Wednesday, June 27, 2012

THIRTY-EIGHT: spaceforall, farhorizons

I have been browsing the websites we already have here, and I thought I should share these two:

http://farhorizonsproject.com/blog/
Found this on Mach30's website and had a quick look. They are also working on accessing space, and they are also using the balloon launch approach.



http://spaceforall.org/
I found these guys on farhorizons's website. They are actually selling high altitude balloon laucnhes for adds or science projects. They seem to have a great team together.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

THIRTY-SEVEN: 1000

We have hit one thousand, and have 2 votes other than mine on the poll! Keep voting, and have a look around on the net and bring some good sites you think are worth looking at. :)

Next stop 2000! :)

THIRTY-SIX: doing

http://www.planetaryresources.com/2012/06/back-us-on-kickstarter/

Here is freespaceships. Utilisation of networking site /facebook/ and crowd funding site /kickstarter/ in order aid a space program which is focused on mining asteroids.

It is an excellent example of what I would like to do. :) I thought I should share, also I am putting planetary resources to the top, they are cool. :)

THIRTY-FIVE: slowage

I got slowed down by life the universe and everything. I lost my steam that made me spam space.com or make this blog.

I feel like my usual normal lazy self. Woohoo!

So now with my enthusiasm out of the way I can look at things more level headed.

Freespaceships is never going to work.

I realised that if I can't sell myself the idea and make myself to put 1 dollar/day away for this cause, I will never be able to convince anybody else. At the moment I have a financial shortage, which I assume happens to everybody who spends more than what they can actually afford. This is the main reason why I cant make myself start putting money away for this. I keep thinking once this period is over I will start doing it. But what if it will never be over? What if I will always find something else to spend money on?

And if that is the case with me who really would love to go, and who can clearly see the long term importance and advantages of going, then there is no way large chunks of the population can be convinced to voluntarily give up their money for such a cause.

Then there are other issues like competition.

We would have to compete with other charities of all sorts, then also with the normal market of all sorts of shit people want to buy. How could we compete with temptation that is right in front of people? And I definitely don't want to compete for money that they would spend on usual charities but that is what will happen because people probably have some sort of limit of how much they feel is a right amount to give away per year.

I myself suck at giving away money. I do it too easy if asked on the street even when I know I am being scammed. They probably know this because I keep being asked for coins all the time. :)

But when it's up to this cause I still haven't managed to put more financial commitment to it than buying a domain name for a year.

Then there are legal issues like ITAR . If we wanted to do open source hardware development that might be a major issue when governments like the US consider such projects a safety risk.

I have been looking at legal organisation types to see how our organisation would fit into the big picture of the corporate world. It seems a not for profit organisation would be the best choice. It basically leverages external law systems to govern the internal operation. The most important bit is the profits disappearing in pockets of individuals. By law a not for profit has to spend its profit on itself and its own operations, so the profits will always stay within the organisation to further our cause.

So that is why it sounds good to me. But I have no further insight into such things because I am not well versed in law or just business in general. I can cut trees, and even that not very well. :)

The obvious advantage of starting it up as early as possible is probably the trust factor. If you are a legally registered organisation people will take you more seriously than if you were just a group of people who want to do something. On the other hand it does take a lot of work to set one up, and it also needs a lot of stuff written down and figured out.

On that website there were more resources to go through and guidelines to follow. Here is the simple list I already posted as a comment in the business plan section, I will add some notes to each point to share where I am at at the moment.

A set of goals and strategies:

I keep thinking about goals. I wanted to start out with the lunar x prize, but then I thought the N-prize would be cheaper to have a go at. But at the same time I am thinking there are plenty of people doing all that, so why not do something else. So I thought maybe we should start working  on ISRU, and let others sort out how to get up there. Maybe we should do all of them. My mind is too easily distracted by cool things I see. I have also been thinking of focusing on trying to organise the collective voluntary involvement of people across the globe into something clearer. So anybody who wants to get into the field can easily find their spot. This all means we don't really have a set goal yet. I kind of find it hard to find a goal for an organisation that was supposed to have millions to figure out goals. I guess our first goal is to build the organisation to find goals.

A management committee:
Well we have me, and people who talked to me so far. :) That is my friends, family, colleagues, and random people here on the internet who were kind enough to interact instead of ignoring. I would love to set up a system that has a management committee that is as numerous as the members of the system. I don't want to limit the "thinking" to a handful of brains when we could have millions. I know there is a controversy between having a small expert board or a crowd making a decision.


