SPACE Canada and National Space Society Announce Semi-Finalists Selection in First Annual International Space Solar Power Student Competition

SPACE Canada and the National Space Society (NSS), working with the International Astronautical Federation (IAF) Power Committee, the Global Space Solar Power Working Group (GSSP-WG) of the International Academy of Astronautics (IAA), and the Space Generation Advisory Council (SGAC), have organized a new annual faculty-advised, student-conducted international research and engineering research/paper competition on the topic of Space Solar Power.

“Space solar power is the concept of harvesting solar energy in space, 24-7 and delivering it safely and economically via wireless power transmission to markets on Earth. This exciting new student competition will encourage the involvement of young engineers and scientists in this important field of energy and space research,” said John Mankins, NSS Director and coordinator of the international SSP student Competition.

The purpose of this new annual competition is to engender new, meaningful and credible student research projects in the broad field of Space Solar Power, and to support the presentation of the best of the various projects by students in an international forum. “The projects proposed and the breadth of students participating is tremendously gratifying,” said George Dietrich, President of SPACE Canada and sponsor of the competition.

During 2017, the first year of this new competition, 16 projects were proposed from 5 different countries (including China, the US, Japan, the Netherlands, and India) and involving some 14 academic institutions, 8 faculty advisors and 49 graduate and undergraduate students. From the submitted proposals, 7 have been selected as semi-finalists and have been invited to present (with support from SPACE Canada) at the upcoming NSS International Space Development Conference®, ISDC® 2017 (May 25-29) in St. Louis, Missouri USA during the Space Solar Power Track. NSS invites the public to attend this conference to view the presentations and see who wins.

The semi-finalist teams include students from the following institutions: Dalian University of Technology (China), Delft University of Technology (The Netherlands), Hampton University (USA), Harbin Institute of Technology (China), Hosei University (Japan), Indiana University (USA), Kitawato University (Japan), Princeton University (USA), Purdue University / Indianapolis (USA), Shizuoka University (Japan), The Graduate University of Advanced Studies (Japan), Tokai University (Japan), Tokyo University of Science (Japan), University of Colorado / Boulder (USA), and the University of Maryland (Baltimore County and College Park Campuses, USA).

Following their presentations at the ISDC 2017® Conference, winning teams will be invited (with travel support) to present technical papers summarizing their research at the Space Power Symposium at the 68th International Astronautical Congress (IAC 2017) during 25-29 September in Adelaide, Australia.

SPACE Canada is dedicated to promoting, supporting and encouraging international dialogue on space-based solar power through research, education and commercialization.

March Storm 2017: NSS Winds Blow into DC

2017 March Storm

March 12-16, 2017
By Dale L. Skran, NSS Executive Vice President

March Storm is the primary Washington, D.C., legislative blitz for the Alliance for Space Development (ASD) and its two founding member organizations, the National Space Society (NSS) and the Space Frontier Foundation (SFF). During the month of March, a group of unpaid volunteers met in Washington, D.C. to advocate for policies and legislation that support the development and settlement of space. The advocates focused on the ASD’s agenda for the year, and met with as many congressional offices, committee staffers, and other relevant agencies as possible in a four-day period.

March Storm 2017 took place from Sunday, March 12 through Thursday, March 16. On Sunday March 12, volunteers participated in an intensive training session from 9 a.m.-5 p.m., where they were introduced to ASD, SFF, and NSS leadership, briefed on the ASD agenda and talking points, coached on conducting meetings with legislators, and engaged in role play scenarios.  Over 90 meetings supported by 30 participants were held March 13-16, 2017, but all meetings the morning of Tuesday, March 14 were canceled due to a snowstorm.

