National Space Society 35th annual International Space Development Conference ISDC2016

The Puerto Rico National Space Society Chapter (NSS-PR) invites you to the National Space Society 35th annual International Space Development Conference (ISDC): “Space Beyond Borders” to be held at the Sheraton Puerto Rico Hotel & Casino from Wednesday, May 18th to Sunday, May 22nd, 2016.

ISDC 2016: “Space Beyond Borders” presents current space programs, cutting-edge aerospace technology and innovative projects and features astronauts and other space pioneers. It brings together aerospace industry leaders, engineers, startups, space exploration pioneers, academic thought leaders, and space supporters young and old – all united by a common goal to explore and develop space for the benefit of humankind. ISDC will host tracks on different topics pertaining to Planetary Defense, Energy, Space Access, Space Resources, Deep Space Exploration, Commercial Space, Space Settlement besides others. Special speakers include Apollo 11 astronaut Buzz Aldrin, Director at Johnson Space Center Ellen Ochoa, and serial astropreneur Rick Tumlinson among many others.

You will have the opportunity to tour the world’s largest radio telescope, the Arecibo Observatory and embark in the exploration of the Camuy Caves carved out by the third largest underground river in the world.

ISDC 2016 will host receptions every day. On Friday, May 20 join Alan Stern, Principal Investigator of the New Horizons Mission to Pluto at the Governor’s Dinner and on Saturday, May 21 join Dr. Ling Ming, Vice President of the China Academy of Space Technology at the Gala Dinner.

We invite you to visit our website for more information and registration: isdc2016.nss.org

Dr. Kip Thorne, Renowned Physicist and Executive Producer of film Interstellar, to Speak at International Space Development Conference®

Conference convenes May 20-24 in downtown Toronto

The National Space Society’s 34th Annual International Space Development Conference (ISDC)®, being held next week in Toronto, Canada, features a presentation by famed physicist and author Dr. Kip Thorne. The National Space Society will present the 2015 Space Pioneer Award for Mass Media to Dr. Thorne at the ISDC Gala Dinner on Saturday, May 23, beginning at 7:00 p.m. EDT.

The award recognizes individuals whose accomplishments have helped open the space frontier and whose work has contributed significantly to the endeavor of developing a spacefaring civilization beyond Earth.

Dr. Thorne will also give a presentation entitled “The Science of Interstellar” on Saturday at 3:30 p.m. EDT. Among those attending the presentation will be over 300 award-winning students from around the world who are participants in the NSS/NASA Ames Space Settlement Design Competition. Students from last year’s competition appeared in Interstellar’s companion series The Science of Interstellar. Video clip: http://blog.nss.org/?p=4740

Kip ThorneDr. Thorne is a theoretical physicist and an author known for his contributions in gravitational physics and astrophysics. He was the Feynman Professor of Theoretical Physics at the California Institute of Technology from 1977 to 2009 and is considered one of the world’s leading experts on the astrophysical implications of Einstein’s general theory of relativity. In 2009, he left Caltech to ramp up a new career in writing, movies, and continued scientific research. Along with his distinguished career as a theoretical physicist, Dr. Thorne was an executive producer and scientific consultant on the 2014 Academy Award-winning film Interstellar, which was inspired by his work.

ISDC is the yearly conference of the National Space Society, a nonprofit organization that has hosted the gathering since 1982. The event is set for May 20-24, 2015 at the downtown Hyatt Regency in Toronto, Canada. The conference brings together leading managers, engineers, scientists, educators, and business people from civilian, military, commercial, entrepreneurial, and grassroots advocacy space sectors. The Canadian Space Commerce Association is hosting this year’s ISDC.

Online registration for the 34th Annual International Space Development Conference is currently open with a variety of options, from single day registration passes to full conference registration with meals. Discounts are provided for youth, full-time students, seniors, and members of the National Space Society and its affiliates.

For more information, visit isdc2015.nss.org.

