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Space Hotels!

Posted by: koxinga - Wed Jul 14, 2004 12:58 pm
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Space Hotels! 
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Post    Posted on: Sat Aug 28, 2004 3:08 am
So I'm throwing my random 2 cents in.

Inflatables only make sense sometimes, mostly because current vehicles are size-limited and space construction is currently more trouble than it is worth. It's all presupposed that you are going to be building it on earth with a minimum amount of on-site work.

If the cost per pound to orbit goes down and we create an orbital construction bay for assembly and/or create better spacesuits, welding up a rigid structure starts to look better. The availability of asteroid/lunar steel/titanium/aluminum also starts to make the inflatables not look so good.

You have to remember that right now, the cost of materials is lost in the noise. We use lead for shielding not because it's optimal, but because it's cheap and easy to use. Apparently there are better materials to use for radiation shielding. The important thing is dead mass and neutron absorbtion. The Mars plans usually assume that you'll take a measurably larger dose of radiation and use water for shielding. The NASA space colony papers generally assumed lunar steel and that slag would be used as radiation shielding.

The big problem with an orbital hotel is radiation doses. NASA can do what they want with respect to dosages, but it's much harder to do that with people. It's not quite as bad for the visitors because they are only going to be there for a few days, but for the hotel staff, it's problematic and will probably not let you take the kind of shortcuts that NASA has been taking traditionally.


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Post    Posted on: Sat Aug 28, 2004 7:49 am
The hotel staff doesn't require to be very long at the orbital hotel. These perons may be changed periodically and they are required only if there are guests at the hotel.

If the "few" days in the case of the tourists are four days then the staff may be there three weeks if there are touursits at the hotel for three weeks.

But is staff needed really? As long as the hotels are as small as the Bigelow habs Selfservice might be offered. The prices of the vacations there will be lower then.

To speak in economical sense - initially it will be profitable only to provide no human staff. After a certain time of growth of the market of orbital vacations bigger hotels will be required up to a size requiring human staff. Initially there will be only three or six tourists at the hotel - human staff won't be profitable. Remamber Dennis Tito - he was doing work in the kitchen of the ISS as volunteer.Leter there might be twenty persons and more at the hotel - then human staff of three persons might be more profitable than providing no human staff.

But in the case of the 20-tourists-hotel sufficient radiation shielding might be proftable too because the costs of the shield (investment, depreciation) per unit of volume will be decreasing for the reason of economies of scale. ...



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Post    Posted on: Sat Aug 28, 2004 3:13 pm
No, I think you really need at least one human staff person for a hotel. It's just not safe otherwise. What happens if somebody has a mental breakdown, gets sick, doesn't like one of the other guests, etc?

Of course, on the other hand, I bet a lot of folks wouldn't mind being paid minimum wage to be a caretaker of a station for a few weeks.


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Post    Posted on: Sun Aug 29, 2004 9:44 am
This person only might be required if tourists are at the hotel - it will be sufficient if the person arrives together with the first tourist and leaves with the last.

The hotel- and vacations-enterprise may organize its business in a manner that only one whole group arriving and leaving alltogether is at the hotel.

The enterprise can act like a youth hostel or like a kind of business well-known in Germany and Danmark - I don't know wether it is known outside Europe too. We can book a weekend or a week or several weeks at special houses without any human staff. The houses are providing kitchen, living-room, bedrrom, bath-room etc. like other houses.

If someoe gets sick he will go or brought to the next town an hour awy. From orbit to surface it won't be much longer and the enterprise perhaps will provide medical service at the launch site.



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Post    Posted on: Mon Aug 30, 2004 12:36 pm
Radiation's not your biggest problem with any form of permanent orbital installations. Insanity is.

First off: Ekkehard: unfortunately, very few hotels are only open for a week or two at a time, and hiring a staff member for the few passengers on each shuttle flight would be insanely uneconomical.

Also, people don't like dealing with robots. If I just paid $50,000 for an orbital honeymoon, I'd damn sure want a human on the other end of the room service line. So, for at least the "contact" positions (front desk, room service, maid service, etc), you need a staff of people.

From the hotel's point of view: you can't change the staff too often, or they won't be effective in their jobs: how can the new maid know exactly how that old fart in room 367 likes his bed made, if the old one didn't even have the time to get it right? Thus, the staff must stay in place for a period of months.

This is something akin to service aboard an aircraft carrier, except a hell of a lot lonelier -- you not only don't come into port, you can't. Believe it or not, that's a pretty big difference.

