Poll

How many people do you think there will be in orbit, elsewhere in space or on a planetary/lunar surface other than Earth - simultaneously - on December 31st 2030?

None
4 (4.1%)
1-10
10 (10.3%)
11-20
27 (27.8%)
21-40
25 (25.8%)
41-80
12 (12.4%)
81-160
9 (9.3%)
161-320
2 (2.1%)
More than 320
8 (8.2%)

Total Members Voted: 97

Voting closed: 12/05/2022 01:50 pm


Author Topic: Poll: Number of people in low Earth orbit or beyond on December 31st 2030?  (Read 10803 times)

Offline mikelepage

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I'm interested to see the educated guesses of NSF forum users to this question, as I think the actual answer will be a fair indicator of the success (or failure) of human space flight programs in the near future. Tell us your reasoning in the comments below, and hopefully 8 and a bit years is not too far away for us to find out if we were right.

Online Eer

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So, number of continuously staffed positions across all orbital stations, civilian or military, in LEO where lunar stations are in a different category?

I’ll say 50. I’m not on an interface that lets me vote.
From "The Rhetoric of Interstellar Flight", by Paul Gilster, March 10, 2011: Well build a future in space one dogged step at a time, and when asked how long humanity will struggle before reaching the stars, well respond, As long as it takes.

Offline DanClemmensen

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41-80.   20 in LEO, 50 on the Lunar surface. I doubt CLD will be very popular except for a possible single ISS replacement plus the Chinese station, but a continuous human presence on the Moon with 50 people at any one time is possible.  Eight years is not very long, so I'm discounting Mars and the Lagrange points.

Offline mikelepage

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41-80.   20 in LEO, 50 on the Lunar surface. I doubt CLD will be very popular except for a possible single ISS replacement plus the Chinese station, but a continuous human presence on the Moon with 50 people at any one time is possible.  Eight years is not very long, so I'm discounting Mars and the Lagrange points.

Interesting. I also voted 41-80, but Id reverse your ratio. Im pretty optimistic about the industry that will support CLDs and also the idea that Starships might be used as temporary space stations.

Personally I think it will be a number of decades before the numbers in LEO amount to less than 50% of the total in space. So Id guess 50 in LEO and 10 on the moon for end of 2030.

Offline DanClemmensen

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41-80.   20 in LEO, 50 on the Lunar surface. I doubt CLD will be very popular except for a possible single ISS replacement plus the Chinese station, but a continuous human presence on the Moon with 50 people at any one time is possible.  Eight years is not very long, so I'm discounting Mars and the Lagrange points.

Interesting. I also voted 41-80, but Id reverse your ratio. Im pretty optimistic about the industry that will support CLDs and also the idea that Starships might be used as temporary space stations.

Personally I think it will be a number of decades before the numbers in LEO amount to less than 50% of the total in space. So Id guess 50 in LEO and 10 on the moon for end of 2030.
Oops. I forgot about six-month Starship science missions, or even two-week Starship tourist excursions. I think that a small normally-uncrewed station in LEO like Lunar Gateway, visited by long-duration crewed scientific Starships, makes more sense than a permanently-crewed station. I still don't see the average going above 30 in LEO.

Offline nicp

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I put none for no reason other than having a bad day.

Offline gbl

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I believe the highest number ever was 14, so doubling that in 8 years would be an accomplishment. I voted 21-40.

Offline Eric Hedman

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I voted 11-20 though it might be between 20 and 30.  I don't think there will be any permanent presence on the Moon or lunar orbit yet.  So there might be a chance of 4 people at most on a stay of a month or less in lunar orbit or on the Moon on that date.  I also don't think between the US and partners and China that there will be too many more people in lunar orbit by 2030.  2030 isn't that far away.  I think the following decade is when the numbers start to rise.  By 2040 I would guess the number would be around a 100 and by 2050 possibly a thousand.  That's my two cents.

Offline markbike528cbx

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The Kessler syndrome will have advanced such that no astronauts will be in orbit.
Too many SLS launches? /s
« Last Edit: 10/08/2022 08:40 am by markbike528cbx »

Offline AmigaClone

I believe the highest number ever was 14, so doubling that in 8 years would be an accomplishment. I voted 21-40.

I voted 21-40 as well. That would depend on a couple of factors. I would not expect anyone living beyond LEO at that date, although I can see a short term visit to Lunar Orbit (Dear Moon 2?) on that date.

