In-situ methane production/utilisation in
a very realistic simulation
In-situ use of Mars materials for ECLSS
(filitration, waste processing, agriculture)
Extraction of breathable oxygen from Mars
There is really a whole parallel
conference going on that is dedicated to space arts.
The Space Art Track includes a large exhibit of space
paintings and photos plus a continuous stream of presentations
about space and the visual arts, movies, sculpture,
writing, theater, dancing in weightlessness during parabolic
flights, orbital projects, and more. Unfortunately,
because of conflicts with other sessions, I've not be
able to attend them so I decided to try the following
1:30 pm: Lorelei Lisowsky,
Chris Robinson, Frank Pietronigro: Gravity Pulse: Zero
Gravity Arts Consortium, Parabolic Flight Overview ...
Sky Studio: Zero Gravity Arts Consortium Research
Flight for Artists
A flight on the Zero-G vehicle happened on May
4th with several artists and a video will be shown
ZGAC (Zero Gravity Arts Consortium) -
advocacy for utilizing weightlessness for
Believes in team projects
Build international collaborations
Pietronigro flew on the NASA parabolic vehicle
Lorelei flew in 2001
Try to create links between space artists
in US and Europe
Charter a Zero-G flight
Explains parabolic flight
Gravity pulse - cyclic process
Second generation of space artists have more
resources and can work with commercial vehicles
rather than begging NASA for a flight.
May be losing some of the inital experimentational
feel, though, as the flights become more routine.
Need to avoid the "turds in the plaza"
aspect of public art and not just do art without
any relation to context.
Lowrey Burgess and Frank Pietronigro
Burgess was one of the first to put an artwork
Data Flux - live interactive webcast from a
Open up a gateway to using parabolic vehicles,
e.g. dealing with NASA policies and FAA regulations.
Interacting with a robotic structure during
Celestine Star of Golden Star Media,
Virual World Studios - Panel
Puts together arts and video media productions
Went on parabolic flight to video the performances
on the flights
Had to uplink onboard video to a satellite and from
there to a station on earth
27 people were on the Thursday flight. Chaotic at
One project involved setting up an enclosed area
with black cloth with blacklight illumination. It
would be simple to set up on earth but for the flight
one must deal with technical and regulatory challenges.
Creating a documentary based on the flights
Only recently has internet connectivity from aircraft
Connection tends to break during dive.
EBDO high bandwidth cell phone.
Several airlines are planning to offer connections
to terrestrial EBDO
Use blue backgrounds for later alteration of background
Keyed costumes can be used to change what the performer
Images projected on the dancer.
3:20 pm: Panel Discussion:
While waiting for our miracle - in space elevator track...
Vladimir Chobotov, Jordin Kare, Geoff Landis, Tom Nugent,
Steven Patamia - I came in late to this meetiing so
I missed most of the first presentation.
Presentation about orbital debris.
Growth rate over time
Size variation and density
Effects on space elevator design and operations
About 5 know instances of collisions between debris
Can get exponential growth over time of debris
if "business continues as usal"
450 objects in GEO are drifting, no longer under
Power beaming for space elevators and other
For space elevator - e.g. solar too slow, chemical
too feeble, etc.
Power beaming looks to be only feasible way
to power the climbers
Laser power beaming works
Optics are easy
"Simple" problem for adaptive optics
No such lasers exist that
Megawatt power (5-6 MW for 20 T climber)
High beam quality
run for days
Current free electron laser 1 kW costs $30M.
A Megawatt free laser would cost $1B
100 kW diode pumped alkalai laser looks like
it might scale to 1M. Should work in theory but
needs to be proved.
Might be suitable for beaming power to a
So might get NASA money for high power laser
Thinks his laser launch approach has advantages
over laser launch
Can use arrays of small existing lasers.
Development cost vs performance has a big
advantage over space elevator since the latter
must be built in total to test it.
No miracles needed for laser launch. Suitable
lasers (e.g. fiber lasers) are now available.
