telecommunication (though his were manned).
  • Willy Ley wrote several books aimed at children describing and illustrating space stations, complete with tug vessels to help large space ships dock.
  • While space stations exist in The Lost Fleet, it's pointed out that all they are is a huge target on a predictable path, meaning they can be safely bombarded with metallic "rocks" from a long distance away. Many Syndic worlds are orbited by stations, whose job appears to be to keep the population below from rebelling. Why else would they be equipped with bombs? That said, many stations are still necessary to build and maintain ships.
  • The Machineries of Empire: Space stations are common in the Hexarchate Galactic Superpower, ranging from specialized scientific installations to the huge Nexus Fortresses, which project the Background Magic Field and can be mistaken for moons. Enough civilians live their lives on stations that it's not odd for someone never to have set foot on a planet.
  • Asi Hart's Orbital Lily takes place on a large spinning space-station.
  • James White's Sector General novels are (mostly) set aboard the eponymous galactic hospital space station.
  • In The Ship Who... series, space stations are frequently overseen by a collaboration of human specialists and a Wetware CPU who's built into a life support capsule and installed somewhere central. The protagonist of The City Who Fought, Simeon, is one of these and considers the two-kilometer station, built for processing ore, to be his body.
  • Sholan Alliance: There's a major orbiting station above Shola that plays a minor part in the series. There are also hollowed out asteroids orbiting distant stars that play vital plot roles in the later books.
  • In the 1940's George O. Smith wrote a number of stories about Venus Equilateral Relay Station. Despite suffering from Technology Marches On (it still uses vacuum tubes) the problems the inhabitants deal with are surprisingly contemporary — from Know-Nothing Know-It-All efficiency experts to identity theft and abusive patent litigation.
  • The Star Trek: Stargazer novels introduce the Oblivion, or rather the Obl'viaan in the original Ubarrak. It's an enormous construction in orbit of a lifeless planet, consisting of hundreds (if not thousands) of ships and stations welded together. In fact, it's not so much a space station as a space city. It is definitely of a Wretched Hive variety. It's also the place where Picard first meets Guinan, although she's a little upset he doesn't know who she is (she's also still suffering from Nexus withdrawal). Naturally, the fact that it's built from numerous ships of different cultures proves to be important in several ways.
  • Star Wars Legends:
    • Centerpoint Station is a station larger than the Death Star which is at the midpoint between two worlds that revolve around each other in the Corellian system. No one knows who built it or how. The Corellian Trilogy involves it, a place inside it called Hollowtown, and the fact that a superweapon was built into it, with the ability to destroy distant stars.
    • It returns briefly in the New Jedi Order, when someone tries to use it to fire at Vong worldships but misses and hits some allies. And then they refuse to use it again.
    • A considerable part of Legacy of the Force is about the Corellians, trying to secede from the Galactic Federation of Free Worlds, commanding Centerpoint Station, which is destroyed eventually.
    • ... which might have been a mistake, since in Fate of the Jedi it appears to have caged an Eldritch Abomination. note  Making Centerpoint a combination of superweapon, can of evil, and place for a few thousand people to live and grow food.
  • Vorkosigan Saga by Lois McMaster Bujold:
    • Most of the action of Ethan of Athos takes place on Kline Station.
    • A significant portion of the action of The Vor Game takes place on a station in the Hegen Hub.
    • A significant portion of the action of Komarr takes place on a station near the wormhole connecting Barrayar and Komarr.

