Trip Report: Space Access '05
This is mainly intended as a write-up of what I heard at SA '05. I have
missed a good many Space Access conferences in recent years and have
been grateful for whatever reporting I could find of the talks that were
given there, especially via HobbySpace (click on the "RLV
News" link under "Space Log" on the left). This time, I went myself;
expecting that other people may want the same as I wanted, I'm trying to
So, if you have been to previous Space Access conferences, you can
scroll down a little and find links to the raw information. If you want
to fill in some background so that you can put the raw information in
context, read sequentially for a minute more. Or, if you want to look
at other write-ups, the conference was blogged by
Simberg, and Michael Mealling (look
under "Past Articles"for the 29th and 30th of April, 2005).
The quickest backgrounder available, and not at all bad, is the first
two paragraphs of the Space
Access Society home page. (You guessed right: the SAS is the entity
that organises this and earlier Space Access conferences.)
Another important piece of context is knowing who else was there. Below
you'll find a long list of companies and organisations, several of whom
sent more people than just a speaker. Most of them were small companies
trying to build launchers of some kind; some had some money, some
appeared to have very little. There were also a
Congressional staffer, two FAA bureaucrats, a USAF lootenant, an
investor or two and an actual Venture Capitalist, some students (I think
they are working on aerospace-related degrees), a writer here and there,
probably some aspiring space entrepreneurs (I even saw someone from a
Korean company Challenge &
Space; good luck reading their web site), various lobbyists and
consultants, the AIAA, the Space Frontier Foundation, and
a sprinkling of people like myself whose only connection with the space
business is their desire to become its customers at prices we can afford.
Just as important as who was there is who wasn't. NASA and Lockheed,
who have in the past sent people, were missing; so were Boeing,
Arianespace, and the like, which did not surprise me. I also didn't see
Space Exploration Technologies, Scaled Composites, Virgin Galactic, or Blue Origin. To be sure, the
latter isn't saying anything to anybody, and the first three have had
plenty of publicity.
Finally, here is a more personal background
piece, explaining why I thought SA '05 was worth going to.
What I Thought They Said
The text you'll find if you follow the links below is not altogether
trustworthy. I scribbled notes (using physical ink on physical paper)
during the talks, then, some days later, typed up what was in those
notes, amended by my memories, if I still remembered anything.
Sometimes the notes were sketchy, and often they were paraphrases of
what the speakers had said. In some places I have deliberately
interjected [something I think], but in other places, the text
is quietly polluted with my own opinions. And you'll notice that my
writing style is not likely to give Stephen King any sleepless nights.
To provide a rudimentary structure, I've divided the talks into three
kinds. This distinction is a little bit arbitrary, to be sure. The
- Concepts: fun and interesting things which certainly
ought to be possible, and even feasible.
- Hardware: vehicles or devices that have been built, are
being built, or that someone definitely intends to build (given enough
- Business: all that non-engineering stuff that just won't go away no
matter how patiently you ignore it, and is in fact critically
The Commercial Space Launch Amendments Act
Tim Hughes, Majority Counsel, House Science/Space Subcomittee
Deputy Associate Administrator, Federal Aviation Administration
Panel on regulatory issues
Chuck Lauer, Jeff Greason, John Carmack, John Powell
Questions To Ask Before You Wire The Money
How space entrepreneurs can raise money, with emphasis on private
investors and venture capital.
Keeping It Cool
When Physics, Economics, and Reality Collide
John Jurist, Sam Dinkin, David Livingston
Rick Tumlinson, Space Frontier Foundation
Rick spoke about some consulting work he has been doing.