Space Access '15 Conference Info and Agenda

April 30th - May 2nd

at the Radisson Hotel Phoenix North

Final Pre-Conference Online Update 4/27/15

Conference Hotel & Room Reservations

Conference Registration

Conference Schedule

Travel Information

Conference Style

Speaker Information

Supporting The Conference

Space Access Conference Background

Space Access Society's 2015 conference on the technology, business, and politics of radically cheaper space transportation will feature a cross-section of the growing cheap access community, talking about what's going on now and what will be happening next, in a fast-paced intensive informal atmosphere, single-track throughout so you don't have to miss anything.

Confirmed launch-project & space-hardware presenters so far: Altius Space Machines, CubeCab, DARPA ALASA, EXOS Aerospace Systems & Technologies, Frontier Astronautics, Masten Space Systems, Moon Express, Tethers Unlimited, Virgin Galactic, XCOR Aerospace, plus sessions on what you'll need to know to start your own space venture (that'll also help if you're working at one, or thinking of investing in one) - rocket development safety, 3d printing hype & reality, complex-systems mission-assurance, government regulations, NASA Ames and JSC commercial cooperation opportunities. We'll also have reports on high-end student & amateur rocket hardware projects, talks by well-known space writers/bloggers (Jeff Foust, Clark Lindsey, Charles Lurio, Doug Messier, Rand Simberg, Henry Spencer), and multiple sessions plus a special guest program segment about now that cheap orbital access is near, how do we start affordably taking the next big steps outwards to the Moon, Mars, and beyond?

Space Access has been described as a "Hackers" conference for rocket people, with better content than many other space conferences costing many times more. It's two-and-a-half days of total immersion in making the future happen. This year's edition, SA'15, is just days away – make those travel arrangements now, reserve your room while our hotel still hasn't filled up, register online while you still can, and be there!

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Conference Hotel & Room Reservations

SA'15 is at the Radisson Hotel Phoenix North, 10220 N Metro Parkway E in Phoenix Arizona, fifteen freeway miles from the Phoenix Airport, with Space Access conference room rates of $99 a night plus tax, rate includes a 25% discount on the hotel full-breakfast buffet. Reserve your room at our rate, or call the Radisson at 602 997-5900 and ask for the "Space Access Conference" rate (good for up to three days before and after our dates if you want to do a little late-spring southwestern touristing.) The forecast for our dates is sunny & dry, low-to-mid nineties days, overnight lows in the high sixties. The hotel has a fine courtyard pool and pool-deck – pack accordingly.

Attendees at SA'13 may recognize the address - yes, this is the same location, on the northeast quadrant of the ring road around Phoenix Metrocenter Mall, with a wide variety of restaurants and shopping a short walk away, extensively renovated under a new owner.

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Conference Registration

SA'15 registration is $120 in advance, $140 at the door, student rate $40 in advance and $50 at the door. The day rate will be $60 ($20 student) available at the door only. You can register in advance by mailing a check, along with your name, email, and desired organization name (if any) for your badge to Space Access '15, PO Box 16034, Phoenix AZ 85011, or register online via Paypal or your credit card.

Tuesday April 28th is the preregistration deadlineonline registration will close down after midnight, and mailed registrations must be received by Tuesday.

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Conference Schedule

Summary: SA'15 Registration (Main Ballroom Lobby) and Hospitality (156 & 158) will be opening around noon on Thursday April 30th. We'll be starting conference programming in the Main Ballroom at 1:30 pm, running (with breaks) till after 10 pm Thursday. Registration and Hospitality will open at 8 am Friday and Saturday, and Friday May 1st sessions will run from 9 am till after 10 pm, then Saturday May 2nd sessions 9 am till after 6 pm, with hanging out, talking and partying to follow Saturday night till late.

Should you arrive in the evening after Registration has closed, just go on in and catch the sessions, and get registered the next morning.

Check the conference program book for any late schedule changes that may matter to you. Last-second changes during the conference itself (if any) will be announced and handwritten onto the program schedule posted by Registration.