    Live-Action TV 
  • The 100: The Ark, where the main characters come from, was constructed by merging together 12 national space stations and thousands of satellites harvested throughout the years. Because the resources are few and for the most part non-renewable, the inhabitants (who descend from the astronauts of those stations) have established draconian laws such as a one-child policy and making all crimes punishable by death. Even then, air is running out quickly and they are forced to come to desperate measures such as culling part of the population and sending a hundred juvenile criminals to Earth to determine if it's safe to inhabit now.
  • Many space stations of various shapes and sizes are shown in Andromeda. The largest one is the Arcology, a massive space habitat filled with Technical Pacifists. The Arcology does have a slipdrive, although it's ancient (almost Steampunk-like) and non-functional.
  • Babylon 5:
    • The show's primary setting, the eponymous station, takes place on an O'Neill Cylinder. Various fluff even call all Babylon stations O'Neill-class, while other human stations are wheel-shaped. Note that whenever we see another Babylon station, it is of a similar but noticeably different design, with a large rotating ring section at one end and a different arrangement of solar panels/radiators/whatever those are that mostly exist to keep B5 from looking like a blueberry sausage.
    • Centauri stations look like two pyramids attached at the base.
    • The one time we see a Narn space station, it appears to be a hub-and-spoke design using similar components to their Heavy Cruisers.
    • Various other space stations make very brief appearances, including two previous Babylon stations and a space station near Io.
  • Blake's 7's Terran Federation has Star Command, a giant ring-shaped space station that is the headquarters of their evil version of Starfleet. There's also Space City, an ostensibly neutral Vice City secretly run by the organized crime group Terra Nostra. Space Laboratory XK-72 is a research facility maintained by a consortium of neutral planets. Spaceworld is the control centre of the System, a Master Computer that has forcibly taken over three planetary systems.
  • Britannia Seven from '70's sitcom Come Back Mrs. Noah is actually designed to be a Starship Luxurious, but it looks like a classic big wheel station that gets launched into space accidentally, then placed in a parking orbit while the folks at mish-con try to sort things out.
  • Destination Space (1959). Pilot for a TV series that was never taken up. Involves a space station damaged by a meteorite and efforts to send a rescue mission.
  • Doctor Who has several episodes that take place entirely on space stations.
    • "The Wheel in Space" and "The Ark in Space" both have stations in which many humans have been cryogenically frozen to repopulate Earth after a disaster.
    • Satellite Five, a major news network that turns out to be built specifically to house the Mighty Jagrafess of the Holy Hadrojassic Maxarodenfoe. The Doctor returns there later to find that, a hundred years later, the station, now called the Game Station, has become home to deadly reality and game shows (as a front for the Daleks to take humans and make more Daleks from them).
    • The Shadow Proclamation is based on a space station built atop three asteroids, connected using passages. It was first seen in "The Stolen Earth".
    • "A Good Man Goes to War" has the asteroid base Demon's Run, headquarters of the Headless Monks.
    • "Oxygen" features a station owned by a corporation that makes its employees wear spacesuits onboard to save money on oxygen. Any oxygen not contained in a suit is automatically emptied into space to keep the market lucrative.
    • "The Tsuranga Conundrum": Rhesus 1, the hospital the ambulance ship is headed for.
  • Earth II (1971). Another pilot for a never-filmed TV series about life on a large space station. The cast is led by Gary Lockwood of 2001 fame. The plot involves efforts to stop a nuclear weapon launched by the Chinese from reaching the station.
  • Firefly: Niska’s space complex is a large orbiting space station that Mal and Wash are taken to after being caught in retaliation for Mal not completing the job in “The Train Job.” Zoe scopes it when she comes to rescue the pair and though she only gets Wash, the group is able to get Mal out shortly after.
  • Kamen Rider Fourze has the M-BUS, the headquarters for the Anti Zodiarts Union. It fires a beam of Cosmic Energy that enables Kamen Rider Meteor to transform, and can double as a Kill Sat.
  • Legends of Tomorrow gives us the Vanishing Point, a massive multi-part station located at the end of time. In Season 1, it serves as the headquarters of the Time Masters. After the Legends destroy the Oculus and render the Time Masters impotent, the station is abandoned, allowing the Legion of Doom to use it as their hideout.
  • Mystery Science Theater 3000's Satellite of Love. This serves as the home for the poor schmoes trapped in space and their robot friends. The original SoL was destroyed in Season 10's finale, but a new one was constructed to serve as the setting of the relaunch with the implication via various comments that multiple SoLs are out there.
  • The Stargate-verse shows a few space stations, including the ISS.
    • In Stargate SG-1, the only Goa'uld space station shown is in the Hasara system and is used as a meeting place for the System Lords. It is later destroyed by the Replicators.
    • In Stargate Atlantis, the Midway station is located halfway between the Milky Way and the Pegasus galaxies and serves as a hub for the McKay-Carter Intergalactic Gate Bridge, until the Wraith capture it and sets the station to self-destruct.
  • Star Trek:
    • Numerous space stations and starbases appear throughout the franchise, ranging from those barely big enough to dock the Enterprise to ones big enough to house entire fleets inside of. They mostly look the same, but at different scales and angles.
    • Hilariously, despite the current page image and text, the very first episode of Deep Space Nine has the eponymous station move from one location to another under its own force. It's still basically stationary by Star Trek standards, since it is stuck in a single system. Many real-world space stations have maneuvering thrusters for station-keeping, and Chief O'Brien treknobabbled his way through the rest.
    • The pilot episode of Star Trek: Voyager starts with Voyager docked to Deep Space Nine, only to end up at the Array on the other side of the galaxy, whose sole inhabitant is the Caretaker. Unfortunately the destruction of the Array strands them there, kicking off the series premise.
  • The Ultra Series has a few: Space Station V2, Space Station V3 (inspired by Thunderbird 5 above), two MAT Stations (one swallowed whole by kaijuu Bemstar, the other blown up by the Nackle aliens), and the MAC Station (gobbled up by kaijuu Silver Bloom).


  • Jemjammer has the party stop at Port Meridian in the episode of the same name, which is a space station built into an asteroid.

  • Bally's Star Trek has "Space Station Ko" on the playfield, with the three bumpers representing connected pods.
  • The lower playfield of Space Shuttle is dominated by the massive "Space Shuttle Defender Star Base", while the bumpers in the upper-left corner are connected to form a smaller cluster.
  • Space Station is unsurprisingly centered around one. It uses the ring model and slowly spins after certain triggers are made.

    Tabletop Games 
  • There are a number of different types of spacestations in BattleTech, but the rarest and most important is the Recharging Station, which is typically located at a star system's zenith or nadir point and uses solar sails to collect solar energy. When a visiting jumpship arrives, the Recharging Station can use a microwave emitter to recharge the jumpship's jump drive in a matter of minutes or hours instead of the ship having to wait days or weeks to recharge via passively collecting solar energy themselves. Never common to begin with, the technical information needed to construct them was lost during the Succession Wars.
  • Claim the Sky: There are several, including the second International Space Station (the first having been destroyed), four BASTION Skywatch stations, the Raptor's Perch (run by Dagger), Freefire's abandoned base, and more.
  • About half of transhumanity after the Fall in Eclipse Phase lives in space habitats, since there aren't any planets hospitable to unmodified biomorphs in the solar system anymore.
  • In Rocket Age, most space ports are built into asteroids, moons or are ground based bases, as gravity (or lack of it) is less of an issue in Rocket Age due to Rule of Cool and space ships that rarely have trouble with re-entry.
  • In Starfinder, Absalom Station is a massive space station that once orbited Golarion before the planted disappeared. Due to the starstone at its core, which makes FTL travel towards it take the same short time regardless of distance, it continues to be a powerful trade hub even without its perent planet.
  • Most Starports in Traveller have an orbital component to deal with heavier traffic and a component planetside. Aside from that there are research stations, minor outposts and the like and occasionally if the jump range is to far a space station will be built in interstellar space to allow transit.
  • Warhammer 40,000 has a few, usually referred to as Void Stations (including one called Delta Sigma Novem). Some do nothing more than transmit sensor data, while the massive orbital dockyards of Jupiter manufacture the kilometers-long ships of the Imperium.

