Category Archives: News

Advanced Propulsion Workshop 2017

Aerospace Corporation, El Segundo, CA

SSI to begin releasing videos of the 2017 Advanced Propulsion Workshop

Last November Space Studies Institute NASA Innovative Advanced Concepts (NIAC) Team Principal Investigator Dr. Heidi Fearn and Team Consultant Dr. James Woodward invited a group of friends and colleagues to discuss updates in engineering and testing of Propellant-less Propulsion, The “Woodward Effect,” The Machian Principle and other advanced physics and propulsion engineering topics.

Greg Meholic of The Aerospace Corporation, a presenter at the 2016 Estes Park Breakthrough Propulsion Workshop, offered an excellent space for this gathering in the Sally Ride Board Room at The Aerospace Corporation’s El Segundo, California headquarters.

The Space Studies Institute recorded the three day event and we are proud to begin releasing the full-length videos of the presentations starting this week on the SSI YouTube Channel ( ). In addition, most presenters provided their slides and we will be posting these on special new pages on the SSI.ORG website.

Camera View of APW 2017

The presenters, in order of appearance and video release are:

  • Dr. David Hyland of Texas A&M University
  • Marc Millis of The Tau Zero Foundation
  • Glen “Tony” Robertson
  • Dr. Martin Tajmar of Dresden University of Technology
  • John Cramer, Professor Emeritus of Physics at the University of Washington
  • Jean-Philippe Montillet of École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (slides only)
  • Dr. José Rodal of Rodal Consulting
  • Michael McDonald of the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory
  • Dr. Raymond Chaio, Professor Emeritus at the University of California Merced
  • Dr. Peter M. Jansson of Bucknell University and Integrated Systems
  • John Brandenburg of Morningstar Applied Physics, LLC
  • and SSI Senior Associate Dr. Heidi Fearn of the California State University Fullerton

Many sessions included stimulating, insightful and even entertaining Q&A and Dr. Woodward stepped in occasionally to provide clarification of technical and historical Einsteinian physics details.

Even if your day job has nothing to do with Physics or Starships, we hope that you will give each of the video presentations a good college try. Seeing the faces of the scientists and engineers as they present their passions and observing the discussions makes the content come alive.

Woodward view of the APW 2017

The Space Studies Institute is very proud of the SSI NIAC Team, Dr. Heidi Fearn, Dr. José Rodal, Mr. Marshall Eubanks, Mr. Paul March, Mr. Gary C Hudson and Professor James F. Woodward, and we thank them for putting together this important gathering.

We also extend our deepest thanks to the staff at The Aerospace Corporation, especially Greg Meholic and Robert Chismar, for making everyone feel so welcome.  Their hard work paid off and made the three days of sessions a wonderful experience that SSI is excited to begin sharing with the world.

For daily updates on the video and slide releases you can Like and Follow the SSI Announcements page on Facebook at

If you do not have a Facebook account you can still view that page at any time, Facebook will pop up a banner prompting you to log in but this is easily scrolled past, allowing a good view of the content beneath.


For more information on SSI’s Exotic Propulsion Initiative including links to the videos of the entire 2016 SSI Estes Park Breakthrough Propulsion Workshop, click here.

For a free 337 page eBook of the Proceedings from the 2016 SSI Breakthrough Workshop, click here.

For an excellent background book please pick up a copy of SSI SA Professor James Woodward’s “Making Starships and Stargates: The Science of Interstellar Transport and Absurdly Benign Wormholes”  This book is technical and very worth the effort.

Making Starships and Stargates by Dr. James Woodward
Making Starships and Stargates by Dr. James Woodward

Note that the Amazon link above uses the “” url. Signing into Amazon with this small change can add up to a big difference.  If you set up the Space Studies Institute as your favorite non-profit organization then a small portion of most any purchase you ever make on will be sent to support the work of the Institute.  This doesn’t add anything to the prices that you pay, it is taken out of Amazon’s profit and all you have to do for it to work is to remember to connect to with the “SMILE.” at the beginning of their website address.

