SSI Newsletters: Spring 1980
Space Studies Institute Subscribers Newsletter Spring 1979
Space Studies Institute
195 Nassau Street
P.O. Box 82
Princeton, NJ 08540
[[librarian note:  This address is here, as it was in the original printed newsletter, for historical reasons.  It is no longer the physical address of SSI. For contributions, please see this page]]

Spring 1980

SSI Trustees –SSI Position on Moon Treaty –New Quarters Research Reports –Foreign Trips -­Articles Lectures –Subscriber and Associate Programs 1981 Princeton Conference Dates

This report to Subscribers and Associates is late for the best of reasons. SSI has grown so rapidly during the past few months, has carried out so many activities, that I have been too occupied in action to write. It is my inten­tion to follow this Newsletter quickly with another in mid-Summer, to bring us back on schedule.

Trustees’ Meeting: In its growth SSI reached the point, a few months ago, at which a more formal organizational structure was necessary. In part the new structure was a response to SSI’s increasing interaction with corporations and foundations, who recognize that SSI is the responsible and authoritative entity, independent of the federal government, for the funding of essential research toward the productive use of nonterrestrial material and energy resources for human benefit.

The Senior Advisory Board remains as it is listed on the SSI information brochure, with the addition of Dr. Rashmi Mayur of India.  SSI now has a Board of Trustees, who elect SSI’s officers. A most distinguished group of people, listed below, consented to serve as SSI’s


  • James D. Burke – Jet Propulstion Laboratory
  • T. Stephen Cheston – Georgetown University
  • James C. Fletcher – Former NASA Administrator
  • Todd D. Johnston – Attorney: Princeton, NJ
  • William C. Lewis, Jr. – Attorney: Princeton, NJ
  • Gregg Maryniak – President, Chicago Society for Space Settlement
  • William B. O’Boyle  – William B. O’Boyle Investments, New York City
  • David M. Odom, M.D. – Valencia, CA
  • Lee S. Valentine, M.D. – Pittsburgh, PA
  • Richard G. Woodbridge III  – Princeton Junction, NJ


In addition, Dr. Thomas Paine, already a member of our Senior Advisory Board, also has consented to serve as Special Advisor to the Institute.  Dr. Paine, a former NASA Administrator, currently is President and Chief Operating Officer of the Northrup Corporation.

On June 2nd, 1980, SSI’s Board of Trustees met and elected officers for the Institute.

The officers are:

  • President (non-salaried)
    Gerard K. O’Neill
  • Exec. Vice-President (non-salaried)
    T. Stephen Cheston
  • David C. Webb
    Treasurer (non-salaried)
  • Richard G. Woodbridge III
    Ass’t. Treasurer (non-salaried)
  • Renate S. O’Neill
  • Barbara Evans


SSI Position on Moon Treaty:

During the past six months considerable con­troversy has developed over the provisions of the Agreement Governing the Activities of States on the Moon and Other Celestial Bodies, commonly known as the Moon Treaty. This Agreement, approved by the United Nations in 1979, has so far been signed by only two nations, France and Chile. If signed by the President of the United States, it would not be regarded as binding on the U.S. until ratified by the Senate. The Senate Conmittee on Commerce, Science and Transportation, chaired by Senator Howard W. Cannon, will hold two days of hearings on the Moon Treaty in Room #235 of the Russell Senate Office Building on July.29 and 31 at 9:30 a.m.

On February 19th SSI, in cooperation with the Georgetown Center for Strategic and International Studies and the Institute for the Social Science Study of Space, sponsored a one-day seminar on the Moon Treaty and subse­quently took reconmendations from its Senior Advisors. At the June 2nd meeting of the Board of Trustees the matter was also discussed, and the following interim position was adopted:

“The Space Studies Institute notes that the draft Moon Treaty directly relates to the use of nonterrestrial materials, which is vital to the Institute’s goal of the development of those materials into products of potential benefit to humanity. The Institute also notes that the draft Moon Treaty was formulated over a period of years at the United Nations in a manner that did not involve significant public notice or discussion. The Treaty has become quite controversial, and a number of its most sig­nificant provisions are not at all clear even to experts in international law. Under those circumstances, the Institute believes that it is not in the best interests of the United States to take hasty action toward the signing of the Moon Treaty. The Institute considers the best present U.S. course to be the dissemination of knowledge of the Treaty for widespread public discussion and debate. No further action on it should be taken until its implications for the beneficial use of nonterrestrial materials by non­governmental organizations are established as clearly positive.”