Possible Centennial Challenges for power beaming
beam a little power a long way
10 KM sideways
Track a moving target
Been thinking about what one can do with lasers
and power beaming since the 1980s.
lookiing for stepping stones to space solar
Lunar bases need power during 2 week night.
Beam power to satellites, e.g. when it is eclipsed.
Needed $2B for the ground infrasture. Looked
like it would make money.
Power a tug for taking satellites from LEO to
GEO with both ground laser and solar.
Power beaming is perfect for the space elevator
Tune solar cell to laser
Solar cells don't like to work hot. Can't simply
crank up power of the laser because after a peak
coversion point the cell power decreases.
Ultimately power beaming can push a light sail
for interstellar travel
Should match up a tower with an elevator since
thinnest, weakest part of ribbon is in the atmosphere.
Skyscrapers not limited by materials. Could
build extremely high structures
Any rad damage to solar cells could be annealed
out by heating them up for awhile.
Will go fairly quickly through the Van Allen
Getting larget lasers is difficult because above
welding lasers only the military funds their development
and they are only pursuing lasers that operate for
Tethers can be scaled up from "shorter"
applications. Niches for all of the pieces of space
Tom Nugent (LiftPort)
Technical challenges for space elevators
Most pessimistic person about SE that thinks
it can still be done.
Lightning, wind, twist of the ribbon, weight
of precipitation, atomic oxygen effects, orbital
debris avoidance during deployment, power
Elastic energy - cascading failure? Breakng
a stretched material releases energy. E.g.
if a thread is broken by a micrometeorite,
does the snap of the two threads break other
Can one get good answers to these problems before
huge funding required? Nugent says yes.
Piggyback on other research, e.g. other space
Volunteers - most current SE people are doing
Partner with interested researchers
Pay big $$ for detailed engineering support.
An enormous structure like the space elevator
will behave in non-intuitive ways
Simply predicting where all of the ribbon will
be at a given moment will be extremely difficult
Solar light pressure will move the ribbon, ~70km
Major solar storm will also move it
Wave motion will travel up and down the ribbon
Strongly complicates plans to move ribbon to
Moving the ocean platform to shift the ribbon
at a point hundreds or thousands of kilometers
above it to miss debris is a non-trivial problem.
How such a big thing will move is tough to predict
Absorbing a traveling wave at the platform end
is also a difficult problem. If done incorrectly
(i.e. with an impedance mismatch) there will be
a reflected wave produced.
Space elevator may not be impossible but it
is REALLY hard.
One may understand individual elements but how
they all will interact is extremely difficult
to model. Building a test requires building the
5 , 2006 - Presentation Notes
9:00 am: Eric Anderson (Space
Adventures)... Eric Anderson reports
on the company and space related tourist experiences:
The company has had steady growth since it was founded
in the 1990s. (Even during the recession and the period
following the Columbia accident.)
Reviewed the types of things they offer:
High altitude MIG flights
A lot of people in the queue for ISS flights in
the coming years
Gave a photo review of Olsen's flight
Explorer project in collaboration with Prodea
and Russia firm
Shows an old image of the Cosmopolis on the
UAE & Singapore spaceport projects.
No substantive info or diagrams
Circumlunar mission with modified Soyuz
Thinks that by the end of the decade there will
be a private mission around the Moon
9:30 am: Greg Olsen ...
Brief remarks about his flight.
Greatest experience of his life except for the birth
of his daughter.
Lots of lifelong connections made via the experience.
Spending lots of time speaking to student groups,
using space to attract them to science and engineering.
Would love to go again. Seriously thinking about
9:40 am: Peter Diamandis
PRIZE Foundation & ZERO-G)....
Discussed the XP Cup event and other projects that he
is involved in:
10:50 am: Panel Discussion:
Back to the Moon, On to Mars ... First of several
sessions scheduled throughout the day on the lunar exploration
program. Louis Friedman
John Connelly (NASA) gave the background
to the Exploration Systems Architecture Study (ESAS).
Claims physics pushes them to a repeat of Apollo
Some features will apply later to Mars, e.g.