Presentations Timeline

Thursday April 30th

Morning setup will be underway. Please stay out of the ballroom, ballroom lobby, and Hospitality rooms unless you have business there.

NoonishHospitality (156 & 158) and Registration (Main Ballroom Lobby) will open.

Oneish Main Ballroom will open.

1:30 pm – Henry Vanderbilt your Conference Manager gives a brief welcome and sets the scene.

1:40 pm - Henry Spencer on Building Rockets Without Killing Yourself (Much): Rocket Safety 101.

2:25 pm - Dr Peter Swan of the International Space Elevator Consortium on Space Elevators, $500 per pound to GEO, based on a four year study by the International Academy of Astronautics.

2:45 pm - Virgin Galactic, Will Pomerantz, VP, Special Projects, will discuss where LauncherOne and SpaceShip 2 are headed.

3:30 pm - <break>

4:00 pm - NASA JSC Commercial Space Capabilities Office, Dennis Stone, Project Executive, on the Collaborations for Commercial Space Capabilities (CCSC) initiative.

4:20 pm - Ken Biba, of the Carmack-Prize winning AEROPAC team, on the ARLISS Extreme 2-stage 100,000-feet recoverable CANSAT-launcher project.

4:40 pm - FAA AST, Pam Underwood, Deputy Division Manager, Operations Integration Division, on Transition of Traditional Government Space to Commercial Space.

5:10 pm - Robert Watzlavick will report on his ongoing development of a liquid bipropellant rocket motor.

5:30 pm - Separating Facts From Hype In Current 3D Printing Technology, Plus Future Possibilities Earthbound And Elsewhere, presentation by Rich Cameron and Joan Horvath, Nonscriptum LLC, consultants on uses of 3D printing and maker technologies.

6:00 pm - <dinner break>

8:00 pm – Panel: The Commercial Smallsat And Launcher Revolution. Jeff Foust is a long-time space journalist, tweeter, and blogger. Clark Lindsey is one of the original essential space bloggers, and has recently gone pro. Charles Lurio is writer and publisher of the insider newspace newsletter The Lurio Report. Together they will discuss the explosively growing commercial smallsat market as well as various soon-to-arrive dedicated smallsat launch options.

8:50 pm - Moon Express, Ben Brockert, Propulsion Systems Engineer. Moon Express plans to send a series of robotic spacecraft to the Moon for ongoing exploration and commercial development.

9:15 pm - Rex Ridenoure on The Spinning Lander Concept For Cost-Effective Lunar & Planetary Missions.

9:35 pm - Dave Salt is a longtime professional in the European space industry and will give a talk based on his paper The Disruptive Potential of Subsonic Air-Launch, with some additional material.

10:05 pm - Charles Pooley, Microlaunchers LLC, on their plans and their new book Microlaunchers: Technology for a New Space Age.

10:15 pm - David Luther/Exodus Aerospace

10:25 pm - <end of Thursday programming>

Midnight – Hospitality closes. Get some rest, there's two more long days ahead!

Friday, May 1st

8:00 am – Hospitality and Registration open

9:00 am - Henry Spencer on Fuel Depots and Extraterrestrial Resources: Myths and Realities with emphasis on near-term cis-Lunar applications.

9:40 am - Dr Peter Swan of the International Space Elevator Consortium on Space Mineral Resources – The Economics of Mining Asteroids.

10:00 am - Dennis Stone, with A Brief History Of COTS. Dennis Stone helped start and execute NASA's historic Commercial Orbital Transportation Services (COTS) program in which NASA and industry partnered to develop capabilities to carry cargo to Low Earth Orbit.