    Theme Parks 

    Video Games 
  • Since Bugs Bunny often deals with Marvin the Martian, many games like Bugs Bunny: Lost in Time, Looney Tunes: Carrot Crazy and Bugs Bunny in Double Trouble have Bugs encounter him in his natural habitat, which is a technologically impressive but also a kind of inhospitable and ominous Martian space station.
  • Civilization:
    • The Civilization IV: Beyond the Sword total conversion scenario "Final Frontier" allows you to build space stations, which are able to bombard enemy ships from two squares away and house missiles and fighters.
    • The Civilization V: Brave New World expansion adds the International Space Station to the list of projects that can be proposed through the United Nations. It's like other "cooperative" projects in that the nation that contributes the most to it reaps the most reward from finishing it, namely an endgame boost to science and production that can help secure a Science Victory.
    • Civilization: Call to Power allows you (once you research appropriate technology, to build cities in the "space" layer, effectively making them space stations. If you build the Space Elevator wonder, it automatically creates a "space city" right above the city where it was built. Using the elevator to transfer units between the planet and space does not add to pollution, unlike every other method.
  • Code 7:
    • "Episode 0: Allocation" is set on Schrödinger Station, the first station beyond The Milky Way Galaxy, built on the planet Gershwin 610 B. The crew there was on a mission to find out if the planet could become a new home for humanity.
    • "Episode 1: Threading" takes place on Oriens Station on Mars, which was the testing colony before the interstellar settling program was launched.
  • The GDSS Philadelphia from the Command & Conquer: Tiberian Series is GDI's heavily-defended orbiting command center, from which they run all of their operations of Earth. Until Kane nuked it, that is.
  • The orbiting space station in Cortex Command, called a "Trade Star", plays a central part in the action. From this orbiting station, units and objects come down in drop ships, and units, objects, and gold goes back up. So far, it apparently has no weapons whatsoever that can affect the ground battle.
  • Crimson Glaive Sigma takes place on the eponymous Crimson Glaive, a deep space facility made as a prison to keep the malevolent entity Crimson from being a danger to the universe. It also serves as a refinery of ichor, a very useful yet very corruptive substance produced by Crimson; and the station's warden wants to turn it into a fortress from which he can wage war with the universe outside.
  • In Deep Rock Galactic, the eponymous interstellar mining corporation has over 80 "Space Rigs" in orbit over the Death World of Hoxxes IV, serving as quarters and launching points for Drop Pod insertions of combat miners, and presumably storage for all the mineral wealth extracted from the planet. In-game, Space Rig 17 is the Hub Level where dwarves can interact with various terminals to select missions and assignments, customize their appearance, purchase weapon upgrades, forge cosmetic items and weapon overclocks, trade minerals for credits, honor the fallen in the Memorial Hall, get sloshed at the Abyss Bar, or drive Mission Control bonkers by kicking barrels into the Launch Bay. There used to be 87 Space Rigs, but Space Rig 5 was lost during Season 4's story arc, when a Lithophage meteor, with uncanny aim, smashed directly into its fusion reactor, killing all hands.
  • Empire Earth's expansion lets you a Space Age wonder which gives a defense boost to spaceships. It's not really in space though, as the game has a bad case of Space Is an Ocean, but built on the edge of a planet.
  • The main objective in Event Horizon is to conquer starbases of various factions all throughout the galaxy. They're all large disc-shaped structures, and those at the end of Sorting Algorithm of Evil are armed with three turrets as well as several drones. Successfully conquering them earns you large amounts of loot, and conquered starbases offer services such as item manufacture and starship upgrade. In the spinoff Event Horizon: Frontier the roles are reversed, as you are defending your own starbase.
  • Final Fantasy: while depicted as a traditionally fantastic floating castle in most remakes, the Floating Fortress is depicted in the original NES game as a high-tech satellite orbiting the planet, with a field of stars in the background instead of clouds. This sci-fi depiction of the Fortress would be used again in Stranger of Paradise: Final Fantasy Origin.
  • Starbases are popular in the Galactic Civilizations games, ranging from Asteroid Mining outposts and cultural installations to military bases and the supernova-slinging Terror Stars.
  • Most of Ghost 1.0 takes place on the Nakamura space station, which is linked to the Earth by a space elevator.
  • Two types of stations can be built in Haegemonia: Legions of Iron. Both types can move prior to deploying, at which point they are unable to be "undeployed", although the Expansion Pack fixes that. Mining bases are unarmed and position themselves over resource-rich asteroids in order to process them. Military bases can be built of different types, depending on the type of weapons you want them to have (missile, proton, ion, quantum). They cannot use weapons when mobile. They also repair friendly ships in the vicinity. The campaign also has resort and hospital stations, as well as the Darzok HQ, which must be destroyed to win the game. You also find abandoned Solon stations with active defenses.
  • Halo:
    • The series is largely centered around the seven Halo installations, all of which are basically gigantic space stations, large enough to house their own ecosystem. They're also incredibly powerful superweapons. The Ark that built them is even larger, to the point that it has several times the surface area of the Earth and is illuminated by its own star, which orbits it (not the other way around).
    • The opening chapter of Halo 2 puts Master Chief (you) on one of Earth's 300 enormous orbiting defense satellites, each one armed with a Super Magnetic Accelerator Cannon capable of punching straight through a Covenant capital ship in one shot.
    • Halo 4 has Ivanoff Station, a UNSC research facility stationed near Gamma Halo.
  • Hardspace: Shipbreaker is set aboard Salvage Station Morrigan, an enormous hexagonal ring in which you take vessels apart for salvage. It's by not means the only one, though; whichever way you look past the Morrigan you can see Earth's orbits are ridiculously crowded with space stations of all kinds and unknown purposes (aside from the Railgate behind the habitat, and several more Salvage Stations).
  • The Journeyman Project 2: Buried in Time has one of its timezones set on a space station, at a time just after a meteor shower heavily damaged it. It's here where Arthur, the station's AI, duplicates himself to become Agent 5's companion without damaging the time stream.
  • You can put your own space stations into orbit in Kerbal Space Program. Assembling large, multi-part stations is a good way to test one's docking skills.
  • The first two acts of Knights of the Old Republic II: The Sith Lords take place on two different space stations. Peragus is an asteroid facility, so it may or may not count.
