Space Manufacturing Facilities: Space Colonies

Space Manufacturing Space Colonies Conference Proceedings

Space Manufacturing Facilities: Space Colonies
Proceedings of the Second Princeton/AIAA/NASA Conference on Space Manufacturing
May 7-9, 1975
and the Princeton Conference on the Colonization of Space, May 10, 1974
Published by American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics
More Princeton Conferences on Space Manufacturing




The Space Manufacturing Facility Concept. Gerard K. O’Neill, Princeton University.

NSS Abstract: The economic rationale of a space manufacturing facility is based on three elements. The first is energy: in free space, in a high orbit, not only is solar energy available continuously without interruption, but the total amount received in a year is about ten times as much as arrives on an equal area on the Earth’s surface, even in the most cloud-free portions of the American southwest. The second element is materials. The energy cost of lifting materials from the lunar surface to escape distance is about one twentieth as much as for lifting materials from the surface of the Earth. The third element in the economic rationale for space manufacturing facilities is that in free space, one has the availability of zero gravity, in which very large objects could be assembled free of all constraints of payload size. [FIRST PAGE from AIAA website]

Transport of Lunar Material to the Sites of the Colonies. Thomas A. Heppenheimer, California Institute of Technology.

Author’s Abstract: The problem of lunar mass transport to the libration-point colony is treated as a problem in conceptual systems design. The mass is accelerated to lunar escape by a tracked magnetically-levitated mass driver. The aim sensitivity is of the order of one kilometer in miss distance (at L5) per 10-3 meter/sec velocity error at the Moon. A system is described which may achieve velocity dispersions ≤ 10-5 meter/sec. This system measures time of passage between two checkpoints; the event of checkpoint passage is defined as the event of the first photons from a laser falling on a photodetector. By successively uncaging more and more sensitive accelerometers onboard the mass driver vehicle, and by using measured velocities and accelerations to control cutoff times for successive stages of acceleration, high launch velocity accuracy is attainable. Control of the other five degrees of vehicle motion may be achieved through the magnetic suspension system. (From trajectory considerations, it is shown that the mass driver must be located on the lunar farside. Possible sites include Mare Moscoviense and the basins Korolev and Mendeleev.) The catcher vehicle, or L5 construction station, accepts the incoming mass packages with velocities of several hundred meters/sec. The interception is performed by chambers operating in a “Venus-Fly-Trap” mode. When a chamber is struck by a mass package, it closes and gas is admitted, entraining the mass; the resultant slurry then is piped to the processing plant. Station keeping is performed by mass drivers using rotary pellet launchers. The resultant system can process a throughput of some 108 tons per year and is expandable to handle larger rates. [FIRST PAGE from AIAA website]

Lunar Materials. David R. Criswell, Lunar Science Institute.

b>NSS Abstract: The mass requirements for O’Neill’s Model 1 are half a million metric tons of soil to be launched from the Moon and about ten thousand metric tons of materials and people to be launched from Earth. Five thousand four hundred metric tons from the Earth would be hydrogen to combine with the lunar oxygen to make water at L5. The complete breakdown is illustrated in Table 5. [FIRST PAGE from AIAA website]

Deep Space Material Sources. K. Eric Drexler, Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

NSS Abstract: There are three opportunities for the use of materials available in the asteroid belt. The first opportunity for the use of deep-space material is for the local support of colonies. The second opportunity relates to the question of hydrogen and organic materials. The Moon is probably not a good source for hydrogen, but the asteroids do represent a practical supply because carbonaceous chondrite material is widely distributed throughout the belt. The third opportunity is that of supplying the Earth with steel from the asteroid belt. [FIRST PAGE from AIAA website]

Baseline L5 Construction Station. Gerald W. Driggers, Southern Research Institute.

