Wednesday, June 26, 2013

SiXtY - thrEE: surveys, makerlabs

Finally I managed to get to a meeting of Footscray Maker Lab. It was extremely educational just meeting new people. I am more convinced now that setting up such groups as nodes for the "freespaceships" network is the way to go. The network would get input in terms of manhours, expertise and the the makerlabs could get more funding and also people influx if there is sufficient interest amongst the "space enthusiasts".

So the goal seems to be to try and match the supposedly large crowd of space nerds with their local makerspaces and convince them to get involved and contribute in as many ways as they can afford and feel like.

This takes me to the other point I wanted to talk about. The survey/market research/study I have ranted about before that would be about researching the "space crowd". I started a google document last weekend, and started asking around for input in my immediate network. /spacefellowship, permanent, moonmars, planetary resources vanguards, open source space exploration community on google+, spaceGAMBIT group on facebook/

At the moment it is just about collecting questions aimed at people interested in space related activities. I was hoping people could add questions or topics they wanted to query the crowd about, then after sufficient amount of editing we put the survey online on it's own website, and finally the data is fed back into the crowd to be used by anyone for anything they want.

The project is open source in the sense that the questions are free to view and edit for anyone who has the link:  https://docs.google.com/document/d/1ORa7yHqHiMZaWIPTiDpzIH4tZ8YP-nHZNIlp5Go1A8I/edit

The next step will be to edit the questions, figuring out answer options, figuring out hosting, title, some legal issues etc... and then eventually actually posting it online.

I have had a lot of great comments from the various groups and already many people contributed which is awesome. I think I will make this my official first proper project because it is something I can actually do /still probably not well, but I don't think that matters/

To close this all off with some "spam".

The Arkyd campaign is in it's final days, if you think the project is cool put some money towards it. :)
http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1458134548/arkyd-a-space-telescope-for-everyone-0?ref=live




Thursday, June 13, 2013

SIXTY_TWO: beamed power, even more networking

Hello Internet!

As usual I have been lazy and haven't done much work on my Udacity courses. Instead I have been reading about beamed power launch systems, and ranting about it on moonmars.org and spacefellowship. Technically I was trying to get some input from others because I thought that beamed power might actually be the way to go for a "freespaceships" like organisation. /crowd done, extremely large open source space program/.

A couple of days ago thanks to the feeds on my network I stumbled upon Exosphere inc. The project is about designing an open source space shuttle. 

Then while writing this blog entry, after mentioning Exosphere inc. and thanks to my borderline ADHD, I ended up writing to Exosphere inc. Then I came back here an hour later and found this post half done. To save time here is the mail I sent instead of me ranting about the same thing again:

Hi Zechariah,
my name is Balazs. I am an amateur space enthusiast seemingly on the same path as you have set for yourself, albeit lagging behind a couple of years. I have a basic blog /freespaceships.com/ where I rant and collect links to projects or groups such as Exosphereinc. My aim seems to be exactly like yours, a massively distributed and large scale crowd based open source space program. I am hoping to combine a large section of the current maker movement, with crowd funding and management, to collectively create something that could match government and private sector space programs. I dream that we eventually outperform them, but that would require a lot of work from a lot of people.

To cut to the chase, I was wondering if you were aware of Laser Motive, and Dr. Jordin T. Kare's Modular Laser Launch Architecture paper.

http://www.niac.usra.edu/files/studies/final_report/897Kare.pdf

I believe the best chance for an open source design launch system that people, small companies, or smaller countries could finance to build would be this system. The biggest advantage of this system is that the vehicle itself is a lot smaller because it only needs to carry reaction mass, it doesn't need to store the energy for the launch on the craft itself. Less chance for nasty explosions, don't need large infrastructure to build or handle the vehicle, parts are smaller so can be manufactured in smaller workshops.

One major drawback is that the ground station is a multi billion dollar installation of a couple of thousand modules of lasers and optical systems that aim the lasers at the craft. In the study the modules are proposed to be around a shipping container in size, each beaming around 100 kW of power.

Another major drawback is the legal issues around working with high power lasers and aiming at the sky with them. So a fair amount of legal political and environmental hurdles need to be solved.

Although the large installation is a major investment, because the craft itself is a lot smaller, both it's mass production, and open source design and amateur assembly might be more feasible than either a Skylon type spaceplane, or any current rocket system we use to access space now. Many iterations of the craft could be designed built and tested by various small groups separately or as joint projects.

Also because the large laser power station is made of identical modules that aren't really large in size, their design, testing and mass production can be done with a reasonably small initial investment that potentially could be crowd funded and workload could be distributed among a large number of makerspaces, or interested small companies.

The launch station could be built by the joint effort of small nations, small businesses, and the crowd. Possibly several could be built around the globe in key locations to enable easy access for all continents.

Once the technology is demonstrated and the facilities are constructed the maintenance and upgrade would possibly be quite easy because it would only mean the switching out of the modules or parts of the modules, and all components could be easily mass produced. /some are already are/

Another advantage is that the these stations need to be in areas where there is a large number of days with clear skies and low humidity /for perfect launch opportunities/, and also as close to the equator as possible to maximise the deltaV gained from the Earth's rotation. These areas would also be ideal for solar power generation, and the two systems combined would make the ultimate cheap green access to space.

