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Origin:Journal of Aerospace Engineering, ASCE, Vol 15, no 1, pp 10-19
Abstract:This paper reviews the prospects for the development of commercial hotels in space, and shows that - having already begun with the recent commercialisation of the space station 'Mir' - it is increasingly accepted that this is likely to become a lively new field of business within little more than a decade. The key enabler is the availability of low-cost access to space through the operation of reusable passenger-carrying launch vehicles, the development of which requires investment equal to just a few months' of existing space budgets. When this happens, competition will lead to rapid development of progressively more exotic facilities as companies exploit the unique environment of space to provide guests with ever more entertaining services. The paper discusses some of the civil engineering topics that will arise as orbital accommodation grows from assemblies of prefabricated modules, to large structures assembled in orbit, to rotating structures offering 'artificial gravity', and eventually to buildings on the lunar surface.
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