Author’s Summary: A first-cut design for a construction station at L5 has been completed. Configuration and geometrical arrangement tradeoffs led to selection of two modular stations, each with a 100-meter-diameter construction volume. Total mass of each personnel/construction station (P/CS) is estimated to be 3471 metric tons, including 1140 tons for high-energy particle shelters. A trade-off between farming and food transportation favored importing food for the station lifetime on the basis of required mass to L5. It is proposed that an experimental farm leading to habitat outfitting be a part of the construction station program. The estimated cost of the program is $17,734M based on a cursory review of cost parameters at the system and subsystem level. The potential for some cost reductions exists with changes in the assumptions used in the study. The total span of the program was crudely estimated to be 13-1/2 years from Phase A initiation to initial orbital capability (both stations). More detailed study would be required to refine the schedule estimate. Both cost and schedule estimates show reasonable agreement (when complexity is considered) with large programs studied to the Partial Phase A level (Space Station/Base and Fully Reusable Shuttle). With an assumed capability of 150 metric tons per launch using a heavy-lift vehicle, sixty-two flights will be required (exclusive of personnel transport) to place the two P/CS systems in orbit. Support requirements are estimated to be six flights per year. [FIRST PAGE from AIAA website]

Earth-to-Orbit Transportation for Advanced Space Facilities. Hubert P. Davis, Johnson Space Center, NASA.

Author’s Summary: If the requirement can be generated, it is my belief that the launch vehicle community can fill the need. Technology advances would be highly advantageious to launch vehicle design and operations, but we are not dependent upon advances beyond the shuttle technology to do even the large scale space programs discussed in these Proceedings. [FIRST PAGE from AIAA website]

Advanced Earth-to-Orbit Transportation for Large Space Facilities. Robert Salkeld, System Development Corporation.

Author’s Abstract: This paper considers prospects for advanced Earth-to-orbit transportation in support of large scale space operations for the period 1980-2000. The analysis is based on a hypothetical traffic model associated with the current space colonization concept, and space transport design and cost data drawn from inputs to the 1975 NASA study, “Outlook for Space.” A specific evolutionary family of Earth-to-orbit vehicles is identified which can economically meet the transportation needs of the space colonies project. This evolution proceeds from the current space shuttle through improved shuttle derivatives to fully reusable single-stage-to-orbit vehicles. Such a family of vehicles can be based on current and near-term structural and propulsion technology, a key requirement being development of a liquid rocket boost engine using dense propellants. Alternative concepts for orbit-to-orbit tugs, both chemical and nuclear, are also compared in terms of their impact on total transportation costs. The overall results indicate that the transportation requirements for large space facilities can be met in a straightforward manner, and that transportation costs could turn out to be lower than some current estimates by a factor of two or more. [FIRST PAGE from AIAA website]

Laser Propulsion to Earth Orbit. Arthur R. Kantrowitz, AVCO Everett Research Laboratory.

Author’s Conclusion: I have suggested that the development of the high power laser will have an important impact on aeronautics and perhaps will revolutionize the technology of the propulsion of vehicles to orbit. The load capacity of a laser propulsion system promises to be orders of magnitude greater than that achievable practically with rocket propulsion systems. It could be the fundamental supply system for massive Earth orbit assembly projects. If developed it could provide the propulsion for modules from which large-scale manned orbital stations could be assembled. [FIRST PAGE from AIAA website]

Near-Term Chemically-Propelled Space Transport Systems. Adelbert O. Tischler.

NSS Abstract: The task to be performed by near-term applications of chemical space propulsion systems has been defined by O’Neill as 10,000 tons at L5 and 3,000 tons on the lunar surface. The hypothesis also requires 10,000 people at L5 and 200 people on the lunar surface. If we provide that these people must be accommodated by an equivalent of 200 pounds per person, we need to carry about 1,000 tons of human flesh and protective covering to L5 and 20 tons to the lunar surface. It is my purpose to show how this can be accomplished by means of chemical propulsion systems. [FIRST PAGE from AIAA website]




Process Chemistry for L5. Philomena Grodzka, Lockheed Missiles & Space Company.