10:25 am - <break>

10:55 am - COTS 2: Return To The Moon, Part 1. Doug Plata will be running this special guest session on his proposal to apply the successful COTS (Commercial Orbital Transportation Systems, IE NASA Commercial Cargo) model to commercial development of the transportation, habitation, and other systems needed for Lunar settlement on a practically affordable basis. Part 1 talks:

10:55 am - Doug Plata on Returning To The Moon On A Budget

11:15 am - Dave Masten on Low-Cost Access to the Lunar Surface

11:55 am - Erik Seedhouse on Lunar Surface Crew Factors and Habitats

12:20 pm - <lunch break>

2:00 pm - COTS 2: Return To The Moon, Part 2 talks:

2:00 pm - Jeff Greason on The Market Implications of Lunar Return

2:30 pm - Doug Plata on Lunar Surface Operations, and (Pascal Lee had to cancel for family reasons) with a brief summary of The Moon and the Road to Mars

3:00 pm – Jim Muncy on How Fixing ISS Accelerates Luna

3:10 pm – COTS 2: Return To The Moon Wrapup Panel

3:30 pm - <end of COTS 2: Return To The Moon guest session - break>

4:00 pm - Bruce Pittman, NASA Ames Commercial Space Portal, on Developing a Thriving Cis-Lunar Economy

4:25 pm - DARPA ALASA, Mitchell Burnside Clapp, Program Manager. DARPA's Airborne Launch Assist Space Access program seeks to launch satellites on the order of 100 pounds for less than $1M total, including range support costs.

5:10 pmCubeCab, Dustin Still, COO. CubeCab is positioning themselves as a provider of launches to LEO for 1U and 3U CubeSats.

5:40 pm - Doug Jones discusses Mars-Base Midland, his plan to do Biosphere 1.5 on a budget, using current technologies and hardware to build a mostly-closed-loop comfortable house in the US desert southwest. (Or as he puts it, his thermodynamicist's holiday.) Doug's day job is Chief Test Engineer AKA "The Rocket Whisperer" at XCOR Aerospace.

6:00 pm - <dinner break>

8:00 pm - Gerry Nordley will report status and progress at Tethers Unlimited.

8:20 pm - EXOS Aerospace Systems & Technologies, John Quinn, COO. Founded in part by key members of the Armadillo Aerospace team, Exos's website says they will be getting into the ultra-fast-turnaround recoverable suborbital payloads market, and their Facebook page says they're currently building four copies of a suborbital rocket and longer-term developing a manned suborbital VTHL rocket and a small payload orbital vehicle. Beyond that, Exos is playing their cards close to their vest, but we expect they'll have much more to say by the time of our conference.

9:00 pm - Prestwick Spaceport, Chuck Lauer, International Business Development Manager.

9:15 pm - L.K. Kubendran, Program Executive, Flight Opportunities, Space Technology Mission Directorate, NASA HQ, on a suborbital/nanolaunch capability development initiative.

9:35 pm - John Schilling on Mission Assurance, how to design and build complex systems that won't fail when there's no do-over. How to actually do it, and how to convince the traditional Big Aerospace world that you've done it, overlapping but not identical topics. A run-through of what the usual processes and standards are, how to do them right (in the useful-engineering rather than buzzword-bingo sense) if you are going to do them, and the quick and dirty ways to get approximately the same results if you aren't going to do it by the book.

10:15 pm - <end of Friday programming – don't miss the Prestwick Spaceport Scotch Tasting, Part 1>

Midnight – Hospitality closes. Get some rest, there's one more long day ahead!

Saturday May 2nd

8:00 am – Hospitality and Registration open

9:00 am - XCOR Aerospace, Jeff Greason. XCOR is currently assembling the first prototype Lynx two-seater suborbital rocket spaceplane, testing a small (3000 lbs nominal vacuum thrust) pump-fed liquid-hydrogen engine for ULA as a tech-demonstrator precursor of an eventual RL-10 class upper stage engine, and working with Masten Space Systems on methane propulsion for Masten's vehicle for the DARPA XS-1 highly-reusable rocket stage program.

9:50 am - Portland State Aerospace Society, Nathan Bergey. PSAS is a student aerospace engineering project at Portland State University, building ultra-low-cost, open source rockets.

10:05 am - Space Studies Institute, Gary Hudson, President, on SSI's G-Lab orbital variable-G life-sciences lab project.

