The rest of my trip to Las Cruces went by in a blur, so I am just now writing my post about the rest of the trip. Day two of ISPCS included several panels about organizations involved in commercial space flight, some of which have some really great looking online resources I want to share. Day two’s keynote was of special interest as it told a story that relates to what Mach 30 is trying to do for commercial space flight. Finally, I was able to attend the Lunar Lander Challenge, which was a blast to watch in person.
The list of organizations that participated in panels on day two included non-profits, commercial companies, government offices, and spaceports. Some of the presenters discussed online resources their organizations produce, and I wanted to include a few of the most promising ones here.
- The Space Report by The Space Foundation, it is a shame this material is not freely available considering it is produced by non-profit
- The Commercial Space Wiki by Ken Davidian
- The Office of Space Commerce by the US Department of Commerce
- Team FREDNET (though not mentioned in a panel, this open sourceGoogle Lunar X-Prize team came up in conversation and is worth mentioning because of their use of the open source model)
If I missed something, please let me know in a comment and I will be sure to add it to the list.
The keynote speaker for day two was David Baylor, the Secretary General for the North American Broadcasters Association. Much of his speech told the story of how network television went from using terrestrial microwave towers to using satellite links to transmit shows from the networks to their affiliates. What is truly fascinating about this story is which network pioneered this technology, PBS. According to Mr. Baylor, rising costs of terrestrial microwave service dictated considering an alternate approach. And, as a non-profit with no actual advertising revenue at stake, PBS was well positioned to lead the way to the use of satellites. And lead the way they did. The PBS effort was so successful, that in only a handful of years, all of the major networks had adopted similar solutions. I find this particularly relevant to the work we want to do at Mach 30. It is my greatest hope that private enterprise will be able to use the results of our efforts to quickly follow our technological developments with commercial offerings in space based on those developments.
My final days in Las Cruces were spent at the Northrop Grumman Lunar Lander Challenge, where Armadillo Aerospace won the Level 1 competition and TrueZer0 flew a vehicle that was designed and built in under a year (congratulations to both teams on their accomplishments). It was very exciting to watch, and I look forward to going back next year. I had such a good time, that I submitted a story to Slashdot about the first day’s events as soon as I got back to my hotel room. Head on over to the story for more details and links to other reports on the event.