International and U.S. Students and Teachers Headed to Toronto for 34th Annual International Space Development Conference®

Students competed in prestigious NSS-NASA Ames Space Settlement Design Contest – Video narrated by Matthew McConaughey

Hundreds of students and teachers from the United States and countries across the globe will converge in Toronto this month for the National Space Society’s (NSS) 34th annual International Space Development Conference (ISDC)® to celebrate and engage people in the goal of space settlement. The event is set for May 20-24, 2015 at the downtown Hyatt Regency in Toronto, Canada.

Students attending the conference, grades 6-12, will be sharing their imaginative ideas about how people will be living and working in space. They are attending the conference as a result of their participation in this year’s Space Settlement Design Contest, co-sponsored by the National Space Society and NASA Ames Research Center. The contest challenges students to design a space settlement, which must realistically address concerns such as atmosphere, food, gravity, radiation shielding, energy production, and recreation for human space colonists.

Students at last year’s ISDC were filmed and appeared in the movie Interstellar‘s companion series The Science of Interstellar (video clip above). Students this year will meet Interstellar‘s science advisor and world renowned physicist Kip Thorne, who will be receiving this year’s prestigious NSS Pioneer Award for Mass Media.

“The students attending the ISDC are so passionate and excited to be there to share their ideas and projects. There is so much to learn from them, their cultures, and creative insights,” said Lynne F. Zielinski, NSS Vice President of Public Affairs and chair of NSS’ Education and Outreach Committee. “We are always dazzled by their insightful and futuristic designs. Their enthusiasm is infectious and gives us all hope that we will soon be living and working in space ourselves. These students are the ones to take us there.”

Alexander C. Reeves
Alexander C. Reeves, Contest Grand Prize Winner

Each year, NSS invites contest participants to attend the organization’s ISDC. Throughout the conference, students will provide oral presentations about their space settlement designs, along with colorful artwork related to the contest. The NSS-NASA Ames Space Settlement Design Competition’s Grand Prize winner, Alexander C. Reeves of Ann Arbor, Michigan, will receive the $5,000 NSS Bruce M. Clark, Jr. Memorial Scholarship.

Alexander and his teacher, Dr. Deano Smith from Greenhills School, will be in attendance at ISDC. Reeves created The Freyr Project, an orbital settlement that provides a home and societal structure for 20,000 individuals and is designed to be part of a pseudo-modular system for long-term space settlement. The 247-page report is available here: settlement.arc.nasa.gov/Contest/Results/2015/areeves_Freyr.pdf.

This year’s competition received 994 entries from 3,007 students sponsored by 380 teachers. Entries came from 21 countries: Bulgaria, Canada, China, Czech Republic, India, Ireland, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, Montenegro, Nepal, Pakistan, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, Romania, Serbia, Sri Lanka, Turkey, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, United States, and Uruguay.

ISDC is the yearly conference of the National Space Society, a non-profit organization that has hosted the gathering since 1982. The event brings together leading managers, engineers, scientists, educators, and business people from civilian, military, commercial, entrepreneurial, and grassroots advocacy space sectors. The Canadian Space Commerce Association is hosting ISDC 2015.

Online registration is currently open with a variety of options, from single-day registration passes to full conference registration with meals. Discounts are provided for youth, full-time students, seniors, and members of the National Space Society and its affiliates. This year, local Toronto and Ontario residents also receive a substantial discount.

“We would like to invite local attendees interested in space to the annual conference of the world’s premier space public interest group,” stated Aggie Kobrin, the conference organizer and NSS board member. “Kids today are somewhat lacking in inspiration to pursue STEM fields and this conference is making giant strides to solve this problem.”

For more information, visit ISDC2015.nss.org

Renowned Astronauts & Space Experts On-Board for 2015 International Space Development Conference® in Toronto

Moon Walker Buzz Aldrin leads stellar list of guest speakers

The 34th annual International Space Development Conference® (ISDC® 2015) is set for May 20-24, 2015 at the downtown Hyatt Regency in Toronto, Canada. The event is this year’s best opportunity to meet and learn from leaders on the cutting edge of concepts shaping the future of life on Earth and in space.

