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Exotic Propulsion Initiative

This blog post from 2013 is just the tip of the iceberg. See the SSI Programs page for the latest information on SSI’s Exotic Propulsion Initiative


Update 11/24/14: Welcome BoingBoing Readers!
Strange thrust: The unproven science that could propel our children into space by Charles Platt

Help us reach our goal of raising $42,000 to provide the Woodward Lab at CalState Fullerton the new instrumentation, computers and power supplies that Emeritus Professor Jim Woodward and his colleague Professor Heidi Fearn need to continue their research on Mach Effect propulsion! Please donate (tax deductible) using the button below.

SSI has always prided itself on focusing our resources on projects that work to provide technologies that further the cause of space settlement and permanent life off Earth.  We’ve announced two efforts, the G-Lab and the E-Lab, to provide technologies required for understanding the amount of gravitational force and practical closed life-support systems required for long-term or permanent human habitation in space.

To these projects we have added the Exotic Propulsion Initiative, to explore exotic propulsion opportunities at the very borderlands of physics.

Much public and press excitement has been generated by the DARPA-funded “100 Year Starship” effort, and work on warp drive theory and concepts at NASA’s Johnson Space Center.

Prof. Jim Woodward has donated major royalties from his new book to kick start SSI's Exotic Propulsion Initiative
Prof. Jim Woodward has donated major royalties from his new book to kick start SSI’s Exotic Propulsion Initiative

An intriguing and thoughtful recent book by Professor Jim Woodward, Making Starships and Stargates: The Science of Interstellar Transport and Absurdly Benign Wormholes (Springer Praxis Books / Space Exploration), has further heightened interest in “exotic” physics propulsion concepts.

While no one can predict if or when these technologies might become practical, we can say for certain that not funding basic research will consign any breakthroughs to the realm of science fiction forever.

Accordingly, SSI has established our Exotic Propulsion Initiative to take bold new risks that are unlikely to find conventional funding.  Donations to the project will be first used to extend and replicate Professor Woodward’s provocative research findings at his lab at CalState Fullerton, and as resources permit, to open new avenues of exploration into advanced propulsion with other scientists.

Professor Woodward has donated major royalties from his book to SSI in order to jump-start this project’s funding.  We are grateful for his donation and are very pleased to be able to offer an opportunity to all interested parties to extend and increase his gift.

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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We greatly need your support. Please give generously. You can use the buttons at right to pay electronically. Or send us a check at:

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Thank you for your support!

David Valentine to Return in Summer to Organize Archives

Prof. David Valentine will be returning to SSI this summer to complete the organization of the institute’s archives that he began last year. David is an associate professor of Anthropology at the University of Minnesota who joined SSI as a visiting scholar for several weeks in 2011. He is working on a book about space.

SSI welcomes any donations of space books and other appropriate materials to expand our archives. Please contact us at to arrange a donation.

We have had offers to convert our essential technical files to an electronic format. We will keep you updated as matters progress in this area.

Senior Advisor Spotlight: John Mankins Launches Kickstarter Campaign for SPS Book

SSI Senior Adviser John C. Mankins has launched a KickStarter fund-raising campaign to fund a new high-quality, non-fiction book on space solar power. Mankins, an internationally recognized expert on the subject who is president of Artemis Innovation Management Solutions LLC, is attempting to raise $25,000 by Wednesday, June 27.

Please give what you can to help John reach his goal. Click here to donate.