The primary ‘export’ of a Space Village will be tourism. People will buy condos in the Space Village to rent them out to space tourists. But what will attract tourists to the Space Village in the first place?
Lots of things. The Space Village is designed to accommodate the following recreational activities for tourists:
- A simulated “mission to Mars” on the Mars-gravity level. Because the Space Village has differing levels of gravity, tourists can pretend to travel to a Mars base and perhaps have a day-long challenging mission there. It will feel like Mars because the gravity level will be identical to Martian gravity. Obviously it will be way cheaper and less dangerous than actually going to Mars because it will be a lot closer. Think of it like a mini-Mars theme park.
- A simulated “mission to the Moon.” Same thing as above, but on a simulated Moon.
- Zero-gravity play time, both wet and dry. The center of the Space Village will host a long (probably 40 meters long and 10 meters in diameter), tube-shaped gymnasium that lacks gravity. This space can be flooded with water to create spherical zero-gravity pools and at other times it can be dried out for dancing, sports and theatrical performances.
- “Day trips” to other orbits for views of other parts of the Earth. Because the Space Village will be in an equatorial orbit it will never pass over some of the most interesting sites from space e.g. New York City, the Giza Pyramids, the Himalayas, etc. To get around this I propose the Space Village host small spacecraft that, on a regularly scheduled basis, will fly to other orbits and allow tourists to see parts of the world from other orbits. The spacecraft can have snacks aboard and will be an adventure in and of itself.
- “Fly a ‘star-fighter'” One could fly a drone through an obstacle course visible from the Space Village and destroy simulated targets. Just like in your favorite sci-fi combat space opera.
- Then, all the usual stuff you might find on a cruise ship: casino, gym, observation areas, etc. Except there might be a zero-gravity version of each type. Also, the crew can give tours of the mechanical spaces and farms, etc. and explain how the place operates.
All of these activities could be operated as concessions or they could be operated by the Space Village Company itself. But the point is, having such a large, permanent, robust facility will allow for a great number of ambitious space tourism activities that in turn will attract a lot of visitors.
And all this ignores that even though tourism will be the primary export for the Space Village it will not be the only export. Having dozens of highly trained people in space will attract all sorts of other business to the Space Village: satellite repair and assembly, pharmaceutical research and maybe even really far out stuff like raw materials processing and refining.