Space Settlement

Making Humanity a Space Faring Species

Space Settlement Location


Session Date and Time
Friday, May 24 @ 10 am - 12 noon & 2 pm - 6 pm

The space settlement ideas of Dr. Gerard O’Neill are at the core of the NSS’ vision for making humanity a space faring species. This vision did not focus on surface settlements, for example, on the Moon or Mars, but rather featured settlements in free space with settlers living inside huge rotating satellites orbiting around Earth at first and other planets and asteroids later. These settlements rotate to deliver 1g of pseudo-gravity to inhabitants so their children will grow up with strong bones and muscles.

But O’Neill’s works, such as “The High Frontier,” were published nearly 50 years ago. How have these been updated, and what will these new plans look like? How can we learn to live and work in a rotating environment? How does the discovery of a low-radiation region near the equator (ELEO) roughly 500 km from Earth change early settlement? Can we reliably grow Space Farms to feed settlers, provide oxygen, clean air and water? Can we recycle nearly everything? Is the surface gravity of the Moon and Mars (1/6g and 1/3g) acceptable for children and adults? These and many other areas of pressing concern are at the core of the Space Settlement track—and the NSS remains the most prominent archive and clearing house for cutting-edge developments and archival of existing work.

Space Settlement  Session Co-Chairs Info 

Chief Executive Officer (CEO), National Space Society

Anita Gale is a retired Senior Project Engineer with 40 years of experience at The Boeing Company, where she worked on the Space Shuttle and Commercial Crew programs. Recognized for her engineering expertise, she was designated as a Boeing Associate Technical Fellow. Her work focused on space vehicle cargo integration, process improvements, and she led R&D projects in future space infrastructure and spacecraft cargo containerization, contributing to three U.S. Patents.

Anita has been a longstanding member of the National Space Society (NSS) and its precursor organizations since the late 1970s. She currently serves as the Chief Executive Officer of the NSS and was recently elected as the Chair of its Executive Committee. Her leadership in the NSS has been integral, having previously served as NSS Secretary and as a member of the Space Settlement Advocacy Committee.

She is also the President and Co-Founder of the Space Settlement Design Competition®, a program that simulates space industry proposal work for high school students globally. The competition’s unique “future history” material, created by Anita, explores human activities in space extending into the 2090s.

Apart from her work with the NSS and Space Settlement Design Competitions, Anita has been active in various engineering technical societies, including the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA), Society of Women Engineers (SWE), and Tau Beta Pi. She is particularly involved with the AIAA Space Settlement Technical Committee as a Chair Emeritus.

Anita’s educational background includes a Bachelor of Science and Master of Science in Aeronautics and Astronautics from the University of Washington, a Systems Engineering Certificate from California Polytechnic University, Pomona, and doctoral studies at United States International University in San Diego.

Her achievements have been recognized with several awards, including the Rotary International Stellar Award, the Boeing William Allen Award for Exceptional Volunteer Service, a National Space Society Space Pioneer Award, and the University of Washington Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics Distinguished Alumni Award, the latter received in August 2023.

Director of Infrastructure, The Atlantis Project

Phil Swan has a track record of developing successful innovations while working on advanced multi-disciplinary projects including Starlink, Hololens, and Xbox. He has been granted 38 US patents, including, most recently, a patent for the Tethered Ring. He is the recipient of three corporate recognition awards.

Space Settlement Presentation Speakers

Retired Aerospace Engineer
Presentation Title: Orbital Tourism Can Help Us Get Closer to Settlements in Space

Joe Carroll has worked in aerospace since 1981, on space tethers, space stations, solar sails, orbital debris, and re-entry capsules. He developed the tether systems used in SEDS, PMG, SEDS-2, TiPS, and TEPCE. His current focus is spinning space stations to evaluate human health in Moon and Mars gravity.

Author, Space Futurist, Space Tourism Society
Presentation Title: Creature Comforts in Space: Designing Enjoyment and Sustainability for Off-World Living

Samuel Coniglio is a futurist, technical writer, photographer, inventor, and private space industry advocate. He is a board member and former Vice President of the Space Tourism Society. Since 1996, he has been researching and prototyping off-world domestic concepts to make life easier “for the rest of us” in space. His Zero Gravity Cocktail Glass concept won international acclaim and re-invents how to drink liquids in a microgravity environment. Samuel’s new book, “Creature Comforts in Space,” is a guide for designers to create an enjoyable and sustainable off-world lifestyle for humans onboard the next generation space stations.

President, Space Railway Corporation
Presentation Title: What Does It Mean to Settle Space: Space Exploration from a Permanent Perspective

Steven Griggs held multiple positions in the Lockheed Martin Skunk Works, Northrop Grumman Advanced Technology Design Center, and Boeing Phantom Works. His 40-year career focused on the front end of business: basic research and development, technology development, product development, prototyping, proposal writing, funding pursuit, government contracting, project management, program management, and supplier coordination. Griggs participated on over 45 aircraft programs, developed and transitioned more than 1500 technologies. He developed the ideas, strategies, plans, program execution plans, development and execution teams, and transition planning into company operations. He currently is the president of his consulting firm and Space Railway Corporation.