A constitution:
I have read The Moon is a Harsh Mistress a while ago, and since then I think I am a fan of anarchy. So in the spirit of that we shouldn't need a consitution, however it seems it makes sense to write down something like a "pirate code" that is used as a guideline to follow rather than a set law. The problem with set laws is that they are expensive to keep track of, expensive to abide by, and can still be changed anyway to fit the needs of the people on the top, or to please the people on the bottom.
We still will have to abide by the law of the lands we operate on however, so this means we probably still will have to write down a constitution. Our hands are tied down here. Our freedom lies above. :)

But just think for a second about all the resources we spend on making sure we interact in an orderly fashion. If we just did it all without the need for laws, we could save a whole load of man hours, and other resources for more useful activities like figuring out how to build an antimatter factory in a close solar orbit for our antimatter rockets to go to other stars. 

A computer:

Well I have one. Anybody who is reading this has one, or can access one. This is least of our concern. :)

An accounting system:
This is one of the hard ones. Is it possible to do open source accounting? How?
For starters I was thinking of a program that would go check the online account balance and transactions and then just posted it online for anybody to see. This is on short term that we could implement to help anybody see into the money side of things. Security is a major issue, so I don't know how to actually implement it apart from somebody checking and then updating a webpage.

In my head the large system would simply connect sources of funds and other kinds of resources with people who can use those funds/resources to do actual work. So accounting in our case would mean more than just seeing where money comes from and where it goes. We should probably monitor other resources like man hours, electricity, processing time etc. But overall I am really interested to see actual figures on the world wide voluntary efforts/resources spent on space related activities.

So the actual large scale system would monitor the movement of money from every individual involved to every organisation/company involved, and then would hopefull allow for anybody to see where it got spent within those organisations. That depends on how open these organisations are about their internal operation.

I imagined a profile system would allow for displaying such information, and a database would allow for closer analysis and response to changes. For instance if we think that  "in orbit food production systems"  research is underfunded, we can start campaigns to get people send some of their money that way. 

A budget:
Very hard to do when you don't have a set goal and also a plan to reach that goal. But it is easy once other kinks are worked out.

A risk management plan:
This is an interesting one, I have no idea what it entails. Risk of what? Failing? Somebody getting hurt?

A fundraising plan:
This is also something hard to work out without a proper goal and plan to reach said goal. I guess I am already doing activities regarding this with my blog here. I have the new poll up that is to guage how much people would be willing to spend on a space program of their own. And I guess we are already trying to get the word out there and pull people in. I suck at it but it is still happening. :)

It actually surprised me that the first person to fill out the poll after me actually chose the "more than that" option, which means they would be able to contribute more than 1 dollar a day. I never expected that. :) Anyway I hope more people will fill it out by the timer runs out, I am really interested in what you gals and guys think about all this.

So this was my rant for the week, it had a little bit of everything in it. To sum it up, I have lost steam, yet I still want to keep pushing for this. I am slowly looking through things, and I am still trying to work things out in my head. I am still quite unsuccessful at forming an actual product out of all this crap in my head, but hopefully I will get there in a year or so.



Wednesday, June 20, 2012

THIRTY-FOUR: ISRU

http://www.spaceref.com/news/viewnews.html?id=1290
I found this article and news website on PERMANENT reading through their forum yesterday.
The website itself seems to be well built, easy to navigate, not clogged up by fancy looking content or adds.

They are going on the top list of links.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

THIRTY-THREE: poll, plainstudman

How much do you want to get involved?

Fuck off, this is the stupidest idea ever.
 
 
 3 (8%)
 
I am curious about how it will turn out, but i don't want part of it.
 4 (11%)
 
I am willing to help occasionally but i don't want to put money towards this.
 12 (35%)
 
I want to help with anything i have, including money. Sign me up!
 15 (44%)
 

Votes so far: 34

So that was the result of our first poll. Out of 950 views we got 34 votes, and out of those votes only 3 thought that crowd funding and crowd sourcing a space program is a stupid idea.

Now interesting links I have found thanks to today's chat with plainstudman. I was at an AFL game and by a fluke went on irc on my phone. It ended up being productive because he helped me with some encouraging words, but also made me look at couple of the links I already had and found this one:

http://www.colonyfund.com/
They seem to be trying to create a mutual investment fund for investors who do not have millions to throw at space technology development. I like the idea, and I like some of the stuff they say in their Q&A. For instance: "We don't believe that the future should be a spectator sport." 


