Industrial Space Necklace

The first launch of the GPV into space will allow starting the creation of the Industrial Space Necklace "Orbit" (ISN "Orbit").

The ISN "Orbit" is a multiorbital transport, infrastructure, and industrial-residential complex serving Earth's humanity and covering the planet in the equator plane. It is a functional analogue of the Equatorial Linear City which is located in space, as well as a range intended to protect from space threats (including meteorites) and a platform for the Earth's civilization expansion into deep space.

The ISN "Orbit" will look like a necklace where there will be coupled cargo and passenger gondolas placed at a span of about 500 m and connected to each other in the form of a ring with string communications. There will be factories, workshops, power plants, and other industrial structures eventually created around the gondolas. Residential space settlements —EcoCosmoHouses, where service personnel of space industry will live and work, will be also located there.

ISN "Orbit" includes

Industry

Compared to the industry location on the planet’s surface, outer space and near-Earth orbits have a number of advantages.

  • Zero gravity allows producing unique materials, mechanisms, and equipment, as well as melting foam steel, which is stronger than ordinary steel, while it does not sink in water and is not subject to corrosion.
  • It is more difficult to obtain deep vacuum on Earth than to extract oil, 1 m3 of deep vacuum is more expensive than a ton of oil.
  • Easy establishment of a great power generation industry. It is possible to get about 1 kW of power from 1 m² of the surface illuminated by the Sun.
  • The high efficiency and competitive cost of asteroid minerals extracted in space. It is determined by a high concentration of useful minerals in such minerals (up to the native state). That means a multiple reduction in specific costs (which are primarily caused by the energy consumption) of the extraction, transportation, and enrichment of ore raw materials.
  • The environment purity (lack of gases, dust, microorganisms, and other contaminants) allows producing clean materials that means one of the most important signs of the structure uniformity. The quality of materials and products should be also considered.
  • The possibility of quick cooling to ultra low temperatures, that (in combination with other features of space environment) provides new opportunities for technologists in various industries to manage the phase composition of the materials being produced, degree of their uniformity, as well as nature and density of crystal lattice defects.
  • It is also easy to reach high temperatures in space, for example, by concentrating the solar radiation.

In accordance with the program of the GPV operation, the industrial production facilities, scientific laboratories, factories, and workshops connected to power generation, mechanical engineering, metallurgy, and chemistry will be gradually moved and reconstructed from Earth to near-Earth orbit.

Residential sector

The basis of the residential sector at the ISN "Orbit" will consist of multifunctional clusters – the EcoCosmoHouses providing artificial gravity and designed on the base of the best part of the Earth's biosphere – subtropics. It will imply the natural conditions as follows: Earth's atmosphere, landscapes, flora and fauna, living fertile soil, terrestrial biogeocenoses, aquatic ecosystems, and other terrestrial things that a person needs for a comfortable and safe life in an aggressive space environment.

EcoCosmoHouse

Despite automation and robotization, the industry created in space must be maintained by people. In orbit, it will be necessary to create residential settlements of a new type – EcoCosmoHouses (ECH), where millions of people will live, work, relax, undergo therapy and treatment courses.

The most convenient part of the Earth's biosphere will be recreated within each ECH intended for several thousand inhabitants and being a small village-type society built on innovative principles with consideration of all the necessary natural conditions such as the atmosphere, a variety of landscapes, living organisms, soils, biogeocenoses, aquatic ecosystems, etc. The most comfortable physical conditions will also be arranged as follows: gravity, illumination in the natural spectrum, optimal temperature, pressure, humidity, etc.

ECH may become the first facility to preserve the biodiversity of Earth's flora and fauna beyond the boundaries of our planet.

Enclosed ecosystem

ECH is an enclosed space that includes a variety of soils, biogeocenoses, water systems, and many communities of living organisms that are capable of self-reproduction and full-fledged existence under the impact of a complex of abiotic factors for an unlimited time.

ECH

Artificial ecosystem, where a simplified local model of nature will be recreated +

Natural ecosystem, where all living organisms will be delivered unchanged from the planet Earth

Designing of enclosed artificial ecosystems is one of the most urgent tasks for the whole mankind.