  • Several levels in the Marathon series take place on space stations, most of them owned by the UESC.
  • Mass Effect
    • Two Space Stations are important plot locations. The Citadel is the seat of the Galactic government and generally has an Ascetic Aesthetic, Star Trek look (until you get to the Wards) while Omega is a Wretched Hive asteroid base with Cyberpunk Used Future themes. A number of less important stations crop up in sidequests.
    • In Mass Effect 2, Shepard is revived on a space station belonging to Cerberus. It's also implied that the Illusive Man's HQ is a space station.
    • Illusive Man's space station is stated to move from system to system in order to keep its location hidden. Only high-ranking operatives are allowed to visit it, and are usually told by the Illusive Man himself where it currently is.
    • The Heretic geth base of operations is a large space station in the middle of nowhere.
    • The True geth build a massive space station in orbit of Rannoch (quarian homeworld) to serve as a giant server to house all geth programs. When the quarians attack in the third game, one of their first targets is the space station. Many programs are destroyed in the process.
    • The fleets of the Systems Alliance (human government) are headquartered on the Arcturus space station. Unfortunately, it's one of the first targets of the Reapers in Mass Effect 3. All you find is the debris field.
    • Mass Effect: Andromeda gives us the Nexus, a Citadel-inspired mobile station built for the Andromeda Initiative. It's supposed to serve the same purpose in the Andromeda Galaxy as the Citadel in the Milky Way and can be extended by the docking of the five Ark ships: Hyperion (human), Leusinia (asari), Natanus (turian), Paarchero (salarian), and Keelah Si'yah (quarian/drell/hanar/elcor/volus).
  • In Master of Orion, you can build starbases to protect your planets from attack. They're automatically equipped with the best weapons, defenses, and equipment you have. They also increase your command point limit, allowing you to field a larger fleet without paying huge support fees. The reboot separates regular starbases from outposts. Outposts are built on warp points and prevent non-allies from navigating through them, while starbases are built in planetary orbits. Also, starbases provide command points, while outposts use them up.
  • Significant portions of MDK2 take place aboard Dr. Hawkins's space station, the Jim Dandy. In the backstory, he built the station and moved into it after the scientific community ridiculed his theory of "flange orbits", vowing not to return to Earth without proof they actually existed. One week after he moved onto the station, he realized flange orbits didn't actually exist.
  • The final levels of the Mega Man (Classic) Game Boy series (except III and IV, although the latter was actually a space battleship) take place on Space Stations; the one used in V looks like it was even based on the Death Star. And then, in Mega Man 10, Wily builds another station that was just an extension of his castle. This one was notorious for the lengthy tracking screen on the map.
  • Mega Man X5 is based around the space colony Eurasia, which is being Colony Drop'd on Earth, necessitating the Maverick Hunters to try to stop it from impacting the planet with both an old Wave-Motion Gun and, if that fails, a kamikaze attack with a space shuttle. Mega Man X6 picks up immediately after X5 and reveals that the colony was stopped just shy of hitting Earth, although the damage it wrought was still significant.
  • Metroid Fusion takes place on board the BSL (Biologic Space Laboratories) station in orbit around the planet SR388, complete with artificial biomes for studying alien creatures in their natural habitats. Unfortunately, this means that there's a lot of biomass hanging around for the X parasites to consume and absorb. At the end of the game Samus performs a Colony Drop to wipe out the X on both the station and the planet below.
  • Muri: From the opening:
    After humanity colonized Mars, a research station orbiting the planet conducted controversial research on the nature of life — and death.
    Dubbed Muri, the project resulted in an armor suit of cataclysmic power.
  • Mysterious Journey II starts and ends in a hollowed-out asteroid. After 214 years in cryonic suspension, Sen Geder wakes up and is informed by the hologram of a man named Tensa, that the station's orbit has degraded so much that it will fall in 16 days, and this is to be Sen's punishment for causing the nearby planet, Saarpedon, to be stuck as a single valley. Since Sen has no memory of any of these events, it's up to him to discover the truth, and see if he really was guilty for his crimes.
  • Nearly every system in No Man's Sky has a local space station resembling a brightly-coloured primitive which serves as an interplanetary shipyard, upgrading station and trading post for players and NPCs alike; along with being able to buy and sell resources players might find on nearby worlds, players can also buy fuel or upgrades for their Cool Starship and Exosuit here or quickly teleport to a station in any previously visited system. They can also be shot at, which can decrease their rating and affect the quality of goods found there (though they can't be destroyed), however doing so will result in the station siccing the Space Police on you. Even in completely abandoned systems you can find a derelict station still in good enough shape to offer basic services without any workers, though there are some systems that were never settled by any galactic power and so they have no stations at all.
  • One mission of No One Lives Forever features a HARM space station, which Kate must infiltrate. Halfway through, the station is hit with a meteor shower, and Kate must race to complete the mission and find an Escape Pod, as the station breaks apart around her. The station is equipped with a sensor system designed to warn about this sort of thing, but they forgot to plug it in.
  • Outer Wilds has several orbital facilities in your home system that were built by the Nomai, which you can explore.
    • The Sun Station has its own trope.
    • When you wake up at the very start of the game, Giant's Deep is in the sky above your campsite, and you can see something in its orbit exploding and shooting something out. This is the Orbital Probe Cannon, designed to launch a deep space probe, though by the time you get up there, it's in several pieces, making exploration tricky. Working out what that probe is looking for and why it's firing now is a significant part of the plot.
    • Beyond the orbit of Dark Bramble is a white hole on the very edge of your solar system, with an aptly-named White Hole Station floating nearby. It's mainly there to provide a way back to terra firma - the black hole in the center of Brittle Hollow leads to that white hole, while the station, when reactivated, serves as a tutorial for Nomai warp pads. Amusingly, it's implied that the Nomai had to build the thing after their people repeatedly fell through the white hole, to the extent that the station has a note reassuring a visitor that they "wouldn't be the first" to need a way back to Brittle Hollow.
