(January 30, 2021) Space Settlement: an Easier Way by Al Globus

When:  Jan 30, 2021 from 10:00 AM to 1:10 PM (PT)
Associated with  Los Angeles-Las Vegas Section

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Saturday, January 30, 2021, 10 am PST (Add to Calendar)
AIAA LA-LV e-Town Hall Meeting

Space Settlement: an Easier Way
by Al Globus
Contract software engineer, NASA Ames Research Center - Retired
AIAA Space Colonization Technical Committee
NSS Board of Directors


Tentative Agenda: (Pacific Standard Time (PST), US/Canada)
10:05 am (PST): Dr. Chandrashekhar Sonwane (Welcome)
10:10 am (PST): Mr. Al Globus
11:40 am (PST): (TBD)
01:10 pm (PST): Adjourn

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Space Settlement: an Easier Way
In the 1970's Princeton physicist Gerard O'Neill showed that we can build giant spacecraft in free space (in orbit, not on a planet or moon) and live in them. These space settlements could be wonderful places to live; about the size of a California beach town and endowed with weightless recreation, fantastic views, freedom, elbow-room in spades, and great wealth.

As fantastic as Dr. O'Neill's work is, the space settlements envisioned are too big, too massive, and too far away to be a practical place to start. We now know how to massively reduce the size, mass, and shorten supply lines of early space settlements by:

Placing settlements in a region of low radiation 500-600 km above the equator. Calculations suggest that at 500 km above Earth and zero inclination such settlements may require no radiation shielding.


Making settlements smaller by rotating (to produce pseudo-gravity) at up to four rpm. Settlers will become ill at first but adapt within a few hours or perhaps a day or two.

This reduces the size, distance, and mass of settlement to the point that the vehicles currently in flight test may be sufficient to provide affordable transportation from Earth to settlements.

Space hotel development can provide an incremental path to settlement construction with income along the way.

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Al Globus worked at NASA Ames for 39 years as a contract software engineer on space settlement, asteroid mining, Hubble, space stations, X37, shuttle, Earth observation, TDRSS, cubesats, lunar teleoperation, spaceflight effects on bone, molecular nanotechnology, scientific visualization, and space solar power publishing dozens of papers on these and other topics. He founded and has run the annual NSS Space Settlement Contest for 7-12 grade students for over 25 years. The contest attracted 14,000 kids in 2020. Most recently, he found a way to build O’Neill-style space settlements with multiple orders of magnitude less mass and place them close to Earth, making launch from Earth practical.

Al is a member of the NSS Board of Directors, chairman of the Space Settlement Advocacy Committee, member of the Policy committee, and sits on the board of the Alliance for Space Development.


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