Author’s Summary: The chemical and physical compositions of lunar soils, as they are now known, are reviewed. Under the ground rule that no material other than hydrogen will be brought from Earth, it is concluded that aluminum and titanium extraction from lunar soils by existing technologies (that is, by means approximating those used on Earth) is in-feasible. Metal extraction by direct electrolysis of molten lunar soil, however, appears to be a feasible, although as yet undemonstrated, alternative. Another feasible alternative appears to be production from lunar soils of glass and ceramic construction materials. Two routes appear promising for the production of oxygen from lunar soils. One involves direct reduction with hydrogen of ilmenite in lunar soils to produce water, iron, and titanium dioxide. This method, however, is not viewed as practical for the production of metals. Electrolysis of molten lunar soils is another method which appears promising and warrants further investigation. Electrolysis would have the advantage of producing not only oxygen but also metals. [FIRST PAGE from AIAA website]

Industrial Development in Zero-G. Louis R. McCreight, General Electric Company.

NSS Abstract: We have much exploration to do on the Moon to find concentrations of the desired minerals in order to make lunar mining sufficiently attractive. A broader range of products (than solar power stations) would appear desirable and perhaps even necessary to make the economics of a space manufacturing facility at L4 or L5 more attractive. Some high value products in the latter area (both inorganic materials and biologicals) have been identified and are being studied as candidates for near-Earth-orbit, low-gravity space processing. [FIRST PAGE from AIAA website]

Production, Assembly, and High Vacuum Fabrication. C. Mel Adams, University of Cincinnati.

NSS Abstract: There are two broad frameworks for this topic: fabrication and manufacturing. Presumably fabrication would be of higher priority and manufacturing would come later. This discussion makes few assumptions about materials to be processed but focusses on the processes and processing involved. [FIRST PAGE from AIAA website]

Closed Ecosystems of High Agricultural Yield. H.K. Henson and C.M. Henson, Analog Precision, Inc.

Author’s Abstract: The mass of a space farm can be reduced by using agricultural techniques which eliminate the need for soil, making it more feasible to grow conventional foods. The authors propose that human nutritional needs in space can be filled abundantly in conventional ways. The area and biomass requirement for the grains, fruits and vegetables of the proposed diet are computed to be 22 m2 and 96 kg per person. Rabbits are found to be efficient meat producers, requiring 10 m2 of photosynthetic area per person for feed. Biomass per person for meat production is computed to be 40 kg. With no additional photosynthetic area and with a biomass of 21.5 kg, agricultural and kitchen wastes will feed goats and chickens to provide milk and eggs. Total photosynthetic area per person would be 32 m2; and total biomass, including water, would be 200 kg per person. There is reason to believe that the agricultural production of a space farm will be more stable than that of an Earth farm. An integrated system is proposed to recycle waste materials, fix nitrogen, and maintain air quality. The concept is presented of building the construction site facility of material containing elements later required in Model 1, but not available from the Moon. A “first pass” design for a construction site facility based on the space farm area requirements is presented. Labor requirements for the space farm should not be excessive, and such work may provide recreation for the workers. [FIRST PAGE from AIAA website]

Development of the Satellite Solar Power Station. Peter E. Glaser, Arthur D. Little, Inc.

NSS Abstract: Since the concept of a Satellite Solar Power Station was first proposed in 1968, considerable work has been carried out on various aspect of the SSPS. The results of these investigations indicate that: 1) The SSPS is technically and economically promising. 2) The SSPS has the potential to be environmentally acceptable. 3) An orderly incremental SSPS development program can preserve this energy option. 4) Critical SSPS technology developments can contribute to other worthwhile endeavors in space and on Earth. 5) Developments being carried out on advanced space transportation systems, solar energy conversion systems, and other related technology are supportive of SSPS development. [FIRST PAGE from AIAA website]

Closed Brayton Cycle Turbines for Satellite Solar Power Stations. Gordon R. Woodcock, The Boeing Company.