    • The Echoes of the Eye DLC adds another one, the Stranger, a ring world built by another alien race that's been orbiting your sun, hidden beneath an Invisibility Cloak, for hundreds of thousands of years. It's also mobile, as it originated outside your solar system, and shortly after you board it, it'll power up and start moving away from your sun. The entire DLC takes place aboard the Stranger as you uncover its secrets and purpose.
  • Portal 2: Two of the many alternate Cave Johnsons run an Aperture Science in a space station. The first is the warden of a space prison complete with force field doors and air vents filled with the rotting corpses of previous break out attempts. In another universe Aperture Science relocated to an absolutely huge one comprised of dozens of large "testing spheres" joined together. Unfortunately, no one informed the thousands of test subjects in cryogenic storage of this change. Many of said subjects believe the sudden (to them) change in tests is part of a conspiracy and try to escape the facility, into the vacuum of space.
  • Prey (2017) takes place on the Talos One station, privately owned by the TranStar corporation and being used to contain/research an alien race called the Typhon.
  • Rocket Knight Adventures:
    • The original game has the Pig Star, a pig-shaped space station which serves as the seventh stage. In this stage, Sparkster faces off against Emperor Devligus Devotindos, only to discover that Devligus is not only a Terminator-like robot, but one of many such robots stocked aboard the Pig Star, and that the real final boss is a sentient computer. Sparkster also faces Axel Gear for the third and last time before facing off against the final boss.
    • In the SNES spin-off, Sparkster, Stage 8 takes place in a space station where Generalissimo Lioness serves as the final boss. If you play the game on Normal mode, the game ends after you kill Generalissimo Lioness, but if you play it on Hard, Generalissimo Lioness launches a warhead to destroy Planet Eginasem, which serves as the True Final Boss.
  • In Sid Meier's Alpha Centauri, you can have bases with Aerospace Complexes launch three (or four with Alien Crossfire kinds of space station once you have the requisite technology:
    • The Sky Hydroponics Lab, which grows food in space. +1 Nutrient/turn to all bases subject to modifiers.
    • The Orbital Power Transmitter, which gathers solar energy from orbit and then transmits it wirelessly to the surface (actually a real plan). +1 Energy/turn (i.e. money) to all bases, subject to modifiers.
    • The Orbital Defense Pod, which might not be manned: It can destroy either another faction's orbital facility or have a 50% chance of intercepting a Planet Buster.
    • The Nessus Mining Station (SMAX) allows for mining operations on Planet's moon (so isn't precisely a space station, but is treated as one mechanically in all respects), giving +1 Mineral/turn to all bases, subject to modifiers.
  • Building them is a major part of playing Sins of a Solar Empire, and they all have different specialized functions. The first Expansion Pack adds starbases, which can be built anywhere, not just in orbit of your planets. The Vasari starbases can even move around the area but lack phase drives. The starbases can be customized through modules, which can turn them into fortresses, trade hubs, or hangars for huge waves of fighters.
  • A common setting for levels in many Sonic the Hedgehog games, what with Eggman having so many technological resources at his disposal that he often commands a space armada which makes those final challenges a fight at literally the height of his power:
  • The iOS game Space Agency has two space stations: an ISS Expy and a mysterious station that you must investigate in certain missions. In the sandbox mode, you can build your own space stations from scratch using modules you send up.
  • Spacebase DF-9 involves a Theme Hospital-like construction of a two-D space station, hiring crew to maintain it, and entertaining guests (both humans and aliens) to earn income.
  • Several space stations are shown throughout the Space Quest series. Galaxy Galleria is a large circular mall in space with a zero-gravity area in the center. The StarCon Academy is located aboard a large space station. There's also Molly's Chug & Glug SpaceBar, which you end up destroying, Monolith Burger Fast Food Dive, Shar-Pei's station, Xenon Orbital Station 4, Vohaul's Asteroid of Doom, etc.
  • Space Station 13 takes place on the eponymous 13th station in most servers, until the bombs start going off, then its just space.
  • In Star Fox Zero, Area 3 conatains a space colony in the shape of a ring, with a functioning city inside it.
  • Stations are one of the types of constructs that players can design and build in Star Ruler. They can carry massive defensive weapons, function as a trading hub, orbital refinery, a dry dock, or any combination of the above. Typically placed in orbit around planets, but it's possible to tow them to a new position using a massive carrier, or by yanking it out of orbit with a tractor beam.
  • Stars! (1995) allows space stations to be built around colony worlds. A race's homeworld gets one automatically at the start of the game and they provide defences for worlds, allow ships to be refuelled, and can even be fitted with stargates and mass drivers to allow ships and resources to be transported faster and more efficiently than using transport ships alone. For Alternate Reality races, they also provide a home for your colonists, since they cannot set foot on any world. The downside to this is, of course, should the station be destroyed, all the colonists will be killed.
  • All buildings in Star Trek: Armada and its sequel are space stations for all factions except for Species 8472, who only use Organic Technology (i.e. all their structures are huge organisms that are grown not built). The main structure is the starbase, but there are also shipyards, research structures, and a special weapons structure.
  • Star Trek Voyager: Elite Force has several space stations, including the Forge and one made up of various ships trapped there welded together. One of the ships making up the latter is a Constitution-class starship from the Mirror Universe. Fans of TOS get a nostalgia fix walking through the halls of the ship, albeit with the Terran Empire logo on all doors.
  • Startopia's plot revolves around restoring abandoned spinning wheel-shaped stations. Strangely enough, all space stations in the galaxy appear to have the exact same design. The stations have 3 decks: engineering, pleasure, and bio. Biodeck is the innermost one and uses "nanosoil" to recreate any planetary environment to the point where you can actually grow plants in it. The pleasure deck is all for the entertainment of tourists and employees. The engineering deck (outermost) includes power stations, factories, docks, security stations, communicators, sick bays, sleeping pods, bathrooms, etc.
  • Stellaris has several types.
    • Starbases are used to lay claim to systems, and start out as lowly Frontier Outposts that with the proper technology can be expanded and upgraded into various configurations: shipyards, stardocks, trade hubs, or even spaceborne citadels bristling with weapons, all of which can have additional defenses in the form of weapon platforms floating nearby. The fact that your home system always starts out with a decent-sized starbase is the main defense against early-game rushes.
