ISDC 2019 summary - June 7 by Ben Smith

Hi. I’m Ben Smith and this is a summary of my International Space Development Conference (ISDC) 2019 experience.

Friday, June 7

Morning Plenary - Keynote Speaker: Jim Bridenstine, NASA Administrator

  • Talked about Artemis and its components.
  • Explained that Artemis will be this generation’s Apollo.
  • Explained that the first human mission (1 woman + 1 man) on the surface will only last a handful of hours. It will be 2 years before the next crew lands.
  • My personal opinion is that Artemis has the potential to be sustainable. It also has a greater potential to be another “flags and footprints”. The proposed infrastructure is minimal (basically Gateway) and a lot can happen in the two years between missions.

Morning Track – Moon (Commercial Moon session). This session had some presenter changes and I didn’t do a great job taking notes.

  • Commercial Lunar Exploration to Support NASA's Science Goals (CLPS). Steven Clarke (NASA)
    • No notes. Not sure if it was skipped.
  • Evolutionary Lunar Base Strategy. Charles Miller (NextGen Space LLC)
    • No notes. Pretty sure it was skipped.
  • Lunar Development Lab Concept for Lunar Resource Mapping, Extraction and Utilization. Dr. Allison Zuniga (NASA Ames Research Center)
    • LDL is a concept of the Frontier Development Lab.
      • FDL is using “artificial intelligence research for space exploration and all humankind”.
      • One of the proposed LDL projects is to use artificial intelligence to automatically identify Lunar craters.
        • Mapping, prospecting, and traverse planning.
    • Lunar Resource Mapping Challenge 2019
      • Looking for M-Class impactors (Fe-Ni-Co).
      • It is estimated that there are millions of tons on the Moon.
      • Hard to identify.
      • The idea is to blend multiple data sources to find correlations that indicate the presence of these impactors.
        • Thermal anomalies (Chinese data)
        • Magnetic
      • The point is to reduce uncertainty and reduce risk
        • Financial
        • Political
        • Technical
    • The plan is for the LDL to run challenge problems every 3-6 months all year long.
      • Challenge problem > Research acceleration environment >Disseminate solutions > New challenge problem.
  • Reusable Lunar Lander. Danielle Richey (Lockheed Martin)
    • No notes. May have been skipped.
  • MOBIUS: An Evolutionary Strategy for Lunar Tourism Future of ISS. Mehdi Lali (Boeing St. Louis)
    • No notes. May have been skipped.
  • Vision and Approach to Near-future Lunar Exploration. Shigeru Imai (Japan Manned Space Systems Corporation)
    • This may have been skipped as well.
    • I do have one note though. I’m not sure where it belongs but I’m putting it here.
    • Supersynchronous Earth Orbit
      • Just up to Lunar gravity but not into it.
      • Transfer to a lander at apogee.
      • Could use it for cyclers.
      • Outside the Van Allen part of the time. Spacecraft needs increased radiation shielding.
  • Lunar EVA Space Suits for NASA and Commercial Missions. Ted Southern (Final Frontier Design)
    • IVA (inside the vehicle)(simple) vs EVA (outside the vehicle)(very complex)
    • Microgravity vs planetary
    • Lunar EVA suit challenges
      • Dust/abrasion
      • Temperature (including conduction through planetary surface)
      • Moving
      • 1/6 Earth gravity
      • 8-hour mission with reserve
      • Seated and standing positions
    • Baseline suit is the Shuttle/ISS EMU
      • $15 million each
      • Only 11 in operation
      • Frequently returned to Earth for expensive refurbishing
        • Russian suits are designed for several uses and then disposed.
      • Weighs 319 pound in 1 G.
    • NASA’s next suit is the Z2.5
      • Basically, an EMU with a different torso.
      • No dust protection
      • No thermal boots (to prevent thermal conduction)
    • There are NO Lunar EVA suits in development at NASA.
      • There are no plans for NASA to challenge commercial providers to create suits.
    • Commercial space companies (SpaceX, Blue Origin, etc.) also do not have any planned Lunar EVA suits.
    • The big question is how are we going to the Lunar surface without Lunar EVA suits?
      • Less than 5 years to build working suits is not a lot of time.
    • Lunar EVA suits need:
      • Much less mass.
      • Thermal boots.
      • Regolith proof.
      • Leg mobility.
      • IVA/EVA capable.
    • Final Frontier Lunar EVA suit design
      • Rear entry
      • Dust proof
      • 5.5 psi (100% O2)

Morning tracks not attended – Bio-sustainability, Mars, NIAC.

