American Society of Civil Engineers

Space Hotels: Civil Engineering’s New Frontier

by Patrick Collins, (Economic Envir. Res. Lab., Azabu Univ., Kanagawa, Japan)

Journal of Aerospace Engineering, Vol. 15, No. 1, January 2002, pp. 10-19, (doi:

     Access full text
     Purchase Subscription
     Permissions for Reuse  

Document type: Journal Paper
Abstract: This paper reviews the prospects for the development of commercial hotels in space; it shows that it is increasingly accepted that this could 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 no more than a few months worth of existing space budgets. When this becomes available, competition will lead to rapid development of progressively more exotic facilities in orbit as companies exploit the unique environment of space to provide guests with ever more popular services. Discussed are some of the civil engineering topics that will arise as orbital accommodation grows from assemblies of prefabricated modules to large structures assembled in orbit, including rotating structures offering “artificial gravity,” and eventually to buildings on the lunar surface.

ASCE Subject Headings:
Space colonies