ISDC® is the yearly conference of the National Space Society, a nonprofit organization that has hosted the gathering since 1982. The Canadian Space Commerce Association is hosting ISDC® 2015. The International Space Development Conference® is unique in bringing together members of the general public with space activists, scientists, engineers, educators, astronauts, aerospace industry leaders, and government officials for one purpose: to explore humanity’s future in space.

An exciting array of distinguished guest speakers is set to share their experiences and insights with conference attendees, led by Apollo 11 astronaut and ShareSpace Foundation founder Buzz Aldrin. The second man to walk on the Moon, Aldrin also serves on the National Space Society’s Board of Governors.

A still-growing list of featured speakers at ISDC® 2015 includes:

  • Christopher J. Ferguson, former NASA astronaut and veteran of three space shuttle missions.
  • Marc Garneau, Member of the Canadian Parliament and the first Canadian Astronaut in space.
  • Lori Garver, General Manager of the Air Line Pilots Association and former NASA Deputy Administrator.
  • Li Ming, Vice President of the China Academy of Space Technology.
  • Geoff Notkin, world-renowned meteorite expert and star of TV’s Meteorite Men.
  • George Whitesides, CEO of Virgin Galactic, a U.S. commercial spaceflight company.

ISDC speakers

I'm Going

National Space Society Awards Physicist Kip Thorne Its Mass Media Space Pioneer Award

The National Space Society announces that physicist Dr. Kip Thorne is the recipient of its 2015 Space Pioneer Award for Mass Media. This award will be presented at the National Space Society’s 2015 International Space Development Conference (http://isdc.nss.org/2015/). This will be the 34th ISDC and will be held in Toronto, Canada, at the Hyatt Regency Toronto (downtown). The conference will run from May 20-24, 2015.

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 left, 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 Michael Hall’s Studio Foundry of Driftwood, TX. NSS has several different categories under which the award is presented each year, starting in 1988.

About Dr. Kip Thorne

Kip ThorneDr. Thorne has had a very long and distinguished career as a physicist, Caltech physics professor, and author. Physics is the bedrock of space science, and what he has taught is vital to professionals working in the space community. Dr. Throne co-authored the landmark physics textbook Gravitation. He held the position of the Feynman Professor of Theoretical Physics at Caltech from 1991 to 2009, when he left the position to work outside of the university. His work in Interstellar is one of the results. Dr. Thorne is good friends with world-famous physicist Stephen Hawking, prior recipient of the National Space Society’s prestigious Heinlein Award.

ISDC Space and Media Track: Ted Schilowitz

By Candice Nunez, NSS ISDC Reporter, courtesy QGITS

Innovator and futurist Ted Schilowitz is founding team member & first employee of Red Camera Co and consultant for digital cinema technology company Barco and 20th Century Fox. Ted is speaking at the Space and Media Track at the ISDC National Space Conference along with a list of scheduled speakers in segments encompassing movies & television, social media, art & books, games, simulations, news, filming in space, classroom, and music. QGITS  (an online publication for STEM students) was excited to hear what Ted Schilowitz had to say about his Friday talk “The Future Is Immersion.”

QGITS: How did you earn the title futurist-consigliere?

