Karen's Excellent Adventure at the ISDC

I have had a great time at the ISDC.  The Space Ambassadors Reception and Fireworks on Thursday Partying until I get kicked out of the Hospitality Suite and then waking at dawn to swim in the glorious pools. swimming 50 laps in the quiet pool, then relaxing in the 21 person hot tube alone then floating around the lazy river. Ahh what a way to start the day.

Then the real International Space Development Conference starts for the day. there has been so much wisdom put forward on the next steps for NASA and from space development.

The best place to change direction is at Apohelion.-Rusty Schweickart

When you get to a fork in the road take it – Buzz Aldrin quoting Yogi Berra

Be ambitious strive to do great things. If the goals in space are paltry why bother. – John Mankins

Concentrate on Why, not How or What- The Space Settlement Summit

Nothing attracts capital and nothing attracts talent like vision – Peter Garretson

There are students from around the world who were involved in the Space Settlement Design contests it is inspiring to see all the talented young people.

More later I need to get back to the Space Solar Power presentations.

Ad Astra,

Karen Cramer Shea

ISDC 2009 update: George Nield of FAA AST opens up Commercial Space Day

Hey space fans, Ian Murphy reporting again from ISDC 2009 through the NSS blog.

 

First off, sorry for not getting this out sooner.  I was shooting for 2:30 but I forgot there was a meeting of the NSS public affairs committee at 2pm and once I get talking the hours just seep away.

 

George Schellenger of Newsy.com and SpaceTaskForce got everyone pumped up with his energetic opening video featuring a visual barrage of the various commercial space efforts.  If you want to check it out you can download the press kit off the NSS website by visiting www.isdc2009.org/presskit

 

Brett Alexander, President, Personal Spaceflight Federation (www.personalspacelight.org) was the moderator for the morning sessions.

 

George Nield, Associate Administrator for the FAA office of Commercial Space Transportation (AST) was the first speaker.  His speech was laden with a big picture positive and philosophical outlook on the state of the industry in light of all the recent controversy and absence of a clear direction that has been the norm in the headlines recently.

 

Confident in the industry’s progression to date, Nield started off saying that with respect to the achievements of NASA “commercial space achievements will the way and wave of the future.”

 

He reminded us that 50 years ago today the United States launched two passengers on the Jupiter missile. 1) a rhesus monkey named Able and the other a squirrel monkey named Baker.  He also reminded us of another historical event, the commemoration of the Golden Gate Bridge, which was celebrated by a flyover of 500 planes and the launching of 100 sky rockets.  Nield made a point to note “we used to celebrate the opening of bridges with rocket launches and now rockets have become the bridges themselves.”

 

His entire speech seemed to be aimed at combating the “sullen weight that has settled on the American Space Program.” He reference the “unusually pessimistic tone” symbolic of conversations centered around the retirement of the Shuttle, the supposed plateau of progress in the commercial space arena, the frustration over ITAR (http://www.pmddtc.state.gov/regulations_laws/itar_official.html) and the relative success of international aerospace ventures.  He wondered aloud “Have we lost our edge?”

 

He encouraged us all to point out to the unconvinced (by that he means everyone referenced in the above paragraph) to “not confuse the occasional bad day for the end of days,” for these people suffer from what he referenced as the Eeyor Effect (http://sheishei.blogspot.com/2005/09/eeyore-effect.html).  We must maintain, “humans are possessed with an infinite plasticity” to accomplish the difficult and almost anything, especially private spaceflight, is a humanitarian imperative.

 

He joked that the arbitrary deadlines placed upon the industry by the general public and media must have been created on “National Wishful Thinking Day” pointing out that Sir Richard Branson, when asked about how many tests it will take to get to his first passenger flight, responded, “We will do more tests that NASA has flown missions.”

 

The moral of the FAA AST leader’s speech “The pace is being set by safety.

 

The way I see it I can’t wait to go to space but I’m not in a hurry if I am not absolutely positive that I’m coming back to earth.

ISDC Exclusive: SUCCESSFUL SPACESHIPTWO ROCKET MOTOR TESTING

Got this from Will after his speech (IM)…

28th May 2009: 

Virgin Galactic today announces the successful completion of the first phase of tests of the rocket motor that will propel space tourists, scientists and payloads into space. 