CEV crew of 6 maybe don't need that many for the
Moon but that's the minimum for a Mars mission.
The basic design of the CLV/CaLV is set, though
some details may change such as the type of engines.
Will be able to reach any part of the Moon from
equator to the poles.
Discusses lunar surface operations and whre
a base might be located
Exploration Roadmap answers the questions about
what will happen with the Shuttle (retire in 2010),
what's the purpose of the ISS (research facility
supporting the exploration program), and Moon
or Mars? Both.
Dietrich Vennemann discusses he European
Aurora long term R&D plan
Not very positive about support for the Kliper
Chris McKay - program scientist for NASA's
robotic lunar exploration plan
Using the Moon to prepare for human exploration
Biological life support - test on the Moon
Go to the Moon to grow life there.
Regolith O2, polar H2O
Preparing for Mars via the Moon:
High fidelty analog with real risks and challenges
Build experience in long duration and remote
Need long term moonbase
Astronauts trained in science
In a list of about 20 Mars base characteristics,
only two were not shared with Moon (exobiology
research and flying UAVs)
Will probably send a plant to Mars before sending
Doesn't believe there is a conflict between
a long term Moon base and a Mars program.
US McMurdo Station in Antarctica has been
continuously occupied for 50 years. Sees it
as an analog for a Moon base.
The Moon is more interesting than Antarctica
and can justify 50 years of exploration.
McMurdo uses lots of private commercial
support operations and so could a Moon base.
Again I can only sample some of the talks in the
2:00 pm: Panel Discussion:
Space settlement... Each of seven panelists got
a few minutes to speak:
Bulk cargo delivery with low cost SSTO expendables
A person needs about 700lbs (~300Kg) of food per
year. (5 times a person's weight)
Reliability vs cost
Expects Falcon 1 to go up in cost with more sensors,
canceled launches, etc.
Space tug derived from Loral 1300 spacecraft bus
(very high reliability)
Tug will take payloads from Aquarius up to ISS
Reduces signficantly the launch costs for the Exploration
Collaborating with Aerojet, Microcosm, Orbitec.
3:30 pm: Rich Pournelle (XCOR)
... Caught the last part of his talk on the challenges
of raising money for a startup space company.
Many factors influence a potential angel investors
decision to invest or not invest in you company. Most
of those factors you cannot control. (E.g. might be
very enthusiastic but the spouse is against it.)
Focus on what you can control, e.g. showing up on
time, well-dressed, etc.
Can't "cold call" angel investors. They
have people filtering out such solicitations
Practice your pitch, e.g. on people with no prior
interest in space.
Until recently only angel investor true believers
put money into XCOR
Holders of preferred shares get most of the
money if a company is sold.
4:05 pm: Dave Masten (Masten
Space Systems) ... Told the story
of the formation and progress with MSS:
Hooked into the business when he saw the demo of
the XCOR "tea cart" engine at a conference.
Had some captal to put into a company so decided
to start his own rocket firm.
He expected to spend half his time doing engineering
but finds that he spends most of his time with innumerable
small tasks of running a company.
Vendors very difficult to deal with. If they find
you are an aerospace firm they will
Charge 2-3 times what they would charge anyone
else for the part or service
Refuse to deal with you for fear of liablity
problems related to rockets
Will be very enthusiastic about working on a
Finishing up engine development program.
Have begun selling payload space
CanSats - soda can sized payloas
Looking for people with broad backgrounds. Strong
The satellite failed to achieve its desired orbit
due to a Proton booster failure on Feb. 28th
Several people began to collaborate to try to save
it via a route around the Moon.
Hughes AsiaSat-3 in 1997 similarly failed to reach
orbit due to Proton failure.
Belbruno & Ridenoure suggested a salvage
plan using WSB (Weak Stability Boundary) transfer
to the Moon.
In 1998 Hughes engineers suggested using the
Belbruno technique to put the AsiaSat-3 into GeoSat
via two lunar flybys
Lasted 37 months after reaching Geo
Commercial lunar mission possible
Needed ~1.5km/s delta V to get to Moon, 2.5 km/sto
get to Geo. They estimated that it had 2.0km/s delta
V worth of propellant left on board.
