I actually consideredt that possibility at one time. An inflatable torus, continious, with docking hubs at each spoke point, a curved rigid structure would be rigged to the outside of the torus, with cable rigging back to the central hub supporting them, much like on a suspension bridge.
One issue that had occured to me; A rotating torus would tend to wobble as mass is moved from one side of the torus to another. I had considered the use of water tanks under the walking surface using computer controlled pumps to transfer water between tanks on the opposite side of the torus from the offcenter mass, to compensate for and counteract the wobble.
Bit like this you mean?
There was a paper in the December 1991 issue of the Journal of the British Interplanetary Society by Michael A Minovitch of Phaser Telepropulsion Inc proposing the building of rotating 2001 type stations 100 metres diameter for at least 150 crew by using automatic wrapping machines rotating round inflated Kevlar torus’ to wind thin layers of aluminium until the required thickness had been made.
The rotating toroidal living section would have a major and minor radii of 100m and 2m while the two central column cylinders with labs etc and constructed in the same way would each be 100m long x 10m diameter. The two column cylinders would connect into a pre-fabricated central hub into which three spokes 100m long x 4m diameter also constructed in the same way would be fitted to join the hub to the toroidal living section.
The station also served as the basis for a 'cycling' ship and would take about 10 HLLV (assuming 100 tons/launch) or 14 Shuttle-C launches and 1 STS flight with minimal EVA.
Costs were about $400 billion for an Earth orbit station, a Mars orbit station and a cycling ship
Could you get me a link to this? I am kind of curious about this.
It occurs to me that constructing a dual wheel station, ala 2001, could be done for much less than $400 billion, via the use of the upperstages of the Sea Dragon, being used dry for wet, as hub and spokes, and boosting up the materials with those stages, to actually build the wheels.
By including the upperstages as part of the payload, you reduce the overall cost of the station signifigantly. The large spokes themselves would have different levels of gravity, as you go up, closer to the Hub. This could prove useful for both scientific and medical purposes.
I'm in the camp of having too much available usaeble volume is far better than not having enough usable volume, as this space, on a station, could be rented out, while on a manned Mars mission, one could store redundant supplies and raw materials for Cad/CAM and 3d printing systems, to manufacture parts as needed during the mission. (Obviously
some mission critical parts should be kept for safety's sake, but creating new toold or parts to augment the mission, would be of great value on such a flight.