Ted Schilowitz: It comes from the radical nature of my career, I’m one of the founding members and 1st employee of a movie camera company called Red Digital Cinema. Red has become very much a force in the motion picture world and it’s been a main stream tool for making movies. When I started, it was just me and Jim Jannard putting it all together and then it blew up into something significant. My title early on was “Leader of the Rebellion.” That was kind of an interesting moniker to establish in what we were doing by being very radical and very disruptive in a space that was right for disruption. Years later once the rebellion was well in hand, I had to change the business card title and it just said “insert title here” that just drove the press crazy. I retired from Red about 9 months ago, it was a very short lived retirement because one of my friends who is one of the studio heads at Fox, who used the Red camera quite a bit, essentially asked me to help look around the next corner of technology and all the things it means from a storytelling stand point. We had to come up with a title that would reflect that and not be some sort of business title. So the studio said that I was here to look at the future so we should call you “futurist” and you’re here to be our “consigliere” to the future and advise us. Since I was bold enough to stand up in meetings, have the courage and say what I think, that’s why the studio wanted me there, so they put on my business card “futurist-consigliere” which of course gives everybody a little chuckle, it’s nothing more than that, it’s just funny.

QGITS: Your Friday presentation talk at the ISDC conference is on “The Future is Immersion.” Can you talk a little bit about that?

Ted Schilowitz: I am talking about the learning and the exploration of forms, functions and how it relates to the field of motion pictures entertainment and what that means and how it’s changing. Also what’s important and what’s around the next corner. I am involved in a number of these efforts and what I believed is the next generation of cinema which is a project called “Escape” which I am doing with a company called Barco, the worldwide leader in cinema projection. We have created an experience extending the vision of cinema around you. I have another fun and interesting title at Barco called “CinemaVangelist.” I also have a very high interest in virtual reality which is an extension of this visual experience to have a personalized vision of the future with a headset on you. So my talk covers pieces and parts of that and an understanding of form, function and a future.

QGITS: What were your thoughts when asked to be a part of the ISDC Conference Space & Media Track added this year?

Ted Schilotwitz: I’m thrilled to be a part of it, I am a huge space fan. I grew up in central Florida so I am a child of the space generation and have been enamored with it since I was a little kid. I track this stuff, I know a lot about it, I love the excitement and the exploration of it. I was thrilled when asked to be a part of the conference in some fashion to talk about my vision of the future and how it relates to entertainment and storytelling. I love to meet all the other people that are speaking and talking. They have wonderful things to say and stories that get me all excited about space all over again.

ISDC NASA Lunar Exploration Sub-Track: Dave Dunlop

By Candice Nunez, NSS ISDC Reporter, courtesy QGITS

Dave Dunlop is the presenting and managing Track Chair of the Lunar Sub-Track during the NASA Exploration session. Dave has been part of the International Committee of the National Space Society in partner with other organizations that share the same vision of a future in which the free enterprise human economy expands to include settlements on the Moon and elsewhere. QGITS  (an online publication for STEM students) had the pleasure in speaking with Dave Dunlop about the panelists presenting on the Lunar Sub-Track.

QGITS: Last year’s lunar track was about lunar lava tube exploration on the Moon, will there be any talks about them again this year?

Dave DunlopDave Dunlop: This year we are having a number of presentations involving the Google Lunar XPRIZE competition. We are getting updates about the Google Lunar XPRIZE (GLXP) competition and their recent Milestone awards to several teams from Dr. Andrew Barton, Chief Technology Officer of the GLXP. He will be presenting at the Lunar Track, Friday May 16th, in the afternoon. Google Lunar XPRIZE teams that are also presenting at ISDC conference are: Moon Express, Penn State Lunar Lions, and Team Synergy Moon.

Although we devoted an entire day of our two day lunar track last year to lava tubes this year we have a more diverse range of topics and presentations. Last year we talked about lava tubes on the Moon but there are also a number pits on the Mars shield volcanos that would seem to be evidence of underlying lava tubes there as well. Astrobotic is another GLXP team that is planning a future lunar lava tube mission. This continues to be a hot topic for exploration. To get something into the lunar lava tube is something that has never been tried before – it’s quite challenging. I hope they can pull that off.

QGITS: What will you be speaking about at this year’s Lunar Sub-Track 2014?