A double lunar swingby trajectory was developed.
Other options included a Molniya orbit. (Would provide
about 8 hours service over Mideast.)
Not enough Delta-V to get to GEO. Lot of lunar options.
Dennis Wingo tried to offer an Orbital Recovery
CX-OLEV tug solution.
Use lunar swing-bys to get into "Super-GEO"
with 29-hr orbit.
CX-OLEV could reach there and bring it back
The tug wouldn't be available till 2009 at the
Operations cost of the satellite till then too
Another option was to offer a commercial lunar mission
to carry out tasks such as:
Polar ice impactor
Comm and network testbed for lunar operations
Develop comm infrastructure demo for L2 halo
Would need to raise ~$250k to support a comm
program short term, $500k-$750k long term.
Another space tug proposal came along
Insurers, however, suddenly gave them only 24 hours
to provide a plan before it would be deorbited.
While still trying to get more time they were informed
on March 24th that the spacecraft had been deorbited.
The whole exercise happened over 3 weeks.
They know they could have done it.
Will try to be ready for the next time.
May 4 , 2006 - Presentation Notes
9:00 am: Charles Elachi (JPL)...
Elachi gave an overview of space science accomplishments
and plans for future missions.
9:30 am: Louis Friedman (Planetary
Society)... Friedman gave a brief
overview of the Cosmos 1 Solar Sail project (a longer
talk is scheduled for Sunday.)
A solar sail Centennial Challenge is in the works
Despite the failures with the launchers, they plan
to continue with another attempt to launch a solar
The effort so far has at least shown that a private
group can develop a sophisticated international project
and that private money can be found to sponsor it.
Cosmos 2 will definitely ride on a different launch
The Space Venturing Forum is beginning
am: Elon Musk (SpaceX)...
Elon Musk provided an update on the Falcon projects:
Began with some videos of the flight (same as on
Building a spacefaring civilization is the long
SpaceX goals are
to establish a lead in low cost launch services
then develop crew transport, e.g. ISS crew delivery
Company - spartan, simple approach; flat organizational
180 personnel now, 200 by end of the year
The launch problem had never occurred in hundreds
of ground engine tests.
Instituting operational processes and hardware changes
to prevent fuel line misconnections and similar problems.
Will add many more sensors and checks to insure
that every part, even small ones, is working correctly.
This will cause many launch attempt cancellations
but should better insure a successful launch when
it does take place.
Becoming "Falcon 1.1"
Cash flow positive in 2005 and expect to be so in
TacSat in December
Have 11 launches sold so far. Expect to announce
more later this month.
Using huge test stand facility in Texas for the
Falcon 9 propulsion system development.
Merlin is the first big liquid hydrocarbon engine
developed in US for several decades
Falcon 1 is first rocket designed in 21st century
Just hired a top manager from SeaLaunch
Falcon 9 will still get to orbit if an engine lost
Soyuz also uses multiple thrust chambers and has
achieve high reliability
94% mass fraction.
20% composites by weight
Crew system work was on backburner for a long time.
A COTS contract will accelerate its development.
Manned capability by 2009 if awarded a COTS contract,
2011 if no contract (less capability.)
11:00 am: Panel Discussion
on Space Entrepreneurship ... Bill Collins (Starboard
Ventures), Jeff Greason (XCOR),
Lon Levin (SkySeven Ventures), Ed Tuck (Falcon Fund).
Led by Guillermo Sohnlein (Int. Assoc. of Space Entrepreneurs)
What does it take to put together a new space business?
Defining an entrepreneur:
New idea and market that others aren't addressing
Founding different than managing
Expect to have failure or two
Greason - expected to work for an entrepreneurial
company but ended up founding one
The amount of day-to-day little stuff for a
small startup was surprising. At big company others
took care of all that.
Levin - involved with XM Satellite Radio.
Sat radio had features not available with traditional
Always thought it would work despite all the
Now with a company applying for COTS contract.
