Broadcast 3401 Anthony Longman

  • The Space Foundation Conference

  • The Space Foundation Conference

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  • The Space Foundation Conference

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Guest: Anthony Longman;  Topics:  An introduction and thorough discussion regarding the expandable rotating shielded space habitat concept by Anthony and his company, Sky Frame Research.

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We welcomed Anthony Longman to the show for a two segment 93 minute comprehensive discussion regarding his concept for expandable rotating shielded free space habitats.  Anthony presented at the Space Studies Institute Conference in Seattle in early Sept. 2019.  You can see his presentation here in the two vides as the panel he was on included a Part 2:   In addition, check out his website, for images of his flexible growing free space habitat.  I suggest you follow the images with us as Anthony takes us through the construction and structure for the habitat.  You will be seeing much of what he discussed.  The visuals certainly helped me understand this most interesting concept.

We began the discussion by my asking Anthony to explain tensegrity structures and engineering.  Google the subject and you will see lots of designs and examples of it.   We spent several minutes on this topic with our guest explaining just how it applied to space construction projects.  Note what he said about the math behind the structures, plus the low mass which solves many problems in space construction.  After talking tensegrity, I asked Anthony what prompted him to get involved in free space habitat design.  Don't miss his story.  Also note his attraction and commitment to the O'Neillian vision with free space being the best place for a habitat, not a planetary surface. 

Anthony began the explanation of the EXPAT - Expandable Shielded Rotating Space Habitat.  Here is the description taken from his website:

"Growth from initial 8.5m pressure hull radius to 224m radius in 12 radial steps and 4 axial steps. 90 acres of managed woodland over 90 acres of urban outdoor mall space over 5 floors of apartments and commercial space. The mature habitat will feed and support a population of 8,000. Diurnal cycle shared between crop production in the side wall floors and habitable space in the interior. Light switching  reflectors send sunlight up the light shafts to the central reflector enclosing the zero-g industrial workshop. (This work is the end product of NASA funded research under the NIAC program, in collaboration with Dr Robert Skelton and Texas A&M University.)"

Anthony spent most of the balance of our discussion describing the structure, the construction, rotation, materials used, the number of occupants, but above all, how it starts out small and actually grows to full size.  Listen carefully to this discussion, follow along with the images from his website and above all, post your comments and thoughts about this habitat on our blog.

In addition to talking about the structures, engineering, design, materials, landscaping, and habitat growth, we talked about potential operational time lines, funding concerns, and capital acquisition.  Note that Anthony said this would be a money making project.  When I asked about the ROI, listen to how the approximate trillion dollar cost was secondary to the cash flow.  One problem he said was that the habitat had to be completed to earn the cash flow so part of the financing had to be designed to carry it to completion and the commencement of operations.   Don't miss the financial part of our discussion.

Anthony was planning for tourists to the habitat using the cruise ship model.  The cruise ship would carry and house about 8,000 space tourists, would dock at the habitat but return and go back and forth to the cruise ship.  Worker and permanent residents of the habs would live in housing structures within the space habitat along with the rest of the structure and the landscaping.

In the second segment, we talked about the materials likely to be used in building this space habitat.  We talked about wall construction and thickness, plus how it changed as it grew but remained proportional.  Floor construction, tension cables, suspension bridge type of construction, the use of water for shielding in bags, plus the liberal use of regolith slag were a big part of our discussion. .  Regarding the use of regolith slag, our guest had much to say on this subject so listen carefully as you will hear how slag plays an important part in this free space habitat.

Later in the segment, listener Carl asked Anthony about the orbit and orbital location for the habitat followed by my asking about viewing opportunities for the residents and the tourists.  Don't miss the descriptions provided by Anthony for viewing and more.  The subject of direct sunlight came up.  Sunlight plays an important part in the success of the habitat so listen to how it is to be used and mastered. Comments?  The same for landscape.

Toward the end of the program, Alexandria asked how this habitat was to become real rather just remain as a Power Point presentation.  This opened up a good discussion about the what our guest thought was the TRL level of the concept, possible a TRL-3-4 at this time.  He then talked about their NIAC awards and going for a NIAC 3 award.  He explained the newly created NIAC 3 award plus some of the structural changes recently made for NIAC 3 participants. 

One of the last discussion topics was crew selection and qualification.  He said initially they would be professional astronauts and cosmonauts much like those on the ISS.  He also pointed at that the habitat design was still a visionary idea.  Before ending our discussion, our guest was asked about ITAR concerns.  As a final point, our guest told us about the elevators which would server as lifeboats.  Listen to this explanation.  Don't miss the balance of Anthony's concluding comments.

Please post your comments/questions on The Space Show blog for this show.  You can reach Anthony through me.




Expandable rotating shielded space habitats

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28 Oct 2019 Anthony Longman
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