The only people who have spent long periods in orbit are ones who had been specifically trained for it and had gradually gotten used to it through several successively longer missions (the one guy in the Mir station was an example of this).

For a hotel staff to be effective in their jobs, and to be able to go home without a worldview warped beyond repair (due to the limited human contact, with only certain classes of people), you'd be looking at a term of about six months. Three or four would likely be better for their stability, but six would likely be the upper limit. After that, you're playing Russian roulette.

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Post    Posted on: Mon Aug 30, 2004 1:59 pm
Hello, spacecowboy,

you are right... - concerning a certain category of tourists and a certain phase of he lifecycle of space tourism and space hotels.

I was thinking of tourists like Tito or Shuttleworth going to space hotels in the initial early phase of the lifecycle(s) who had no problems with doing something in the kitchen and using robots.

As the market grows during the lifecycle the revenues from Tito-like tourists the financial ressources to improve the hotel and to provide human staff will be increased. Then radiation shielding and all things necessary to prevent insanity will be provided too.

Additionaly ressources sufficient to provide at least 367 rooms might be sufficient to provide 100 rooms only plus a certain amount of artificial gravity by rotation of the hotel too - even if most of all these 100 rooms most of the time are "sold". And the market will take at least two decades to grow to that number of tourists.

Seen from now and today the tourists will be people very similar to those an earlier mentioned marketing consultant had recommended: enthusiasts, visioneers, pioneers etc. These people won't have any problem if no human staff is at the hotel. The first hotel getting established is a Bigelow and a third-scale prototype is planned to be launched fourth quarter 2005. Full-scale it will have a capacity of let's say ten persons I think. So it will be similar to a very small youth hostel or the vacations- or weekend-houses I talked of.

But this will be the initial phase of the market - in later phases it will be similar to your description.

I remember Texan's Space Exploration Timetable this moment - what this timetable might look like concerning space hotels, kinds of tourists, human staff etc.?



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Post    Posted on: Tue Oct 26, 2004 9:26 am
Hello, spacecowboy, hello, Nova,

concerning radiation shielding I found additional scientific results.

luke.r posted a link to an article about Wingley's concept of acceleration by a particle beam. Because of this I read Wingley's phase II document at the NIAC site a few minutes before.. - and found that he explicitly says that his idea would provide sufficient radiation shielding for a manned spacecraft.



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Post    Posted on: Tue Apr 12, 2005 10:27 am
One additional source of shield against particle radiation seems to be the martian soil. It has been reported that the martian soil seems to shield water ice hidden under the soil against the solar wind so that the water molecules are not broken and the ice doesn't sublime too.

It would be interesting to find out the complete composition of the martian soil at the detected sea and other ice resources, the size of the grains of the soil and its thickness, then to create it artificially here or at the moon and to cover stations and vehicles with it.
The alternative could be to let the vehicles and the stations fly to the Mars and to make use of the martian soil itself - this would be the first case of maling industrial use of a martian ressource.



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Post    Posted on: Fri Mar 06, 2009 7:21 pm
Looking at the title of this thread I remembered the proposal to move a vehicle into an asteroid when travelling to Mars

This idea might be applied for space hoteöls as well - there only would be the trouble to first have to go into deep space.

But this trouble might be used well by using a Bigelow station as part of the vehicle At return the Bigelow station might be left in LEO covered with the rocks formerly making up an asteroid



What about it?



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Post    Posted on: Sat Mar 07, 2009 5:31 am
I hope we build a Space Dock in orbit and then build large ships like ocean liners that go to and from the moon and mars the bigger they are the safer they are just like our ships became on the ocean's of earth. giant dirigibles like the Hindenburg sound interesting only 5 times larger! with many inner layers like the compartmentation of a ship except going inward. Radiation in the outer layers would be high but the running gear would be out there instead of in the center like a ship inside out. you would want all the pleasures of home and you could add all the stuff you wanted to the outer layers for shielding. Carry your water for shielding and convince and have watches in the outer machine spaces that would help limit exposure. have real shielding on the promenade deck and the pilot house. Being slow would not matter so regular nuclear power would work with huge Ion drives and impluse engines.

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Post    Posted on: Mon Mar 09, 2009 6:07 pm
I don't see why we need these "cruise ships" for the moon (unless we magically manage to build functioning space elevators within the next few years), but for Mars I agree


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Post    Posted on: Mon Mar 09, 2009 6:13 pm
Just blowing off some steam:)

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