Asp thesis

Design for an Orbiting Space Hotel

The last decade saw seven people flying to space with the precise objective of going on holiday. This
pioneer group of space tourists was going to experience the remarkably unique adventure of living in a
microgravity environment and looking at the Earth from a completely new –and privileged- point of
view. Starting from this first group of “recreational” explorers, space tourism debate has grown to
become a reality with a very relevant potential impact on contemporary society.

The main objective of the “Space Hotel Design” project is to provide future space tourists with a
global experience: the intent of the research is to offer guidelines and a checklist of options that could
be put in place to outline the structure of an outstanding vacation in space. In order to attain this goal,
the project focuses on an Earth-orbiting hotel and presents a feasibility study under several
perspectives, such as target markets, health related issues, development of habitat concepts,
technologies and services designed to sustain human life in microgravity conditions.

The project opens with an analysis of the public’s expectations, which was carried out to sketch the
evolutionary trajectory of the market. Future trends and attitudes were included in the pictures, as well
as a focus on the luxury goods segment and the generational changes it implies. Secondly, existing or
short-term planned concepts were examined, functioning as a comparative framework for the attempt
to detect innovative and original solutions, both in a structural and technical point of view. After
proposing a series of potential solutions, an assessment of each of them was carried out with the final
objective of spotting the most suitable, that is to say the one concept able to meet user requirements
and to be feasible in a context presenting a series of environmental constraints.

The final outcome of the research is an orbiting structure composed of six modules (one of which will
function as a scientific laboratory) and managed by two permanent crew members, whose task will be
to supervise the on-board experience for six guests. All tourists will undergo a two-week training on
Earth and will be allowed to spend up to four days in space. Each area in the hotel is designed to fulfil
specific purposes and entertainment plays a key role in each module or common space. Throughout the
entire design process, ethical implications were taken into account, with the objective of proposing
solutions that would not aliment the common perception of space tourism as a waste of money, but as
a way to produce something meaningful. The first step towards this new perspective was to add a
scientific module to the orbiting hotel, an environment where research will constantly be carried out.

This paper will provide a road map of choices and indications for the creation of an integrated solution
for an orbiting space hotel, retracing out steps in all the phases of the project, from the demand side to
the detailed analysis of out responses to a series of peculiar issues and constraints.
Roberto Maffei,
Dec 12, 2010, 9:26 AM