Reasons
  • Space age advent and the need to arrange comfortable and healthy conditions for human life and work in space.
  • Arrangement of life on lands that are hardly suitable for humans.
  • Restoration and development of the ecosystems, preservation of the biodiversity.
Biological aspects of ECH functioning
  • Natural soil from the planet Earth with thousands of microorganisms (about a trillion species per 1 kg of soil) will be used.
  • More than 2.500 species of plant organisms (about 2 million individuals), more than 4.000 species of animals (about 2.5 million individuals) will be involved.
  • Aquatic microflora and microfauna will be arranged.

The human habitat can become comfortable only with the most complete modeling of the planet's biosphere, including the entire diversity of flora and fauna, as well as microflora and microfauna – a soil biogeocenosis with thousands of microorganisms’ species. It is impossible to create comfortable and safe living conditions in a space house without healthy (living) fertile soil, since it is the biosphere immune system. In the same way, the basis of the people’s immune system is the microflora of our intestines – it feeds, nurses, and even treats us. Trillions of microorganisms of various species live there. And each of them has its own narrow duty; therefore, it is impossible to exclude any of them from the biosphere chain of living matter circulation.

The biosphere complex of the space house should constantly produce oxygen, which is mandatory for the breathing of people and animals staying there, as well as produce healthy food and dispose all the waste products of living organisms into humus.

For a full-fledged existence in the ECH, it is necessary to provide about 1.000 m² of soil surface per capita, for the following purposes (the percentage is given approximately):
  • 10% – for the oxygen production (taking into account the use of chlorella)
  • 50% – for vegetable food (vegetables, fruits, garden produce, cereals, etc.)
  • 40% – for animal source foods (meat, milk, cheese, etc.)

However, with modern developments and optimization of the processes (natural and technological approaches to the oxygen production, increasing soil fertility, etc.) the required soil area per capita under ECH conditions can be reduced by twice or even more.

In an enclosed artificial biosphere, it is necessary to create the most natural conditions for human habitation combined with the necessary technical achievements of the civilization.

One of the modern natural ways of space organizing, gardening, and farming is permaculture. The advantage of this approach is the use of natural technologies. The creators and adherents of this direction observe the nature, while equally estimating importance of the care about both Earth with all its living and inanimate components and people.

The basic principles of permaculture
  • Harmonious interaction between all the environment elements, while each of them has certain functions and ensures the existence of other elements.
  • Application of species diversity.
  • Reflection of natural schemes and algorithms.
  • Efficient energy planning and use of the renewable and biological resources.

It is important to preserve the conditions for human life as a part of the bioworld.

However, provision of all the necessary physical conditions for a person's life is not enough for him to be healthy.

Socio-psychological aspects of ECH functioning

In addition to physical indicators, there are also psychological ones.

When creating ECH, it is important to consider the following issues:

  • A person needs opportunities for constant personal growth and self-development.
  • Such usual natural elements as the expanse of the sky, distance of the horizon, ability to change the situation, and others are not available in a closed space.
  • A limited social circle and inability to change it for a certain time.
  • An emergency or unforeseen circumstances may arise.
  • Other factors causing the change in behavior, health, and perception of a person inside a closed space.

While creating a new space for people to live in, first of all, it is necessary to prevent conditions that will cause diseases.

The criteria of selecting people to live in ECH should include the following:
  • Physical characteristics of a person (health, physical fitness).
  • Availability of the relevant knowledge (general and professional, about the subjects of research, etc.).
  • Certain psychological qualities (personal and social).

Creation of a friendly atmosphere and selection of the participants with character traits appropriate for staying within ECH are among the factors that determine the success of the entire space exploration mission.

Environment parameters

For a comfortable stay of people in space, it is necessary to provide conditions that are equivalent and even superior in quality to those exist on Earth
Gravity

As on Earth or with downgraded value in some clusters for production needs.

Pressure

Comfortable pressure for most people is 760 mmHg or, as for the mountain areas, – about 700 mmHg. It is allowable to create a pressure of 380 mmHg in the areas where flora, fauna, and agricultural blocks are located.

Air temperature

+21…+25°С with the possibility of its adjustment during the day and round the year.

Air humidity

55-60% with the possibility of its adjustment during the day and round year.

Illumination level

Artificially.

General lighting should be provided in accordance with the natural biorhythms of people, animals, and plants.

Local lighting should be also created depending on the zone and season of a particular ecosystem.

When modeling the planet's biosphere for the space house, samples from Earth will be used
Flora and fauna

From the climatic zones of Earth that are the most favorable for human being.

Microflora and microfauna

Comfortable and safe living conditions within the space house are created due to the healthy (living) fertile soil from Earth with thousands of microorganisms, which is considered as the biosphere immune system.