In LEO, I would expect the Chinese modular space station, the Axion Station, and possibly another commercial station. I agree with the possibility of there being one or more crewed Starships in orbit each serving as a temporary space station (although I would not dismiss them being able to exchange crew or receive fresh supplies via Crew Dragon or Cargo Dragon respectively.
« Last Edit: 10/10/2022 07:03 am by AmigaClone »

Offline sdsds

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I chose "41-80," predicting essentially linear growth. (Warning: GIGO.)
𝐬𝐝𝐒𝐝𝐬

Offline jebbo

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Interesting one. I'm only counting continously in orbit** and have 3 scenarios:

ISS not quite de-orbited.
- ISS capacity = 16 (8 baseline, up one from now + 8 Axiom Hab1/2 + 4 temp for rotation)
- Tiangong capacity = 6 (i.e. they launch the spare modules)
- Total 22

Pessimistic:
- Axiom capacity = 8
- Tiangong capacity = 6
- Total 14

Optimistic:
- Axiom capacity = 8
- Orbital Reef capacity = 8
- A.n.other capacity = 4
- Tiangong capacity = 6
- Total 26

So being optimistic, the low end of 21-40

** the max temporarily in orbit numbers probably in the 26 - 35 range.

--- Tony
« Last Edit: 10/07/2022 07:28 am by jebbo »

Offline Zed_Noir

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Presuming the Starship (not the Artemis HLS lander) will be operational by 2026.

There will be the ISS & the Chinese LEO stations plus several commercial LEO stations and maybe some International LEO stations. Also in LEO will be the SX propellant depot complex with occasional crew.

The Lunar gateway and maybe other Lunar orbital stations along with several research stations on the Lunar surface. Also in LLO will be the SX propellant depot complex with occasional crew.

More optimistic than other forum members that there will be at least a small long stay research base/colony on Mars.

Finally there are the occasional daredevil tourist exclusion flyby flights to the Moon, Mars & Venus.

So maybe between 120 to 160 persons off Earth.

add't note - Don't included P2P Starship crews & passengers for my estimate.
« Last Edit: 10/10/2022 09:03 am by Zed_Noir »

Offline high road

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10-20  FTE's. ISS on the way out, no permanent base on the moon, commercial stations struggling to find early commercial customers, countries still paying for their astronauts on whatever stations there are

Offline Robotbeat

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10-20  FTE's. ISS on the way out, no permanent base on the moon, commercial stations struggling to find early commercial customers, countries still paying for their astronauts on whatever stations there are
China's space station has up to 6 crew at a time, currently 3. ISS is fully crewed at 7, but currently has 11 on-board.

Plus, there are private Dragon missions, of like 4 people for a week or so at a time, plus Artemis for 4 crew for a couple weeks. As of right now, there are 10 people in space.

So the current FTE is already about the same as your range. You're assuming there's no growth. Not disagreeing, but just want to make clear what you're saying.

I don't think I agree. I expect at least some growth, maybe 30-50 FTE.

Axiom, the Chinese space station growing, maybe a Russian station. ISS crewed just a little bit longer. Possibly longer term Gateway mission. Gravitics, Vast, etc.

I think 30-50FTE isn't that unreasonable. Could be over 100.
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Online crandles57

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China SS 6
Axiom 8
rest of ISS prep for deorbit 3
ISS replacement early stages 3
Lunar surface/orbit probably not permanent by 2030 but possibly ~4 on temp basis
Another commercial station - possibly ready for crew 4 not great confidence in this and in addition might happen to be empty on 31 Dec.

20 - 28 in orbit/lunar surface
This is not counting low possibility of suborbital flight(s) on the specific date of 31 Dec
Crew changeover could mean higher maximum number than above but unlikely on a specific date like 31 Dec so not included.

Around 20 seems more plausible than above 25 for 2030, but this is just a wild guess. Might start to accelerate in early 2030s assuming Starship is successful with refuelling etc in the next couple of years. 

Offline DeimosDream

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By 2030 I'd expect Starship to be human certified and planning a follow up to Dear Moon so...

80-160.
<60 in long-term habitats, plus a fully booked 100-person Starship Luxury Space Cruise conducting a New Year's Lunar free return flyby.

Offline mikelepage

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I'm glad I made the 161-320 category now. I nearly had the catch-all <more than everything else> category starting at >160. But the lack of votes for 161-320 shows there's definitely a gap between those of us who are 1) optimistic or pessimistic - but holding our expectations within an order of magnitude of what has happened so far in history, and 2) those who see a fundamental shift happening in the next 8 years.

Out of curiosity, for those who voted "More than 320", are all of you basing that on Starship's potential? And do you see it as long duration flights like Dear Moon? or is your expectation around point to point flights around Earth?

Just realised that if you were responding to the topic question you could have assumed you just need 4 or more, 80-person point-to-point flights per day by end of 2030 to get over 320 people in space in a single day, and I muddied the water slightly by specifying over 320 people *simultaneously* in the more detailed question (which suggests more like dozens of PtP flights per day).

Offline eriblo

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What about all the New Years Starship cruises??
(Mostly joking but choosing that specific date has a theoretical chance of skewing the result...)

Offline mikelepage

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What about all the New Years Starship cruises??
(Mostly joking but choosing that specific date has a theoretical chance of skewing the result...)

Ha!  ;D Okay then: If the number of people off-world on Dec 31st is more than one standard deviation higher than the number for the rest of 2030, I shall eat my hat probably not the best way to tempt fate in this business, but it worked out for Peter Beck, right?
« Last Edit: 10/11/2022 10:50 am by mikelepage »

 

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