Category Archives: Conference

From Citizen Space Exploration to Space Settlement

(Los Angeles, CA) – A new strategy for space development will be presented at the International Space Development Conference, which takes place at the Sheraton Gateway Los Angeles Hotel this week.

Citizens in Space, a project of the United States Rocket Academy and the Space Studies Institute, will present “The Great Enterprise: From Citizen Space Exploration to Space Settlement” in the Redondo California Ballroom at 3:00 on Saturday, May 17.

“The Great Enterprise is a theme developed by the Space Studies Institute over the past several years,” said Robin Snelson, executive director of SSI. “The end goal of the Great Enterprise is the permanent human settlement of space.

“Space settlement was envisioned by SSI founder Dr. Gerard K. O’Neill, Princeton physics professor and author of the best-selling book ‘The High Frontier,’ nearly 40 years ago.

“O’Neill’s vision inspired the creation of space-advocacy groups like the National Space Society, the sponsor of the International Space Development Conference. Despite the widespread interest in O’Neill’s ideas, space settlement has remained an elusive goal.

“A new strategy is required. Dr. O’Neill showed that permanent human settlement of space is a realistic goal, but we need a practical path to reach that goal. The old belief that government will step in with large sums of money has led nowhere and failed to inspire the general public.”

“The burgeoning Do It Yourself movement provides a model for the new strategy,” said Edward Wright, founder of the United States Rocket Academy and program manager for Citizens in Space. “530,000 people attended Maker Faires last year. Citizen-science projects and hackerspaces are springing up all over the country. Space advocacy organizations must tap into that community to a create a Do It Yourself space movement.

“All progress starts at the low end. We will outline a path for incremental development, beginning with low-cost suborbital spacecraft that are already under construction, followed by practical, achievable steps, leading ultimately to space settlement.”

“Now is the time for a new type of space movement, based on individual initiative and enterprise,” said Robert Smith, evangelist with the Space Studies Institute. “It is time we moved beyond mere advocacy. We must roll up our sleeves and take the bull by the horns. As the saying goes, ‘If you want something done right, do it yourself.’”

Citizens In Space

Space Manufacturing 14 Proceedings Now Online


SSI is pleased to announce the publication of papers from the 14th Space Manufacturing Conference. Thirteen papers from the conference at the NASA Ames Research Center are now available for download at no cost. They cover a broad range of key areas including space transportation, closed environment life support systems, in-situ resource utilization, space solar power, and emerging technologies such as 3-D printing.

To economize, we have decided to make these papers available for free download rather than producing a printed volume. As was done for the 1st and 2nd conferences, SSI will combine these papers with those from the future (15th) Space Manufacturing Conference into one volume for purchase. We are working on plans for the 15th Conference at this time and will announce venue and dates shortly. In the interim, this approach will guarantee the widest possible distribution.

Please see this page to download papers from Proceedings of Space Manufacturing 14.

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Space Studies Institute Update Winter 2011

SSI held the 14th Conference on Space Manufacturing and Space Settlement at the NASA Ames Research Center on October 29-31, 2010. This marked a successful return of our influential meeting. Since the last conference, there has been huge progress in some technical areas and little in others. In particular, there has been excellent progress in automated and teleoperated mining technology, great progress in developing highly reusable rocket engines, and much improved knowledge of the distribution of extraterrestrial resources. Except for the SSI work on closed environment life support systems completed a few years ago, there has been little progress in this critical technology for space settlement.

The panel discussion “Moon, Mars or Asteroids: Where Do We Go First For Resources?” was enlightening. The consensus was that the Moon would be the first body to be used for non-terrestrial resources. The advantage the Moon has over asteroids is logistical. Travel times to asteroids are long and mission opportunities are few, and the longer physical distance makes teleoperation of mining equipment impossible. A successful asteroid mining expedition would involve a human crew with a mission duration of years. Resupply would be difficult with current technology. The Moon, on the other hand, is only three days away and has multiple flight windows per month. Teleoperation with a lunar time delay is known to be possible, and spare parts or a human repair crew could be sent with comparative ease.
Continue reading Space Studies Institute Update Winter 2011