New Quarters for SSI:

In its first years SSI used office space kindly pro­vided for it by Princeton University. By the end of 1979 the Institute’s activities outgrew the available space, so a search was made for suitable offices. By good fortune, SSI found about 700 sq. ft. of space, complete with furniture, on a long-term basis at an economical rental. The new quarters are on the second floor of 195 Nassau Street, in Princeton, about one block from the University. The Institute’s new phone number is (xxx) xxx-xxxx. However, please continue to use the Princeton, NJ 08540 address in all correspondence. The first meeting of SSI’s Board of Trustees will be held in the new location.



As of March 1980, support for the joint Princeton/M.I .T. program of mass-driver development from the NASA Division of Propulsion and Power rose to $250,000. This has permitted us to bring in two young physicists. Joel Kubby, B.A., June 1980, University of California at Berkeley, and Scott Dunbar, Ph.D., Princeton, June 1980, to assist Bill Snow in the development of the machine. Both of the nevi staff members will begin work about July 1st.

Mr. Frank Mitola (SSI 1263), a designer with many years of experience in the aerospace field, has joined the mass-driver group on a temporary contract basis to make up drawings for the mechanical and electrical parts of the machine. Mr. Mitola is of great help to the group, and to remind us of where all our research is leading he has a number of beautiful space­ colony pictures above his drafting table.

A detailed report on the mass-driver development will be given in the next Newsletter, but the machine’s ohmic bucket and injector are now in routine operation at full power and the initial acceleration has been measured to be over 200 gravities.


Stability of Material in Earth Orbit:

The research of Scott Dunbar, supported by SSI, was reported in some detail in the Winter SSI Newsletter.  Scott has now completed his Ph.D. thesis and.receives his degree this June from the Physics Department of Princeton University. His thesis, titled “Dynamics and Stability of Trojan Librations in the Earth-Sun System,” concludes that orbits for possible material circulating in the path of the Earth around the Sun are stable for times of at least one to ten million years, and possibly for the age of the solar system. The probability for capture of material into these orbits is small, so it is likely that any asteroids found in such orbits are primordial, that is, dating from the time of formation of the proto-Earth several billion years ago. For the same reason, they are likely to be similar to the primordial Earth in com­position, rich in silicates and sparse in water and carbonaceous compounds. The total mass of such material, if its exists, is likely to be more than a thousand times smaller than that of the corresponding Trojan asteroids found in the Sun-Jupiter system, but could still be millions of times greater than could reasonably be needed by industry in space for many years.

In an appendix to the thesis, Dr. Dunbar calculates the optimum search plan for the Earth-Trojan telescopic search which he began this year at the Mt. Palomar 48″ Schmidt telescope in collaboration with E. F. Helin and Dr. E. M. Shoemaker. A copy of the thesis will be on file at SSI.

As a companion study to Dr. Dunbar’s thesis, Herb Fockler, a junior in the Princeton Physics Department, wrote a paper titled “Asteroid Retrieval Through Small Orbital Velocity Changes.” The paper contains fonnulas and graphs for the calculation of the velocity-changes needed to alter the orbit of material trapped in the path of the Earth, so that after several years it will arrive at the Earth-Moon system, with which it can rendezvous after a second, identical velocity change. The required velocity changes are quite small: material as much as 60 million miles from the Earth can be recovered within five years by velocity changes of only 200 meters per second. The total energy required for the maneuver is only 2% of the energy required for launching material from the Moon, and only a thousandth of the energy required for launch from the Earth, even if Earth-launch systems could be made 100% effective.


Chemical Separation of Lunar Materials:

It now appears nearly certain that SSI can sponsor a hardware research program beginning later this year, aimed toward the development of a bench-level pilot-plant for the separation of simulated lunar materials into pure metals, silicon and oxygen. In May a selected committee met for two days at SSI to draft a Request for Proposals to carry out that research. We would appreciate your assistance in informing Departments of Chemistry and of Chemical Engineering, relevant research institutions, and organizations specializing in extractive metallurgy about the existence of this Request, of which copies can be obtained from SSI. We anticipate accepting proposals for review until at least September lst, 1980. The process of review and final selection will occur during September, with the actual research program to begin in October at an annual level of approximately $100,000. Experts in the fields of chemistry and extractive metallurgy will take part in the processes of review, selection and grant monitoring, generously donating their time.