In the desert of southern California, Virgin Galactic’s key supplier Scaled Composites and its subcontractor SNC (Sierra Nevada Corporation) have successfully completed the first tests of the innovative rocket motor that will propel space tourists, scientists and payloads into space. The hybrid Nitrous Oxide system being used is the largest of its kind in the world and it will send Virgin’s customers up into sub-orbital space at speeds over 2500 mph (4000kmh), to heights over 65 miles (110km) above the Earths surface, before the spaceship descends back down through the atmosphere using its pioneering feathered re-entry system. 

Sir Richard Branson, founder of Virgin Galactic said: “As Virgin Galactic gets ever closer to the start of commercial operations, we are reaching and passing many important and historic milestones. The Virgin MotherShip (VMS) Eve, the first of our amazing, all carbon composite, high altitude WhiteKnightTwo launch vehicles, is flying superbly. SpaceShipTwo, which will air launch from Eve, is largely constructed and awaiting the start of its own test flight programme later this year.” 

The rocket motor burns for a very short period of time because the spaceship is launched from VMS Eve in the upper atmosphere, rather than from ground level. This means much less fuel is required, and the fuel burn is more environmentally benign than the solid rockets used in most ground based systems. 

While the rocket motor is extremely powerful, it is also completely controllable. This system can – if necessary – be shut down at any time, allowing the spaceship to glide back down to land at a conventional runway. This is a significant feature in the overall safety of the Virgin system for human space flight.

Sir Richard continues: “Less fuel and clean fuel all add up to a space launch system which will be completely unprecedented in its low environmental impact compared with current space flight. The spaceships carbon footprint for each of its passengers and crew will be about a quarter of that for a return trip from London to New York, demonstrating again the extraordinary benefits that new technology can bring to the quest for clean transportation.” 

“We believe space is on the cusp of a new industrial revolution. Virgin Galactics mission has always been to transform the safety, cost and environmental impact of access to space. Not just for passengers, but also for a range of important scientific purposes, and to send small satellites into orbit. The worlds scientific community is united in recognising that making better use of space will be vital to mankinds ability to manage the huge future challenges of life back here on Earth.” 

The rocket motor will continue a series of exhaustive tests, and the spaceship itself will start flight testing later this year. The testing programme for the rocket, the spaceship and VMS Eve will be extensive.

To view broadcast quality footage of the tests, along with the full interview with Sir Richard Branson please visit www.virgingalactic.com/rocketmotor. 

To view on YouTube click here 

For any other enquiries, please contact Bite PR on virgingalactic@bitepr.com or phone the

switchboard on +44 (0)20 8741 1123.

ISDC 2009 update: ISDC 2009 Registration & Afternoon Sessions of SIS6

Ian Murphy reporting from the ISDC registration room…

Registration is in full swing, the bags look great (still can’t add photos sorry) the volunteers shirt look great but either their too big or humans have begin shrinking at an unusual pace.  Registration is open until 8pm if your coming in tonight and from 7am to 7pm if your coming in tomorrow. 

A glance at tomorrow’s agenda – 

9am – Dr. George Nield – FAA AST Associate Admin

10am – Jeff Greason, XCOR President (just saw him a few minutes ago and seems to be in very good spirits despite a red eye flight)

11am – Will Whitehorn, Virgin Galactic President

12pm (lunch) – Elon Musk, SpaceX Founder

2pm – COTS Panel – Alan Lindenmoyer, NASA + Gwynne Shotwell, SpaceX + Robert T. Richards, Orbital

3pm  – GLXP Panel – Will “Master P” Pomerantz + Bob Richards, Odyssey Moon (amongst countless other cool things) + others

5pm – Commercial Space Panel – Ken Davidian, FAA AST + others

4pm (in Augusta room) – Tim Pickens “So you want to start a space company” (no way I am missing this one.

This is just a small taste of all the great stuff at ISDC.  After the tracks during the day are over we are really hoping for good weather because after Richard Garriott (sixth private citizen to travel to the ISS, creator of the Ultima series and the greatest party thrower on the planet – http://www.wired.com/culture/lifestyle/magazine/15-06/ps_lordbritish – ) speaks tomorrow night at 7pm ISDC will have a new first.  FIREWORKS.  Yep, the schedule says Fireworks Show and I put Brett Silcox in a headlock until he swore it wasn’t an elaborate prank (the schedule also says “desert reception” and being that we are in Florida, where I am pretty sure there are no deserts, you can see why I was skeptical). 