Customer, customer - point of a business is to create
Managing growth has become the number one problem
Finding first rate people is a big challenge.
People who have worked only in aerospace from
the start "are useless".
Aerospace has primarily been serving a government
Need people with broad experience.
How is space different than other industries
Greason - overcoming belief that certain things
have been tried and found not to work. In fact,
just because government didn't accomplish something
doesn't mean that it is impossible.
SpaceX - government mostly initially
Zero-G - people want to try weightlessness
Components needed for future big space projects.
XCOR found that there were customers for pieces
of rocket systems.
Someday will build a spaceship out of catalog
pm: Burt Rutan (Scaled
Composites) ... Burt gave the luncheon
talk. He warned that some in the audience might be offended
by some of the things he would say but he noted that
lunch speakers are usually humorous and so they take
his remarks as his attempts at humor.
Started with a SS1 video
Noted that for this hi-tech, space aware audience
the SS1 vehicle is now just an antique in a museum!
His customer for the SS1 was great because he accepted
that new technology was needed and left its development
up to them.
The current customer is even better since because
of ITAR rules restricting technology sharing he doesn't
even have to show the design details to him.
Burt wants to go to the Moon before he dies.
His grand children should be able to go even farther
out into the solar system
He repeatedly emphasized the need for technological
breakthroughs that will bring safe, robust spaceflight.
He then commented on the CEV architecture:
CEV program makes no sense
Forced to use only technology that they know
Should instead pioneer better ways to do things.
Won't learn anything new with current plans
Can't understand the CEV except as a "training
program" for a young generation of new engineers
or as an exercise in "archeology"
If he were administrator he admitted that all
of the pressures on him would probably force him
towards a similar design. But he told Griffin
that if he were administrator he would call a
press conference and scream "THIS IS STUPID"
and then go back to work.
He then switched to a discussion of the X-15 and
He compared a number of design and performance
features for the SS1 and X-15 and the SS1 was
far from the hairy edges where the X-15 lived.
Burt disagrees with the recent commercial spaceflight
regulatory approach that focuses on protecting
the uninvolved public and not on the passengers
Burt thinks that a focus on the passengers would
push the development of new tech breakthroughs.
Too much effort will be spent to prevent what
is athe extremely small chance that someone on
the ground will be hurt by a commercial spaceflight
He fought to have commercial spacecraft regulated
by the FAA aviation section. He thought this was
especially applicable to his air launch approach
which uses a carrier aircraft, a glide landing
of the space vehicle, etc.
Recognizes that new technology can't be certified
just like an aircraft with standard technology.
Applauds AST for allowing for experimental permits
to test commercial vehicles.
Those working on commercial vehicles should
be required to fly their own families first before
any customers fly.
Investment in commercial space
About $1B already committed to commercial spaceports
even before any vehicle is ready.
Indicates that plenty of investment will appear
if such a vehicle appears.
Expects investment in commercial manned spaceflight
will grow in the next 15 years up to as much as
half of what NASA is spending and will be much,
much more cost effective than NASA's spending.
He strongly believes that safe, robust orbital
spaceflight systems can be developed but he can't
prove it. It will require the development of breakthrough
He thinks it will be proven for suborbital spaceflight
and that's why he wants to start with that. If he
knew how to do safe orbital he would go directly
He thinks there will be lots of applications for
commercial suborbital vehicles in addition to space
tourism. Expects total market to be much larger
than most people predict it will be.
He was rather snarky about other commercial
Noted that none of the other X PRIZE competitors
have flown to space since SS1 won the competition.
Referred dismissively to rocket racing as flying
antique airplanes with rockets.
Came back to the theme of the need for developing
breakthrough technologies when asked about how
he would go to the Moon.
When asked about the biggest challenges of the
SS1 program he cited the cantilevered propulsion
sysem and the feathering reentry system. Even
his Scaled Composites co-workers had big doubts
about it and he had to show complete confidence
About a dozen or so of the "founders",
i.e. members of the group of first 100 passengers
who have paid for their tickets on the SS2, were asked
to stand up.