    • Within your systems, you can build Mining Stations to extract minerals, energy, or strategic resources from celestial bodies, or Research Stations to make use of science-boosting features. These stations are presumably manned, but don't require any management beyond constructing them.
    • Observation Posts are special stations built over worlds inhabited by pre-FTL socities, and depending on your empire's ethics you can have them perform various missions: passive observation, aggressive study, indoctrinating the locals with your empire's ethos, infiltrating and subverting the primitive society, or guiding the primitives into the Space Age and having them become a protectorate of your empire. Various events can occur where your scientists' mission goes off the rails or the locals begin to catch on to what you're doing.
    • With mid-game technology, you can construct Orbital Habitats, which cost far more resources and time to build than normal space stations, but which can then be settled and, if fully upgraded/expanded, support a larger population than most planets. Their building options are more limited than planets, but since Stellaris counts star systems, not individual colonies, when it comes to the cap on directly-controlled worlds, constructing Orbitals over every planet, asteroid, or other celestial object possible is great for "tall" builds.
      • The Federations expansion allows you the "Void Dwellers" start, where your species has three settled Habitats and the largest one orbits a shattered planet (presumably their home world). You also get a bonus to food production on Habitat farms and the technology to build more, and you can access the rare technology to upgrade them. The only downside is your species gets severe penalties for colonising actual planets.
    • An Ascension Perk, "Galactic Wonders," lets you build even bigger constructions, from a Science Nexus that provides unparalleled research output, to a Sentry Array that when fully upgraded allows you to see everything in the galaxy, or even megastructures like Ring Worlds and Dyson Spheres.
    • The Leviathans DLC introduces Enclaves, minor factions specializing in selling their services providing rare resources, research, or art, who are all based on space stations scattered across the galaxy. Said stations have enough defenses to deal with any wandering space creatures or Space Pirates, but a powerful fleet or lategame Crisis will be enough to destroy an Enclave station.
    • The same DLC also introduces the eponymous Leviathan entities, one of which is the Enigmatic Fortress, a sprawling space citadel built by long-extinct Precursors. Only a lategame fleet has any hope of overcoming its defenses, and even then you must send in an away team and puzzle out how to shut down the Fortress safely, or else it will regenerate back to full combat-readiness, or wipe out the entire system with its Self-Destruct Mechanism. Successfully plundering its secrets will grant access to unique evasion and tracking technology for your starships.
  • Sword of the Stars has orbital defense satellites (it's not clear if they're automated or manned) of various sizes with expansions adding large specialized space stations (e.g. command, industry, science, trade, habitat, sensor). In the sequel, you can also build hidden defense bases in asteroid fields in order to launch system defense boats at unsuspecting invaders.
  • System Shock has Citadel Station, owned by the MegaCorp Tri-Optimum. When you try hacking into their database to learn about the station, TriOp catches you and takes you there, where their sleazy VP Edward Diego offers to let you off the hook if you erase the ethical constraints on the station's AI, SHODAN. Naturally, with the hundreds of weapons and machines on-station, mutagenic viruses on the loose, and you held in stasis for six months to get a neural implant, it doesn't go well.
  • Tachyon: The Fringe gives us truly massive space stations for a space fighter sim, some of which takes several minutes to fly around. The only structures the Player Character can dock at are space stations and platforms, as planets serve only as background. Every region has a single station where that acts as your home base. A shining example is the Olympus, which looks like a set of office buildings in space — fitting, considering that it's the regional headquarters of the GalSpan Corporation. There's also New Vegas, where you can gamble away your hard-earned money.
  • 10 Minute Space Strategy lets you turn your colony ships into permanent stations floating through interplanetary (interstellar?) space, providing bonuses to nearby allied colonies and fleets.
  • In Terra Invicta, platforms, orbitals and rings are progressively-larger space habitats, orbiting around planets, moons and Lagrange points. Low Earth Orbit in particular gets very crowded, very fast.
  • Unfortunate Spacemen: A space station serves as one of the stages for the game.
  • In Warframe, scattered throughout the Origin System are Relays, orbital structures where Tenno can dock to meet fellow warriors, make business with various syndicates, configure their Railjacks, see what Darvo has on sale and maybe even meet elusive Baro Ki'Teer, the Void Trader. Every once in a while, the Grineer or the Corpus will sic their superweapons on these stations, threatening to destroy them unless the Tenno team up to destroy these threats. The Tenno themselves can also build dojos for their clans, which are hidden somewhere in space.
  • X-COM: Interceptor has you building space stations instead of underground bases. You start with one, and you can later build up to a dozen or so, which becomes necessary later in the game, as you need to expand the range of your Space Fighters and protect more and more mining colonies. Your stations will occasionally be attacked by the aliens, requiring you to stop them, as well as equipping the stations with turrets. Also, your stations don't have any R&D facilities. Instead, all materials to be studied are shipped back to Earth, and the resulting information has to be downloaded using special communication arrays (no more than 3 per station). Oh, and the aliens love to send jamming probes to temporarily throttle your download speeds (are they working for AT&T or something?). Due to a bug in the game, it's pretty much impossible to destroy those probes, so all that's left is to wait for them to run out of power. The stations also don't have any construction facilities, so all fighters are actually built on colonies and shipped to the designated station (those convoys can be intercepted by aliens).
  • Space stations of various types are the only thing in the X-Universe games that players can actually dock at. There's four main categories. Factories take in materials and create products. Trading stations and equipment docks buy and sell certain goods. Shipyards build ships and factories. The one-of-a-kind Player Headquarters can repair, reverse-engineer and manufacture new starships. Several space stations are also Big Dumb Objects; the Torus Aeternal is a Ringworld Planet encircling the Earth which is simultaneously an orbital city, military outpost, and shipyard. The HUB is a miniature Dyson Sphere that can manipulate the game's Portal Network.

