Browse Publications Technical Papers 2001-01-2172

Commercial Space Habitation 2001-01-2172

This is 2001, the year society expected to see, and use, the torus shaped, one gravity hotel in the movie “2001, A Space Odyssey.” What happened? The commercial habitation in orbit depicted in the movie has not emerged, but might emerge in the future, if the habitation development transportation costs are reduced and a space tourist industry is stimulated. Another problem besides cost is bridging the gap between technical hardware orbital requirements, the hotel industry needs, and society’s expectations for a space tourist experience. The inflatable TransHab, the space shuttle external tank, entrepreneurial innovation, and the International Space Station can be used to develop commercial habitation and to give society commercial alternatives in orbit that satisfy habitation requirements and society’s expectations. This paper explores first cut habitation hardware requirements and continues to future options for a commercial habitation business in LEO to a point similar to the Authur C. Clarke’s vision of a hotel as depicted by Director Kubrick. The key is forging beneficial cooperation between government and industry to open this new commercial space frontier to those who can finance it, profit from it and enjoy it.


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