10:30 am - <break>

11:00 am - Altius Space Machines, Jon Goff. Altius is a space technology company that is developing the innovative HatchBasket SmallSat Deployment System, ISS “Shirt Sleeve” Glovebox Robotics, Unique Grasping technologies to grasp a boulder off of an asteroid, Rendezvous and Docking solutions enabled by robotics and grasping Sticky Boom technology, and a potentially revolutionary Plasma Aerocapture electrodynamic reentry system.

11:35 - Doug Messier writes on space at Parabolic Arc out of Mojave, and will give a talk on The Future Ain't What It Used To Be: Lessons Learned In Commercial Spaceflight Since The Ansari X Prize.

12 noon - Frontier Astronautics, Timothy Bendel. Frontier provides affordable and reliable rocket engines and attitude control systems, as well as custom design and testing services for customer's rocket engines or flight vehicles

12:25 pm - <lunch break>

2:00 pm - Masten Space Systems, Dave Masten. Masten Space is a leading developer of VTVL suborbital payload-carrying systems and provider of planetary lander systems flight-testbed services, and is one of three contractors for the DARPA XS-1 highly-reusable high-performance rocket stage program.

2:50 pm – Brigham Young University students Patrick Walton on PIC 1.0: Visual Inspection Performed by a CubeSat, Jessica Morgan on Origami-Based Deployable Space Mechanisms, and Brett Coles and Jeshua Mortensen on the BYU/Central Utah Tooling Nanosat Launch Group.

3:10 pm - Robert Steinke will report on the potential of battery-powered propellant pumps, given that R/C hobbyist motors and batteries are now competitive with peroxide-monoprop gas-generator turbines.

3:25 pm - Ed Wright, Citizens In Space/US Rocket Academy, and Prof. Justin Karl, University of Central Florida, on developing payloads for the Lynx Cub suborbital payloads carrier.

3:45 pm - <break>

4:15 pm - Rand Simberg gives his views on Current Policy Priorities. Rand is a self-described recovering aerospace engineer, and is a well-known space and current-events blogger, editorialist, and author of Safe Is Not An Option.

4:40 pm - Rick Wills is working with Midwest Propulsion Group and will report on their vintage rocket and jet-turbine engine restoration projects.

4:55 pm - Jim Muncy, PoliSpace, on CSLA, The Learning Period, and such other Policy Issues as May Occur.

5:35 pm - New Models For Off-Planet Settlement roundtable discussion session. We (presumably) already believe long-term off-planet settlement is essential. The time has arrived to talk about the most practical way to make it happen as soon as possible. The purely public model has failed, between extremely high public-agency costs and at-best still relatively flat long-term public space budgets. One purely private model, bootstrapping a space media project by the multiple orders of magnitude needed to finance a settlement, may once again be falling short. What sort of public/private or alternative pure-private model might actually produce sustainable off-planet settlement? "COTS 2", building on the original COTS (Commercial Cargo) low-cost commercial system development model to affordably produce the needed transportation, habitation, and other systems, has been suggested and sounds to us viable - but is there a better model out there? If not, what will be involved in implementing "COTS 2"? Help us start sorting all this out.

6:15 pm – SA'15 sessions done. Once you're back from dinner, see you at the Prestwick Spaceport Scotch Tasting Part 2, at Hospitality till way late, in the Hotel Bar, and hanging 'round the pool deck – it's time to enjoy a traditional Space Access Saturday night.

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Travel Information

- Weather

Local weather for our dates is forecast clear and very dry, days reaching the nineties by mid-afternoon, cool nights in the high sixties. 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. And remember to drink plenty of fluids; the humidity will be very low and you can dehydrate easily even if you're not taking long hikes in the sun.