Note – just got an email that says photos may not be possible.  I will find another place to post them and get a link out. 

Update from Jason Rhian in the afternoon SIS 6 sessions…

The afternoon panel was moderated by Daniel Gruenbaum of the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex and consisted of Jane Reifert the president of Incredible Adventures, Bernie McShea vice-president of business development for Space Florida, John Cassanto CEO of Instrumentation Technology Association and Robert Ward, president of Strategic Insights & Creative Imagination.  While the topic governed how the hospitality industry and space tourism industry should and will work hand in hand, the discussion topics also drifted to how better market the space story.

“Those inspirational moments are the things required to create aspirational goals,” Ward said.  “We need to tell the story in a less technical and more emotional way.”

Another interesting quote from Jane Reifert of Incredible Adventures: ” The easier it is to do, the easier it is to sell.” 

The last panel of the day was comprised of the following: Emerging Business Technology Practice Group Chair, Brent Britton, Vice-President of 4Frontiers Corporation and NewSpace LLC Joseph Palaia, Global Entrepreneur, Per Wimmer and SGS Deputy Chief of Operations and Northrop Grumman Chairman Roy Tharpe.  The panelists decided that the mold for how panels would be held – needed to be broken.  Britton’s introductions were laden with pop-culture references, Palaia openly disagreed with comments made by earlier panelists and Wimmer jumped off the stage to give his presentation.

“Show me a kid that doesn’t get excited about a robot,” Palaia said.  “Especially when I put the controls of that robot in their hands!”

Thanks to Jason for his work today

I got a chance to sit in on this panel too and wanted to chime in on something I overheard…

John Cassanto, CEO of Instrumentation Technology Associates had a great presentation on Secondary markets associated with space tourism.  A couple of great points that I will paraphrase

1) commercial research racks and scientific experiments are not new – there is a solid foundation of previous success

2) There is a high value secondary market for space tourism companies, especially in area like biomedical research and experiments

3) Passengers will WANT to carry their own experiments and fly other’s experiment’s if not for the good of science than maybe to supplement the cost of their own flight.  These “experimentourists” should be encouraged. (the word “experimentourist” is trademarked and cannot be used with out the express written permission of Ricky Bobby Inc…or Ian Murphy).

4) Every passenger compartment can have areas for micro gravity and zero gravity racks for experiments and payloads.

That’s all for now.  I get to go pick up Will Whitehorn from the airport at 5pm.  Wish me luck on convincing him to either rig the Space Ambassador Program so I win or just giving me a free ride in exchange for giving him a lift 😉

ISDC 2009 Update: Morning Sessions Update From Space Investment Summit 6

Hey all you space fans.  Official ISDC troublemaker Ian Murphy here .  Tim Bailey gave me the keys to the ISDC blog so I am going to do my best to feed your insatiable appetite for all things ISDC throughout the weekend.  I am going to post as much info as I can get from as many sources as I can get give it to me and from time to time will bug you with my own opinions.  NOTE: there is something wrong with the photo upload function so look for pics to come later tonight.

1st up is an update from Jason Rhian on the morning sessions of Space Investment Summit 6…

SIS 6 Opening Remarks

ORLANDO, Fl – Space Investment Summit 6 laid out new and innovative ways to interweave pre-existing hospitality venues with the emerging private space industry. The summit began with opening remarks from Paul Eckert, Ph.D. of Boeing and the National Space Society’s Associate Director Brett Silcox, welcoming guests and informing them of the multitude of opportunities that are already out there and new ones that are arising.  This year’s summit was held at the Omni Orlando Resort at ChampionsGate on Wednesday May 27.

Interim President of Space Florida, Frank Dibello’s remarks focused on both maintaining already established aerospace ties and seeking new ones.

Co-Founder of Earth2Orbit LLC Amaresh Kolipara, founder of MC Squared Michael Leventhal and Barry Bloom of Universal Creative constituted the summit’s first panel that discussed how space is an enabler for pre-existing businesses and went on to further expound upon common themes of how separate space market segments are actually intermeshed.  

