Space Access '11 _______________________________________________________________________


Conference Info & Schedule


Welcome to Space Access '11, Space Access Society's nineteenth annual conference, April 7th-9th 2011, at the Grace Inn in Phoenix Arizona.  SA '11 is our forum for the up-to-the-minute latest on the technology, business, and politics of radically cheaper access to space.  


Why are we here?  Because we think it's possible, by applying inspired engineering and build-fly-build rapid prototyping to existing rocket technology, to cut the currently prohibitive cost of reaching low orbit (the first essential step into the solar system) by as much as two orders of magnitude.


Why is cutting the cost of getting to space ten to a hundred-fold important?  Because somewhere around ten-fold price reduction, the market for space launch reaches a tipping point.  The expansion rate of the market begins to more than make up for reduced per-flight revenue, people start making rather than losing money by cutting launch prices, and investment in further launch cost reductions will start making sense to pension fund managers, not just visionaries.  This we see as the approach to humanity permanently expanding off this planet with by far the best odds of success - government programs come and government programs go, but if there's profit in a thing it's here to stay.


Mind, this conference is not just about reusable rockets.  We're also interested in other technologies that can eventually get us into space far cheaper than even those.  But it's hard to finance a suspension bridge based on market numbers for people who swim the river.  If we build ferry-boats now and start building up traffic, bridges (space elevators, laser launchers, etc) will start looking like good investments soon enough.


Once again this year, there are a large number of people in this hotel who have been working grinding hours building hardware, and testing it, and building it again better and testing it again, at a pace which the old aerospace establishment finds almost incomprehensible.  Will we change the world, and maybe get rich too?  That's a lot less laughable than it was just a few years ago - let alone eighteen years ago when we got together at SAS's first conference.  We've come a long way since then, a little bit every year.


But we're not there yet.  There are large engineering hurdles still ahead.  Your basic suborbital flight takes handling perhaps a tenth of the energy involved in getting to orbit and back.  Even going long distances point-to-point on Earth will require two-thirds to three-quarters of orbital energy.  There's no obvious easy next step here.  Getting to orbit and back reliably, repeatably, and radically cheaper is going to take additional generations of reusable rocketship development.  The good news is, a generation of rocket development done right (outside the hidebound established government-aerospace bureaucracy) can take just a few years, not decades.  Think multiple generations of new better ships in a decade.


Some years, we make more progress than others.  2011 is looking like it might be another one of those years, on two fronts.  We remain cautiously optimistic about the new White House NASA space exploration policy.  Passing responsibility for basic space access to the US commercial sector while refocusing NASA on developing technologies for future transportation and deep-space exploration has potential to help radically reduce the costs of both basic orbital access and deeper exploration, vastly expanding our future space exploration and development possibilities. 


But as we've seen over the last year, the US Congress still gets to decide what will and will not actually get funded. The most organized Congressional faction on this question remains the coalition representing districts that will lose significantly under the new policy.  The danger continues that limited NASA funds will be directed away from new R&D and back to preserving obsolete jobs.  The good news is, over the last year we've fought this NASA porkbarrel coalition more or less even.  We expect the fight will continue over the coming year, and we very much think that time is on our side.


A note of caution: Even given funding for the new policies, NASA still has to execute the programs, one year at a time. Much can still go wrong. We will continue watching this process closely.


The other front where things are looking good is of course the low-cost commercial launch sector.  The recent spectacular progress on the commercial side has been building steadily for years, and once again largely speaks for itself.  Or will be speaking for itself, over the next three days...  Welcome to Space Access '11, where you'll hear all about it from a lot of the people who are making it happen.


Space Access Style & Info


We run a relaxed informal conference.  Shirtsleeves are fine, and we hope you didn't forget your sunblock and swimsuit.  Be careful in the midday sun, you can burn fast under the clear desert sky.  You can also dehydrate without noticing it; the humidity is low - our Hospitality crew urges you to drink lots of fluids. 


You'll notice we have no formal meal functions - we've found it more productive to schedule plenty of breaks, have a well-stocked and friendly hospitality suite, locate in a hotel with a decent bar and restaurant plus more eateries nearby, then let people arrange their own groups to go off, trade ideas, and make deals.


