All posts by Robert Smith

See you at Space Access?

It’s right around the corner now, April 7th-9th in Phoenix.

SSI President Gary Hudson is scheduled for the 9am Friday “Paths to Reusability” panel, at 5:30 SSI Senior Associate Dr. Justin Karl and a group of his UCF students will be telling about their work on the undergrad G-Lab project (which should be an interesting follow-up to Gary’s SSI G-Lab presentation at Space Access last year), plus a number of other SSI Seniors, Members and Alumni will be doing presentations and panels running the gamut of topics from LEO to the beltway(s).

If you’ve never been to Space Access, but have been to other Space conferences, this one will surprise you.  First, it’s a lot cheaper than most and second, it’s got a completely different kind of approach  – they call it a total immersion event.  It’s not a “Big Show” with a perfect beach calling you away from Space from every window (though those conferences are a lot of fun and can be extremely helpful to the huge crowds they draw), Space Access is a tight group of folks who really care about getting to Space – REALLY getting to Space – all together in the same big room for a relentless series of morning to late-night presentations and panels and discussions all in a single track.  No finding out you missed the good stuff by picking the wrong door on the wrong floor, you miss nothing.

If you haven’t looked at the schedule, go over and take a peek.  We just got an email and it appears that the hotel is sold out for Friday and Saturday nights but there are other places to spend your few sleeping hours right in the area.

You’ll be surprised even by the website, check it out now by clicking here for the Space Access Society Space Access ’16 schedule.

And we truly hope to see you there!

 

Make Something, Make The High Frontier

Space Studies Institute Newsletter 1986 JanFeb Freeman Dyson mass driverA while back SSI released the Kindle Edition of The High Frontier on Amazon.com as a way to get The Vision out to new eyes in an inexpensive way.  The cost of this edition is very low ($6.99), and even less to folks with a Kindle Unlimited Prime account (Free-ish).

We have some plans for The High Frontier for this year too… currently written in pencil.  It all comes  down to TANSTAAFL (“there ain’t no such thing as a free lunch” – Heinlein) and if we all stay up to date with SSI Associate dues and if additional contributions work out then we hope to be letting you in on some interesting information soon.

But back to this story…

SSI released The High Frontier Kindle edition at the low price to get The High Frontier read by new people and re-read in a fresh way by its long-time fans,  and we are happy to see that it is being read.

When you look at the Amazon reviews of The High Frontier you see that for the most part they are glowing, but occasionally they bring up points that, due to the time and events that have passed since Professor O’Neill originally sat down at his typewriter, require some “reading between the lines” in the book.

For instance, there was a review thread that said: Continue reading Make Something, Make The High Frontier

Embry-Riddle Commercial Space Operations visits SSI

Dr Justin Karl's CSO101 class at the SDSDI Library March 2016CSO Students l-r: John Key, Rodrigo Bustamante, Nick Altiser, Ashley Hollis-Bussey, Daniel Johnson, Hayley Lewis, Olivia Kirk, CSO Professor Justin Karl. Photo by Doug Messier of parabolicarc.com

At this moment there are six amazing students from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University Daytona Beach exploring the stacks at the SSI Library at the Mojave Spaceport.  They have a long list of things to do around the area and we are very happy that they could spend some time with us.

Their helping to get the thousands of classic SSI slides re-digitized is going to be a great boon for all SSI researchers but, to be honest, after spending time with them on Sunday I have to say it is even more satisfying to find that the resources of the library appear so interesting to them all on a personal level.

We’ve spent time with various students from various schools over the past several months and while it is nice to hear “I’m going to be the next Elon Musk” it is even better to sit down and talk Mass-Drivers and Solar Power Satellites and – most importantly – to see that THE REASONS that Space can be a benefit to all the people of Earth are being understood and taken to heart by individuals who are now standing on the verge of becoming Leaders in the industry.

Of course, a substantial part of the credit for new eyes already being open to wider potentials goes to their Professor, SSI Senior Associate Dr. Justin Karl.  Dr. Karl’s CSO101 classes have The High Frontier as required reading.  THAT is awesome.  THAT makes a difference.

And more on THAT will be coming soon as we have asked Dr. Karl to give us all some information after they get a chance to come up for air from their whirlwind working tour of the legendary Antelope Valley Space centers.

SSI At Cranfield University 2075 Think Tank

On January 25th Cranfield University in Cranfield, Branford, England presented the inaugural ‘Manufacturing 2075 Think Tank’.  It was a wonderful meeting of presentations and workgroups and The Space Studies Institute was honored to be invited to be among the first participants.

Our session was promoted as a discussion of ‘Manufacturing on the Moon’ and we used that starting point to give an overview of the reasons for using the resources of the Moon but getting bigger payoffs by moving the actual manufacturing to a free-space location.

In other words, we presented The High Frontier Concept.

We hope that we were able to pique the interest of future manufacturing Leaders and perhaps even break through a few common misconceptions about the limitations of off-Earth activities.  After all, Space is big and the Moon and Mars and all of the other planetary surfaces added together don’t even come close to representing the true useable area that is available to business and humanity just above the Earth’s atmosphere.

We thank all of the conference participants for allowing us to wheel our virtual persona ‘head-on-a-stick’ into their discussion groups and we are indebted to Professor Rajkumar Roy [Director of Manufacturing, Manufacturing Department Director, The EPSRC Centre for Innovative Manufacturing in Through-life Engineering Services (EPSRC-TES Centre) and Director, Operations Excellence Institute (OPEX-Institute)], and Dr. Jen Fensome [Head of Research Excellence, Research and Innovation Office], and Samuel Court [Software Development Engineer & Lab Manager at Cranfield University] for making SSI feel so welcome and for putting on such an exciting event.

SSI members in the UK may wish to take a look at upcoming Cranfield University events including the Manufacturing on The Moon Apprenticeship Competition coming up in May. For information on that event please click here.

And if you have 12 minutes, we invite you to view the SSI presentation that gave a very quick overview of the SSI High Frontier Concept to the participants in the first Cranfield Think Tank, we recorded it to a video and it is available now via the SSI YouTube Channel.