President of Desert Sky Holdings Robert Jacobson, Senior Show Producer of Walt Disney Imagineering Luc Mayrand, Steven Blum of Universal Creative and William Moore Chief Operating Officer of Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex, Delaware North Parks and Resorts constituted the members of the second panel of the day.  The topic that they discussed was theme parks entitled “Really Being There: Space-Themed Physical Attractions.”  Topics ranged from the development of Disney’s “Mission Space” ride to the ins and outs of operating the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex.

“It is the place where average men and women get to walk in the footsteps of astronauts,” Moore said.  “People really need to understand what is possible in space.”

After a brief opportunity for attendees to meet and network the next panel addressed the multi-media aspects of the various virtual-reality endeavors in the space market.  Dave Hosley of D & B Professional Development, Marc Watson, president of Imagine Creative Technology LLC, Chester Kennedy Vice-President of Engineering and Simulation for Lockheed Martin and Tami Griffith of the U.S. Army’s Research and Development Engineering Command were the members tackling the topics on this panel.  With topics ranging from medical uses, entertainment and military applications the virtual aspects the panel discussed were both diverse and profound.

The feature presentation and luncheon’s guest speaker is USN Captain (Ret) former NASA astronaut and Vice President of Strategic Development for the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex, Jon A. McBride.

Next update on the afternoon sessions coming from Jason Rhian after lunch…

also once the photo function is fixed, I will post a ton of photos…

 

National Space Society Applauds Nomination of Charles Bolden and Lori Garver to lead NASA

Garver served 9 years as Executive Director of the National Space Society

Washington, DC – Tuesday, May 26, 2009 – The National Space Society (NSS) is pleased to congratulate retired Marine Major General and four-time Space Shuttle Astronaut Charles Bolden on his nomination to the office of NASA Administrator and Lori Garver on her nomination to the office of Deputy Administrator. President Barack Obama announced both nominations on Saturday May 23, 2009.

“This is an exciting time for NASA and the space industry as a whole,” said Mark Hopkins, Senior Vice President of NSS. “NASA is rebuilding its human exploration capabilities and the private sector is making real progress toward commercial access to space. Garver understands the importance of both. Bolden has the hands-on experience necessary to guide NASA into the next phase of its mission. We look forward to interacting with Garver and Bolden as they make decisions about the next steps toward a spacefaring future.”

Designated a naval aviator in May 1970, Charles Bolden flew more than 100 combat missions in South Asia in the early 1970’s. Bolden was selected by NASA as an astronaut in 1980, flying four missions aboard the space shuttles Columbia, Discovery and Atlantis. Over the course of these four space flights, Bolden logged more than 680 hours in orbit, assisted in deploying the Hubble Space Telescope, and commanded the first mission that included a Russian cosmonaut as a mission specialist crewmember. He was selected for induction into the Astronaut Hall of Fame in 2006.

Bolden left NASA and returned to the operating forces of the U.S. Marine Corps as the Deputy Commandant of Midshipmen at the Naval Academy, in Annapolis, Maryland in June of 1994. Before retiring in 2003, Bolden had attained the rank of Major General and served as the Commanding General, Third Marine Aircraft Wing at Marine Corps Air Station Miramar in San Diego, California. Mr. Bolden retired from the United States Marine Corps on January 1, 2003 after serving 34 and a half years. From April 2003 to December 2004 he was Senior Vice President of TechTrans International, Inc., of Houston, TX. He is currently the CEO of JACKandPANTHER LLC, a small business enterprise providing leadership, military, and aerospace consulting as well as motivational speaking.

Bolden received a Bachelor of Science degree from the U.S. Naval Academy, a Master of Science degree in systems management from the University of Southern California, and is a graduate of the U.S. Naval Test Pilot School at Patuxent River, Maryland.

