What will the first Space Village look like?

The goal of the Space Village business plan is to construct the first permanent human community in space. This structure will not be on the surface of a celestial body but instead will float freely in space. It will be an enormous space station. Unlike current space stations, however, it will have everything one needs to have a comfortable, pleasant and productive life. It will rotate to provide artificial gravity, maintain its own life support and even grow most of it’s own food.

The business plan will use the Globus Kalpana design as its goal. Specifically, it will use the smallest, easiest-to-build version of the Kalpana design: one that rotates at four revolutions-per-minute (RPM). A basic description of the structure is below (this text is an excerpt from the upcoming Space Settlement book Al and I are publishing):

The structure itself may be a giant cylinder, 112 meters in diameter (about the length of a football field) and 56 meters long. It could accommodate 500 inhabitants and have a mass of around 8,500 metric tons. Such a structure is comparable in size to a cruise ship or a small town center.

The interior might look something like this. For scale, the trees in the ‘unrolled’ portion at the bottom are about four meters high.  (Big thanks go out to Bryan Versteeg for these wonderful images).

56mL-section Ca

This early space settlement is intended to be located in a 500 to 600 kilometer equatorial orbit. Again, an excerpt from the upcoming book:

Specifically, the first space settlement will be in a very close orbit about 500 to 600 kilometers above the equator. This is not that much further away than the International Space Station.  At this altitude there is an area of space known as Equatorial Low Earth Orbit (ELEO) where radiation levels are very low (by space standards) and millions of tons of radiation shielding are unnecessary. In fact, perhaps no shielding at all will be required. If less shielding is needed then less mass is needed.  And less mass means simpler construction and operation.

So that’s the plan in a nutshell: a cozy, comfy home in orbit for about 500 people. They’ll operate tourist facilities, manage telerobotic manufacturing and be close enough to Earth to telecommute to jobs on Earth. They’ll eat locally grown food, play in zero-gravity and have great views of both Earth and the cosmos. They will be the first villagers in space.

 

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