A New Path to Space (for everyone)

J. Simmons introduces Mach 30, a grass roots space program, and invites the space community to join this revolutionary movement.

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Can’t watch the video right now?  You can read the transcript below.

If you don’t care about space exploration, this video is not for you. Feel free to stop watching now. But, before you do, I would appreciate it if you took a moment to send it to any of your friends who are into space. They might like it.

If, on the other hand, like me you grew up with Star Wars and the Space Shuttle, or going a little further back, with Star Trek and Apollo, then this message is for you.

Hello, my name is J. Simmons. I am the founder and President of Mach 30, a non-profit with a new approach to space exploration.

I have wanted to go to space my whole life. My earliest memory is sitting on my mom’s lap at a drive-in movie theater watching Star Wars. I was too young to really get it, but the images of ships flying through space and of traveling to other worlds stuck with me. As I grew up and the Shuttle program started, I believed people when they said the Shuttle was going to make the dream of routine access to space a reality. And yet, 135 missions, and 30 years later, and we are still only dreaming. Sure the ISS is an impressive feat of engineering, but it is not somewhere any of us can expect to visit.

We have waited too many years for someone else to change the course of human space exploration. Instead of again asking our representatives to increase NASA’s budget, or cheering on another rocket launch, we must take the reigns ourselves.

There has never been a more perfect moment for a grass roots space program. The Internet has changed the way we work, share, and support one another. The success of open source software is ushering in a revolution in the design of hardware. And, the gap in US spaceflight has opened the door to new directions in space policy.

Enter Mach 30. Our goal is to design open source spaceflight hardware, and in doing so, create a world where the next “Facebook” is a space-based company whose business model is as inconceivable to us now as Facebook would have been in 1990. That’s the kind of world I want to live in. Where access to space is like the Internet: everywhere and a part of our daily lives.

We need your help to go from concept to reality. First, please share this video with all of your pro-space friends. We need to get the word out that there is a new path open to us, one that we have direct control over. Send it to your scifi buddies, post it on Facebook, tweet about it, share it with your Linux Users Groups…

Second, please make a donation to Mach 30. Hardware costs money, legal fees cost money. It turns out space is just really expensive. And remember, it all adds up. $5, $10, $25, and $50 at a time, from everyone who dreams of going into space could change the whole game.

Thank you for your help and support. Ad astra per civitas – to the stars through community

2 thoughts on “A New Path to Space (for everyone)

    1. J. Simmons

      First, thanks for the supportive comment and the link. We have actually been having a similar discussion in our board of directors meetings. But, when we have gone to set up projects related to open source hardware (regardless of their relation to space) we have found the infrastructure is just not there yet. Open source software projects today have a ready made set of licenses to choose from, a number of high quality websites to choose from for project hosting, and a huge selection of open source languages and software tools (debuggers, editors, databases, web servers, etc).

      But over in open source hardware land, the few licenses available do not offer much variety yet (they are all basically share-alike style licenses), project hosting sites are not really set up for hardware projects, and finding high quality open source (or even free) engineering tools can be difficult. So, we find ourselves in something of a “chicken or the egg” situation.

      Our approach to this challenge has so far been to address our non-profit status and to launch infrastructure projects. The first project is our wiki of open source and free engineering tools: http://openeering.wikispaces.com/ The second project is a web portal for open source hardware projects: https://opendesignengine.net/ I should note, that last week I learned about a similar project at CERN that uses the same RoR software as the foundation for the site: http://www.ohwr.org/ And we have drafted a license for open source hardware that is based on the “attribution only” style: http://mach30.org/about/mach-30-open-design-pledge/

      In both of our projects above, we are still working on developing the “foco” because our original recruiting efforts for our board centered on experience in aerospace and non-profits. Given the need for a strong team for these projects, we should redouble our efforts to find core members for those teams (http://dl.dropbox.com/u/12657120/mach30.org/pub/is-this-you.html).

      Oh, one last thing, now that we are starting to make progress on infrastructure, we are going to be starting some small scale hardware projects. The first team is nearly assembled and should be launching soon. Stay tuned for more details.

      Thanks again! ad astra per civitas – to the stars through community

      Reply

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