2017 Advanced Propulsion Workshop Group

The video releases of the presentations of the 2017 Advanced Propulsion Workshop.

Beginning Wednesday January 31st on the SSI YouTube Channel.

Proudly presented by The Space Studies Institute.

White House Space Policy Directive. Highest Hopes.


White House:

Much news coverage today of the Administration’s Space ideas. Most everywhere comes the note that big dreams are great but without investment they tend to remain nice dreams.

Investments are made in things that pay back, obviously and (pardon) ‘bigly.’ Until the goal from the start is for something to at least pay its own way there will always just be nice talk of skipping on Mars and ‘Science.’

Bringing to mind this SSI Alumnus’ famous anecdote:

‘At the Stanford (11/85) meeting of the National Commission on Space Dr. Carl Sagan expounded on his recent conversion to favor human space flight. This was only to meet the political ends of U.S.-Soviet peacemaking, of course; science was still best done by robots. When Gerry [Gerard K. O’Neill] asked Carl if there might not be another reason for human beings to go into space, namely economics, Carl gushed that it would be immoral to go into space for profit…that it would be like Cecil Rhodes and the “robber barons who pillaged Africa.” Gerry and I laughed for a long time about that. Given the company, Carl can call me a robber baron anytime.

- James Muncy’

Until some Space agency starts bringing economically sized ISO Containers of “Rare Earths” down the Gravity Well from the Asteroids, what could possibly be worth such investment? The last half of this 5 minute read related to a previous Administration’s big plan has one idea:

“Now that’s a space program that, I believe, makes sense”
- Gerard K. O’Neill

15,000 Scientists From 184 Countries Just Issued A Dire ‘Warning To Humanity’

The news today is of a rebirth of the Limits To Growth issue that this planet faces.

People are talking about this “down to earth” set of topics again which is very, very good.

We hope that some conversations start like this:

Him: So we should force population control?

Her: No. No… no no no no no. That is not the idea and it won’t work anyway, check China and India for historicals. There is NOT a population problem, there is a Resource and Area limitation problem. A planet is what it is, it has what it has and no more. There can never be too many people, but there can be too many people in a place not able to support their numbers. No planet can get around this.

Him: So we need another planet?

Her: We need more area with resources, so once we get past the pre-Copernican warm and comfy feeling that “The Whole Wide World” is all that we have to work with then we have to start doing real comparative planetology. And once all of the actually available areas – not fluffy exoplanets until we have the tech to get there – are judged with their positives and negatives and potentials in the near to far terms, we have to ask the question “Is a planetary surface, any planetary surface, really the best place for an expanding technological civilization.”

Him: But you can’t lift enough people fast enough to overcome the rate of births, we’re past the tipping point of birth rates. You can’t free up the Earth by moving just a few thousand off of it or even a few million. It’s the two trains leave the station math problem.

Her: That is likely true. So the real question is how do you get humans to not have such a growth rate in areas where a population level is limited by available resources.

Him: And we’re back to forced sterilization.

Her: No. We at a point where we can look where resource availability is low and the population growth rates are highest and find out why. A small fix may make a big difference. One topic that developed countries overlook is that underdeveloped countries still have the need to have lots of kids because those kids are traditionally the machines they use to gather enough food to barely get by. If a family had a tractor instead of an ox (which is still a real technology out there past our borders) then the work takes less children. Such a family would then have the option to send one or two kids to school instead of putting them in a field. Higher education leads to awareness of options beyond making more babies at younger ages.

Him: But the reason they don’t have tractors is they don’t have the money for them.

Her: And they don’t have the money for them – or the money to invest in more productive modern techniques of agriculture – because they don’t have enough surplus to sell because they need to make more food to barely feed more children. Yes, it is a cycle. A cycle that needs to be broken.

Him: And tractors blow out pollution…

Her: In the US we are in an electric vehicle revolution, electric tractors are a real possibility.

Him: You like looking at the core and you miss the big one there. Electric cars in the US are mostly really Coal powered. Mostly they do little to help the pollution problem.