Most recently, Garver was the President of Capital Space, LLC, and served as Senior Advisor for Space at the Avascent Group, a consulting firm based in Washington, D.C. She was the lead civil space policy advisor for the Obama during the recent 2008 presidential campaign and she helped lead the Agency Review Team for NASA during the transition. From 1998 to 2001, Garver served as NASA Associate Administrator for the Office of Policy and Plans. During this period, Garver also served as a primary spokesperson for NASA. Prior to this appointment, she served as a Senior Policy Analyst for the Office of Policy and Plans, and Special Assistant to the Administrator. Garver was the second Executive Director of the newly formed National Space Society that resulted in the merger between the L-5 Society and the National Space Institute. She served in this role for 9 years until her departure for NASA in 1998.

Garver earned B.A. in Political Science and Economics from Colorado College and an M.S. in Science, Technology, and Public Policy from George Washington University. Garver lives in McLean, Virginia with her husband, David Brandt, and their two children, Wesley and Mitchell.

Jeff Foust on Bolden Nomination

Bolden’s burdens by Jeff Foust

The announcement, when it did come, was something of an anticlimax. A little over a week earlier Bolden’s name emerged as a leading candidate—somewhat surprisingly, since he had not been widely considered a favorite candidate of the Obama Administration previously, despite months of eager support from Sen. Bill Nelson (D-FL), who flew with Bolden on the shuttle mission immediately before the Challenger accident and now chairs the space subcommittee of the Senate Commerce Committee. On Tuesday Bolden met with President Obama, but few details about the meeting were released. The president, White House press secretary Robert Gibbs said in a briefing that day, “hopes that he’s [Bolden] the right person to lead NASA in the coming years and through its evolving role.”

New Book Remembering Apollo 11

Remembering America’s first moon walk

 “The 40th Anniversary of The First Moon Walk” is not just a fund raising project by the Phoenix Moon Society; it’s a way to preserve the memory. Without the quotes from those who were listening and watching on July 20, 1969, this book would only be a pretty picture book, but would lack the impact and nostalgia that was envisioned when undergoing this project. 

Remembering the First Moon Walk Facebook Group

Mankins on NASA Technolgy Development

To boldly go: the urgent need for a revitalized investment in space technology by John C. Mankins

Introduction

At the beginning of the space age, the United States realized that preeminence in space exploration and development could only be achieved through a commitment to robust investments in advanced space research and technology. Starting with the Kennedy Administration, and continuing until just the past four years, the US civil space program has been characterized not only by remarkable achievements in space (e.g., Surveyor, Mercury, Pioneer, Gemini, Apollo, and other programs), but also by ambitious investments in space technology. For example, in the mid-1960s, NASA’s investment in advanced space research and technology was approximately $1 billion per year (in current year dollars), and was directed toward truly ambitious technical objectives such as nuclear propulsion, high-energy cryogenic engines, thermal protection for reusable launch vehicles, electric propulsion, solar energy, automation and robotics, and more. For its day, NASA’s advanced space research and technology program was truly transformational—pressing the frontiers in technology and enabling the space missions of the 1970s and 1980s to achieve goals that were unimaginable for any other nation in the world.

That foundation of research and technology investments resulted not only in new “widgets” to put on the shelf, but also in a variety of important new space systems concepts, companies, and individual subject matter experts—the human foundations of excellence in the aerospace industry of the 1970s, 1980s, and beyond. This “orchard of innovation” yielded missions such as the Viking landers and orbiters at Mars (1976) and the Voyager missions to the outer planets; systems such as the Space Shuttle (1981–present); and, international initiatives such as the International Space Station (1982–present). At the same time, these technological foundations (systems, technologies, facilities, and skilled people) benefited a wide range of critical national security space missions.

Unfortunately, the US investment in advanced research and technology for space exploration and development has been reduced to historically low levels, and concurrently has been focused more narrowly than ever before on immediate system designs and development projects. In many respects, the current budget is little more than an “advanced development” program with minimal opportunity for innovation and essentially no possibility that an invention arising from civil space research and technology programs could influence system design decisions, inform budget estimates or inspire new, more ambitious space program goals.

STS-125 Mission Status Briefing 05-19-09

Tony Ceccacci, STS-125 Lead Flight Director, Eric Smith Hubble Space Telescope Program Scientist, NASA Headquarters and David Leckrone, Hubble Space Telescope Senior Project Scientist, Goddard Space Flight Center, discuss the success of the mission to repair and upgrade the Hubble Space Telescope after it’s release from the cargo bay of the space shuttle Atlantis.
Category: Science & Technology