Vienna Lecture:

In February I went to Vienna as a guest of the Austrian Government at the invitation of Chancellor Bruno Kreisky. After a press conference I gave a lecture at the Hofburg Palace on the concepts of space manufacturing and space colonies, and the work of SSI, to an audience of about 600 people which included Dr. Kreisky. After the lecture the Chancellor, several of his ministers and I attended a small dinner, at which these and related ideas were discussed at length. It is a pleasure to acknowledge in this Newsletter the hospitality of Chancellor Kreisky and the stimulating conversations which took place as the result of his invitation.


Japan Trip:

Japan has three space programs, which operate rather independently under the overall supervision of the Space Activities Commission -­ a five-member board that advises the Prime Minister directly. The CO!mlission invites one foreigner to Japan each year to lecture on space-related topics. The last American to visit Japan under this program was Or. James Fletcher, while he was Administrator of NASA. This year I visited Japan for the last ten days of March, the period of Princeton’s Spring Vacation. The official schedule began with a briefing to the Space Activities Commission, followed by meetings with the directors of NASDA, the National Space Development Agency of Japan, and with the directors of NAL, the National Aerospace Laboratory.

I also visited ISAS, the Institute of Space and Aeronautical Science of the University of Tokyo. ISAS carries out a remarkable and thought-provoking program, which operates at a level of only $40 million per year, about 0.7% of the budget of NASA. With direction by a few Professors, and management and research by an overall staff of only 500 people, ISAS designs and constructs its own launch vehicles and satellites, operates its own launch facilities at Kagoshima in southern Japan, and maintains its own Mission Control. That complete space program, all on that modest budget, has been launching satellites successfully for about ten years.

NASDA operates the largest of Japan’s launch facilities, at Tanegashima Island, and builds its largest vehicles and satellites, including the geo­synchronous weather-satellite Himawari (“Sunflower”). NASDA has environmental chambers and a mission control center at Tsukuba, at Japan’s Center for Institutes where Japan’s particle accelerators also are located.

NASDA is currently developing the N-1 and N-11 launch vehicles, the second for launch of 800-pound satellites into geosynchronous orbit. While Himawari was launched by NASA from the Kennedy Space Center, Japan’s long­range program appears to be to make itself independent in launch capability. NASDA’s last two geosynchronous launches both failed, but in both cases the failures appeared to be associated with the small kick-stage solid-rocket, a unit not manufactured in Japan.

Our mass-driver operates on the principle of magnetic flight, so it was of particular interest to me to visit the facilities of Japan Air Lines’ HSST magnetic-flight program, with its test track. In the HSST-2 vehicle I had a brief, very smooth high-speed flight magnetically levitated at an  “altitude”” of about half an inch. Later I visited the satellite-assembly facilities of the Mitsubishi Electric Company at Kamakura, and the partially ­automated assembly plant of Nissan Motors. In view of SSI’s sponsorship of research leading toward near-term, cost-effective methods for achieving space manufacturing with lunar materials, it was of particular interest for me to lecture to the Keidanren, the National Association of Business Corporations.

I was impressed to find in Japan a society vigorously growing and expanding in economic wealth, productivity and technology, and to find there a spirit of vision, forward movement and confidence that I hope we will recapture in the United States. In that regard it was reassuring to see the excellent cooperation and cordial relationships that exist between officials of the Japanese space programs and those of NASA and of our Embassy’s scientific staff. It is a pleasure to acknowledge here the hospitality and excellent organization that I experienced throughout my visit to Japan.



An article based on SSI-sponsored workshops, “New Routes to Space Manufacturing,” is scheduled for an early issue of Astronautics and Aero­nautics. A short summary of that work can be found in the May 1980 issue of the same magazine. An article on SSI’s research was also written at the request of Leaders magazine, a publication not sold to the public, but sent mainly to corporate chief executives. At the request of Omni magazine I have also written an editorial entirely about SSI and its research, which appears in the July OMNI as its “First Word”.



  • September 25 Purdue University, W. Lafayette, Indiana
  • October 9 Arizona State University, Tempe, Arizona
  • October 24 Tilton School, Tilton, New Hampshire


Senior Associates Program:

SSI  depends very strongly on  the support of its Subscribers, who number well over 2,000. As a matter of policy, we will now hold the basic SSI Subscription to $10 per year, but it is encouraging that the average renewal is at the Contributor level ($25). Although some individuals are able to donate large sums, the regular subscriptions are also of great importance to SSI, not only for their dollar value but because they indicate to potential funding sources such as corporations and founda­tions the extent and the seriousness of individual conmitment to SSI’s program.

About one year ago SSI began its Senior Associates program, at the suggestion of David Simpson and under his direction. David is studying at the Yale Law School and the Yale Graduate School of Organization and Management, New Haven, Connecticut. In 1982, he will receive a joint degree of Doctor of Law (J.D.) and Master’s in Public and Private Management (M.P.P.M. ) . Laura Danly was David’s able assistant until her graduation from Yale this June, and Ross Porter is helping out over the sumrner.

