Category Archives: News

Space Studies Institute urges the Congress to defeat H.R. 5781

We believe there is a great benefit to our Nation in the opening of the space frontier. Space is about more than science or exploration. Frontiers are about creating prosperity and realizing potential. The contribution of American space efforts to our national economy and to human welfare has barely begun. We face many challenges: ensuring a permanent supply of clean, low-cost energy, strategic metals and, providing robust protection against asteroid impact. Affordable space transportation is necessary to enable all of these benefits.

The present House bill will delay the time when space can make a greater contribution to our national welfare. The most useful thing this Congress can do to lower the cost of launch is to create a market for space transportation services. The Kelly Act of 1925, which contracted for private air mail delivery, is a successful example. A consequence of the Kelly Act was the development of the DC-3. As students of history note, the commercial DC-3 ( re-designated the C-47) was an important element in winning WWII.

American industry — rather than Russian — will soon be able to supply commercial transportation to the ISS and to commercial space stations. NASA purchase of commercial crew services would accelerate the maturation of this industry.
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Space Manufacturing 14 Call for Papers

Space Manufacturing 14: Critical Technologies for Space Settlement will be held at NASA Ames Conference Center in Mountain View, CA, October 30 and 31, 2010.

Thirty five years ago, NASA Ames Research Center was the site of the first large technical study of space settlement. We have made significant progress since then, but with the prospect of low cost space transportation in the near future, now is the time to reinvigorate research and collaboration on the critical path technologies needed for space industrialization and settlement. The 14th Space Studies Institute conference on Space Manufacturing continues in the spirit of the Princeton Conferences initiated by Prof. Gerard K O’Neill in 1974.

The Space Manufacturing and Space Settlement Conferences have always given SSI great value. This conference is the only one solely concerned with the science and engineering of humanity’s expansion into the solar system. Its most important function is to bring together the engineers, entrepreneurs and researchers who do the real work. New space companies and new institutions have formed from collaborations forged at earlier conferences. We hope that this and future annual SSI conferences will be as fruitful.

The specific purpose of Space Manufacturing 14 is to identify and recommend critical hardware research that can be conducted now by SSI, NASA and other organizations.

[Update Oct. 1, 2010: The agenda is now online.]
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SSI Space Manufacturing Conference postponement

The Space Studies Institute Conference is postponed until the at least the fall. There are several reasons for doing this. The principal reason is that I have not had sufficient free time to get the conference properly organized. Several session chairs have schedule conflicts and Dr. Klaus Heiss, who was to chair the economic session and whose participation we desperately need, has fallen gravely ill.

Platinum group metals prices have reached an all-time high and there is renewed interest in satellite solar power. SSI advocates a broad-based and nonterrestrial materials focused solution to critical materials supply and energy supply to the earth. This is the precise time for SSI to restart its efforts to develop processes for acquiring and using nonterrestrial materials. We still do not have good processes to get engineering materials from extraterrestrial resources.

Because of propulsion advances by several companies in the private sector, not the traditional big aerospace companies, I expect the cost of launch to low Earth orbit to fall by an order of magnitude within the next decade.

Much important work has been done in the past by SSI and it is critical that SSI maintain a high level of technical accuracy and have participation from a wide variety of experts at our conference. It is also critical that we have participation from India, China and Europe. This postponement will give us enough time to organize a successful conference.

As soon as John Lewis and I can find a new date, I’ll let you know.

Best regards,
Lee S. Valentine
Executive Vice President, Space Studies Institute

SSI Princeton Conference 2008

Space Manufacturing 14 will be held at the Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton, New Jersey, April 19 and 20, 2008.

Space Studies Institute
Prof. Freeman Dyson, President

Conference Chair Prof. John S. Lewis

Space Manufacturing, Chair Prof. Niklas Jarvstrat

Space Resources, Chair Prof. John S.. Lewis

Robotics, Chair Prof. William “Red” Whittaker

Space Solar Power, Chair Col. M.V. “Coyote” Smith

Space Transportation, Chair Prof. George Dyson

Closed Environment Life Support Systems, Chair Dr. Lee Valentine

Economics, Chair Dr. Klaus Heiss