Oxygen

Its main part is produced naturally by plants.

Oxygen is necessary for the breathing of people and animals, as well as for the production of healthy food and disposal of all waste products of living organisms in humus.

Water reservoirs

Ones with fresh and sea water.

Landscapes

Small mountains with streams, waterfalls, lawns, forest areas, apothecary gardens, gardens, green recreation areas.

Infrastructure

Each ECH can function independently, as it is a closed ecosystem. At the same time, all ECHs are located in the ISN “Orbit” structure and are connected to each other with transport, energy and information communications, and to the planet Earth – by means of the GPV.

Each ECH can serve as a place of temporary and permanent residence, also providing work and recreation opportunities to a human. In order to make person’s stay healthy and comfortable, it is necessary to design ideas that involve the combination of different ecosystems, ensuring the balance of natural and architectural environments. Design decisions regulate a number of processes that can influence the interaction between living beings.

Competent functional zoning of space and location of architectural volumes determine the location of engineering communications, the structure of the landscape, the layout of natural zones and, accordingly, and the relationship between different groups of organisms of the enclosed ecosystem as a whole. Understanding of the planning areas interaction, while considering trophic connections, provides the basis of the functional zoning model to be created and further applied to all possible types of internal enclosed areas on Earth and in space.

The geometry of the ECH shell designed by engineer A. Unitsky is determined by the following conditions:
  • Gravity comfortable for people to stay in
  • Bionic view
  • Hierarchy of spaces required for various functions
  • Efficient use of materials

One of the options of a space settlement is a system of two cylinders with reciprocal counter rotation around a common axis. The diameter of the outer cylinder is 500 m with a length of 500 m, the inner one has diameter of 300 m and its length is 500 m as well. The total length of the structure is 1 km.

The distribution of functional zones is based to the pedestrian accessibility, logistics of goods and products delivery, optimization of engineering systems, efficient land use, human-scaled environment, and optimal density of residential buildings.

A multi-storey technical zone with a height of about 10 m is located at the outer surface of a large cylinder. The presence of this space and its volume are determined by the need of placement of the tanks with drinking and industrial water, warehouses for storing food and equipment, as well as compartments with multi-level autonomous greenhouses for growing an additional volume of products and other elements.

The rooms for plant cultivation are equipped with artificial lighting and robots that use a printer method for cultivation. This technology allows planting, cultivation and harvesting of the crops without human intervention, while growing conditions in greenhouses correspond to the natural climatic conditions genetically recorded in the DNA of plants over billions of years of evolution on Earth. Environmental parameters that do not affect the quality of agricultural products, but increase the productivity of their production – such as humidity, temperature, carbon dioxide levels, lighting, gravity level, etc. – will be optimized and can be regulated at different periods of plants growing.

ECH provides for the possibility of using engineering systems in addition to the main natural processes of water and air purification, waste disposal, carbon dioxide filtration, etc. Delivery from warehouses and reservoirs is organized autonomously. The system of sectors and locks ensures safety and autonomous functioning of all engineering systems of the technical zones, in order to prevent interruptions in case of the possible collisions with meteorites.

Above the technical zone, there is a multi-meter layer of fertile soil, which will become not only the main mechanical protection against meteorite and radiation, but also the “green lungs” of the ECH, and the basis for recreational and agricultural zones. Soil biogeocenose with thousands of species of microorganisms will be able to support the vital activity of flora and fauna in the enclosed ecosystem of a space settlement. The integration of nature-like engineering communications with the natural soil layer will provide constant irrigation and full plant nutrition (without chemical fertilizers and pesticides).

The inner area of the space settlement is represented by the changing plain, foothill, and mountain (at the ends of the cylinders) landscapes, creating a natural visual environment. This shell contains an area for growing various crops, territories for livestock breeding, sports grounds, walkways, and green areas for planting food for ECH residents. The system of ponds and streams is evenly distributed, forming an irrigation network and a system of stage-by-stage water treatment with mineral and organic loadings.

For visual and psychological comfort, above the green zone there is a 100-meter air gap that is bounded by the inner cylinder imitating the sky. The height of the sky section should be several tens of meters more than the tallest trees.

Life in the orbit presents many challenges for humans: different health threats, lengthy adaptation processes, atmospheric composition which is different from the terrestrial one. To maintain physical and psychological comfort, as well as for additional health improvement, ECH includes locations for training and active games, walkways, eco-trails, climatotherapy zones, and areas for swimming in reservoirs.