Speaker Info


You'll also notice we run a single program track all weekend.  In previous years we found that, due to the tight focus of our conference, multiple tracks often forced people to choose between don't-miss talks.  The tradeoff is that we have to schedule talks tightly.  This means that if you're a presenter, we have to ask you to note how much time you have on the schedule then try to hit your main points in the first three-quarters or so, to leave time for audience Q&A.  And pay attention to the man waving the "5 Minutes!" (or "1 Minute!", or "Cut!") sign at you from the back.  If you actually use less time than scheduled, bless you - we'll need it before the day is through.  And please show up a few minutes early so we can set things up for you - if you have a presentation on your laptop or DVD, check in with whichever of our intrepid volunteers may be running the A/V setup at front left in the hall.


Oh, and if at all possible let Henry Vanderbilt the SA'11 Conference Manager know you're on site and good to go well ahead of time; it'll reduce his stress level appreciably, especially if he doesn't yet know you by sight.  He'll be the tall fellow operating the PA and vid cam setup front-right in the hall, in between (briefly) introducing speakers, and running around like his shoes are on fire.


And if you're in the audience with a question, we ask you to please wait for the Q&A period, to speak up so the hall can hear you, to keep it as short and focussed as you can, and to be polite even if - especially if - you totally disagree with something you just heard.  We're here to shed light, not generate waste heat.


Note that we have relatively limited bandwidth into the conference hall wireless link - be kind to your fellow attendees and go easy on the bandwidth where you can.


Schedule changes, if any, will be announced and posted at the conference hall entrance.


Note that once again we're making a special effort to start program segments on time.  We ask that you all try to arrive back at the conference hall and take your seats on time after breaks.


Our Space Access conferences have been called the place where you'll hear more new ideas in an hour than you would all week at most meetings.  We don't ask for formal papers from our presenters, which lets us get up-to-the-minute information, often from people you might not hear from elsewhere.  Alas, this puts publishing conference proceedings beyond our limited resources - you do have to be here.  But then one of our major goals is to get industry, political, and entrepreneurial players together in a relaxed informal atmosphere to trade ideas, make deals, and move this fledgling industry forward.  We think our conference is one of the better values around, with more and better content than some "professional" conferences at many times the price.


Space Access Society is dedicated to promoting affordable reliable access to space for all - ASAP.  SAS has always tended to be more a state of mind than an organization - if you share these goals, you're one of us.  Welcome home!


Local information


The nearest supermarket is a Safeway a half-mile west (away from the freeway) on Elliot, on the south (hotel) side just past 48th st.  (Supermarkets in Arizona sell beer, wine, and liquor; Arizona drinking age is 21.)  There's a Staples and a Walmart in the shopping plazas a mile east on Elliot, over the freeway.  For heavy-duty tech needs, there's a Fry's Electronics two miles north of the hotel - get on I-10 west (cross the freeway and turn left) and get off at the next exit, Baseline Rd; take a left on Baseline under the freeway and it'll be on your right in a block. Most of the shopping and restaurants within easy walk are west along Elliot, in front of you as you walk out the hotel and down the drive.  Check with the hotel front desk if there's anything specific you're looking for in the way of local services, shopping or entertainment.  Local weather is forecast through the weekend to be clear and sunny, afternoon highs in the seventies,  overnight lows in the fifties, a bit cooler with chance of scattered thunderstorms Saturday.


Next Year


We plan to do this all again next spring.  Keep an eye on our web site,, for details.  If you want to register now for Space Access '12, we have a special at-the-conference-only advance rate of $100 - after Registration closes Saturday lunchtime, the advance rate goes to $120.  Next year's at-the-door rate will be $140.  (Yes, these rates have all gone up, after many years of holding steady.  With luck, it will be many years more before we need to raise prices again.)




The entire conference staff is volunteers - they're good at what they do and we're very lucky to have them.  Bear with us if you get caught by one of our occasional glitches - if something's not right, let us know and we'll do our best to fix it ASAP.  Kudos to Tina Batt our Hospitality Manager, to Thomas Batt our Registration Boss, to their crews, and to Mike Willmoth our Hotel Liaison.  Our heartfelt thanks to all the volunteers who make our conferences work!   Our thanks also to the Central Arizona Speculative Fiction Society, to LepreCon Inc, and to The Dark Ones - sources of much valuable support over the years we've been operating in Phoenix. 

Space Access '11 Schedule


Disclaimer: We don't necessarily endorse the organizations and individuals represented on our program.  We invite presenters because we think we can learn something by listening to them.   In other words, caveat investor.


