Monday, 4/9/11 - Just three days till Space Access '12 - Final Pre-Conference Update

(Schedule updated 4/11/12)


Space Access '12 starts in just three days.  If you haven't already, book your hotel room now - there are rooms still available, but our conference hotel is filling up fast. (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.) Call the Grace Inn at 800 843-6010 and ask for the "space access conference rate" for our $69 single or double, includes-hot-breakfast-buffet discount room rate. Our discount room rate will remain available through the conference - if rooms are available. Reserve now and be sure! (Note: If our hotel does fill up, by far the closest alternative is the Clarion, just across Elliott.)


The current weather report for our dates is, Thursday through Sunday clear and dry, mid-seventies days, lows around fifty overnight.  Come treat yourself to a three-day look at the future in the Arizona springtime sun!

    Getting Here Driving

The Grace Inn is at 10831 South 51st Street in Phoenix.  It's about ten miles east on Interstate 10 from the Phoenix Airport, then a block west of the I-10 freeway off exit 157, Elliot Rd. You should be able to see the hotel from the off-ramp.  If you're coming from the direction of the airport, turn right at the top of the ramp onto Elliot Rd, take your first left onto 51st St, then immediately after the corner gas station turn left into the hotel driveway.

    Getting Here Flying

The Grace Inn no longer does free Airport shuttle bus pickup.  You'll need to take a cab from the airport (about $25) or the blue Super Shuttle van ($16).  The Grace does still have a shuttle van, and will be doing airport dropoffs Sunday morning.  You'll need to sign up in advance at the hotel front desk - we recommend the day before.  For any other questions about local transport services, call the Grace Inn at 480 893-3000, or see the front desk.

    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 rooms 118 and 120 just off the main hotel lobby.


The Space Access Hospitality suite 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.  We've made arrangements  for the hotel bar to be open with food available Wednesday evening.  The hotel restaurant will be open for all meals Thursday breakfast through Sunday breakfast - watch for lunch buffet specials.  And in the hallowed Rocket Margarita Pump's absence this year, we're working on a deal to get the hotel bar to serve discount margaritas for the traditional Saturday evening post-conference festivities - stay tuned.


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 SVGA and headphone 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 half-foot 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.


Space Access '12 sessions will begin 9 am Thursday April 12th, and end around 6 pm Saturday April 14th, 2012. Hospitality (in rooms 118-120 off the hotel lobby) and Registration (in the conference hall entrance lobby) will be open at 8 am all three days.  Hospitality will close around midnight Thursday and Friday, and around 2 am Saturday.


Conference registration is $140, $40 student rate, day rates available, cash, checks, or credit cards accepted.  If you're preregistered, your badge will be waiting for you at Registration, in the entrance lobby to the main hall, starting at 8 am Thursday.  (You can also pick it up in Hospitality Wednesday evening.)


The conference agenda is pretty much complete now, subject to last-second fixes. Speakers, if we've scheduled you before you arrive or after you leave, or otherwise at an impossible time, let us know ASAP via email so we can fix it. Everybody, check for any late changes in the printed program once you arrive.  Further changes (if any) during the conference will be posted on the conference hall door.

Space Access '12 Conference - April 12-14 - Phoenix Arizona

SA '12 will be the next round of Space Access Society's long-running annual get-together for people seriously interested in the technology, business, and politics of radically cheaper space transportation. This year's conference sessions will run from Thursday morning April 12th through Saturday evening April 14th. (Our Space Access hospitality suite will be open Wednesday evening for early arrivers.)

Conference location is the Grace Inn, 10831 South 51st Street, Phoenix, AZ, about ten freeway miles from the Phoenix airport. For room reservations, call 800 843-6010 or 480 893-3000, and mention "space access" to get our discount $69/night single-or-double breakfast-included rate. (This rate is good for up to three days before or after the conference.)

Conference registration is $140 at the door, student rate $40.

Space Access '12 Program Schedule, updated as of 4/11/12

Speakers, if we've scheduled you before you're arriving or after you're leaving, or if there's any other problem, let us know ASAP at

Thursday April 12

9 am - Henry Vanderbilt, your SA'12 Conference Manager, with a brief welcome

9:05 - Henry Spencer, "Beyond Chemical Rockets: Overview and Near-Term Options"

9:55 - Keith Henson, "$100 a kg to GEO with Beamed Energy Propulsion"

10:15 - Students for the Exploration and Development of Space, Sara Meschberger

10:25 - break

11 am - Liftport, Frank Smith

11:20 - John Schilling, "Halfway to Anywhere, Part II: Groundwork For Going Beyond LEO"

11:50 - Rick Maschek, Sugar Shot To Space

12:10 - Commercial Spaceflight Federation, Alex Saltman, Executive Director

12:25 - break for lunch

2 pm - David Hoerr, "The Rocket Company, 10 Years After"

2:20 - Ed Wright of Citizens In Space, on "Citizen Science: 'Pump Priming' For Suborbital"

2:35 - Bruce Pittman, NASA Ames, "Barriers And Opportunities For Reusable Launch Vehicles"

3 pm - Space Studies Institute, Gary Hudson, President (do not miss - we can say no more)

