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Dr. Tom Matula, Friday, 2-7-14 February 7, 2014

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Dr. Tom Matula, Friday, 2-7-14


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Guest:  Dr. Tom Matula.  Topics:  Space settlements known as astrosettlements, commercial space development.  Please direct all comments and questions regarding Space Show programs/guest(s) to the Space Show blog, https://thespaceshow.wordpress.com.  Comments and questions should be relevant to the specific Space Show program. Written Transcripts of Space Show programs are a violation of our copyright and are not permitted without prior written consent, even if for your own use. We do not permit the commercial use of Space Show programs or any part thereof, nor do we permit editing, YouTube clips, or clips placed on other private channels & websites. Space Show programs can be quoted, but the quote must be cited or referenced using the proper citation format. Contact The Space Show for further information. In addition, please remember that your Amazon purchases can help support The Space Show/OGLF. See www.onegiantleapfoundation.org/amazon.htm.

We welcomed Dr. Tom Matula back to The Space Show for a 1 hour 46 minute discussion about Tom’s concept for space settlements known as astrosettlements.  His Power Point presentation given at the ISDC 2013 has been uploaded to The Space Show blog for your review.  In the first segment of today’s program, I started out asking about one of Tom’s previous theories, the Space Development Bank.  From there, we jumped to astrosettlements which Tom believes will be market driven so we discussed some of the market factors that could drive these settlements.  Astrosettlements are orbital and would be designed for 500 to 1,000 inhabitants.  He listed three characteristics for the astrosettlements and we discussed each one.  The three included the need to be autonomous, mobile, and expandable.  Doug called from S. California to talk about and clarify market demand.  This led Tom to discuss the potential of the SpaceX Dragon Lab.  He also talked about suborbital with his understanding that the killer part of suborbital would not be space tourism but instead atmospheric research.  I asked Tom for timelines for the astrosettlements and he said 2-3 decades. This sparked further discussion.  When I asked for the starting point to develop the astrosettlements, Tom said we would need to develop virtual world models.  This resulted in a rather comprehensive discussion of modeling in the virtual world with Charles calling in to disagree across the board with our guest.

In the second segment, I read a lengthy email from Carl in San Antonio that deal the lunar development, the Moon Treaty, Common Heritage of Mankind and benefit sharing issues.  Don’t miss this discussion. Paul Turner both emailed in and called regarding how to profitably develop real estate in orbit, and why it is financially sustainable.  Paul has a book coming out on this topic so we will hear more about this later on.  More timeline questions came up regarding astrosettlements and the potential early market drivers which might include intellectual property, early materials manufacturing, and raw materials.

Please post your comments/questions on The Space Show Blog URL above.  Tom has a blog you should check out, www.wealthofspace.com.  You can reach Tom through me or his blog.

Dr. Matula’s ISDC 2013 presentation is here:  HALE ISDC


1. DougSpace - February 13, 2014

Hi Jim. What cost would that mortgage be? We’re really talking lofty speculation here. He sets as a goal $25 billion for 250 million tonnes of shielding ($1,000 / kg). Assuming a 30-year mortgage and his 1,000 residents, that would be about $850,000/year just to repay the development costs. Then there’s the rest of the construction, profit, interest, maintenance, cost of living, etc. Rather, launching ion propellant from Earth and then bringing back an asteroid would probably be more cost-effective than even launching all of the shielding using CATS. Because of the cost of transporting and assembling shielding alone, I don’t see orbital habs as being any near-term solution for settlement.

2. Luis - February 13, 2014

Very interesting discussion, as are most in this show. I always see more likely humans living in 1G habitats in free space than in other planetary bodies for which we haven’t evolved to live in, just not sure if that will happen soon.

Very interested in your proposal for an International Lunar Development Corporation, for which I found these resources:


In your opinion what is holding back the formation of such an organization, and what is needed to promote it both in the US and abroad. I read about a dedicated ILDC conference as a first step, how is this going?

3. Jim Davis - February 12, 2014

The question I always ask whenever I see a space settlement proposal is what would be the monthly rent or mortgage payment an inhabitant would have to pay that includes all development, construction, operating, and maintenance costs.

So what would be a ballpark figure for rent or mortgage on HALE? What costs would that rent or mortgage cover?

4. Space-for-All at HobbySpace » Space policy roundup – Feb.8.14 - February 8, 2014

[…] Dr. Tom Matula, Friday, 2-7-14 – Thespaceshow’s Blog […]

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