The paper “A Survey of Space Settlement Designs” by Thomas Marotta has been just been published in the NSS Space Settlement Journal.


The author compiled every known orbital space settlement design into a database. Grouped into chronological ‘eras,’ the database describes basic information for each design: population capacity, dimensions, gravity level, energy source, etc. Using this information one can conclude that interest in space settlement is increasing, 1g is the preferred gravity level, solar power is the preferred energy source, and a torus is the preferred geometry. As for location, Earth-Moon Lagrange points dominate but there is a budding movement to place settlements in low Earth orbits. The database is accessible at


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1 thought on “A Survey of Space Settlement Designs”

  1. Thomas, Good job! I wonder how many of the designs are under serious consideration for production? Maybe Bob Bigelow has plans that are more step by step. Please see my tiered process for achieving a working settlement ( Al Globus read about it, and seemed to find some value (ask him, in order to confirm that). To really get going in private sector space, we need investors who can calculate profit from a limited capital input. Currently, we are on the edge of producing useful space infrastructure (easy access to orbit (JP Aerospace); mining asteroids (3 to x number of players (Planetary Resources; DSI; etc.)); distributing energy (BEAM tech; Joe Bland’s AC Laser; various fuel depots concepts)). Looking forward to next year’s update with maybe a chart for progress on above infrastructures. Quo Vadis? Ad Astra! – L. Paul Turner, Sacramento L-5 Society (NSS) President.


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