Dave Dunlop: I am giving a talk on the International Lunar Geophysical Campaign. We are trying to do is to stimulate international interest in sending more small affordable science missions to the Moon. At present only three countries have managed to soft land on the Moon. If you look at a number of missions that are being planned over the next 10 years, there’s quite a few. What I have counted amount about 24 missions in development right now. Mostly those come from major spacefaring powers like China, India, Japan, Canada and Russia. If you look at these missions, there only 8 countries out of the major G-20 economies. Why aren’t there more lunar missions coming from G-20 countries? Our campaign is trying to encourage the number of these affordable Lunar CubeSat scale missions and more nations to be engaged.

We hope for example that some of the GLXP teams that have not had the ability to raise enough capital or adequate time to meet the GLXP deadline can repurpose their efforts and subsequently find both national as well as private sponsors for lunar science missions. NASA’s Solar System Exploration Research Virtual network has a number of international nodes and I understand that some additional nations are also joining that network. Perhaps there can be some collaborative project that these initiatives can mutually develop. We could see a new paradigm of small scale affordable science missions undertaken by more countries than ever before as a result.

ISDC Film Screening: “I Want to Be an Astronaut” – David Ruck

By Candice Nunez, NSS ISDC Reporter, courtesy QGITS

David J. Ruck is a photographer, filmmaker and educator, currently based in Maryland where he and his producing partner, Anne Menotti, are working on several documentaries and projects. David specializes in emotive imaging – creating film, video, and photographic projects that inspire an emotional reaction from audiences. David is founder of Rubangfilms he produces cutting edge science, exploration, history, and space-related documentary films. His latest production, “I want to be an Astronaut”, was premiered aboard the International Space Station and has been widely covered in the national media advocating for STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Math) programs. David will be screening his film this summer at the National Academy of Sciences Building’s historic amphitheater to celebrate the 60th Anniversary of the American Astronautical Society, in Washington, DC his film will also be featured at this year’s ISDC National Space Society conference in Los Angeles on Sunday May 18. QGITS (an online publication for STEM students) was thrilled to talk with David Ruck about his film documentary “I want to be an Astronaut” and the importance of having a space program.

QGITS: What inspired you to become a filmmaker and storyteller that highlights important issues like space?

David RuckDavid Ruck: I have been making films for about 14 years, I have never made anything like this one before but I was really inspired by hearing Neil DeGrasse Tyson on the Bill Maher show talking about NASA’s budget and how we spent more money bailing out the banks in 2008/2009 than we had in the 50 years in the space program. While I was not paying attention to space at the time, however; I knew that NASA was a source of inspiration for young people that wanted to be astronauts.  A contextual example of why you need to learn science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM). So are we paving the way to be a nation that’s setting the bar high for our the future, serving the ultimate American dream, if you will, this idea of wanting to be an astronaut? If we don’t have a space program even capable of getting humans into space then have we completely lost that dream? I really wanted to know what the consequences of that would be on the everyday person. Through this journey identifying this young man, who not only wanted to be an astronaut since he was 3 but at 17 he really had a full body vision of wanting to remove humanity beyond earth for political, economic, social and cultural reasons. I found this kid who had this vision of why this important and I received more than what I bargained for and that’s when I felt what he was really up against because nothing inspires kids more like a vibrant space program. If we don’t have that then we are forfeiting not just our future in space but our economic future. I think the space program is a source of national pride an example of what the government can do when it’s doing its best and why the average citizen should be interested in space.

View the official trailer of “I want to be an Astronaut” documentary below – The dream of one boy. The fate of one nation. Our future in space.

QGITS: What was it like documenting someone like 17 year old Blair?

David Ruck: Meeting Blair and following his First Robotics team, really gave me hope. Teams at 15 and 16 years old build robots to help solve common problems.  I just didn’t even know these things were possible for them to do at this age or to even be working on – I think that’s a testament to the First Robotics program and other programs like it.  I saw the potential of our future and if these kids were given exciting opportunities down the road, then that just gave me a lot of hope. It also really frustrated me when I see that, in spite of the fact, there are clearly qualified individuals out there ready and willing to commit themselves for these challenges, yet we haven’t committed ourselves as a nation to making this a huge priority. That’s why I made this film and that’s why I have gone from being someone who wasn’t paying attention to space, into someone who now understands and appreciates the young people who want to pursue these things and what they are going to be offering us in the future. We need to pave the way for them to be successful.