- Getting To the Hotel From The Airport

We're at the Radisson 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 and fifteen from the Phoenix Airport, off I-17 near the Peoria Rd exit. The Radisson 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 $19 a person to the Radisson (make sure you ask for “Radisson Phoenix North, in Metrocenter” so you don't end up at the wrong Radisson) $36 round-trip. 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 just west of 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 free “Sky Train” Light Rail shuttle from the airport to the local Light Rail 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 urban 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 evenings, and takes about 25 minutes to Metrocenter. Once at the Metrocenter Transit Center, you'll be on the southwest side of the mall inner 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 Radisson right behind them.

The Radisson hotel shuttle van will take you as far as the Light Rail station at 19th & Montebello by arrangement, so if you're not in a hurry it will be possible to get back to the airport Sunday morning 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 to catch from the Light Rail to the airport terminals.)

- 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.

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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 156/158.

Audience Questions

We have wireless microphones for audience questions. Please wait till the speaker calls for questions, and 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 in front of the mike. (Not off to one side of it – these mikes are highly directional.) (And don't play with the buttons; the volunteer will hand the mike to you live and ready to go, green light on.) (And give the mike back when you're done!)

As always, please keep questions organized, short and to the point, 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!

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Speakers - we have undoubtedly scheduled some of you before your flight arrives, after it leaves, or in some other way made life difficult for you. Also, travel problems happen. If so let us know (email is best) and we'll do our best to fix it.

Should you arrive in the evening after Registration has closed, just go on in and catch the sessions, and get registered the next morning.

Check the conference program book for any late schedule changes that may affect you. Last-second changes during the conference itself (if any) will be announced and handwritten onto the program schedule posted by Registration.

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. Also, note that the schedule is long, and packed, and timeslots in general are short. The upside of this is, we're single-track throughout – during your time, you'll have the entire audience. We are very glad to have so many interesting speakers willing to show up – thanks! We do 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 keeping to your timeslot, and in making the transitions at the start and end of your talk as quick and clean as possible, will be greatly appreciated.

To help you get on stage quickly, if your presentation is static slides only, you can save it as a .PDF and either email it to us in advance or hand it to our A/V person on a stick (by the start of the previous break if possible, please! And make sure it's clear what talk it's for.)

If you have video, animations, sound, or just prefer to save in PPT files, to avoid compatibility delays please bring your presentation set up to run on your own machine. We'll have a 15-pin VGA plus headphone audio connection, as well as a standard (type A) HDMI connection plus a mini (type C) HDMI adapter, plus power at the podium for you to connect to. (If your machine needs any other special adapter to talk to one of these, please bring it – there are far too many such for us to try to stock.)

Please let Henry Vanderbilt the 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 introducing speakers. Keep an eye on the program copy posted at Registration for schedule changes affecting your talk. Oh, and please show up for your talk a few minutes early so Gerry Nordley or Tim Kyger (who'll trade off running the A/V setup at the podium) can set things up for you.

We'll also be keeping introductions to a bare minimum (we figure the audience is there to listen to you, not us) and if people come up to talk to you afterwards, please ask them to walk with you to the ballroom lobby so we can get the next talk underway. Thanks!

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Supporting The Conference

As for SA'15 conference fundraising, as of April 26th we've reached $8080 of the ten thousand we need to make this conference sustainable. (Yes, we're doing the conference now regardless of whether we reach our goal. The commitment we've made to all of you entirely aside, hotel contract cancellation penalties are downright fierce.) The place raising the last part of our goal makes a difference now is in the degree of conference followup we can do afterward. EG, finally after all these years getting set up to start processing and posting conference videos online.

If you believe that Space Access conferences are useful to this community, and that keeping conference prices as low as possible for all of us who are still students, hungry amateurs, or tight-budget startup pros is still the way to go, help, please. Donate online, or send a donation of whatever size - ten, a hundred, a thousand, it all helps - via check to: Space Access Society, PO Box 16034, Phoenix AZ 85011.

(Note that this is NOT tax-deductible, as we are not a 501c-anything. It is however entirely confidential, as we have never and will never share or disclose in any way our supporters' names. Our ongoing gratitude goes out to all who've supported us over the years and who continue to help.)

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