Also plainstudman shared these:
www.portaltotheuniverse.org
I had a quick look at the links list and saw a whole heap of new sites I have never seen. It made me wonder how many there are out there. Otherwise it looks like a cool little news site with some interesting widgets on the side. My blog pales in comparison to all these links I keep posting here. :) Oh well, I am still in the "trying to figure out whats wrong with the internet" phase. We should have a large crowd based space program by now. We seem to have enough people for it at least. 

www.nasaspaceflight.com
News site with forum. Didn't have time to look through it but they seem to have more active members than space fellowship. 



Tuesday, June 12, 2012

THIRTY-TWO: 900!

We have hit 900 views and it seems some more people filled out the poll which is very encouraging.

I haven't had time to put anything up the past 2 days. I am posting this time because of just hitting 900 and also to let you guys know of the progress I have made since last time I posted.

-I joined the PERMANENT forum so I can talk to more of ourselves and get more insight into how our worldwide efforts are organised at the moment.
-I posted a topic up in space fellowship about links to organisations or websites that are space related.

SANEAlex shared these two links:
http://www.bis-space.com/

This one is basically the British version of the planetary society. They have professional members as well as just enthusiasts and they have a lot of activity.

http://www.britain-in-space.co.uk/index.html
This website is a historical recap of Britain's space activities. From the list I am extremely interested in Skylon. I guess I should probably put Reaction Engines ltd. here next.

http://www.reactionengines.co.uk/
I have been following them for quite a while now. A couple of years ago I read about the SABRE engine on wikipedia and then I got hooked. A hybrid air breathing rocket engine! Check it out cause it might be the technology that you will ride to our space station in 30 years. :)

Though their proposed seat price to LEO is still a steep 100k $ or so.  But If we get filthy rich on with freespaceships, we can buy ourselves as many seats as we want. :)

And just one more in case I won't post for another couple of days:
 http://mach30.org/
I have no idea where I found this or who told me about them. I remember checking out the website and I think I might have added them on google+ into my circles back then, and then they added me back just today. :) I haven't put their link up here yet even though I really like their project. They seem to also have a lot of elements of what I wanted to do with freespaceships, and they definitely have the same vision.

As my list grows I am going to need to figure a system to organise them better. Some of them I am putting into the "pages" section at the top. Thinking of the top, I need to actually work on our vision and business plan too.

I just got distracted by stuff down here on Earth. I am planning to get into UAV design and manufacture on a hobby level as part of my self education project, but I also want to use it in my day job and if it proves to be useful possibly expand it into a business. So I have been looking into hobby aircraft more specifically helicopters and quad rotor designs.

I realised that this project would be a good drive to learn more about electronics, physics, and programming in one go. All of which is essential for anybody who wants to go to space. Also it would be a good platform to use to learn business skills and just general planning of a serious project. I need more skills on that front obviously.

But don't be mistaken, this is all still because of freespaceships, and actually for freespaceships. If the crowd funding doesn't work for running a space program, I  will go the usual way and just try and get rich. I have set aside 10 years for that, but even if it takes 20 it should be still within time for our tea party on the moon. Once freespaceship is going at full steam the party on the moon bit will be a piece of cake to sort out. :) 

Signing out for now, talk to you later Mr Internet.


Saturday, June 9, 2012

THIRTY-ONE: planetary society

Probably the most successful of all the programs/organisations I have found so far. I thought after putting permanent on the top I should probably put this one up even though I found it a while ago. They have a neat website, have donation options and all sorts of other ways to contribute. Check it out it is worth a look.

The more of these projects I find the more hopeful I get. It means there must be a lot of us out there. So keep up the good work people!

www.planetary.org

Friday, June 8, 2012

THIRTY: permanent

I wanted to post a topic on space fellowship about resource utilisation, more specifically smelting ore to extract elements. I decided to do a quick search to see what material I can easily access on this topic, and so I found this website.

http://www.permanent.com/

Here is their forum:
http://www.forumlog.com/nanobiotechnologyspace/

Lot's of interesting and relevant up to date sources on a wide range of topics. It is right up on my cool list. :)

I keep saying that, I need to make the list.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

TWENTY-NINE: blogging blogs

 I just found this on Space Fellowship, it's a blog sharing an article...
Yeah it's a very much 7th hand article.

The point is that they are starting to work on a fusion engine to get around in space. That is right up on the cool list. :)


Next Big Future: NASA working on lightweight Z-pinch and Dense plas...: A physics team from The University of Alabama in Huntsville's Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering soon will take delivery of...