Hotels and living areas are placed on the inner cylinder of the ECH on a multi-meter layer of “space soil”, which are carefully integrated in the ecosystem. A separated residential area provides additional safety for tourists and residents of the complex. To create comfortable living conditions, it is necessary to determine the optimal density and population size.

The need to create clear, easily perceived, comfortable, safe, and manageable environmental conditions is becoming urgent.

It is important to focus on such planning and architectural solutions that motivate to lead a healthy lifestyle, such as:
  • Scenic walking areas
  • Convenient sports grounds
  • Aesthetic integration of architecture into the natural environment
  • Ergonomics, suitable illumination, no destructive depressing elements (noise, "toxic" colors, sensible vibrations, unpleasant odors)

The equivalence of physical and psychological comfort is emphasized by research regarding the influence of the person’s psychological state both on their health and the health of others, thus affecting other spheres of life.

Composite structural elements

  • Space residential cluster

A hollow sphere (cylinder or torus) with a diameter of 200-500 m, spun around its axis. It can be a system of two capsule cylinders with reciprocal rotation around a common axis.

  • ECH pressure shell

Made of high-strength materials.

It is the most non-material-intensive part. If made of modern composite materials, the thickness of the load-bearing wall of such a huge structure will be about 3 mm.

  • Anti-meteorite and anti-radiation protection

Since it includes soil, it is the most material-intensive part of a spherical house. The total thickness can reach several meters.

  • Inner surface of the sphere

A layer of living fertile soil where forests, gardens, meadows grow, and appropriate biogeocenoses are arranged.

Reservoirs with fresh and sea, which have their own ecosystems.

The part of the sphere that is close to the structure rotation axis accommodates small mountains with streams, waterfalls and foothill ecosystems.

  • Passenger and cargo GPV modules

Will be used as a full-fledged dwelling.

Such residential modules can be used for building a separate residential area at the EcoCosmoHouse. Together they will be like suburban areas of low-rise buildings, where each family has its own space.

Estimated weight of materials required for construction of the ECH meant for 5000 people
Pressure shell

2000 t

Anti-radiation and anti-meteorite protection

100.000 t

Ecological black soil

200.000 t

Fresh and sea water

100.000 t

Air

10.000 t

Building materials and structures, including dwellings inside the ECH

50.000 t

Other

38.000 t

= ≈500.000 t

Cost of ECH meant for 5000 people
Delivery of materials to orbit via the GPV

USD 500 million (about USD 1000/t)

Materials and substances

USD 500 million

Construction and installation works

USD 1 billion

= USD 2 billion

Thus, building the space settlement in orbit will cost 75 times less than construction of the International Space Station, the cost of which exceeded USD 150 billion.

Hence, considering the money humanity has already spent on the possibility of having up to 10 astronauts in orbit (under uncomfortable and life-threatening conditions), it is possible to build 75 ECHs using the GPV for 375.000 inhabitants who will live and work under much more comfortable conditions than on Earth.

Protection against meteorites and radiation

There is a meteor and radiation hazard in space, as well as in near-Earth orbit. To create effective protection against these negative external factors, ECH is designed to have a thick multi-layer barrier, including foam materials and a multi-meter layer of soil along with water and air.

In addition, ECH will be surrounded by a fine-mesh net at a distance of several tens of meters. The net will create a space with a vacuum and zero gravity conditions, which are necessary for several space industries with corresponding technological equipment. Also, it will become the first protective layer – as a result, meteorite that is larger than the mesh cell will be partially crushed and its fragments will fly further, encountering technological equipment that will take the second blow. Therefore, only the weakened remains of the meteorite will reach the inner shell of the ECH, which ensures its tightness.

Considering the space areas with an increased meteor hazard, residential and office premises can be put inside the GPV container gondolas that deliver passengers and cargo to orbit. These gondolas are sealed, designed for overpressure and equipped with a hatch (door), while having a life support system. Therefore, even with the depressurization of the space house due to large meteorite hit, residents can save themselves by battening down the hatch.

The ISN "Orbit" with inhabited EcoCosmoHouses is a functional analogue of the Equatorial Linear City, which is located in space.

The construction of this system in Earth orbit is necessary to transfer harmful industries into space, to establish and develop new technical industries, and, as a result, to save the Earth's biosphere.