Her: Ahhh. And you might be missing a core in this very conversation… what if instead of using Coal, which is just a battery for a very small relative amount of energy that fought its way through the atmosphere millions of years ago, what if instead we could go to the pure source directly and eliminate the middleman and the millennia or “processing time” it takes to make that battery? What if we could get the free high output energy directly?

Him: Solar power, yes it is coming but still the efficiency is not there and as soon as nighttime starts or a cloud rolls overhead the power is gone. That means we need better batteries and HUGE ones for more than just a single house to have its lights on for a few hours each night. And remember that batteries are toxic so you haven’t gotten around the pollution issue, you’ve just moved sideways.

Her: That is all true.. unless you can get out of the nighttime and cloud limitations. And you can.

Him: You can’t stop night from coming.

Her: No, but just 8 minutes away from any place on Earth there is no more nighttime and no more clouds. Remember your Copernicus… Earth is not the center of the universe, the “whole wide world” is not the whole of what we truly have been given to work with. 8 Minutes from where you are the power is streaming past us non stop, no indigenous native culture to kill to get it, no wars to be fought to get at a small patch of land hiding it from miners. Space, even just our small local neighborhood of it is very, very big. Imagine the Sun, the energy is pouring out of it in every direction billions of square miles are seething with the pure good stuff, more than we could ever dream of over-using and with billions of years more coming non-stop and just being thrown away.

Him: Solar Power Satellites, Peter Glaser, Bill Brown, Gerry O’Neill, yeah, yeah. Big in the 80’s but if it was so perfect then we’d be doing it. The systems are too big to launch.

Her: Actually, the high tech parts are a workable mass to launch… it’s mostly the dumb support structures that make up over 90% of the actual mass of any factory construction. The dumb girders are too much for even our very best chemical rocket tech to launch but remember, Earth is not the only place to get dumb mass.

Him: We don’t have a big scifi Lunar space fleet.

Her: We Humans never, ever have what we don’t think we need. Talking this out shows that there truly is a real need. But more importantly to the specifics of this line of talking… once you look beyond the common and incorrect idea that everything in space has to be launched from Earth, and always with rockets, options start appearing. Ever heard of a Mass Driver?

SSI, Engineering for the Human Breakout Into Space… for ALL of Humanity. Join us as a Senior Associate and be part of the solution.  Click Here Now.

Moon, Mars and issues of Gravity

October 26th 2017 Update: a pdf of President Gary’s slides from the ASGSR presentation is now available on the SSI G-Lab overview page!

SSI President Gary Hudson
SSI President Gary Hudson

A note from President Gary C Hudson:

To ascertain the effects of microgravity on the human body, Astronaut Scott Kelley spent a year on ISS while his twin remained on Earth to provide a control. The effects aren’t pretty, as he reports in his new book “Endurance: A Year in Space, A Lifetime of Discovery.”

Why did he do it? He notes:

“Our space agencies won’t be able to push out farther into space, to a destination like Mars, until we can learn more about how to strengthen the weakest links in the chain that make space flight possible: the human body and mind.”

But the unspoken message in his comment is that – with a bit of hard work and picking the right physical specimens for the job – maybe we can go to Mars and back, at the risk of some acceptable amount of permanent damage to the crew. But that’s not what SSI and the rest of the space settlement community needs to hear. Exploration is well and good, but only as prelude to settlement. Unless we build and operate something like our proposed SSI G-Lab, we can’t answer the larger biological question of how men and women, and their offspring, can hope to settle the space frontier.

-Gary C Hudson, President
Space Studies Institute

On Thursday October 26th, 2017 SSI President Gary C Hudson will be speaking at the 33rd Annual Meeting of the American Society for Gravitational and Space Research in Seattle. President Gary is scheduled to be be taking the stage in Thursday afternoon’s ‘Enabling Tech III: Model Systems Research’ session. For more information on the ASGSR, click here.

For More information on SSI G-Lab, click here.

For a book teaser article written by Scott Kelly and released by the Brisbane Times  on October 6th, click here.