QGITS: Anything else you would like to add?

David Ruck: Ultimately the goal of this film is to emphasize the importance of the space program, what the space program has done for us, furthermore; what it could do for us as a nation and in the future if we decide to make space exploration a priority.

ISDC NASA Space Exploration Track: Carl Schueler

By Candice Nunez, NSS ISDC Reporter, courtesy QGITS

Carl Schueler is a Satellite remote sensing system architect, EO sensor systems engineer and applications scientist, study and proposal lead. He received degrees in Physics & Astronomy at Louisiana State University, followed by two years at Hughes Aircraft Company teaching F-14 radar, Maverick missile theory and field repair. He earned a Ph.D. in Electrical & Computer Engineering at UC Santa Barbara in 1980 under a Howard Hughes Doctoral Fellowship. He is currently President at Schueler Consulting with clients that include LexerdTek, MEI Technologies, Orbital Sciences, and Cornell Technical Services. Carl is the Main Track Chair kicking off the first day of introductions for the NASA Exploration Track for the ISDC 2014 National Space Society conference May 14-18. QGITS (an online publication for STEM students) had the pleasure of talking to Carl about the NASA 4-day track.

QGITS: The Nasa Exploration Track at the ISDC conference is a four day event that will cover four subtracks: 1) Asteroids; 2) Emerging Science & Technology; 3) Lunar; and 4) Space Exploration. Which track will you be speaking on?

Carl SchuelerCarl Schueler: We have a really packed schedule, well over 30 invited speakers plus 4 students to present during the track in which I had the pleasure working with 5 Co-Chairs for the subtracks. The Asteroid sub-track is being managed by Dan Kwon from Orbital Sciences Corporation and the Lunar sub-track by David Dunlop. Saturday we have an all day science and technology sub-track by Samantha Infeld and Bill Gardiner and finally Sunday morning we have space exploration managed by Matt Ondler. My job was really made pretty easy and I am not giving a presentation. I introduce the 1st speaker of the track Thursday morning and turning the rest to the sub-track leads; the work I have done has been stage manager/background. I’m just really pleased to be able to have done that relatively small contribution to the effort and be a part of it. I think it’s a really exciting track. We’ve got people from NASA of course, JPL, NASA Headquarters, Johnson Space Center, the Associate Director of JPL talking about their space exploration program, and several talks on the NASA Asteroid Redirect Mission. We have a talk on DAWN, a mission launched in 2007 exploring a couple of the larger asteroids in the belt, and presentations on extraction of materials from the asteroids, similar for lunar, and prospects for getting to the Moon again, talks on space manufacturing, discussions on propulsion techniques and lots of other great topics. (View full agenda of scheduled speakers.)

Photo Credit: NASA Asteroid Redirect Mission images.

QGITS: What type of projects have you worked on?

Carl Schueler: This conference is sort of like the movie “Back to the Future” for me as I started out after I got my degree in Physics & Astronomy as an Astronomy Professor and Planetarium Director back in the early 70’s. Then got redirected into Engineering at Hughes Aircraft Company and remote sensing from space which involves looking down from earth orbit rather than out to space. I had to turn my back on space and look back at earth, spent 35 years doing development of earth remote sensing missions for NASA, that was great. I had a really good time with it, but this conference is an opportunity to get back to what I was doing many years in the past and find out what’s going on in space these days after having spent 35 years looking at earth from space.

QGITS: What are you most excited about the NASA Exploration Track?

Carl Schueler: I am just really pleased that we have been able to assemble a cast of excellent speakers every single day. This track I think is educational, entertaining, and inspirational: all three! The conference overall is great and there are terrific speakers across the board so I am just really excited to be part of the entire effort and glad that I could participate.