Lunch – I think this was the day that Keith, Dana, and I tried a diner down the street. I had meatloaf (it was good) and we talked about the conference, space, and the Moon Society.

Afternoon Track – Moon (Architectures and Technologies session)

  • My notes for this session are a mess. So many speakers either didn’t show or were placed into different time slots. I didn’t take a lot of notes but I did scribble a lot of ideas for Lunar Homestead. My apologies if I place a note under the wrong speaker.
  • Space Launch Systems for Lunar Missions. Benjamin Donahue (Boeing)
    • Sales pitch for the SLS. I still think we should scrap it.
  • NextSTEP Habitats. (tbd) (NASA Marshall Space Flight Center)
    • I think they skipped this one.
  • NASA Centennial Challenges OverView / 3D Printed Habitat Monsi Roman (NASA Marshall Space Flight Center)
    • Cube sats
      • Cornell – Cis-Lunar Explorers – electrolysis propulsion experiment
    • Space robotics
    • CO2 > glucose > bio-reactor > farms
    • Health
    • Mars habitats (3D printing)
    • F-Prime is the open source software that JPL uses.
  • NASA 3D Printed Habitat Centennial Challenge. Tracie Prater
    • I’m pretty sure I saw her speak but I don’t have any notes.
  • NSS Student Space Settlement Contest Presentation
    • Another good student presentation. No notes though.
  • A Holistic View on Lunar Habitats. Dr. Haym Benaroya (Rutgers University)
    • No notes. Might have been skipped.
  • CisLunar Explorer Project. Dr. Dean Larson (National Space Society) and Aaron Zucherman (Cornell University)
    • No notes. Might have been skipped.
  • LROC Update. Dr. Brett Denevi (Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory)
    • Three cameras mounted on the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO)
      • 2 narrow angle
      • 1 wide angle
    • Largest dataset of any planetary mission
    • 50 cm / pixel
    • Looking for:
      • Ongoing tectonics
      • Recent volcanism
      • Crater topography
      • Permanent shadows
    • Lunar pits/skylights
      • Might show basaltic layers
      • Might show the mega-regolith
    • Illumination maps
  • Master Planning and Architecture for a Moon Village. Daniel Inocente (Skidmore Owings Merrill) and Laura Gonzales (Skidmore Owings Merrill)
    • No notes. Not much substance. Seemed like marketing for their architecture firm.
  • 1-G Lunar Habitat. Dr. Thomas Matula (Sul Ross State University)
    • HALE (Habitat Autonomous Locomotive Expandable)
      • Orbital ring space settlement
      • Only habitat sections rotate
      • No NASA or public support needed
      • Built out of Lunar material
    • Surface Artificial Gravity Autonomous Settlements
      • I didn’t note the actual design. I think it involved a very large circular track that spherical habitats race around to generate artificial gravity on the Lunar surface. My actual notes are:
        • High tech
        • Expandable
        • Impractical
  • The Subterranean Option; Lunar-Mars Lava Cave Habitat Development Efforts Update. Michael Dunn (4th Planet Logistics Inc.)
    • Build settlements into lava tubes.
    • Need realistic analogs in Earth lava tubes.
      • Test robotics and inflatables
      • Flexible compressing airlocks
      • From Cave Man to Cave Martian book
  • Innovation in Lunar Robotic Construction Methods. Dr. Behrokh Khoshnevis (University of Southern California)
  • Site Selection Strategy for a Permanent Lunar Settlement. Dr. David Schrunk (Science of Laws Institute) and Madhu Thangavelu (University of Southern California)
    • Landing pads
      • Monolithic slabs will break under the exhaust plume.
      • Use flexible interlocking tiles.
      • Possibly use cast basalt’
  • The Pylon: Near-Term Commercial LEU Fission Reactor For Lunar & Martian Heat & Electricity. Dr. Christopher Morrison (UltraSafe Nuclear Corporation)
    • Reactor only
      • 1 MW
      • 1.5 metric tons
    • Generates both electricity and usable heat
    • Can’t be built with local material. Must import from Earth.
  • Making the Moon Accessible to the World. Dan Hendrickson (Astrobotic Technology Inc.)
    • No notes. May have been skipped.

Afternoon tracks not attended – Bio-sustainability, Mars, NIAC.

Evening – I passed on the silent auction and the movie "Apollo: Missions to the Moon”. I think I had dinner at the restaurant and watched a movie in my room. I don’t really remember.

Another good day. I learned a lot.

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