The ASD 2017 campaign has the following goals:

  1. Establish an Ultra Low Cost Access to Space (ULCATS) program based on public-private partnership
  2. Ensure a gapless transition from ISS to private space stations in LEO, with NASA assisting with development and serving as an early customer
  3. Enable the development of a robust cislunar economy based on commercial purchase of:
    A. Transportation services for crew and cargo
    B. Fuel and consumables derived from lunar and asteroid resources
    C. Goods manufactured in space
  4. Make space development and settlement part of NASA’s official mission

The primary area of focus for March Storm is meetings with congressional offices. Teams of volunteers—typically between two and five people—hold meetings with as many offices as can be managed over the space of four days to advocate for the ASD agenda. Most of these meetings are with a congressional staffer, preferably one focused on space, science, and/or technology. In some instances, a meeting with the actual legislator can occur. Notably, meetings were held with Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA) this year, who is the primary sponsor of the Space Exploration, Development, and Settlement Act (SEDS), and with Rep. John Lewis (D-GA).

2017 March Storm
L to R: Paul Corda, Angelica Gould, and Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA).

March Storm attempts to meet with the staffers specifically assigned to committees of relevance to the ASD agenda. Meetings were held with majority staffers for the following committees:

  • Senate Committee on Appropriations – Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies
  • House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology (Authorization) -Subcommittee on Space
  • Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation (Authorization) – Subcommittee on Space, Science, and Competitiveness

The area of focus this year was the House Subcommittee on Space. A group of March Storm advocates met with the four majority staffers for the committee. The meeting was also joined by Dr. Scott Pace, director of the Space Policy Institute at The George Washington University, and member of the NSS Board of Governors, and lasted nearly two hours.

2017 March Storm
Meeting with majority staffers from the House Subcommittee on Space. Photo Credit: Richard Dowling.

Prior to March Storm, NSS distributed petitions supporting the annual ASD campaign to its membership. They were asked to sign and date the petition, and then mail it back to NSS headquarters to be distributed to the representatives and senators for each member. These petitions were sorted and grouped at NSS headquarters, and then distributed during March Storm. Petitions addressed to representatives and senators with whom there were scheduled meetings were delivered at the same time. Petitions for those who were not scheduled were delivered in brief drop-offs, some of which resulted in impromptu meetings with staffers. This activity was a great success during the 2017 March Storm, with very close to 100 percent petition delivery, and a large number of business cards for space staffers were collected.

Paul Corda (left) and Dale Skran (right) following a meeting with Rep. John Lewis (D-GA).
Paul Corda (left) and Dale Skran (right) following a meeting with Rep. John Lewis (D-GA).

Enterprise In Space Program Announces Finalists for Its “Print the Future” & Orbital Space Debris Competitions

In order to drive innovation forward in space manufacturing technology and space orbital debris mitigation and remediation, Enterprise In Space (EIS), a non-profit program of the National Space Society (NSS), challenged university students from around the world in two NewSpace competitions. EIS and its partners are now proud to announce the finalists for the Print the Future and Orbital Debris Mitigation competitions.

EIS Print the Future

Through the “Print the Future” competition, EIS – along with Kepler Space Institute, Made In Space (MIS), Sketchfab, 3D Hubs, and Prairie Nanotechnology – offered university teams a chance to 3D print a NewSpace experiment aboard the International Space Station (ISS). University teams were invited to create designs that push the bounds of 3D printing in microgravity to serve humanity in expanding its presence among the stars.

EIS and its judges have now selected three finalist teams for the competition based on the scientific and engineering merit, commercial potential, and originality of the designs. The finalists are:

  • Team Bengal Tigers’ Multi-Purpose Wrench: North Carolina State University PhD student Hasan Latif and Bangladesh University of Engineering & Technology Masters students Habibur Rahman, Ankhy Sultana, Shourav Ahmed and Tavila Sharmin designed a 3D printable tool that reduces the need for multiple different tools required for loosening and tightening various sizes of nuts, bolts and screws. See on Sketchfab.
  • Team H2’s H2 Capsule: University of Pennsylvania Masters students Hyung Jin Yoo and Haimin Yie created a capsule that early Mars Explorers can use to store objects and media to convey their stories and personalities to future generations, as a means of confronting and accepting death as a possible outcome of their mission. See on Sketchfab.
  • Team ProtoFluidics’ Microfluidic Modules: University of Pennsylvania undergraduate students Adam Zachar, Laura Gaoand and Jaimie Carlson designed 3D-printable modules that enable rapid prototyping of microfluidic experiments aboard the ISS. See on Sketchfab.

