The L5 Development Group space colony design theory

Space Colony Design Theory

the road to success is always under construction

Reference Model:

1 rpm rotation, 900 meters radius, "1 G" level 100 meters occupiable width divided between two counter-rotating sections. 8 "floors" within the level, each 5 meters closer to the axis than the previous, covers 80% of lower level, exposed area is sunlit. inner floor experiences .97 G. total colony area is 2,321,861 m 2, sunlit area is 565,487 m 2

2nd ring @ 450 meters ".5 G" (.46 G min) adds 1,145,326 m 2 total, 282,743 m 2 sunlit

2nd ring @ 600 meters (.67 G - .63 G) + 3rd ring @ 300 meters (.34 G - .30 G), instead of .5 G ring, adds 2,290,653 m 2 total, 565,487 m 2 sunlit - doubles sunlit, nearly doubles total area. Colony total area is 4,612,514 m 2, 1,130,973 m 2 sunlit.

Click here to see the spreadsheet calculation results.

assuming a colony population of 10,000, that allows 4965 ft 2 per person, of which 1217 ft 2 is sunlit. although this seems like a high number, that area has to include all manufacturing, recycling, food production and environment for the individual. otherwise, the colony cannot be self-sufficient.

if the average material depth for construction is 1/3 meter, nearly 1.6 million m 3 materials will be consumed. if enclosed space is 2x 5m-high floor volume, enclosed volume is 46 million m 3.

Return to the top of this page


more tubular shape (i.e., more oval in sections on planes containing the axis of rotation, with the oval (ellipse) major axis parallel to the rotation axis) results in more surface area at a given [apparent] gravitation

fixed rotation rate concentric levels out to 1 G provide differing gravities for handicaps, experimentation, entertainment.

outer levels with lower angular velocities but higher linear rates also experience 1 G. construction outward is done at next inner's angular rate - with higher linear rate in effect - via suspension (very dangerous work if no safety net, best done by robots, lost parts become projectiles traveling at linear velocity on tangental track). once a keel is laid and suspended, it can be slowed to the correct angular rate for 1 G.

some colonies may want higher G rates for heavy-planet training.

counter-rotating rings/tubes cancel angular momentum. bearing plane between opposite rotations, with stepped velocity changes, provide wind barriers, block collisions. treadways on speed changes provide stepped travel rate increases. multiple barriers needed to isolate high speed changes. noise could be a problem. use mechanical track-jumping across speeds to reduce possibility of being caught between passing barriers - scissors effect. walkways probably wouldn't be workable - too much trouble maintaining seal integrity for air containment: shirt-sleeve environment would have to be provided by transit vessel.

central axis/tube stationary (as opposed to planar bearing surface) would concentrate the stresses on the core - too much torque?

Return to the top of this page


tensile strength required to counteract centrifugal force may be limiting

Return to the top of this page


Things don't "fall" straight down - the apparent fall path bends against the direction of rotation.

Return to the top of this page


Return to the top of this page


1 km radius, rotating once per 63.46975 seconds, lateral velocity 98.99494 m/s 9.8 m/s 2 (1 G) "downward" force, 6.283 km circumference (3.9 miles) - You're less than 2 miles walking distance from anywhere. speed differential between counter-rotating halves, at 1 G level, is 713 km/hr (443 mph)

1 rpm rotation (60 seconds), 900 meters radius, lateral velocity 94.24777 m/s 9.869604 m/s 2 (1.007 G), 5.655 km circumference (3.5 miles) - rotation can be used as a clock, two points on counter-rotating rims pass exactly 2x/minute. speed differential is 679 km/hr (398 mph)

Return to the top of this page



Space Colony Design Center
Space Colony
Space Systems
The L5 Development Group Home Page
The L5 Development Group Keyword Access System

Space Colony Design Theory / Webmaster / Last modified November 16, 2003 @ 11:30 am
Copyright © 1999-2017 by The L5 Development Group. All rights reserved.