Abstract: This paper discusses the construction problem of putting together a large power satellite employing turbine power generation. Various levels of technology have been discussed for power satellites; our current baseline is a near-term technology system. In other words, we think we know how to develop all the elements with only modest extensions of today’s state of the art. Our purpose was to analyze the cost and economics of this system, and see how close it comes to being competitive with alternate sources. [FIRST PAGE from AIAA website]




Some Physiological Effects on Alternation between Zero Gravity and One Gravity. Ashton Graybiel, Naval Aerospace Medical Research Laboratory at Pensacola.

Author’s Introduction: The broad topic of this paper necessitates a selective choice of subject matter. I have selected the dual role played by the vestibular system in the lives of typically normal women and men. One role is the elegant manner in which the vestibular system functions under natural terrestrial stimulus conditions; the other is ease with which this system either provides unwanted information or is rendered unstable under unnatural stimulus conditions. The following discussion singles out those aspects involving the otolith organs and semicircular canals which cannot conveniently be neglected in making transitions between zero-gravity and one-gravity. [FIRST PAGE from AIAA website]

Meteoroid and Cosmic-Ray Protection. Eric C. Hannah, Princeton University.

NSS Abstract: The meteoroid problem is basically one of identifying occasional minor leaks and repairing them in some economical fashion. Cosmic ray particles endanger human beings because the passage of charged particles through tissue causes the breaking of chemical bonds. Passive shielding by placing additional mass around living areas and active shielding by creating magnetic fields are considered. In summary, it is safe to say that careful attention to engineering can overcome the problems of meteoroid and cosmic ray protection, even in the early space colony “construction-shack” models. [FIRST PAGE from AIAA website]

Diversity, Survival Value, and Enrichment: Design Principles for Extraterrestrial Communities. Magoroh Maruyama, Portland State University.

NSS Abstract: Some suggestions for the design of extraterrestrial communities are discussed based on what we can learn from existing cultures in light of three fundamental notions: (1) The basis principle of biological, social and even some physical processes is increase of heterogeneity and symbiotization; (2) Diversity has a survival value for several reasons; (3) Diversity contributes to a higher rate of cultural evolution. [FIRST PAGE from AIAA website]

Architectural Studies for a Space Habitat. Ludwig Glaeser, Museum of Modern Art.

Author’s Summary: We have defined the role of the architectural environment as a mediating mechanism adjusting the needs of the population to the characteristics of the shell. Mediation has been considered in terms of stress reduction and environmental opportunities. Areas of potential stress range from physiological to social reactions to the environment. The adjustment process of adaptation may take three forms, physiological, cognitive, or environmental. Our concern has been primarily with the design of the architectural environment as a means to alleviate stress and to maintain the health and vitality of the space colonists. While several design approaches were explored, emphasis was placed on one, which treats the satellite environment as an open-ended system. [FIRST PAGE from AIAA website]

New Options for Self-Government in Space Habitats. Richard Falk, Princeton University.

NSS Abstract: Some factors involved in choices among options for self-governance of space habitats are discussed. [FIRST PAGE from AIAA website]

Organizational Possibilities for Space Habitat Realization. Konrad Dannenberg, University of Tennessee.

NSS Abstract: Other authors in this volume have shown that the colonization of space is technically feasible. We must in addition find a program management concept which will accomplish nontechnical goals such as defining the total scope required to accomplish a project of this kind, focusing the early phases of the project on improvements in the quality of life for mankind here on Earth, and making the program acceptable to the nation or to the world. [FIRST PAGE from AIAA website]

International Law and Outer Space Stations. Edward R. Finch, Finch and Schaefler.

NSS Abstract: Implication of existing United Nations treaties are discussed, in particular the 1967 Treaty on Principles Governing the Activities of States in the Exploration and Use of Outer Space. Basic principles were established in the 1961 General Assembly Resolution 1721 that (1) International law applies in outer space and (2) Outer space is free for exploration and use by all States and is not subject to national appropriation. [FIRST PAGE from AIAA website]

The INTELSAT Arrangements. Gus J. Rauschenbach, COMSAT Corporation.