All finalist entries are on display on the popular 3D modeling community Sketchfab and have their projects prototyped free-of-charge through 3D Hubs, a network of 3D printing services. All finalists will compete for the grand prize by presenting their experiments at the National Space Society’s 2017 International Space Development Conference® (ISDC®) in St. Louis, Missouri May 25-29. NSS invites the public to attend the conference to view the presentations and see who wins.

The grand prize winner will work with MIS to 3D print their project on Earth as a test before printing aboard the ISS. The project will be returned to Earth, where the winner will be able to leverage Prairie Nanotechnology’s advanced research equipment to study the results. Three members of the grand prize team will also receive R.S. Kirby Memorial Scholarships, valued at $5,000, from the Kepler Space Institute to be applied towards a full certificate program. The R.S. Kirby Memorial Scholarship aims to encourage space advocates the world over.

EIS Orbital Debris Mitigation

The Orbital Debris Competition is a collaboration of EIS with Kepler Space Institute and Global Aerospace Corporation (GAC). EIS invited university student teams to submit white papers about detecting, tracking or collecting orbital debris. EIS and its judges have selected the finalist for the competition based on scientific and technical merit, feasibility of the proposals, and relevance to the competition’s objective. The sole qualifying finalist submission comes from Team SURE of India. Team members Subham Panda, Udit Vohra, and Reuben Georgi proposed a method for performing orbital debris detection and mitigation using infrared sensors and viscous fluid force.

Team SURE has received an honorable mention for the competition and has been invited to attend the ISDC. For an opportunity to present at the event, the team will be given a chance to submit a presentation that meets the criteria of the ISDC.

To learn more about the competitions, visit the contest pages at enterpriseinspace.org/print-the-future and enterpriseinspace.org/space-debris. EIS thanks all who have participated in our competitions this year.

Shark Tank in Space: Space Business Pitch Competition to Be Held May 26 at the International Space Development Conference in St. Louis

National Space Society and The Center for Space Commerce and Finance have announced that this year’s second regional NewSpace Business Plan Competition will be held in conjunction with the 2017 International Space Development Conference (ISDC) on May 26, in St. Louis. Competitors will present their business plan in front of a panel of investors and the ISDC audience, for a chance to win a cash prize and guaranteed entry into the national NewSpace Business Plan Competition in November.

“We’re looking for startup companies, at any stage, that have a technology or product that will significantly advance the new space movement,” said Joel Vinas, Executive Director of the Center for Space Commerce and Finance, the organization that manages the NewSpace Business Plan Competition. “This could be anything from launch and propulsion companies, to small satellite manufacturers, or companies that provide products or services to any sector of the emerging commercial space economy.”

Companies with space-scalable technologies are highly encouraged to apply. This includes technologies that are primarily developed to solve problems here on Earth for commercial benefit and profit, but are also scalable to solve key long-range space problems when the demand ultimately exists.

“The wide range of companies and technologies that we’re seeing develop in this industry is indicative of its rapid growth,” said Steve Jorgensen, founder of Space Finance Group and chair of the space business track at this year’s ISDC. “We’re thrilled to be a part of the competition that helps catalyze this industry’s growth by promoting, educating, and connecting the next generation of explorers.”

The winner of the St.Louis regional event will receive a $2,500 cash prize, courtesy of the Heinlein Prize Trust. The winner will also be guaranteed the opportunity to compete at the national NewSpace Business Plan Competition, to be held at the New Worlds Conference in Austin, TX on November 10-11, 2017.

“As an angel investor myself, I’m excited to see a competition focused on space, that is intended to simulate the real world process of entrepreneurs soliciting funding from early stage investors and venture capital firms,” said Alice Hoffman, president of the National Space Society. “I can’t wait to see what exciting companies will present this year!”

All interested space startup companies are encouraged to apply on the NewSpace Business Plan Competition website: newspacebpc.com/apply. Interested investors, media, students, and anyone who would like to be in the audience, are encouraged to sign up to attend the International Space Development Conference: isdc2017.nss.org. To learn more about this and upcoming competitions across the world, sign up for the NewSpace Business Plan Competition newsletter: eepurl.com/bF4MBj.

