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Season 4 Episode 17: Midway.
Picture of partially-constructed Midway station

Why does it have two stargates? And how is that even possible, i thought there must be a huge distance between each of them to work; it would be pure chance which one activates when connecting to that place in space.

Is that just pure aesthetics to make it look cooler, or did i miss something ?

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There you go, I added the image. –  Keen Oct 6 '11 at 14:20
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Why have only one when you can have two for twice the price? –  Xantec Oct 6 '11 at 20:00
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concerning that minimum distance, in the final episode something like "When a Pegasus gate and a Milkyway gate are nearby, the Pegasus one takes precendence - it required quite a hack by us to make midway station work" was stated when the Stargate at the Hive ship is discovered –  Zommuter Nov 11 '11 at 20:29
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6 Answers

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I think Midway station ties the Pegasus Galaxy gates to the Milky Way Galaxy gates... Apparently the two gate networks weren't compatible so they needed to re-enter the system each way.

Additionally, it adds another level of security, so that in the event that the Wraith penetrate the Pegasus side, there is a chance to destroy the facility before they get to Earth.

If I remember right, the whole project didn't exactly turn out well.

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Yea, it ended badly because the wraith penetrated the Pegasus side and took over Midway Station. –  BBlake Oct 6 '11 at 14:33
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Incompatible gates was my first thought, but at the same time, that isn't likely, given they gated to Atlantis from the Milky Way in the first place. –  eidylon Oct 6 '11 at 15:57
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As I recall, they pointed out that the Earth gate recovered from the Antarctica outpost was the only one in the galaxy that could dial to Atlantis. So that would also seem to point to incompatible gate systems. –  BBlake Oct 6 '11 at 18:21
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Lets not forget that Jack went all McGyver on the gate before he managed to dial up, essentially hacking the crap out of it to get long distance! :) –  Mister IT Guru Oct 7 '11 at 11:02
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@eidylon You should ask that as a separate question. I don't remember entirely when "the fifth race" took place, but the Giza gate was at one point beamed up to Thor's Replicator-invaded ship, sunk into the ocean and recovered by the Russians. –  Zommuter Aug 12 '13 at 9:26
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I don't recall any incompatibilities between the two gate networks being mentioned in the series. And we do see direct galaxy-to-galaxy gate travel on multiple occasions throughout SG-1 and Atlantis, prior to the construction of Midway, which would seem to rule out this explanation entirely.

However, do recall that Midway is, well, the midway point on a series of gates that "bridge" the vast intergalactic distance between Pegasus and Milky Way galaxies. While not technically necessary (as we've seen Jack gate to the Asgard's home galaxy, and of course the Atlantis expedition got to Pegasus just fine without the bridge, among other examples), the power requirements of intergalactic gate travel are enormous -- remember how big a deal it was to get the Atlantis team there in the first place, and that for quite a while they had no way to get back, nor could Earth do it again to send supplies or even talk.

The gate bridge was built to solve that problem. Designed and programmed by Dr. McKay (probably with help, although you'll never hear him admit it!), it is most decidedly not the normal functioning of the gates -- each gate in series receives the matter stream, buffers it, and then sends it along again. This allows travel along the gate bridge with only the power requirements of normal interplanetary gate travel!

Midway serves two purposes stated in the series: Security (a little C4 in the right place, and the bridge is better than an iris!), and decontamination (why they never worried about this until they built the bridge though is beyond me...). We do see the security functionality in play when the station is taken over by the Wraith.

And now we're finally to the dual gates in Midway. Remember that the whole bridge is a non-standard re-jiggering (that's the technical word!) of the normal gates. Basically they've been reprogrammed by McKay et al to function outside of their normal parameters. So the gates could do whatever he wanted them to! It seems that the gates at each end of the station were "hard-wired" to only be able to dial the next gate in the bridge. Ditto each gate in the bridge -- depending on direction of travel, each gate is hard-wired to dial the next in sequence. Thus the closeness of the two Midway gates is irrelevant -- McKay just programmed them that way. It wouldn't be the first time SGC personnel have tinkered with the programming of the gates, although for once it didn't cause more problems than it was meant to solve!

