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