CTO, Gravitronics
Presentation Title: An Intergalactic Landmark in Spacetime

Dr. Harrison works on superluminal space engines, after 37 years as a lead technologist and Associate Fellow at Lockheed Martin. He fielded many advanced projects for the military services, including artificial intelligence and augmented reality. He contributed 40 patents.

Director of the Gerard K. O'Neill Space Settlement Contest, National Space Society
Presentation Title: Summary and Takeaways from AIAA Short Course on Designing an Orbital Habitation System

Matthew LeVine wears a lot of hats, but typically he is here at ISDC to help host student programming. Matthew found his way to NSS by stumbling across Gerard O’Neill’s High Frontier book while in graduate school. Looking for ways to make an impact, Matthew jumped at the opportunity to take over the duties of running the O’Neill contest from the founder and Emeritus Director, Al Globus. Directing the contest is a perfect match of Matthew’s passion for the problem and his lifelong commitment to educating students of all ages, both pedagogy and andragogy, which is also the goal of this presentation.

NSS Space Ambassador, Space Farms, St Louis Space Frontier
Presentation Title: Space Communities: The Difference Between Surviving and Living!

Bryce holds undergraduate and graduate degrees in engineering, as well as a graduate degree in biology. He has also logged thousands of hours above and below the surface of lakes, rivers, and oceans, and has spent time working on farms. He writes on space agriculture, focusing on mass flow and balanced menus.

President, Chicago Society for Space Studies
Presentation Title: The Application of Globalization to Space Settlement

Jim Plaxco is President of the Chicago Society for Space Studies and serves as the National Space Society’s Space Ambassador Program Economics SME. Jim previously served as Northern Illinois Space Advocacy President; National Space Society Vice President; Planetary Studies Foundation Vice President; Enterprise in Space Orbiter Design Contest Manager; and as an art judge in multiple space art contests for NASA, NSS, EIS, and the IAA. As a computing professional, Jim has served as the Director of Information Systems for the National Space Society, as a Senior Network Manager for AT&T Global Network Services, and as a Senior Technical Consultant for IBM Global Services.

Co-Founder and Board Chair (Propagule), Mathematical Biology Instructor (UCLA), Propagule Space Ecology Institute and UCLA
Presentation Title: How to Build a Biosphere

Jane Shevtsov is a systems ecologist, a NIAC fellow, and co-founder of the Propagule Space Ecology Institute. She earned a PhD from the University of Georgia in 2012, focusing on the analysis of ecological networks. She then helped develop a groundbreaking mathematical biology curriculum at UCLA, where she teaches, and co-authored the textbook Modeling Life. In 2021, she led a NIAC-funded project on the use of fungi to make soil for space habitats. In 2023, she co-founded the Propagule Space Ecology Institute to carry out R&D on bioregenerative life support and apply ecological principles to their design.

Presentation Title: Visioneering a New Path to Space Settlements

Dale Skran worked for 17 years with Bell Labs (AT&T, Lucent Technologies) and continued his career at several companies including Ascend Communications (VP of Enterprise Engineering), Sonus Networks (Director of Engineering), and CMWare (Founder, CEO, COO, and VP of Engineering). He was also a negotiator/manager (Rapporteur) at the UN (International Telecommunication Union) where he led the development of international Internet standards for video conferencing and voice services (VoIP). He is currently the COO/SVP of the NSS and a member of the NSS BOD. Previously he has served as the NSS CEO, EVP, and Chair of the Policy Committee.

Partner, Complex Litigation Group; LLM Candidate, Center for Air and Space Law, University of Mississippi
Presentation Title: Space Settlement Governance

M.C. Sungaila, partner at the Complex Appellate Litigation Group, is an award-winning appellate attorney who has litigated cutting edge cases before the highest courts. She is also an LLM candidate at the University of Mississippi’s Center for Air and Space Law, where she serves as Consulting Editor to the century-old Journal of Space Law and Coach to the school’s Manfred Lachs Space Law Moot Court team. Her article, Protecting Space Cultural Heritage: Lessons from the Holocaust Art Recovery Experience, which she was invited to present at the International Symposium on Cultural Heritage in War and Peace at the University of Bologna, is slated to be published in a forthcoming volume of the Journal of Space Law. She has studied Applied Complexity under both Joe Norman and Yaneer Bar-Yam of the New England Complex Systems Institute.

Other Sessions at ISDC 2025

Preserving Aerospace Heritage
Infrastructure is the Backbone of Civilization
Space Ventures Stride Toward Lucrative Horizons
Newest and Most Exciting Ideas
Growing Life Beyond Earth: Innovating for Sustainable Space Habitats
...Some More Traveled Than Others
A Martian Renaissance is at Hand
How Will We Best Explore, Prospect, and Settle Our Natural Satellite?
Discuss Comprehensive Solutions Planetary Defense
Learn More About the History of Tomorrow
Educating and Enlightening People
Exciting Technology that will Revolutionize Access to Space
Global Collaboration for Outer Space
Medical Capabilities to Travel Into Deep Space
Who Owns the Vast Riches of Space?
Making Humanity a Space Faring Species
Core Interest of the NSS Since the 1970s
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