About NewSpace Business Plan Competition

Originally started as a project of the Space Frontier Foundation in 2006, the NewSpace BPC has awarded over $300,000 in cash prizes to space-enabling startups. Now a product of the Center for Space Commerce and Finance, the NewSpace BPC is expanding its reach, hosting regional competitions and raising investor awareness towards space-related startups. Chosen competitors attend a private, 2-day, Boot Camp session, and make a final pitch to investors at the annual New Worlds Conference where a winner is announced. For more information visit www.NewSpaceBPC.com.

“Godspeed John Glenn” from National Space Society

The National Space Society pays tribute to visionary champion of space exploration, Honorable Senator John Glenn, who passed away December 8 and today is being buried at Arlington National Cemetery.

Senator John Glenn served the National Space Society as a Governor for over two decades. He was an advocate for a strong NASA along with the rest of the National Space Society. He appeared at the NSS 2012 International Space Development Conference along with fellow astronaut Scott Carpenter where they both received the NSS Space Pioneer Award, for actually pioneering space!

Governors John Glenn and Art Dula, along with Scott Carpenter at the 2012 International Space Development Conference in Washington, DC.

John H. Glenn was born on July 18, 1921, in Cambridge, Ohio. He was commissioned in the Marine Corps in 1943. During his World War II service, Mr. Glenn flew 59 combat missions in the South Pacific. During the Korean conflict, he flew 63 missions with Marine Fighter Squadron 311 and 27 missions as an exchange pilot with the Air Force.

In 1959, he was selected to be one of seven NASA Mercury astronauts from an original pool of 508. Three years later, on February 20, 1962, he made history as the first American to orbit the Earth, completing three orbits in a five-hour flight and returning to a hero’s welcome.

After his NASA service, Glenn took an active part in Democratic politics in Ohio and was elected to the U.S. Senate in 1974. Senator Glenn retired in 1998.

Mr. Glenn returned to space from Oct. 29 to Nov. 7, 1998, as a member of NASA’s Shuttle STS-95 Discovery mission during which the crew supported a variety of research payloads and investigations on space flight and aging. During that mission, Mr. Glenn made 134 Earth orbits in 213 hours and 44 minutes.

Mr. Glenn was married to Anna (Annie) Margaret Castor from 1943 to 2016. They have a son, John David, and a daughter, Carolyn Anne, and two grandchildren.

John F. Kennedy once said, “Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country.” We at NSS have no doubt that American Hero John Glenn heeded that call.

NASA at Saturn: Cassini’s Grand Finale

The final chapter in a remarkable mission of exploration and discovery, Cassini’s Grand Finale, ending September 15, is in many ways like a brand new mission. Twenty-two times, NASA’s Cassini spacecraft will dive through the unexplored space between Saturn and its rings. What we learn from these ultra-close passes over the planet could be some of the most exciting revelations ever returned by the long-lived spacecraft. This animated video tells the story of Cassini’s final, daring assignment and looks back at what the mission has accomplished.

The Cassini mission is a cooperative project of NASA, ESA (the European Space Agency) and the Italian Space Agency. The Jet Propulsion Laboratory, a division of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, manages the mission for NASA’s Science Mission Directorate, Washington. For more information about Cassini’s Grand Finale, please visit https://saturn.jpl.nasa.gov/grandfinale.

National Space Society Hails a New Age of Reusable Rockets

The National Space Society (NSS) declares that in consideration of the achievements by SpaceX, Blue Origin, and Boeing over the past few years, it is now obvious that a revolution in spacecraft technology, operations, and economics is occurring. There is every prospect that privately owned re-usable spacecraft operating under service contracts will greatly lower the cost of reaching space.

NSS calls on Congress, the Administration, and NASA to immediately begin a review of all current NASA and other spaceflight related programs to consider how the usage of commercially available launch vehicles and spacecraft that are largely reusable can lower costs and/or increase operational capability. Suggestions to guide this review can be found in the NSS position paper “Now is the Time: A Paradigm Shift in Access to Space” (also available via: tinyurl.com/AccessToSpace).

