It would be silly to begin construction on a space village today because of the high cost of space transportation. The cost to access space is just too high for both construction and regular back-and-forth travel. Until space travel improves, this will remain true for all but the most lucrative in-space human activities.
This is why even very modest commercial space station proposals (even smaller than the International Space Station, with just five or six people aboard) have been stalled for years despite having proven construction methods. The best space station business will never work if you can’t get to your facility cheaply, safely and on a regular basis.
The good news is that there is plenty to do while humanity waits for the cost of space travel to fall (and it almost certainly will). Assembly of very large pressure vessels, closed-cycle life support and determining optimal gravity environments are just three major challenges that must be solved before a space village becomes economically feasible.
More good news: money can be made while solving these problems. This money can then be used to finance the construction of the space village once the transportation problem is solved. In fact, we don’t even have to go to space to make money.
The technology development challenges posed by space village construction are opportunities to solve other non-space related problems here on Earth. Thus, a dual-use technology commercialization program is proposed: the products and services developed under this business plan to solve space village problems can also be successfully marketed to solve problems on Earth.
– Closed-cycle agriculture
– Rotation tolerance training
– Robotic assembly of large, simple structures
For example, closed-cycle agriculture required for space settlement will benefit the (fast-growing) terrestrial indoor agriculture industry. Rotation tolerance training useful for space settlement could reduce or eliminate nausea in those who suffer from motion sickness. Large-scale robotics construction in orbit will surely have benefits for various terrestrial industries like construction and manufacturing. These are just three ideas. There may be more. And this plan hopes to figure out what they are.