  • Commander Kitty prominently features two: The Triple-I Headquarters and the gigantic space lab Zenith Central.
  • Freefall: The 'Savage Chicken" and its crew and passengers have trvelled to the Pournelle / Niven / station on a job that was supposed to net them a new reactor.
  • In Questionable Content, Hannelore spent most of her childhood on a large space station owned and operated by her parents' company; her father still lives there. She brings Marten and Marigold up for a visit in an arc starting with #2104. The station is run by an on-board AI (also called Station) who is himself a large stakeholder in Ellicott-Chatham Technologies.

    Web Original 
  • These are quite popular in the Chakona Space 'Verse.
    • Major stations can be found orbiting Earth and Chakona. Others exist elsewhere.
    • A major station is under construction above Arisia.
    • Numerous mining stations also exist in other systems.
  • Fenspace: The Fen have built a very large number of space stations throughout the solar system. Most of the early ones were built in a rather ramshackle way out of things like shipping containers, water tanks and space shuttle fuel tanks that had been vacuum-sealed and upgraded with handwaved technology, but the later ones, built after the Fen became more well established, are much more sophisticated and pre-planned. They can get rather varied, including callbacks to more retro space station designs (there's three separate Bernal spheres floating around, for instance) and various hollowed-out asteroids. While most space stations took inspiration from some part of science fiction or another to a greater of lesser degree, the one that takes the cake is almost certainly the A Baoa Qu, built by Mobile Suit Gundam fans who went through the trouble of sculpting a rather large asteroid into a mushroom shape so that they could build a replica of the anime's space fortress.

    Western Animation 
  • Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog: "Spaceman Sonic" features, like the games, an abandoned Space Station, but unlike the games it isn't Robotnik's property, though that doesn't keep it from feeling eerie, which certainly isn't helped by the alien, giant, blob-like, flesh-eating monster that is wandering in the corridors looking for food.
  • In the Archer two-parter "Space Race", the Horizon is a massive, futuristic, self-sustaining space station that has been taken over by mutineers who plan to use it to try and colonize Mars. It stands out from the show's Retro Universe, and is a direct spoof of the Moonraker example.
  • Star Wars Resistance: In season 1 finale "No Escape, Part I" and "Part II", it's revealed that the Colossus, the refuelling station on an ocean planet that is the show's main setting, is actually a mobile space station capable of hyperspace travel. This leads to the heroes escaping the First Order by performing a Steal the Surroundings with the Colossus.

Real Life Examples:

  • There were two different designs of the Salyutnote  series—the DOS (Salyut proper) and OPS (Almaznote ) designs. The Almaz stations were experiments into military applications of space stations, and secretly carried a 23mm autocannon (suitably modified for space).
    • Salyut 1/DOS-1 (1971): Only two crews went up to this. The first (Soyuz 10) couldn't open the door. The second (Soyuz 11) got on board and spent 23 days there, but died during reentry when a malfunctioning valve caused their capsule to depressurise.
    • Salyut 2/OPS-1 (1973): An Almaz station. Depressurised on launch after being hit by debris from the Proton launcher, followed by an unexplained explosion (probably caused by faulty wiring) that destroyed the solar panels less than two weeks after reaching orbit. No attempts to visit.
    • Salyut 3/OPS-2 (1974-5): Only had one crew visit. The only Almaz mission to actually do anything military related, it shot off its gun and destroyed a couple of derelict satellites.
    • Salyut 4/DOS-4 (1974-77): Twin to the failed and disowned (from the Salyut program) Kosmos 557/DOS-3. Mounted one solar telescope and two x-ray telescopes, used for deep-space observation.
    • Salyut 5/OPS-3 (1976-77): The last Almaz station.note  First crew forced to return early after psychological problems surfaced in the crew. Second crew failed to dock, and third crew conducted scientific studies.
    • Salyut 6/DOS-5 (1977-82): First of the second-generation stations, and the first to mount two docking ports to allow resupply while a crew was already aboard. Also demonstrated the viability of in-situ modular station construction when the automated TKS logistics module was successfully docked by remote after the last crew departed, paving the way for Mir and the ISS.
    • Salyut 7/DOS-6 (1982-91): Originally the back-up module in case Salyut 6 failed, refurbished and launched due to delays in Mir. System failure led to the batteries failing to charge between crews, forcing an on-site repair after manual docking. Served as a testbed and experimental platform for several Mir technologies.
  • Mirnote  (1986-2001): The first modular space station, assembled with components from multiple launches docked together. This included a core module (DOS-7) that could take four other modules on one end, with another (Kvant) attached on the other end. Later became capable of having the Space Shuttle dock through the use of a universal adapter. One of those modules, Spektr, was rendered unusable after a crew member, attempting to remotely dock an unmanned cargo craft, instead crashed into it, nearly killing everyone on board. First permanently manned station.
  • Polyusnote  (1987): A planned Almaz station, carrying a CO2 laser designed for anti-satellite warfare. Launched upside down due to space restrictions in the Energia, the intention was to yaw the station 180 degrees before firing rockets to place it in permanent orbit, but a failure in the inertial guidance system caused the maneuvering jets to rotate the craft 360 degrees, sending it careening into the atmosphere over the South Pacific.
  • OPSEKnote  (proposed; after 2020): A proposal to assemble a new station using recycled modules from the Russian Orbital Segment of the ISS as the foundation after the latter is decommissioned. It is envisioned to serve as an orbital assembly point and space dock for future manned missions to the Moon and other planets.

