Space Settlement Scenarios

Image: Bryan Versteeg /

Every SSDC event describes requirements for designing a future space settlement or habitat to a very specific set of requirements defined by a Request for Proposal (RFP).  The scenarios are offered in a five-year chronology that illustrates a possible Roadmap for how people will develop commercial interests and settlements in space.  In each year of the chronology, at least four or five different scenarios are offered.  Students who participate in SSDCs for their entire high school careers will not see the same scenario twice.  When the “same” scenario is offered every five years, key requirements are changed to cause designs for prior-years RFPs to be non-compliant.

The five-year chronology of SSDC scenarios presumes people will expand their activities in the inner solar system in the following order:

Year 1 (2018 and 2023)

initial settlements and establishing manufacturing in Earth orbit, cis-lunar space, and on Earth’s Moon Luna

Year 2 (2019 and 2024)

expanding human economy and settlement in Earth orbit, cis-lunar space, and on Earth’s Moon Luna

Year 3 (2020 and 2025)

initial settlements and beginning economic activity near and on Mars

Year 4 (2016 and 2021)

expanding human economic activity and settlement into the Asteroid Belt, and beginning Terraforming of Mars

Year 5 (2017 and 2022)

exploiting ores with unique properties on Mercury, enabling settlement on Venus