NSS Abstract: INTELSAT represents a consortium of 89 separate nations operating a telephone and communications system with 99.94% efficiency. Issues involved in putting this consortium together are discussed. [FIRST PAGE from AIAA website]




Summary of Problems of Greatest Urgency. Robert F. Freitag, NASA Headquarters.

NSS Abstract: Among the technical problems to be solved are: developing a closed ecological system in space; lunar material transportation and collection; materials processing both for the production of materials suitable for space habitat construction and for determining the type and location of the processing facility; the development of either automated, manned, or mixed construction technologies for the assembly of large structures in space; the design of the habitat (cylinders, connecting structures, mirrors, etc.); determining habitat structural design requirements; and understanding the effects of increased radiation dosage over long periods of time and the detailed shielding requirements implied. [FIRST PAGE from AIAA website]

Developing Space Occupancy: Perspectives of NASA Future Space Program Planning. Jesco von Puttkamer, NASA Headquarters.

Abstract: The purpose of this paper is to discuss selected NASA planning aspects of potential future manned space flight missions, and their evolutionary relationship to both presently formulated near-term developments and such far-future undertakings as space colonization, space industrialization, and manned planetary exploration. [FIRST PAGE from AIAA website]

Data Collecting Activities of the “Outlook for Space” Panel. William G. Stroud, NASA Goddard Space Center.

NSS Abstract: NASA has undertaken a year-long study called “The Outlook for Space,” which is an effort to determine what role space flight might play in the American society as we approach the year 2000. This paper is a progress report on the study. [FIRST PAGE from AIAA website]

Planning for the 1975 NASA-Ames/Stanford University Summer Study. William L. Verplank, Stanford University.

NSS Abstract: This paper is simply an announcement that the focus for studies of space colonization will shift this summer to California, as the theme for the Tenth Stanford/Ames Summer Study. These summer studies are sponsored by both NASA and the American Society for Engineering Education (ASEE). The topic of space colonization was motivated by O’Neill’s Physics Today article, a talk that he gave at Ames, and the enthusiasm of Ames’ Director, Hans Mark. [FIRST PAGE from AIAA website]







Introduction. Roger W. Miles, Princeton University. [FIRST PAGE from AIAA website]
Summary. Roger W. Miles, Princeton University. [FIRST PAGE from AIAA website]

The Colonization of Space. Gerard K. O’Neill, Princeton University.

NSS Abstract: We propose to set up a mining and processing plant of modest size on the Moon. Over a period of six years we would send to the L5 Lagrange libration point, which forms with the Earth and Moon an equilateral triangle, about 10,000 tons of equipment and about 2,000 people. The next point in the sequence is to send to L5 about half a million tons of metallic ore, oxides and lunar soil, shipped directly from the Moon by a new type of solar powered, automated materials-transfer system. At L5, using the constant and plentiful solar power which is available there, we would build a habitat. The space colony that we would put at L5, Model 1, could then grow its own natural food and continuously support a population of about 10,000 people. Model 2 could be ten times larger than that, and subsequent models could be ten times larger still. [FIRST PAGE from AIAA website]

Some Social Implications of Space Colonization. Gerald Feinberg, Princeton University.

NSS Abstract: Space colonization would move the human race into a new ecological niche which in turn would allow a significant increase in the number of human beings in the universe, comparable to the increase allowed by the invention of agriculture. An increased population can result in increased total amounts of time devoted to arts and sciences and the number of man-years available for very large-scale projects, as well as offer a way to deal with future extended human lifespans. Some effects of space colonization can be considered by looking at the effects of previous colonizations. [FIRST PAGE from AIAA website]

More Distant Possibilities for Space Transportation Systems. George Hazelrigg, Princeton University.

