Mars Cycler
Image from Steve Bowers
The Mars Cycler Valparaiso, a craft that journeyed between Earth and Mars for more than two hundred years, slowly increasing in size with each cycle as extra units were added.

A cycler is a ship or mobile habitat that travels continuously along an orbit or interstellar route in such a way that it makes a regular series of rendezvous with other stations, orbitals, planets, or stars along the way. Cyclers may be small or large, sparse or luxurious, slow or fast. They may be interplanetary (also called an Aldrin Cyclers) or interstellar (also called a Schroeder Cyclers), and may be completely passive (simple ballistic orbit) or with may have course correction drive units.

Interplanetary cyclers can take advantage of the Oberth Effect when passing close to a planet, making course corrections possible while using less energy. Interstellar cyclers are usually part of the Beamrider network, and course corrections are achieved through the use of a boostbeam.

Depending on the route and speed, a single cycle may take anywhere from a few months to many millennia. Cyclers often grow in size and sophistication over time, adding new segments and improved technical systems whenever they pass close to a target system.

Image from Steve Bowers
The G. David Nordley, an interstellar cycler ship propelled by a beam of smart particles (collected by a magnetic sail created by a superconducting loop at the rear)

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Development Notes
Text by M. Alan Kazlev
additional material by Steve Bowers
Initially published on 24 September 2001.