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Of course McKay had help, it wasn't called the McKay/Carter Intergalactic Gate Bridge without reason. Also, the gate's weren't hardwired to only go to one gate on the other end, but the macro McKay wrote (and the only one used by the Tau'ri) dials Atlantis or Earth, someone else could rewrite the macro to go anywhere they want. –  dkuntz2 Oct 12 '11 at 1:28
    
@DKuntz2 The McKay not admitting to help bit was a tongue-in-cheek jab at his rampant egotism, sorry that wasn't clear. And you're right, the macro could be re-written, but my understanding is that each gate in the bridge is basically at the maximum range of its neighbors, meaning that while technically the gate sequence macro could be change, in actuality there's really only one place you can go. Admittedly, though, I don't think this bit was ever discussed in-universe. –  Kromey Oct 14 '11 at 0:51
    
What I mean is that if someone rewrote the macro, they could get to any Milky Way or Pegasus gate they want, which was both discussed and explored in Atlantis (in one case Carter and Lee gate to a planet closest to where Atlantis last was (in Adrift)). –  dkuntz2 Oct 14 '11 at 2:49
    
@DKuntz2 Ah, yes, right, of course. Sorry, I was thinking about already being in the bridge, and where you could go along the bridge, and wasn't thinking about where you could get off/get on at either end. –  Kromey Oct 14 '11 at 23:23
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Stargate uses the analogy of phone calls quite often, so I'll try to give an answer in that direction.

Imagine that phone calls within the United States are very cheap, and that phone calls within Canada are similarly cheap (disclaimer: I have no idea if any of this is true, but you may have guessed as much already).

Phone calls between United States and Canada, however, are so prohibitive that you can't afford to make any unless you really need to.

So what do you do? You build a house on the border and have two phones in it, one connected to the United States phone Network, the other to the Canadian network. So now you can make phone calls between the United States and Canada for a more reasonable price and you don't need international (8th chevron) dialing.

(That said, I think it doesn't really make much sense that a Milky Way to Pegasus wormhole would be so prohibitive if you can cover the same distance with a series of shorter, cheap ones. I guess the telephone analogy hold there too, why do international calls need to be so expensive?)

The power requirements of dialing Earth from Atlantis required a ZPM, with the midway station, being you have a Milky way gate, and a Pegasus gate you can dial the MW one with the same amount of energy it would take to dial the Pegasus. Thus no ZPM required

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The reason was that they couldnt link a Milky Way gate to the Pegasus Gate using the Macro that McKay did, was it was incompatable, meaning they had to stop at midway to redial to pegasus, or vise versa.

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There are 2 gates because the station is meant to connect Pegasus with Milky Way. There are actually approximately 17 gates on each side of the station at the edge of each galaxy. Midway in the center of the "corridor". Dr. Rodney McKay created a macro so that either side could dial a link through the 17 gates on either side to come out of the 18th, at midway station. Then they could do the same through the station to the other galaxy.

So, quick recap: Dial from Atlantis, link through 17 gates to station. Dial from midway, link though 17 gates to SGC. And vice versa.

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That doesn't answer anything. Nothing would prevent Midway station to have only one gate (as indicated in the OP). You could use the same gate to dial both sides, using an appropriate "macro". –  bitmask Nov 8 '12 at 5:03
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the Pegasus style gate superseeds the milky way gate because they are newer in design.

but the stargate takes the cordinates from its point in space.

sow milky way or pegasus style gate it does not matter.

it would be the same point in space.

so you could dailin from both sides to just one gate

conclusion one stargate is posible.

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Can you please add some punctuation? It's hard to read your answer otherwise. –  Andres F. Dec 10 '13 at 20:46
    
It's really unclear what you're saying here. Can you improve on it? –  Pureferret Dec 11 '13 at 23:48
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