ISDC Space Solar Power Track: Gary Barnhard

By Candice Nunez, NSS ISDC Reporter, courtesy QGITS

Gary BarnhardGary Barnhard is a robotic space systems engineer whose professional work includes a wide range of robotic, space, and computer systems engineering projects. Gary has received a Bachelor of Science in Engineering from the University of Maryland in 1982 combining Aerospace Engineering, Materials Science, with graduate work in science policy, solar physics, and artificial intelligence. He was awarded a grant to participate in NASA’s Graduate Student Researchers Program under the auspices of NASA Goddard Space Flight Center (GSFC) and the UMCP Aerospace Engineering Department. Some of his work included supporting the development of the Space Station User Information System Requirements. Over the last 34 years he has been extensively involved in the space advocacy community.

QGITS (an online publication for STEM students) had the opportunity to chat with Gary Barnhard who is speaking on the panel at this year’s ISDC National Space Society Conference May 14-18 on the Space Solar Power track.

QGITS: You have an extensive background in space related educational programs and working with different organizations in the space field, how did you get started in the space advocacy community?

Gary Barnhard: For me I had an interesting habit of hanging out in the Nasa headquarters library back in junior high school and early high school and one day the librarian there who I was good friends with came up to me and said you know Gary there is something you need to read and she handed me a copy of the publication “Physics Today” and it had an article by this interesting Physicist in it from Princeton named Dr. Gerard K. O’Neill dealing with the issue of “Was the surface of the planet really the best home for an expanding technological civilization?” (Physics Today, September 1974). I had wanted to be an Astronaut since I became aware watching the Gemini launches go up in space. Unfortunately, despite memorizing the eye chart, it was clear I could never pass a real vision test. What Dr. O’Neill offered was the vision of a positive future that I could help with, helping to provide for space development and build large space structures and space stations. That’s how I went on to.. what turned out to be a career in robotics space systems engineering.

QGITS: Can you tell us about the projects you have worked on?

Gary Barnhard: I started off as part of the Solar Maximum Mission (SMM) which was a satellite doing solar observations in the early 80’s. I provided real time images of the sun in hydrogen alpha to the control room as part of the cooperative research in physics & astronomy agreement between University of Maryland and NASA Goddard. I went on from there as a NASA grantee in NASA graduate researchers program where I was working on the applications of knowledge based systems to the domain of spacecraft systems engineering. I had the opportunity to be a part of the Space Station Program Mission Requirements Working Group in the original efforts to breathe life into the space station program and from there I ended up on the contractors side of the fence working with Goddard Space Station Office.

QGITS: What are you addressing on the panel for the Space Solar Power Track (SSP)?

Gary Barnhard: There are five sessions: 1 – Overview Perspectives; 2 – SSP Concepts, research and technology development; 3 – Supporting Infrastructure; 4 – Fostering international cooperation – focusing the government/industry/NGO mix; and, 5 – SSP Industry Day. One of the more unique sessions is “space solar power industry day” which is intended to draw out where help is needed ..once a upon a time NASA used to have these events called “industry days” where technical people working a program would explain where the problems are and where we need help. The idea being to view the contractor community as resource to help solve the tough problem a program faces. Today space solar power is tough systems engineering problem but is one of the few options that we can potentially bring to the table that can scale to not only make a dramatic contribution to the energy to the United States but to the world.

QGITS:  Lastly, why do people attend the ISDC conference?

Gary Barnhard: We need to be about the question of not just thinking about the future we like to see come to pass but what are we doing to make it real? The National Space Society is effectively the big tent space advocacy organization with the goal trying to provide a path to engagement in space for anyone that has an interest. Regardless of whether it is just a vicarious interest, those who wish to be advocates for helping make things happen, and/or those who actually who want to be involved in building things and making it happen directly. The ISDC pulls together a diverse community of individuals across all disciplines and perspectives.