10-Minute Introduction to Space Solar Power

Creative Visualizations of Space Solar Power. The videos below, totaling 10 minutes, are student productions that have been professionally mentored and peer-reviewed at Ohio University and presented at the National Space Society International Space Development Conference in San Diego in May 2013.

Sol Invictus: The Unconquered Sun – Introduction.

Sol Invictus: The Unconquered Sun – SunSats.

Sol Invictus: The Unconquered Sun – Conclusion.

Electricity is one of the most flexible, cost effective and non-polluting sources of power at the point of use. Energy from Space will be key to achieving and sustaining universal access to this form of power, since all known energy supplies on Earth will be insufficient to keep up with projected world demand for electricity

About 80% of our current energy supply is in the form of fossil fuels. Greater diversification and augmentation of energy sources is needed. To protect our planet, our long-term goal must be to find alternative energy supplies that are clean, renewable, affordable, and available to everyone. Guaranteed access to non-polluting energy is a controlling variable for local and national security, economic and social development and a good quality of life for everyone. Thus, as citizens of Planet Earth, we are fortunate that solar power satellites can now be used to reach up and harvest the abundant energy that is available just outside Earth’s atmosphere.

For more information visit Ohio University’s Online Journal of Space Communication.

National Space Society 2013 International Space Development Conference Commemorative T-Shirts

Seriously cool ISDC 2013 Global Collaboration in Space commemorative T-shirts are available for a limited time. Shirts are printed both sides and the price includes a donation to NSS. Click on either image for more information and to order.

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Newly Illustrated Versions of the NSS Roadmap to Space Settlement Now Available

A newly illustrated version of the National Space Society publication Milestones to Space Settlement: An NSS Roadmap is now available in three new formats from nss.org/roadmap:

(1) A free downloadable PDF edition [6 MB]

(2) a free online full-screen flip-book edition

(3) a quality full-color magazine-style printed edition for $9.95 (think Father’s Day?)

Some new and striking art work appears for the first time in these new editions of the NSS Roadmap. Let these artists show you some of the possible paths to space development and settlement. These new editions provide additional ways to read and distribute this material to help promote the NSS Vision.

The NSS Roadmap to Space Settlement discusses milestones to be reached for the settlement of four destinations: the Moon, Mars, asteroids, and orbital space settlements. The Roadmap takes no stand on which may or should come first but supports all four destinations.

As originally announced in Ad Astra magazine, this Roadmap was adopted by the NSS Board of Directors in 2012, updating the original NSS Roadmap published in 2000. On May 24th the 2013 International Space Development Conference will feature a Roadmap Track and Press Conference about the Roadmap.

NSS Featured on The Space Show

The Space Show featured two speakers from the National Space Society on May 14 and the archived presentation is now online.  The speakers were Dr. Stan Rosen, NSS Vice Chairman of the Board of Directors, and Dave Dressler, Chairman of the 2013 International Space Development Conference (ISDC), the NSS annual conference. Topics: The upcoming NSS ISDC 2013 conference, space education, commerce, human exploration, science, & more.

The program is archived here.  Click on “Listen to the Show” or download it for later listening.

Dr. Abdul Kalam to Receive Von Braun Award at ISDC 2013

The National Space Society’s prestigious Wernher von Braun Memorial Award will be presented to Dr. Abdul Kalam on Friday, May 24 at the 2013 International Space Development Conference (ISDC). Held at the Hyatt Regency La Jolla at Aventine Hotel in San Diego, CA, the ISDC will run from May 23-27, 2013.

Dr. Kalam will receive the award and be the Keynote speaker during Friday’s Gala and Governors Dinner, speaking on the subject SPACE SOLAR POWER: KEY TO A LIVEABLE PLANET EARTH. The National Space Society is honoring Dr. Kalam for his long-time work in and support of India’s space program, and his support for space development. Dr. Kalam’s life’s work parallels that of Dr. Wernher von Braun in many ways. India first developed rockets for military use, but Kalam, like von Braun, has been in the forefront of “turning missiles into space launch vehicles.” Gala tickets to hear Dr. Kalam’s keynote are available through the ISDC website.

India is now one of the world leaders in space research. In particular, NSS appreciates Dr. Kalam’s steadfast support for space based solar power, which is attracting attention as a potential major global energy and electricity source. An entire track at ISDC 2013 will highlight space solar power developments and initiatives.

About Dr. Abdul Kalam: Dr. Kalam was born in 1931 and raised in Rameswaram in the state of Tamil Nadu. He studied physics at St. Joseph’s College in Tiruchirappalli, and aerospace engineering at the Madras Institute of Technology (India’s MIT), in Chennai. Before his term as President, he worked as an aerospace engineer with India’s Defense Research and Development Organization and the Indian Space Research Organization. In his book, India 2020, Dr. Kalam advocated plans to foster India’s growth into a developed nation by 2020. He has also been involved in development of a coronary stent and a rugged tablet PC for use in rural areas.

