SSI Exotic Propulsion Initiative releases and International News

From the SSI Facebook page:

“September 2016 Paul March of Eagleworks does two hours on the drive at the Breakthrough Propulsion Workshop in Estes Park, Colorado (and says that the Chinese “don’t have …”).

November the digital paper comes out.

December The Space Studies Institute releases the complete video of Paul March’s presentation on the SSI YouTube Channel.

… and China makes an announcement.

Prestige and Face are big motivators, very much looking forward to seeing who actually flies first with complete openness to international verification.”


the complete playlist of the 2016 Breakthrough Propulsion Workshop. For individual videos, see Day One, Day Two and Day Three.

SSI Begins Releasing the Videos of the 2016 Breakthrough Propulsion Workshop

Update Dec 20th: All of the videos are now online at the SSI YouTube Channel! Scroll to the bottom of this post for the direct video links.

September 20th – 22nd 2016 the Space Studies Institute was proud to present The Breakthrough Propulsion Workshop at Estes Park – three days of cutting edge Science and Engineering in the Rockies.

The videos of the presentations are done, and we are proud to announce that we are now releasing them day by day a few at a time and inviting you to view them all in their original order.

I will freely admit to our SSI family that as we were packing up the microphones and tripods for the trip to record the Breakthrough Propulsion Workshop I was a tiny bit worried. The physicists and engineers at this gathering  are the tops in this niche field and their work is truly at the cutting edge.  I thought people who spend their days and nights working out ways to coax radical theories into obtuse mathematics into useful machines might be beyond mere mortal’s comprehension and even somewhat incapable of small talk over breakfast cereal.

But after only the first few sessions, the truth was clear: These people are not eccentric Doc Browns in tinfoil hats or evil geniuses out to trick with fluff and flash. They aren’t slick suits with get-rich-quick-selling-quantum-foam promises.  They’re professionals.  And while they are truly, deeply passionate about their work and they do speak a language that uses Greek symbols as verbs, they, as you’ll see in most of the videos, give pretty clear explanations of their areas of expertise.  They know how to make these subjects make sense to each other.  And now, to us.

I do not mean that the workshop was a high school breeze, but I firmly believe that if you to start at the beginning and put your attention into these presentations the parts that might seem too far ahead by their titles will begin to flow in and the whole will truly add up to a better grasp of these “advanced” topics.

Over the decades, the subject of propellantless propulsion has been called heretical and treated as taboo by some members of the technical community.  Even President Gary admits that it’s worrisome to some of our membership.   But here’s the thing – for the human race to become a truly space-faring civilization, some type of technology with direct ties to the presentations at this workshop will be required.  We wanted to take a measured step towards this goal

To guard against distractions that a conventional conference can potentially allow, the Breakthrough Propulsion Workshop was held in a remote site far from disturbing cellphone signals.  We met in a small room where the chairs were all at the same level.  The people who are actually doing the hands-on work – those best able to spot the devils in each other’s details – were eyeball to eyeball of each other.

There may be some presentations that you don’t think you’ll be interested in, but we hope that you’ll suppress any urge to cherry pick.  My own experience proved to me that watching every single presentation ended up giving the very best experience. In fact, there were two sessions that hadn’t seemed to be up my alley that ended up really catching me.

It is our hope that no matter what your current level of experience is in these topics, you will come away after watching them with a more complete view of the current state of the art of these real-world technologies. SSI volunteers lugged loads of equipment to Estes Park, Colorado to make sure that this important gathering was documented. It was Gary’s order that we just let the cameras roll and put the viewer into the group as equals, and we believe we have accomplished this goal.

SSI was very proud to be a part of the Breakthrough Propulsion Workshop at Estes Park, September 20th to 22nd, 2016, and we hope that you will make the time in your busy schedule to learn from these dedicated, serious, funny, brilliant and excellent presenters.

An announcement of the availability of the printed and electronic proceedings will be coming soon.  Please keep checking for updates and to get alerts as they happen, LIKE the Space Studies Institute on Facebook now at

To view the growing complete list of workshop videos, click here!

SSI Supermodels Part 3… your Models

Space Studies Institute Newsletter 1992 NovDec image 9 Beranal Sphere model

We’ve had numerous requests for more SSI Supermodels and the SSI “Bernal Sphere” Island is high on the list.  Alas, the massive model we had made decades back (shown above) is gone – maybe in some SSI Alum’s closet,  maybe in a private museum somewhere?

Perhaps these notes from the SSI Newletter archive could jog a memory.

While that particular one was very detailed, it’s worth noting that the one Gerry had on his own desk was a lot simpler.


So simple in fact that a 3d model or even a small kid’s ball and some rubber gasket rings from Home Depot could go a long way to making a nice display.


A ball, 5 rubber rings on either side, a pin running through the center, four rectangular sheets on each end for solar panels and some paint.  That gets a bulk of the imagery done.

A person really into model making could add to that or even use the classic SSI blueprint to do a partial cutaway of the main interior…


… or duplicate the old model that showed the activities inside the agriculture rings (those rings on either side). The cover of the SP-428 book from the 1977 Ames Study directed by Dr. O’Neill offers a nice view…



These Don Davis illustrations from The High Frontier book might spur additional ideas…

ssi_donvais_ch99p347tn ssi_dondavis_ch09p166tn

Windows 10 comes with a 3d modeling “paint” program included and there are many other options from free to nearly free.  And most software links to companies that will 3d print your model for a small price.

The SSI Bernal Sphere starts from a pretty basic foundation… we’d love to see the models that you can come up with!


Technology for Human Space Settlement