  • Manned Orbital Laboratory (1963–1969): A proposed all-military station that was essentially to be a manned spy satellite. Test vehicles were launched and astronauts were trained, but the project was canceled due to cost overruns and the fact that unmanned satellites had become cheaper and more reliable. Several of the MOL astronauts transferred to the NASA astronaut program and flew in the Space Shuttle.
  • Skylab (1973–79): NASA's only self-launched and operated space station, operated from 1973-1974. During its launch one of its main solar wings and the main sunshade was torn off, and the second wing was jammed against the side of the hull by a metal strap, resulting in a loss of power and dangerously high internal temperatures. The first crew sent there was able to release the remaining wing and erect a sunshade that brought temperatures back to survivable levels. Plans were floated to bring Skylab back into functional status for several years, but NASA was ultimately convinced that the Shuttle would not be operational in time to return to Skylab before its orbit decayed too far to recover. De-orbited in 1979, it was replaced by the Spacelab attachment for the Shuttle Orbiter. Debris from the station landed in the Shire of Esperance, Australia, which responded by issuing a $400 fine for littering to the US government. Skylab still holds holds the record as largest single module space station ever launched, and the widest space station segment.
    • A second Skylab module ("Skylab B") was also built as a backup. NASA drew up various plans for what to do with the spare (the most notable being one proposal to put it in orbit around the Moon, and another to dock it with a Soviet Salyut — effectively creating an "International Space Station" two decades early), but none of these got off the ground before the Skylab program was shelved. Skylab B is now on display at the National Air and Space Museum in Washington, D.C.

  • Tiangong-1note  (2011-2018): Launched by China, it was a testbed for the Chinese space program to develop their docking and rendezvous capabilities. The station was visited by two manned missions in 2012 and 2013. Tiangong-2 was launched in 2016 but deorbited in 2019. A Tiangong-3 was planned but the goals for that mission were later merged with Tiangong-2 and Tiangong-3 was cancelled. Tiangong-1 and Tiangong-2 were intended to develop the techniques needed for construction of a larger modular space station to serve as a permanently crewed outpost.
  • Tiangong space station (2021-present): The Tiangong program then culminated in this larger modular space station (referred to simply as the Tiangong space station), construction of which began in 2021. As of early 2024, this space station is in orbit and (like the larger International Space Station) is permanently crewed.

  • ISSnote  (1998–present): Biggest one yet built. Consists of components from the planned Russian station Mir-2 (Zarya FGB and Zvezda Service Module (DOS-8)) and American station Freedom (Integrated Truss Structure), as well as modules from space agencies in Japan, Europe, and elsewhere. There's a website tracking its current location over Earth.
  • Space lab: A sort of pseudo space station in the vein of the Manned Orbital Laboratory and a collaboration between NASA and the ESA. A modular experiment system where, often, a pressurized lab would be held in the Space Shuttle's cargo bay along with various external experiments. After about twenty days orbiting and research, the shuttle would close it's cargo bay and return to earth. One of these missions notably docked with the Mir space station as a temporary fitness lab.

    Privately Owned 
  • Bigelow Aerospace
    • Genesis series. These stations are based on NASA's TransHab design for an inflatable space station or moonbase, which is nowhere near as crackpot as it sounds. Thus far, they have been crewed by no organism more complex than a cockroach.
      • Genesis I (2006-present)
      • Genesis II (2007-present)
    • Larger, still in development station modules include the BA-330 and BA-2100/Olympus (numbered after their capacity in cubic meters) will be much more capable for different activities. The Olympus is especially ambitious, as the company founder believes it can be used as a space carrier for small spacecraft.

  • O'Neill cylinder: Proposed by Gerard K. O'Neill in 1976. The design is essentially two massive cylinders positioned side-by-side and linked together at the two ends. The cylinders would rotate to generate artificial gravity. Because hauling the materials to build such a massive space station from the Earth's surface would be incredibly expensive, O'Neill proposed that it would be built in space from raw materials mined on the moon. The O'Neill cylinder is often mentioned together with the Bernal sphere and Stanford torus, which are essentially differently-shaped versions of the same general idea.


Video Example(s):


Starbase Yorktown

The Enterprise arrives at starbase Yorktown, for resupply, shore leave for its crew and a good dose of eye candy for the audience.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (13 votes)

Example of:

Main / SceneryPorn

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