Inside Banyan’s New Orbital Housing & Living Habitats Contract

OHLH ImageBanyan will be sending people to the stars to live – well, sort of. They will be living in orbit around our planet, much like how satellites currently operate.

Our new Orbital Housing & Living Habitats (OHLH) contract seeks to put 320,000 people in orbital communities by 2020, accounting for an estimated 50,000 individual home units and another 20,000 in a communal-style living.

Different contractors will be handling the development, launch, and maintenance of these units while Banyan focuses on how to make the units “a healthy living experience.” Residents are expected to live in the units a minimum of 10 years, but hopefully many will live there their entire lives. That means they need all the benefits of a healthy environment they could get back on Earth.

Exercise is a big challenge, as the space within the units and the lack of gravity complicate things. Banyan is outlining the plans for seven different isometric gyms, where residents can take part in special exercises designed to work muscles not normally flexed in a zero-gravity environment. We currently have plans for more than 50 park-like recreation areas that will be available to all residents.

Social interaction and building safe, stable, nurturing relationships and environments is another concern. We are working with the orbital habitat designers to find ways to link as many of the units together as possible to provide easier community access. The community will need many communal services, including a fully accredited school.

Finally, we’re focusing a good deal of attention on—for a lack of better word—jobs. We’re talking about building a mini-society in space, which means there are duties that will need to be performed for the community to function effectively. However, residents will need to feel there are opportunities to pursue meaningful work and have fulfilling careers. Our past experience with violence, obesity, and mental health issues indicate that individual purpose will be a vital element of the space community.

When we tell people about the contract, they often ask if we are going open a third Banyan office in the orbital community.

In the next five years, anything is possible.

But—for now—we prefer to keep our feet on the ground and focus on changing the world we already have into an even better place to live.

Oh, and Happy April 1st.