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

TWENTY-EIGHT: light reading

"In the United States, home of the biggest space industry in terms of employment and revenues, the most recent FAA study on the wider national economic impacts of the US commercial space activities has shown a rather stable multiplier ratio since 2002 (FAA, 2010). In 2009, for every dollar spent commercial space transportation industry, USD 4.9 resulted in indirect and induced economic impact. Using the same modeling techniques as the ones used for the aeronautic industry, the results show that many economic sectors may be impacted by commercial space activities, as they provide goods and services, directly or indirectly, to the space industry. In 2009, the Information Services industry was the most affected group in terms of additional economic activity, earnings and jobs, generating over USD 65.4 billion of revenue, over USD 15.3 billion in earnings, and creating 213 230 jobs (Table 14.1)."

Just reading through the 2011 Space industry report I linked earlier.  
It's here if you want to read the rest. 

Otherwise I managed to get a short free tutorial on software optimisation from Rick. :) And I think tomorrow I will recap what I already know and continue with the tutorial that I was doing. I was getting into working with arrays.

 

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

TWENTY-SEVEN: atomic rockets

http://www.projectrho.com/public_html/rocket/
To keep up with listing cool links worth checking out, here is one I just got reminded of. I used to visit this site quite often 2 years ago when I wanted to write a sci-fi. I was looking through it for more details about rockets and propulsion methods in general. It is a really good site with loads of real physics, calculations, and just cool stuff in general. If you haven't been there yet, have a look and enjoy. 

Other stuff: I downloaded a business plan template from the bank I use. 22 pages long. I definitely will need to fill it out if I want people to take me seriously. Especially if I wanted to approach people with money.

I also need to write up a list of all the different systems I had in mind for handling funds and making crowd decisions.  I would like other people putting in their 2 cents and either share their own ideas or improve the ones I had in mind.

I need more legal and financial advice. Legally I am not sure what would be the best to register ourselves as. I also know that we will need a legal document to govern our internal and external activities. For instance how do we make sure that nobody can exploit us from either within or externally. I don't want to spend money and time on a project to have some other organisation or individual screw it all up.

If we ever make it big, we will be handling millions or billions of dollars annually. That means serious business, with other serious partners. I am afraid that the corporate world will just chew us up and spit us out. Especially people and organisations whose priorities don't lie along the same line as ours.

So we need a business plan.

Monday, June 4, 2012

TWENTY-SIX: budgets

Space budgets of selected OECD and non-OECD ccountries, 2009 Current USD million
























So just by looking at this we can easily compare the amount of activity we could be funding with different sized crowds that contribute 1 dollar a day.
For example:
-1000 people contributing 1 dollar a day would have 365 thousand dollars a year to work with. This should be enough to have a fair go at the N-prize.
-10000 people could play with 3.65 million dollars. That is approaching what australia spent in 2009. This should be plenty to work on some cool robotic technologies we would need on our colonies in orbit.
-100 thousand people would have 36.5 million dollars. This would probably be enough to win the Google Lunar Xprize in one year. If not it still would get us a fair way.
-1 million people could be playing with 365 million dollars. That's SpaceX sized investment in one year.

I could keep going but you should get the picture. The point is that with large amounts of people collaborating and sharing small amounts of resources per head, can do large amounts of work. We know this, that's how countries work.

The key problem is finding and convincing the people to join and work for a common goal.

Just thought I should share this because this is the key reason why I haven't shut up. As a crowd humans have tremendously more potential than as individuals, yet we still struggle against this and we are still living our lives as if we were still alone and we had to compete with others to stay alive.

Other stuff: this morning I realised I need to draft up a business plan. I would like to do it with you guys so I will just start another page. I should start a wiki but untill we have a couple more people working with me there is no need for it yet.

I have the idealistic view that we should be a not for profit organisation, but at the same time I can see the benefits of making profit. It would mean we can spend more than what we initially invest on reaching our goal. Also if we want to subsidize or completely fund access to space for our members, then we need a healthy and extremely wealthy venture happening.