After his term as 11th President of India (2002-2007), he continued to promote practical initiatives in space and on the ground. His work with students is especially important to India’s future. His support of both the Indian space program and specific space policies and agendas in the global sense, such as re-usable and advanced space launch systems, is rational, practical, and helps advance mankind’s unlimited future in space. Read more about Dr. Kalam at his web site.

About the Wernher von Braun Memorial Award: This award is given in odd-numbered years to recognize excellence in management of and leadership for a space-related project where the project is significant and successful and the manager has the loyalty of a strong team that he or she has created. The award was originally proposed in 1992 by National Space Society Awards Committee member Frederick I. Ordway III, a close associate of and co-author with Wernher von Braun. More information about the von Braun Award and past recipients can be found on the NSS Awards page.

Over 20 Exhibitors to Present at International Space Development Conference

Space advocacy organizations, educational institutions and companies from around the world are among the 22 groups which will be presenting as exhibitors at this year’s International Space Development Conference. The 2013 ISDC, the annual conference of the National Space Society and a premier event for space leaders and enthusiasts, will be held from May 23 – 27 at the La Jolla Hyatt Regency in San Diego, California.

The list of registered exhibitors includes:

  • International Space University, a graduate-level institution which has provided education and training to future leaders of the emerging global space community since 1987
  • Janet’s Planet, an Emmy-award-winning children’s educational television show airing on more than 140 public television stations nationwide
  • Space Micro, a San Diego-based company which provides radiation-hardened space electronics products to NASA, the US Air Force, and other space groups
  • Yuri’s Night, a global non-profit which celebrates humanity’s past, present and future in space each April at hundreds of parties and events around the world
  • Students for the Exploration and Development of Space (SEDS), a student-run organization with over 30 chapters that uses education and outreach to promote space exploration
  • Nanosatisfi, a Bay Area space startup which offers convenient, affordable, on-demand access to space via shared satellites

“We’re very excited that such a diverse set of organizations will be presenting to the world at this year’s ISDC,” said ISDC Exhibits Coordinator Veronica Ann Zabala-Aliberto. “We’ve completely filled up our exhibitor hall, and we’re looking forward to seeing everybody in San Diego later this month.”

Registration for the International Space Development Conference, which includes astronaut Buzz Aldrin, Congressman Dana Rohrabacher, and former President of India Dr. A.P.J. Abdul Kalam as confirmed speakers, is available at isdc.nss.org/2013/register.shtml.

Space Solar Power Workshop August 8-9 at Michigan Tech

A two-day workshop on space solar power (SSP) will be held on August 8-9, 2013, at Michican Technological University, Houghton, Michigan. Presentations and keynotes will be selected from researchers, program managers, industry representatives, and academics, interspersed with topical working group discussions. The workshop aims to compare different SSP technologies, promoting discussion of these technologies, and to develop prize competition concepts resulting in significant advances in SSP systems and technologies. Participants will discuss how the efforts of existing national and international bodies might be complemented or enhanced. These working group discussions will be summarized and action items disseminated at the end of workshop. Registration is $250 before June 30 and $300 thereafter. Co-sponsored by the Space Solar Power Institute and Upper Peninsula Power Company.

See http://www.ece.mtu.edu/SSP/index.html for more information and registration.

First Powered Flight of SpaceShipTwo

Virgin Galactic, the world’s first commercial spaceline owned by Sir Richard Branson’s Virgin Group and Abu Dhabi’s aabar Investments PJS, completed the first rocket-powered flight of its space vehicle, SpaceShipTwo (SS2), on April 29. The test, conducted by teams from Scaled Composites (Scaled) and Virgin Galactic, officially marks Virgin Galactic’s entrance into the final phase of vehicle testing prior to commercial service from Spaceport America in New Mexico.

“The first powered flight of Virgin Spaceship Enterprise was without any doubt, our single most important flight test to date,” said Virgin Galactic Founder Sir Richard Branson, who was on the ground in Mojave to witness the occasion. “For the first time, we were able to prove the key components of the system, fully integrated and in flight. Today’s supersonic success opens the way for a rapid expansion of the spaceship’s powered flight envelope, with a very realistic goal of full space flight by the year’s end. We saw history in the making today and I couldn’t be more proud of everyone involved.”

The test began at 7.02am local time when SS2 took off from Mojave Air and Space Port mated to WhiteKnightTwo (WK2), Virgin Galactic’s carrier aircraft. Piloting SS2 were Mark Stucky, pilot, and Mike Alsbury, co-pilot, who are test pilots for Scaled, which built SS2 for Virgin Galactic. At the WK2 controls were Virgin Galactic’s Chief Pilot Dave Mackay, assisted by Clint Nichols and Brian Maisler, co-pilot and flight test engineer, respectively, for Scaled.

Upon reaching 47,000 feet altitude and approximately 45 minutes into the flight, SS2 was released from WK2. After cross-checking data and verifying stable control, the pilots triggered ignition of the rocket motor, causing the main oxidizer valve to open and igniters to fire within the fuel case. At this point, SS2 was propelled forward and upward to a maximum altitude of 55,000 feet. The entire engine burn lasted 16 seconds, as planned. During this time, SS2 went supersonic, achieving Mach 1.2.

