This is the first section of the second chapter of Sonnets from a Proton. The novel starts here.
The next section is here
Still at the point of setting up the context and the technology of this world. The plot does get going soon enough, I promise, well it's kind of the end of this chapter before the world is properly set up enough to start moving the pieces around, but trust me on this it does get going...
The tug dragged the orbiter in towards the space station. While the orbiter was perfectly capable of doing this itself protocol and tradition dictated that where possible you used a tug so that there were two ships in case anything went wrong. It was also a hangover from the days when the orbiter couldn’t afford the weight of the extra propellant. Since the station had been built though a further modification had been made to make this docking as safe as possible. The design of the station was a classic Sanford torus with the docking section in the middle of a habitation ring. The docking section at the hub rotated along with the rest of the station. This in past time had made docking a precision manoeuvre that required computer assistance in most cases. After more than one malfunction over the years a minor modification was made to the station so that a number of long flexible booms out in front of the docking bay which a docking craft could grab hold of and then use a mixture of the elasticity of these structures and hoisting itself towards the docking bay to use the momentum of the space station to accelerate the docking ship up to the correct rotational speed. Some argued it was a waste of time, some said it had more points of failure than the original method. Some said the now reduced accident rate was simply a result of the other procedures implemented after the particularly bad accident that caused the booms to be constructed in the first place. Regardless the station showed its age and its history as the tug captured one of the booms and hoisted itself into the docking bay.