Falcon-SES launchThe SpaceX Falcon 9 made history on March 30, 2017, at 6:27 EST by lofting the SES 10 communications satellite to geosynchronous transfer orbit using a “flight-proven” first stage. The first stage flown was initially used to launch a Dragon capsule to the International Space Station on April 8, 2016, as part of the Commercial Resupply Services program. After returning safely from space and landing on the drone ship Of Course I Still Love You (OCISLY), the flight proven first stage was returned to dry land, refurbished, tested, and sent back to Florida to support the re-launch on March 30th, after which it again landed successfully on OCISLY. In another historic first SpaceX attempted F9 fairing recovery using parachutes. The fairing is the enclosure for the rocket’s payload.

SpaceX CEO Elon Musk said, “This is ultimately going to be a huge revolution in spaceflight. It’s sort of the difference between (throwing away airplanes) after every flight vs. where you could reuse them multiple times. It’s been 15 years. It’s a long time…a lot of difficult steps along the way…incredibly proud of the SpaceX team for being able to achieve this incredible milestone in the history of space. (It’s) a great day not just for SpaceX but the space industry as a whole and proving that something can be done that many people said was impossible.”

“It is difficult to overstate the importance of SpaceX’s achievement,” said Dale Skran, NSS Executive Vice President. “SpaceX today, for the first time, demonstrated the successful re-use of an orbital first stage. Companies can only take risks on new technology with the support of customers like SES that have the courage to do new things in space. NSS congratulates SpaceX and SES on a resounding success that heralds the dawn of a new age in space, and thanks NASA for its on-going support of SpaceX’s technology development program with Space Act Agreements and service contracts.”

“Once first stage re-use is firmly established,” added Chair of the NSS Executive Committee, Mark Hopkins, “the economics of access to space will enter a new era. The re-use of first stages is a step towards Milestone 2 of the NSS Roadmap to Space Settlement which is Higher Commercial Launch Rates and Lower Cost to Orbit.”

The roadmap can be found at: www.nss.org/settlement/roadmap/RoadmapPart2.html. A great way to learn more about the connection between launch technology and the NSS Space Settlement Roadmap is to attend the NSS International Space Development Conference® (ISDC®) (isdc2017.nss.org) in St. Louis, Missouri, May 25-29, 2017.

ISDC

The ISDC’s Space Transportation track will examine all facets of space transportation from the new generation of commercial launch vehicles that through technical innovation and reusability are lowering the cost of space access to in-space transfer vehicles and deep space interplanetary propulsion systems. Many examples of reusable first stages (flyback and vertical descent boosters), reusable capsules, air launch systems, laser launch, suborbital tourism vehicles, and heavy lift boosters will be included in this track as will cis-lunar transportation elements necessary to enable cis-lunar operations and lunar exploration, and architectures that enable Mars exploration.

“The re-use of a Falcon 9 first stage paves the way for the initial flight of the Falcon Heavy later this year, and is a key step toward a commercial return to the Moon,” said NSS Senior Vice President Bruce Pittman.

SPACE Canada’s George Dietrich Wins the National Space Society’s 2017 Special Merit Space Pioneer Award

George Dietrich, the founding President of SPACE Canada, is the winner of the National Space Society’s 2017 Space Pioneer Award in the Special Merit category. This award recognizes his dedicated support for Space Solar Power and conferences that cover it.

The National Space Society invites the public to join them in presenting the Space Pioneer Award to George Dietrich at its Gala Dinner on Sunday, May 28, 2017 at the 36th NSS International Space Development Conference® (isdc.nss.org/2017). The conference will be held in St Louis, Missouri, at the Union Station Hotel, running from May 25-29, 2017.

About George Dietrich

George DietrichGeorge Dietrich is a lawyer by profession and a space development supporter by preference. George is the founding President of SPACE Canada. SPACE (Solar Power Alternative for Clean Energy) Canada is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to the promotion of solar energy from space; an abundant and sustainable source of safe, affordable clean energy for the world.

