Tuesday, 4/9/13 - Just two days till Space Access 2013

Final Pre-Conference Update With Travel Info

Agenda Update

We're pleased to have confirmed Michael Laine to speak about LiftPort, and added Greg Mungas of Firestar Technologies; he'll be on the Crowdfunding Your Venture panel, and will also give a talk about Firestar's various projects including the upcoming NOFBX storable monopropellant tests on Station. We've reshuffled the Saturday schedule somewhat to fit Greg in; the agenda is otherwise unchanged. Detailed Space Access 2013 Agenda.


SA '13 starts Thursday. If you haven't already, book your hotel room now - rooms are still available at our $74 include-full-breakfast-and-wireless-internet rate. Hotel details here. (If you've booked a room but can't make it, be sure to call in and cancel at least 24 hours in advance, lest you be charged for the first night anyway.)


At-door SA'13 registration is $140 full conference ($40 student rate), credit card, cash, or check. Day rates for Thursday/Friday/Saturday are $60/$60/$40 ($20/$20/$20 student). Our Registration table will be open in the InnPlace ballroom foyer at 8 am Thursday. (If you're pre-registered you can also pick up your badge and program book in SA'13 Hospitality, InnPlace room 156, Wednesday evening 7-11 pm.)

SA'13 Travel Information

- Weather

Local weather for our dates is forecast as zero chance of rain, some clouds Friday but otherwise clear, days reaching the mid-to-high eighties by midafternoon, cool nights in the high fifties. Conference style is informal, averaging somewhere near business casual, and the hotel has a nice pool and spa - pack accordingly. Sunglasses, sunscreen, and/or a hat are good too, if you're planning to be outdoors during the day for any length of time.

- Getting To the Hotel From The Airport

We're at a new hotel this year, the InnPlace Hotel Phoenix North, 10220 North Metro Parkway East in Phoenix (the northeast quadrant of the ring road around Phoenix's Metrocenter Mall), about ten miles north of central Phoenix, off I-17 near the Peoria Rd exit. The InnPlace does have a shuttle van, but it's for local trips around the hotel only, no airport runs.

The blue Super Shuttle airport van costs $25 a person to the InnPlace. Cab fare from the airport should be around $40-$50, depending on traffic. (Phoenix weekday rush hours run roughly 7-9 am and 3-6 pm, and the hotel is across the center of town from the airport, so it may be slow going during those hours.)

- Via Rental Car

If you're renting a car, you'll need to catch an airport shuttle bus to the rental car center next to the airport. Once you have your car, you can take a left out of the rental center exit, follow the signs for I-10 West through a number of turns and lights, take I-10 West through downtown Phoenix for about four miles, then exit onto I-17 North. Take I-17 North for about ten miles to Exit 208 (Peoria Ave).

At the bottom of the I-17 North Exit 208 ramp, turn left under the freeway onto Peoria, then left again after about 1/4 mile (at the light) onto 28th Drive, then left again at the next light (about 2 blocks) onto Metro Parkway. The hotel will be on your right in just over a block, and hotel parking is free.

The alternative route, less well-marked but fewer lights, and partially bypassing downtown, is to take a left out of the rental car center exit, then left at the first major cross-street (Buckeye Rd), left again at the next major cross street (16th St), drive south on 16th for half a mile then just before going under the freeway turn right onto the I-17 access road. Bear left onto the I-17 North onramp, drive about 15 miles to Exit 208 Peoria Ave, then follow the directions as above.

- Public Transit

If you're not in a hurry and want to save some money and/or see a bit of the city, you can take the local "Light Rail" trolley line about two-thirds of the way to the hotel. Catch the Light Rail shuttle bus from the airport to the local station, buy a ticket at the vending machine in the station ($2 for one ride, $4 for an all-day pass if you might want to get off and on again, cash or credit card) then catch the next "19th Ave & Montebello" train that comes along.

Once you're at 19th Ave and Montebello, the current northern end of the Light Rail line, you're about five miles from the hotel. Cab fare from there should be around $15, or if you want to complete the public transit experience, you can take the "19th Avenue Connector" bus to Metrocenter for free - it runs four times an hour weekdays, twice an hour weekends, and takes about 25 minutes to Metrocenter. Once at the Metrocenter Transit Center, you'll be on the southwest side of the mall loop, and the hotel is on the northeast - you'll have to walk the last third of a mile or so - either direction around the inner loop is about the same, and when you get to either the Sprint store at the corner of 28th Drive (walking clockwise) or the Phoenix Public Library branch (walking counterclockwise), that's the back of the InnPlace right behind them.

And we've arranged with the InnPlace for their hotel shuttle van to run as far as the Light Rail station at 19th & Montebello Sunday morning, so if you're not in a hurry it will be possible to get back to the airport for the $2 Light Rail fare.  Check with the hotel for van departure details, check the Light Rail schedule, and allow plenty of time.  (Don't forget there's another shuttle bus to catch from the Light Rail to the airport.) 

- Driving Into Town

Take your best route to I-17 Exit 208 Peoria Ave (about ten miles north of I-10). At the bottom of the Exit 208 ramp, turn west onto Peoria (left under the freeway if you're coming from the south, right if you're coming from the north) then after about 1/4 mile on Peoria, turn left at the light onto 28th Drive, then left again almost immediately at the next light onto Metro Parkway. The hotel will be on your right in just over a block; hotel parking is free

Conference Style

Space Access conferences are designed to let people who are serious about low-cost space transportation get together, trade information, make deals, and learn useful things. Dress averages business casual, and we don't do rubber-chicken banquets - just an intensive single-track presentations schedule with relaxed on-your-own meal breaks, in a setting with plenty of comfortable places in the hotel and nearby to go off for food, drink, and talk - not least of these our world-famous volunteer-run Space Access Hospitality Suite, in room 156. (Hospitality will be open on a limited basis from 7 pm to 11 pm Wednesday, for early arrivers. If you're preregistered for the conference, you'll also be able to pick up your badge at Hospitality Wednesday night.)


Please note the length of your timeslot, and prepare accordingly - we recommend you aim your presentation at taking roughly 3/4s of your allotted time, to allow time for audience Q&A. We prefer that you bring your presentation on a laptop tested and ready to attach to our projector and sound system (we'll have standard 15-pin video and headphone-plug audio connectors plus a power outlet at the podium) so you can just plug in, switch your video over to external, and get started. If that's not possible, let us know well before your talk and we'll try to set you up with a loaner machine you can load and test your presentation on ahead of time. (We'll also have a standalone DVD player. Anyone needing other presentation support should contact us and let us know ASAP.) We have a very full agenda running well into the evenings, and we really do need to keep the program running on schedule. Your help in making the transitions at the start and end of your talk as quick and clean as possible will be greatly appreciated.

Audience Questions

We have wireless microphones for audience questions this year. As always, please wait till the speaker calls for questions. If you're picked for a question, please wait for a volunteer to get a microphone to you, then speak normally from a few inches away from the mike. (Give the mike back when you're done!) And as always, please keep questions organized, brief, and above all, polite - we're here to shed light, not generate waste heat. Your help in keeping the program moving along briskly and informatively is greatly appreciated!

And that's it for this final pre-conference update. See you all there!