Central to the success of the program is David Odom, who makes the direct calls to potential Senior Associates. He is an anesthesiologist in Valencia, California, and he devotes considerable time and effort to SSI on a voluntary basis. David also is a member of the new Board of Trustees.

Thanks to all these supporters, the Senior Associates program is growing rapidly and continues to meet all its goals. It now provides SSI with an assured funding base for five years ahead.


Foundation and Corporate Program:

David Webb of Washington, D.C. has worked closely with us for the past six months developing a fund-raising presentation for corporations and foundations. He has extensive professional experience in advising nonprofit organizations, as well as an active role in the space community today (see pg. seven). The new program will begin this summer, initially on a test basis. It is designed to involve industries and philan­thropic institutions in space development through support of SSI.


Staff Changes:

After a year and a half of excellent service, Laura (Hagopian) Button has left to take an intensive two-year program at Rutgers University leading to a degree in Agricultural Engineering. We are fortunate that Erin Medlicott has agreed to join the SSI staff. All calls both to her and to me should be made to the SSI number, (xxx) xxx-xxxx. In the new arrange­ment Erin works with Barbara Evans, as well as handling my scheduling and appointments.


Princeton Conference 1981:

The Fifth Biennial Conference on Space Manufacturing and Space Colonies will be held at Princeton May 11-14, 1981. As in the case of the 1979 Conference, the program will include the natural sciences, social sciences and engineering.


New SSI Logo:

Noneman and Noneman, Inc., a graphic design firm in New York, has been working with us to develop a logo for SSI, which will be the basis for all our stationery and publications. We have reviewed several different graphics concepts, and the firm has generated more than 200 sketches in the evolution toward a final design. I am glad to say the process has finally “converged” on a simple but distinctive design which all of us are very pleased with. It will be in general usage soon, and we hope you will be equally satisfied with it.


With the most sincere thanks to you who make our work possible,
Gerard K. O’Neill, President



Although it is important for SSI to be politically aware and legislatively informed, the Institute is not set up to be a lobbying organization. Many Subscribers, however, do want information on how to be politically engaged in the space effort.

The Campaign for Space, formed this year in Washington, is “a non­partisan political committee, which supports individual candidates, regardless of political affiliation, who are committed to a vital American space program.”  David Webb is Executive Director. For a copy of the brochure and additional information, write to the Campaign for Space, 300 M Street S.W., Suite 500, Washington, D.C. 20024.

The Chicago Society for Space Settlement has a 49minute color videotape for sale that many of you might find useful in local space­
support groups. The tape was made by CSSS at the 1979 Princeton Conference and is about SSl’s work, featuring interviews with O’Neill, Snow, Dyson, etc. For further information contact Gregg Maryniak [at the CSSS].

The Chicago group will be showing the videotape at a special meeting Sunday, July 13, at 1:00 p.m. at the Adler Planetarium. Those of you who live in the area are invited to attend.

Probably the most important step in creating a Network of SSI Subscribers and other supporters of the High Frontier is to enable space activists to find each other — locally and around the nation and the world.

To meet this need, the Chicago Society for Space Settlement does it again — CSSS is preparing a “Space Directory” of individuals who, by listing their names, are saying they will be involved.

This is a good way to find one another. Just fill out the form and mail it to CSSS.
[[librarian note:  The addresses below are as they were in the original printed newsletter, and copied for historical reasons.  The aress below for SSI is not, and addesses of other organizations may not still be valid. For SSI contributions and membership , please see this page]]

-Chicago Society for Space Settlement
ADDRESS: City: State: Zip Code:
PHONE NO. (Optional) (Include Area Code):
BEST TIME FOR CALLS (Inc1ude Time Zone):
Organization Officer or Director
Mail to: CSSS Space Directory, 4Nl86 Walter Drive, Addison, IL 60101
I wish to support the research and education programs of SSI for one year as a:
[ ] Sponsor ($200-500)
[ ] Contributor ($25)
[ ] Donor ($100)
[ ] Subscriber ($10)
[ ] This is a renewa1
(Canadian Subscribers kindly remit in U.S. funds via postal money order or bank draft)
–All Donations are Tax Deductible

©space studies institute

Back to the full list

Next: Summer 1980­

Space Studies Institute
7429 Laurel Canyon Blvd
Suite S
North Hollywood CA 91605
(661) 750-2774