George graduated from the University of Windsor Law School in 1989. He also holds degrees in Science (Physics and Mathematics) and the Arts (Political Science). He received his Masters Degree in Law from McGill University’s Institute of Air and Space Law in 2002. He has written articles on space law and co-authored an article on the international legal prerequisites of solar power satellites with Jeff Kehoe and William Goldstein. George Dietrich was called to the bar of the Province of Ontario, Canada in 1991. His law firm is located in the Kitchener-Waterloo area.

George has provided direct and generous support for many events over the last decade in direct support for space-based solar power (SBSP). NSS believes that SBSP is the only currently existing means of electricity production with sufficient capacity to provide human civilization with the power it needs. Such abundant, clean power is needed, both to raise the global standard of living and to end the release of carbon-based greenhouse gases. SBSP is extremely efficient in use of materials and land compared to most other existing energy sources including ground-based solar power. NSS supports the creation of a free, spacefaring civilization, for which we will need such a large source of clean energy, both on Earth and in space.

About the Space Pioneer Award

NSS Space Pioneer AwardThe Space Pioneer Award consists of a silvery pewter Moon globe cast by the Baker Art Foundry in Placerville, California, from a sculpture originally created by Don Davis, the well-known space and astronomical artist. The globe, as shown at right, which represents multiple space mission destinations and goals, sits freely on a brass support with a wooden base and brass plaque, which are created by the greatly respected Michael Hall’s Studio Foundry of Driftwood, TX. NSS has several different categories under which the award is presented each year, starting in 1988. Some of the recent winners of Space Pioneer Awards include Elon Musk, Ray Bradbury, Robert Bigelow, Apollo Astronaut Russell L. Schweickart, Dr. Michael Griffin, and the Rosetta Mission Team.

Astronaut Thomas P. Stafford Wins the National Space Society’s 2017 Space Pioneer Award for Historic Space Achievement

Lieutenant General Thomas P. Stafford, USAF, Ret, is the winner of the National Space Society’s 2017 Space Pioneer Award in the Historic Space Achievement category. This award covers his service in the Gemini, Apollo and Apollo-Soyuz programs. In particular, the flight of Gemini 9A on June 3, 1966, was 51 years ago.

The National Space Society invites the public to join them in presenting the Pioneer Award to General Stafford on Saturday, May 27, 2017 at the 36th NSS International Space Development Conference® (isdc.nss.org/2017). The conference will be held in St Louis, Missouri, at the Union Station Hotel, running from May 25-29, 2017.

About Astronaut and Lt. Gen. Thomas P. Stafford

Thomas P. StaffordThomas Stafford graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy in 1952 but quickly became a US Air Force Officer. He graduated from the Experimental Test Pilot School in 1959, and then held leadership roles in the Air Force, including being a flight test instructor and creator of flight test manuals. Then in 1962, he was selected for the second group of U.S. Astronauts. Three years later he flew on Gemini 6, which performed the world’s first space rendezvous. Then he flew on Gemini 9A, which is memorable for the “Angry Alligator” appearance of the launch shroud on the Agena’s docking adapter. The failure of the release system prevented the docking which was a major flight objective. He also flew on Apollo 10 on May 18, 1969, the second flight to reach the Moon, paving the way for Apollo 11. His last flight was as U.S. Commander for the Apollo-Soyuz Test Project on July 15, 1975. His leadership has continued after his retirement from the Astronaut Corp in 1975, as he served on the Space Policy Advisory Council 1990-91, and continues to serve as the Chairman of the NASA International Space Station Advisory Committee.

About the Space Pioneer Award

NSS Space Pioneer AwardThe Space Pioneer Award consists of a silvery pewter Moon globe cast by the Baker Art Foundry in Placerville, California, from a sculpture originally created by Don Davis, the well-known space and astronomical artist. The globe, as shown at right, which represents multiple space mission destinations and goals, sits freely on a brass support with a wooden base and brass plaque, which are created by the greatly respected Michael Hall’s Studio Foundry of Driftwood, TX. NSS has several different categories under which the award is presented each year, starting in 1988. Some of the recent winners of Space Pioneer Awards include Elon Musk, Ray Bradbury, Robert Bigelow, Apollo Astronaut Russell L. Schweickart, Dr. Michael Griffin, and the Rosetta Mission Team.