NSS Abstract: Future space transportation systems will need to be reusable. This paper looks at potential designs for chemical, nuclear, or electric rockets. [FIRST PAGE from AIAA website]

Living and Working in Space. Joseph Allen, NASA Johnson Space Center.

NSS Abstract: This paper looks at the question “can construction workers exist and work in zero-g for the time necessary to build the colony framework to the point just prior to spinning it into its artificial-g mode?” [FIRST PAGE from AIAA website]

Space Colony Transportation. Robert Wilson, NASA.

NSS Abstract: This paper looks at the space shuttle, a high-energy space tug, and some future vehicles including a Large Lift Vehicle and a nuclear rocket. [FIRST PAGE from AIAA website]

Materials Available from the Surface of the Moon. David Anderson, Columbia University.

Abstract: Since most of the materials needed for the early stages of space colonization will come from the Moon, we must know what is available. This paper provides a rough summary of the consensus of the reports to date on the lunar composition. [FIRST PAGE from AIAA website]

Systems for the Production of Aluminum, Glass and Oxygen from Lunar Materials. K. Eric Drexler, Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Author’s Conclusion: The task of supplying structural aluminum, transparent glass, and oxygen to the Model 1 cylindrical space colonies can be accomplished essentially with known technology, but at a higher cost in equipment mass. Alternative methods of aluminum reduction, including non-electrolytic processes, may yield significantly lower equipment masses and should be explored. Structural materials with lower energy requirements, such as iron alloys and basalt-glass fiber, are probably worth attention during the period when production equipment is supplied from the Earth. In constructing the Model 1 cylinders, the strength-to-mass ratio of materials will almost certainly prove less important than the ratio of strength to required equipment mass. [FIRST PAGE from AIAA website]

Space Colony Supply from Asteroidal Materials. K. Eric Drexler, Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

NSS Abstract: The probable composition of the asteroids, together with the opportunities presented for processing materials in space, indicate that the asteroids can provide sources for the high quality materials needed by a technological civilization living in space. They would be a source of native nickel-iron, which could provide most metals, and of Type I carbonaceous chondrite, which could supply most non-metals. Both types of material appear to be widely distributed in the asteroid belt. The raw materials and processes examined in this paper seem capable of supplying virtually all needed materials. [FIRST PAGE from AIAA website]

Costs of Transporting Materials from Earth to L5. Eric Hannah, Princeton University.

NSS Abstract: We propose, for illustration purposes, a scheme for large-scale freight transport from Earth to L5 using a truncated shuttle configuration, replacing all the man-rated portions with freight storage areas, and modifying the external tank by segmenting it into three separable parts to be able to stage the flight. We conclude that we can raise the required mass to L5 for the price of $200 per pound. [FIRST PAGE from AIAA website]

Summarization of Conference: The Colonization of Space. Gerard K. O’Neill, Princeton University.

NSS Abstract: The purpose of this summary is to bring together the input numbers which will allow a first estimate of overall costs. The base-case specifications for a colony at the L5 libration point include a total mass of about half a million tons and a population of about 10,000 people. For economy, it is essential that only one or two percent of the material for Model 1 be brought from the surface of the Earth. I propose that the necessary raw materials be transported from the Moon to L5, using either a Rotary Pellet Launcher or a Transport Linear Accellerator. Total cost is estimated at about $31 billion, about $5 billion per year, which is comparable to NASA’s peak budget in the late 1960s (two or three percent of what our government spends each year). The resulting industrial output of Model 1, with one worker per average family of three, would be over $4 billion a year. Model 1 could thus produce an output equal to its entire construction cost in less than eight years. [FIRST PAGE from AIAA website]


Space Manufacturing 2Princeton Conferences


Pin It on Pinterest

Share This

Enter Your Email for a free copy of ad Astra Article Moon Rockets

  • If you are not a member of NSS, please consider joining NSS and get access to many excellent articles in ad Astra like Moon Rockets.

[forminator_form id="60101"]