Space Settlement


Space Settlement refers to people going to orbit because they want to, on a long-term basis. The dividing line between it and Space Tourism is that for tourism the stays are short enough so that transportation costs dominate, whereas for settlement the stays are long enough that construction and maintenance costs dominate.

This page concerns residents who are telecommuters, retired, etc. For information on people going to space to serve other markets (such as space manufacturing), see the pages concerning those markets.


CSTS, section 3.7.5, page 290, presents $50,000/month as a moderately optimistic figure for what it would cost to live in an orbital space station in crowded conditions, and dismisses this as a possibility without detailed analysis. Because of the many variables which might affect the costs, that number must be considered merely as a starting point, but the concept of analyzing settlements in terms of monthly rent/mortgage payments seems like a powerful conceptual model.

More Information

I haven't seen a lot of writing on the economics of settlements, but a good introduction which focuses on the technology of a large-scale human presence in space is "Colonies in space", P.E.R.M.A.N.E.N.T., Mark Prado. It includes links to additional web pages on the subject.

This page is part of Jim Kingdon's space markets page.