“We partnered with Virgin Galactic several years ago with the aspiration to transform and commercialize access to space for the broader public,” said His Excellency Khadem Al Qubaisi, Chairman of aabar Investments PJS. “Today’s test is another key milestone in realizing that aspiration. Our partnership goes from strength to strength, and is an excellent example of aabar’s desire to participate in the development of world class technologies that are commercially viable and strategically important, both for the company, its shareholders, and for Abu Dhabi.”

The entire rocket-powered flight test lasted just over 10 minutes, culminating in a smooth landing for SS2 in Mojave at approximately 8am local time.

“The rocket motor ignition went as planned, with the expected burn duration, good engine performance and solid vehicle handling qualities throughout,” said Virgin Galactic President & CEO George Whitesides. “The successful outcome of this test marks a pivotal point for our program. We will now embark on a handful of similar powered flight tests, and then make our first test flight to space.”

In the coming months, the Virgin Galactic and Scaled test team will expand the spaceship’s powered flight envelope culminating in full space flight, which the companies anticipate will take place before the end of 2013.

“I’d like to congratulate the entire team,” said President of Scaled Kevin Mickey. “This milestone has been a long time coming and it’s only through the hard work of the team and the tremendous support of Virgin Galactic that we have been able to witness this important milestone. We look forward to all our upcoming tests and successes.”

Video of SpaceX Grasshopper 250m Test

SpaceX’s Grasshopper flies 820 feet, tripling its March 7th leap. Grasshopper is a 10-story Vertical Takeoff Vertical Landing (VTVL) vehicle that SpaceX has designed to test the technologies needed to return a rocket back to Earth intact. While most rockets are designed to burn up in the atmosphere during reentry, SpaceX’s rockets are being designed to return to the launch pad for a vertical landing.

National Space Society Adds to Its Leadership Team

The National Space Society announces the selection of four new additions to its leadership team:  Dr. Stanley G. Rosen to the newly created position of Vice Chairman of the Society’s Board of Directors, Bruce Pittman as Senior Vice President and Senior Operating Officer, Dr. Paul Werbos as Executive Vice President and Chair of the Policy Committee, and Craig Andrew Max IV as Assistant Secretary.

In announcing the appointments, Kirby Ikin, Chairman of the Board, welcomed the experience these officers will bring to the Society, stating “The appointments will enable NSS to operate more efficiently and be better able to carry out its mission of providing grass roots support for space exploration, space settlement, and utilization of space resources down on Earth.”

Dr. Rosen, whose special role will be to coordinate the efforts of NSS senior leaders, is currently a Professor at the Department of Defense’s Defense Acquisition University.  Formerly be was a consultant with Toffler Associates, Director of Strategic Development and Integration for Boeing Satellite Systems, and Strategic Planning Director for the Hughes Defense Systems and Hughes Space and Communications organizations.  His previous work included scientific, engineering, program management, and strategy and policy development positions with the U.S. Air Force, and time on the staff of the Committee on Science and Astronautics of the U.S. House of Representatives.

Bruce Pittman currently serves as Director of Flight Projects and Chief System Engineer at the Space Portal at NASA Ames Research Center.  In 2011, NASA awarded him the Exceptional Public Service Medal for “exceptional leadership in pioneering the development of commercial space for public benefit.”  He was a founder and member of the startup team in a number of early growth companies including Space Hab, Kistler Aerospace, New Focus, Product Factory, Prometheus II Ltd., and Industrial Sound and Motion.  He is a member of the Executive Committee of the Space Investment Summit Coalition.

Dr. Werbos is the Program Director in the Office of Emerging Frontiers in Research & Innovation at the National Science Foundation (NSF).  Since 1988, he has also led research in a variety of other NSF areas, including fuel cell and electric vehicles, emerging technologies, cyber systems, and the sustainability part of NSF Interdisciplinary Research.  He is a Fellow of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineering (IEEE) and the International Neural Network Society (INNS).  He is a winner of the IEEE’s Neural Networks Pioneer Award and of the INNS’s 2011 Hebb Award.  He is also serving on boards of NSS, Millennium Project, Lifeboat Foundation, and IEEE Energy Policy Committee.

Craig Max is an attorney with the law firm of Vanderpool, Frostick & Nishanian, P.C., with offices in Manassas, Fredericksburg, and Woodbridge,Virginia.  Specializing in tax planning, including working with nonprofits, he also is a Certified Public Accountant and Board-certified as a Trust and Estate Practitioner by the International Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners.  He has been designated a Fellow of the American Academy of Financial Management and named a Top Attorney by Northern Virginia magazine; a SmartCPA and a LegalElite by SmartCEO magazine; and a SmartCPA and a Legal Elite by Virginia Business magazine.  He is the author of numerous legal and accounting publications and holds an appointment as an Assistant Professor at the University of Maryland.

Fuller biographies of these and other NSS officers may be found on the NSS website at www.nss.org/about/leadership.html.