3:30 - break

4:05 - Dallas Bienhoff, "Payload Requirements For A Low Cost Reusable Launch Vehicle"

4:35 - Team Phoenicia, Will Baird

5:05 - Spaceworthy, Ed De Reyes, "Roadblocks To Licensing and Permitting: We Have Met The Enemy, And He Is Us"

5:25 - National Space Society, Paul Damphousse, Executive Director

5:40 - Stratofox Aerospace Tracking & Recovery Team, Ian Kluft

6 pm - break for dinner

8 pm - Scott Tibbitts, eSpace, "From the Hardware Store to Pluto: Adventures in Space Entrepreneurship"

8:30 - Altius Space Machines, Jon Goff

9 pm - Garvey Space, John Garvey

9:30 - Rocketplane Global, Chuck Lauer

9:50 - Matt Cannella, "HySoR Hybrid Sounding Rocket"

10:05 - end of day's schedule. Begin celebrating Yuri's Night, sponsored by Phoenix Chapters of AIAA and NSS! (Don't overdo it, there are two full days still ahead.)

Friday April 13th

9 am - XCOR Aerospace, Mark Street

9:45 - United Launch Alliance, Frank Zegler

10:30 - break

11:05 - Panel: World Space Programs & Prospects - Jeff Foust, Clark Lindsey, Doug Messier, Dave Salt

11:50 - Max Vozoff, mv2space

12:20 - Ben Brockert, "Encouraging STEM Education In The US"

12:30 pm - break for lunch

2 pm - NASA OCT, Dr. Laguduva Kubendran

2:45 - Lasermotive, Jordin Kare

3 pm - Jordin Kare on Recent Laser Propulsion Work

3:30 - break

4:05 - Orbital Outfitters, Jeff Feige

4:35 - Masten Space, Dave Masten

5:20 - Henry Spencer, "Lessons From Smallsats for Small Launchers"

5:45 - Rick Tumlinson, on the EarthLight Institute

5:55 - break for dinner

8 pm - Phil Chapman, "Reviving Human Spaceflight"

8:20 - Panel: Newspace Lessons Learned - Gary Hudson, Henry Spencer, Henry Vanderbilt

9 pm - Armadillo Aerospace, Ben Brockert

9:30 - JP Aerospace, John Powell

10 pm - end of day's schedule. Don't party too late - there's still another whole day ahead!

Saturday April 14th

9 am - FAA AST, Mike Kelly, Chief Engineer

9:50 - Rand Simberg on a Space Property Rights initiative

10:10 - Tethers Unlimited, Gerry Nordley

10:20 - break

10:55 - Frontier Astronautics, Timothy Bendel

11:25 - Speedup, Robert Steinke

11:40 - Osa Fitch, "The Rocket Test Company: 2012 Update"

11:55 - Percy Luney, VP Space Florida, "An Informal Discussion Of Possible NanoSat Launch Challenge Parameters"

12:25 - break for lunch

2 pm - Michael Clive, "The Mojave Makers Hackerspace"

2:15 - Unreasonable Rocket, Paul Breed

2:45 - Tim Pickens, Rocket City Space Pioneers GLXP Project

3:10 - Space Frontier Foundation, Ryan McLinko

3:25 - break

4 pm - Jim Muncy, PoliSpace

4:40 - Tim Pickens with a few words on "DIY Space Access: Modern Communications, the 'Maker' network, and the Space Community" (Panel to Follow, Panelists TBA)

5:25 - Panel: Policy Issues For The Coming Year - Phil Chapman, Jim Muncy, Rand Simberg, Henry Vanderbilt

6:05 - end of Space Access sessions for another year. See you in the bar!

Stay tuned to for a travel info update and any remaining changes in the schedule.

Conference Background

Space Access '12 will be the next round of our long-running annual get-together for anyone seriously interested in the technology, business, and politics of radically cheaper space transportation. The conference is intensive and informal - long days, single program track, tightly scheduled sessions, no requirement for a prepared paper, speaking off-the-cuff is fine. The idea is to get a snapshot of where things are and where they're headed next, not where they were six months ago. We have long on-your-own meal breaks (no rubber-chicken mass banquets) and we make sure there are convenient places nearby to go and talk with other attendees. We figure networking is a better use of your conference time than listening to canned dinner speeches.

Conference attendees range from students and amateur rocket enthusiasts, through cheap-access political activists and startup rocket companies, to government and established aerospace company people. Typical attendance is in the mid to high one hundreds.

We understand that many of you in our target audience aren't rich - yet. We work hard to keep overall conference attendance costs low. Phoenix is a major air hub, we schedule the conference so you can travel at off-peak parts of the week despite it still being weekend winter-tourist season here, we negotiate great room rates at our pleasant and well-kept resort style conference hotel, and our registration fee speaks for itself. We've been called a far better conference than some that go for many times our price.

To a considerable extent, Space Access has been (by design) an incubator for the "newspace" entrepreneurial end of things. Bottom line, it has been a useful conference over the years - companies have been started, investments made, ideas spread, people hired - pretty much what we've aimed for.

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