And last but not least I would like to make it clear that this isn't a pyramid scheme. :) For once we will have a legal document we will all sign and will have to abide by. I don't want to become a millionaire, or get other people pay for my trip to the moon party we have planned. I would be happy if I was the last to get there and there were already a million of us there before me. My profit from this all is to be able to do work to get life off this planet. My reward is seeing it all happen before nature takes away the privilage of life and sentience from me.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

TWENTY-FIVE: lists, fun, more work

Apart from the links I have at the top that I usually visit and use, here are the ones people posted here, or I found while looking through the web, or talking to people on forums.

www.spacehub.org
An interesting website I need to find time to look through. It has been on the scene for a while. It seems it is stuck at the moment, but there seems to be a good collection of links there.

http://startramfans.com/
Good old trams. I like the idea, but I think unless we get large scale global support behind it, it will never be built even if it is possible to make. It is the same problem for any mega scale engineering projects. We would pretty much need all the nerds and more to support this if we wanted to do it crowd funded style. :)
 

http://www.oecd-ilibrary.org/economics/the-space-economy-at-a-glance-2011_9789264111790-en
Space economy report for 2011. Very informative and detailed. Probably should have it at the top of my list.  I am reading through it. It seems to be an excellent source for people like me who have no clue about the industry yet.
 
http://www.jpaerospace.com/
Very unique approach to orbit. Going the slow way. I love it. :)
 

http://www.adastrarocket.com/aarc/VASIMR
We are going to need these kinds of engines if we want to move around a lot in the solar system. I personally am the fan of solar sailing, either using the radiation pressure of light with reflective materials, or the solar wind with long charged tethers. But I do think we will need a whole wide range of options for different applications, and we also can combine them in many creative ways.

(rant )
For instance use a solar sail to change the orbit of our ship to a highly elliptic one with a close approach to the sun, then use VASIMR to impart as much deltaV as close to the sun as possible, then separate the solar sail section from the VASIMR section and let the radiative pressure do some more acceleration on our lighter payload.

If we could add the solar electric sails to the picture to make use of the charge particle stream of the solar wind at the same time, we probably could reach quite high solar escape velocities. It would be cool to do the math for it.

I should probably add the links about fast solar sailing, and solar electric sails to this list at later. 
(/rant)

http://flibe-energy.com/attributes/  
In the outer colder reaches of the solar system, we might be relying more on nuclear fission than fusion for our power source. There is plenty of fissionable materials out there ready to be used in all sorts of imaginative ways. That is assuming we wont be able to figure out fusion and get independent of our sun in that way. That itself would be a massive step towards long term survival of our species. 

http://www.copenhagensuborbitals.com/
The coolest extreme sport in the making. Jump on a rocket and shoot yourself into space, then fall back and enjoy space diving. :) I am hoping for awesome sports like this being developed in the future all over the solar system. We could have so much fun with the physics of this universe.

On another note:
I managed to figure out the problem I had with the google app engine updating and deployment. It was funny because by the time I got to talk to Rick about it, I figured it out. I still managed to get more friendly coaching out of him to help me move along. I need to annoy him more often. :)

I can start to work on some simple applications to improve my knowledge about programming and html, and also to add some useful content to our project. First stop would be a better polling app than what this blog has.

I will also probably try and move this blog over there, and try put a better website up. Though this will be on the longer timescales of couple of months. At any rate I am moving forward, learning about new things every day.

Like this last link for tonight's rant:
quicklaunchinc.com/
Using a hydrogen gas gun to shoot cargo into space. Sounds really cool. Especially because if we want an industry in LEO we need to move large amounts of materials. I am not only thinking about fuel to go elsewhere, but also manufacturing unique composite materials using the zerog environment and its different physics compared to down here in our gravity well. We could be supplying large scale structures with required raw materials at low costs. It is a definite must if we want the vision of freespaceships to become a reality.

Friday, June 1, 2012

TWENTY-FOUR: views, java

It seems without spamming the views are going back to practicallynone/day. It shows the power of advertising. I might use it later, but as Rick said right at the beginning, unless you have something to show up, people will not be interested.

It is a little bit annoying because we need people who can do programming and web design and want to work on this project. I guess I will just have to put in more effort into coming up with something tangible.

I am getting back into JAVA and I will try and get my skills to a level where I can start putting stuff together. As it is said in the forum we are going to use google app engine for now. It is really hard to find time for studying though.  Maybe if I didn't waste my time on reading about the events in the industry or watching TED.

If you dropped by accidentally and you have some cool links to share, please do so. I need to see as many websites as possible.

I wonder if there is anybody out there working on the same project I am. And if there is, how much they accomplished so far.  

And just to do something new for this blog, if you are completely bored by my crap on this site, watch this instead:



We are so screwed. This is what is depressing me at the moment. Well amongst other things.

I want to see us blossom and get out there, but what I see is an epic fail heading our way and I don't know how to avoid it...

Some music to describe my mood: