The Foundation Society
The Foundation Society is a multi-planitary foundation, set up for the betterment of humankind. This group of nations and industrial titans fund major space settlements which span the entire system. They are also a huge investor in humanitarian operations, ensuring development equality for all.
The Foundation Society was initially founded as a commercial enterprise between several large multi-national firms. These firms recognised that the laws regarding ownership in space at the time, precluded any incentive for commercial exploration. Without the ability to own a particular resource, no entity national or commercial could financially justify funding further exploration initiatives.
The Foundation Society worked with the United Nations to implement a strict set of property rights which apply to objects that are above the Karman line. A subsequent set of treaties organised rights to claim parts of the Lunar surface. The basis of these laws was the idea that, if an entity had a base capable of supporting human life on an astronomical body, any land within a 30 kilometre radius would legally belong to the entity.
This simple change in the laws on property rights in space triggered the greatest industrial effort ever undertaken by humankind. In 2025, just five years after the treaty was signed, nationals from over 45 countries had set foot on the moon. The first humans to set foot on Mars were carried there on partially commercially funded vehicles. Humanity took its first steps into the darkness.
The solar system of the UKSDC universe is thrumming with life: from subterranean stations on Mercury, to the surface of Venus, to the shadows of the asteroid belt, humans have made their homes. A significant number of these are private developments focused on making use of the unique environments possible in space and in constructed habitats: bioprinting services making use of zero-g, refineries using the linear variation in gravity to separate materials more effectively, metal-forming making saving money on crane, etc.
Amongst these are several prestige settlements, commissioned, run, and owned by The Foundation Society. These settlements typically host a larger population and operate more like a city than a science station or industrial estate. They aim to enable independent developers to make use of proximity to suppliers, a free workforce/consumer-base, and any advantages of their location. This stimulates economic growth in the location of the solar system, and often leads to payback times on the order of 60 to 100 years, despite the terrific cost of such settlements.
Map of the Solar System
The Foundation Society uses a naming convention for its settlements: the first letter indicating the order of Foundation Society settlements, and the suffix indicating both relative location and absolute location within the solar system. E.g.: Alexandriat was the first (‘A’) Foundation Society settlement in orbit (‘-a-‘ => at a body, i.e. in orbit) around Earth (‘-t’ => Terra). Balderol was the second (‘B’) Foundation Society settlement on (‘-o-‘ => on the surface of) the Moon (‘-l’ => Luna).
The only other significant location not covered by this convention is low-Earth-orbit, which is refered to as LEO.