Conference Policy is no streaming of conference presentations to the net, and no public release of conference presentation recordings in general without written permission from both the conference and the speaker(s) involved.


overall schedule:
- Thursday April 7th, sessions 1:30 pm - ~10 pm
- Friday April 8th, sessions 9 am - ~10 pm
- Saturday April 9th, sessions 9 am - ~6 pm (Hospitality open till late)

Thursday April 7th

noonish - Registration and Hospitality open

1:30 pm Henry Vanderbilt, Space Access Society, with Announcements, and A Quick Welcome

1:35 pm Henry Spencer, on Destinations (and Pit Stops) Beyond LEO

2:35 pm Dennis Stone/NASA, COTS/CCDev update

3:20 pm Students for the Exploration and Development of Space/Sara Meschberger

3:30 pm <break>

4 pm Orbital Outfitters/Jeff Feige

4:20 pm SpaceX/Gwynne Shotwell

5:10 pm Misuzu Onuki, on Japanese Space Activities, including commercial and media

5:30 pm Gary Hudson, on "It's A Trap!" Monopsony and NewSpace

6 pm <dinner break>

8 pm James Reuther/NASA, on NASA Space Technology Roadmaps And The Shape Of Future NASA

8:45 pm George Herbert, on An In-Situ Resources Manufacturing Proof-Of-Concept

9:05 pm Gary Hudson, on t/Space's CCDEV2 proposal

9:30 pm Tethers Unlimited/Gerry Nordley

9:45 pm Alex Bruccoleri, on Propellant Density Effects on Hydrogen Thermal Rockets

10 pm <end of Thursday sessions>

Friday April 8th
9 am XCOR Aerospace/Jeff Greason
9:50 am Educational Outreach/Teachers in Space - Terri Carroll
10 am Rick Wills, on REFPROP
10:20 am Microlaunchers/Charles Pooley
10:30 am <break>
11 am Charles Miller and Bruce Pittman/NASA, on Propellant Depot Progress & Market Implications
11:45 am Space Frontier Foundation/Ryan McLinko
12 pm ISP Systems/Max Vozoff
12:30 pm <lunch break>
2 pm Max Vozoff, on A Model for Successful Commercial Crew Procurement
2:40 pm Stellar Exploration Ltd/Tomas Svitek
3 pm Garvey Spacecraft/John Garvey
3:30 pm <break>
4 pm FAA AST/Mike Kelly
4:45 pm Altius Space Machines/Jon Goff
5:15 pm KC Space Pirates/Frank Smith
5:35 pm NanoRacks/Rich Pournelle
5:50 pm Rick Tumlinson/Texas Space Alliance
6 pm <dinner break>
8 pm Bruce Pittman/NASA Ames Space Portal
8:20 pm Masten Space Systems/Dave Masten
9 pm StratoFox/Ian Kluft
9:20 pm Keith Henson, on High Volume/Low Cost Bases On New Semiconductor Lasers
9:40 pm Donovan Chipman, on Mars To Go: A Minimal Manned Mars Sample Return Mission
10 pm David Luther, on LEAP: Launcher Evolution Advanced Prototype
10:10 pm <end of Friday sessions>

Saturday April 9th

9 am Reaction Engines/Roger Longstaff

9:30 am Frontier Astronautics/Timothy Bendel

10 am SpeedUp/Bob Steinke

10:15 am Osa Fitch, on The Rocket Test Co.

10:30 am <break>

11 am Jim Muncy, on Some Relevant Government-Industry Interactions

11:40 am Armadillo Aerospace/Russ Blink

12:30 pm <lunch break>

2 pm Unreasonable Rocket/Paul Breed

2:30 pm Space Studies Institute/Lee Valentine

2:40 pm Panel: "Gagarin Plus Fifty, Tito Plus Ten - What Next? Three Views" - Jeff Foust, Clark Lindsey, Douglas Messier

3:30 pm <break>

4 pm Competitive Space Task Force/Rand Simberg

4:20 pm Sugar Shot To Space/Rick Maschek

4:45 pm Joe Lee, on An Open Source Launch Vehicle Project

5:05 pm Panel: "NASA Reform: The Art Of The Possible" - Jim Muncy, Rand Simberg, Henry Spencer, Henry Vanderbilt

6 pm <dinner & rocket-margarita break, AKA formal conference ends and we get down to business>

late - Hospitality closes - that's all for this year - see you next time!