Bryden Allen's Website

Initially Starting our Space Colony

The ideas suggested in this webpage only occurred to me when I started thinking in depth about our particular starting-up problem. So I only did this work when I was sure that all the other fundamental problems could be solved. So this webpage was the very last item I worked on.
            The same situation should apply to you - my good reader. You should only worry about these problems, when you are sure that all the other problems are solvable. So this should be the very last webpage you bother to read.
            Let me give you a simple analogy. Suppose a couple of people want to go on a week's hiking/camping trip. Then this couple ought to learn how to put up their tent in the pouring rain. But most people forget about this little problem. You shouldn't just forget about this little problem – but it is the last thing you should think about.
            I am the sort of person that likes to work out solutions to problems like these. (So I actually worked out how to put up my tent in the pouring rain – but I still forgot about the wind, which was actually worse problem to overcome.) So I love working out solutions to starting-up problems. But it is very hard to predict distant future too precisely. So please – do not worry about these details too much.

As I described in the last webpage, there will be far more rockets going up into space carrying materials - than rockets carrying humans. Also in the initial stages, our rockets could blow up. So it is best to send lots of material carrying rockets first, so it doesn't matter so much if they have problems. So we must learn to guide our rockets purely from the ground. But this earth guidance technology has been well developed for many years.
            But, if we send up lots of materials-bearing rockets first, we will have the problem of keeping the rockets all together. So the very first rocket we send up should be rather special. This rocket's payload should be a "herder". This "herder" vehicle will have several small rockets to move it around and have good vision cameras as well. So, when new rockets arrive, this herder vehicle must bring each new rocket into "docked situation". Now the best stable arrangement for a large set of identical rockets to be placed is the orderly triangular form shown in the diagram. So the heads of all the rockets would be close together and thus all their payloads can easily retrieved and used in the new colony (the opening hatches are shown in red).


            In the next diagram, I show how this docking procedure could be carried out. Half-way along each rocket, there would be 6 inset clipping points. These clipping points are shown in the diagram. But these diagrams are just symbolic. The rockets are envisaged as if seen from on top but yet the clipping points are all visible (although they are actually halfway along each rocket). (Only 4 of these 6 attachments points would actually be used. But it better to supply all 6 points so that the most appropriate clipping points can be used.) The herder vehicle would attach two light wires (shown in yellow) to the new rocket, which is to be docked. Then these wires are threaded through the appropriate clipping points on the already docked rockets. Then these light wires are then slowly pulled to bring this new rocket into its correct position. This important operation must be done very slowly indeed (i.e. the docking should take at least a day). Otherwise this operation will waste too much energy accelerating the rocket-to-be-docked too much and then this rocket will bash the other rockets too heavily.
            Finally the wire would be attached to the front of the new rocket. So just this light wire would keep the new rocket permanently connected to the cluster of rockets.
            (In my own notes, I have worked out how this whole operation can be carried out in more detail. And the diagram reflects some of these more detailed considerations. If you study the diagram carefully, then you could work out some of these minor details. But you shouldn't worry about such things unless you actually enjoy solving such problems.)

When these rockets have proved that they are safe to use, then humans will come up as part of the payload. But just before we do this, we must send up another special rocket. The top part of this rocket, where payload is, would be rather special (i.e. the whole of the top cone). This top cone would be constructed as a return capsule to Earth. So, if something goes wrong in space, everyone can retreat to Earth.

Finally I am ready to say a little about the nature of this early settlement. I want to show how these early arrivals can quite quickly enjoy a quite comfortably life in space with adequate space and gravity. So these people will be able to function normally and thus they will remain healthy. But if we are to attain this goal, then we must be prepared reject some of our rigid ideas on space stations. We must be prepared to live in tents. The following pictures show the general ideas.


The first human rocket would just contain two humans. But this rocket would mainly contain a space tent. When the top entrance was opened, this tent would gradually inflate in space outside (encouraged by the air pressure inside). So this folded tent would inflate into a nice cylindrical tent as shown.
            Like all good modern tents, this tent would have two different layers – the tent itself and the fly. The fly would be light and silvery (like that stuff they use to sell milk-powder in). This part would protect the tent from evil rays from the sun. The tent itself must be strong because it must support the force of the internal air pressure. So the tent must be made of heavy nylon. (Nylon will be degraded by sunlight – hence the definite need for a fly.) The fly and tent must not touch. So I have added some small separators. There must be a very slight air pressure in the volume between the tent and the fly, to keep the fly in the correct position.
            At the far end of the cylinder, I have put some TV panels mounted on a light flexible material as well. So, when the tent unravels, these TV panels will unravel as well. These PV panels will provide all the energy the inhabitants must need.
            This tent system is movable. Thus the connection to the current rocket could be closed and the tent then could be moved to an adjacent rocket and be attached to it. So this adjacent rocket can be opened and the payload supplies, within this rocket, can be now used.
            So these new-arrival peoples would have - plenty of space, plenty of supplies and lots things to do and investigate. Life in space would be OK until we can create another tent, which would be bigger and better.


Now we humans need a good degree of gravity to remain healthy and well. Also gravity helps us to eat, drink, defecate, exercise and work normally. So I want to supply this tent colony with some gravity as soon as possible i.e. within a couple of months.
            So now I propose a much larger tent holding perhaps 20 people. And this tent would contain a revolving "hammock" in it (as shown).
            I will assume that this tent is now 8 m long and 8 m wide. I will assume the hammock is 1.5 m wide and has a diameter 7 m. So the hammock would be about 22 m long along its circumference. Then this large communal hammock can be spun to give an appreciable amount of gravity. And on this hammock all people can sleep, eat, drink, defecate, exercise and generally relax. So all people then can remain healthy and well.
            This hammock must be attached to a central axis cord, which will run along the centre of the full tent. This attachment will keep the hammock spinning in the correct position. Also a small electric motor must be used to keep the hammock spinning. I have put two of these at the top and bottom of the hammock. There is a slight problem associated with the full tent moving in the opposite direction. But the docked set of rockets can be attached to the tent and this substantial extra inertia will prevent the total tent spinning too much.
            The floor of this hammock must be quite strong, because the longways tension in this floor must support all the gravity of the people using it. But nylon is a very strong material. On the sides I think some light material (supported by cords) must lead up to the central axis cord. This material will stop people looking outwards and seeing a spinning world. (I discuss "how seeing a spinning world can make people sick" in my major webpage on "A Full Space Colony".)
            As this colony grows, the colony must always give its people a certain amount of gravity.

So the initial stages of life in this growing colony can always be made fully acceptable.

Finally it is time for you to move on and study my much larger "A Full Space Colony".


You might now also like to look back at:

either my "Home Page" (which introduces this whole website and lists all my webpages),

or "The Ultimate Ascent" (which introduces these webpages),

or "A Path to Create a Full Space Colony", (which introduces the coming webpages in more detail).


Updated on 14/11/2016.