Cycler
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 ship or habitat that travels along an orbit or route in such a way that it rendezvous with other stations, orbitals, planets, or stars along the way. Cyclers may be small or large, sparse or luxurious, slow or fast, interplanetary (also called an Aldrin Cycler) or interstellar (also called a Schroeder Cycler), completely passive (simple ballistic orbit) or with 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.


cycler
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.