Vulcan Space Central
While not technically located within ShirKahr on Vulcan, the main facility of Vulcan Space Central lies in geosynchronous orbit above the city. The facility fulfills two purposes: First, it serves as the main entry point for most Vulcans and almost all non-Vulcans wishing to descend to the planet. All individuals wanting to go to Vulcan must pass through immigration in order to land on the planet, with the exception of Vulcan defense, Starfleet, and diplomatic personnel.
At immigration, each person inserts a data chip containing his personal and medical history; different types of data interface units exist for use by different races. Once the Central Clearing computers verify the data, visitors may use transporters preset for different locations on Vulcan. The most common reason for not being allowed to transport down immediately is that health-related information is not complete, or that an inoculation needs to be updated to deal with Vulcan's environment. The station has a top Starfleet Sickbay and a campus of the Vulcan Science Academy's Space and Xenological Medical School.
The second funtion of the facility is to control the routes taken by different ships entering and leaving the system. Because of the near-constant flaring of Vulcan's sun, the space lanes must be continually monitored to make sure they are safe for ship traffic. Ships that have the shields and protection of a Galaxy-class cruiser need worry only about the largest and most intense flares. Smaller ships and freighters less well-protected must take more precautions.
The EMR (electromagnetic radiation) emitted by heavy flare activity can play havoc with sensor and navigation equipment, making ships blind or unable to alter course. If ships with weak shielding pass too close to a flare, the EMR can be so intense that it can short out critical systems, leaving the vessel helpless in space. On very rare occasions flares will actually hit a ship, causing massive damage or destroying it outright. Because small ship captains are constantly trying to save time or fuel, it is not unheard of that some of the more adventurous types try to take a short lane closed because of flare activity. Among the various small ship crews it is called "riding the wave;" the administrators at Space Central call it "reckless and negligent endangerment" and punish it severely. Ships of the Vulcan Defense Fleet under command of Space Central are often called upon to rescue stranded ships, or evacuate crews.