That is assuming that this system indeed is feasible with current or very near term technology.

I am unaware of how much of this technology has been patented, and whether Dr. Kare or Laser Motive would be interested in such a proposal. I have been planning to write them an e-mail and ask.

I thought I should share this idea because I recently talked to Blaze Sanders from Solarsystemexpress, and he offered both to help out with his team /some basic feasibility studies, business planning etc/, and suggested he might be able to contact some people from deep space industries as well.

If you are interested in teaming up, you can contact me through e-mail, or could come to moonmars.org where Blaze Sanders from Solarsystemexpress can be found as well. This is really only an amateur proposal. I am just throwing it at people interested in the same stuff I am trying to get some input or thoughts.

Thanks for your time.

Cheers,

Balazs Imri












Should have done more editing and should have organised my thoughts better, but I am too impatient and didn't want to spend more time on it. Same goes for this blog. I have to work tomorrow and today was pretty rainy and cold so I am extra tired.

At least the quality and quantity of lame on this blog I can guarantee.

Have a good night Internet, don't let the bed bots bite!

Friday, May 31, 2013

SIXTY-ONE: telescopes, crowds

It is time for me to blog this. It's been two days since the Kickstarter campaign for the Arkyd started. It is an excellent opportunity to measure the crowd. We get to see general numbers that stand behind the project, but also will see how the support is distributed between different levels of commitment.

If you haven't yet contributed I urge you to do so. Maybe join up with friends and put a couple of dollars together to do a group selfie, or buy a higher level perk like some time on the telescope. There is no reason you have to cough up the money by yourself, this is a community project after all.

I asked my friends/family on facebook to see if anybody wants to join me for a photo shoot. Hopefully it will get some people interested so we can get a cool picture of the moon or some nebula and a group selfie.

I can't believe this, it's been only a year since I ranted about crowd funding a space program, and here we are doing the baby steps and I didn't have to move a finger. I got really excited and motivated to work more on my game.


Friday, May 24, 2013

SIXTY: more networking, more excuses

First off I have been in charge of a whole revegetation crew for the past three weeks so my time online has been slashed drastically again. I am a bit more tired by the end of a 10 hour workday so I spend less time reading things, and I haven't been programming again for a while now.

So I am being the usual lame.

I really wanted to go to the Melbourne Hardware Startup meeting and also the new Footscray Hackerspace meeting, but getting home in time to go into the city by 6 or 6:30 is pretty hard.

Yep, got plenty of excuses and whining. 

Anyway:

I joined some groups online in the meantime trying to connect and contact other people with similar interests. Check out Opennautics and moonmars. I found these places while frequenting other groups like the spaceGAMBIT one on facebook.

They are both similar projects like mine, except their level of lame is way lower than here at freespaceships. Way ahead of me in every sense. It was still nice to see that there is a lot more attempts out there to reach the same goal I set out to reach. It is a good sign.

Then there is another networking attempt of mine. A couple of weeks ago planetary resources reached out through their email updates to people who follow them to sign up to become an advocate of their efforts. I applied thinking it would be a good opportunity for me to meet others like myself. I also wanted to see the inner workings of an online collaboration of a large number of people. I got accepted to my surprise so I am also trying to keep up with the happenings within that community and I am trying to put down my 2cents worth of work.

That group is extremely hyped up at the moment because of this:
http://spaceref.com/calendar/calendar.html?pid=8130

The group is "in charge" of trying to contact all sorts of media outlets or organisations that would be interested around the world. There are other tasks possibly which I am unsure of because I couldn't attend the webinar where it was all explained.

I thought I should share this since blogs are kind of like a media outlet. Though I doubt anyone apart from some bots will actually visit these links I post here. :)

I also made some observations and notes regarding my game, but those notes are extremely raw and lame. Too lame even for this blog.

That should be all for now.


Tuesday, May 7, 2013

fifty nine: updates, crawlers

Ahoy There!

Thanks to the new connections, I have found some new links. Check out the end of the list on the top for anything new.

I also looked back in my blog and there seems to be some links in my old blog posts that I haven't put up top.

I was looking for my first poll about a "freespaceships" like project. I am doing a course about Startups and at the end of the first "lecture" the "homework" is to talk to potential customers to learn about the "market".

I already did something like that last year during my spamming spree. I had some description of what I am doing or what the general idea of this project was, and just had a poll up on the blog:

"

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
"

Now these votes came in after around 800 or so views. It shows some distribution amongst the people who bothered to answer the question, but if we put the rest of the people who visited the site but didn't answer the poll in their own category "I am not even going to bother to answer this stupid question." then the market looks pretty tough. :)

Though I should probably use a better way to sample the spacecrazies out there, and possibly write up a better questionnaire to learn more about these people. This is on my current agenda.

Another thing on my agenda is writing my own web crawler to build a database and try map the network of spacecrazies out there. All the blogs, websites, groups, forums, projects etc...
The reason for this is twofold. Still studying programming and the Udacity course I am taking is about building a web crawler, the other one is simply my curiosity and also exploring the "market" itself. If I ever hope to "sell" or make something useful to us all, I need to know who we are. I know what I want, but I have not much idea about what other people want.

That should be all for now. I hope you enjoyed the consistent quality of lame here at my blog, and will come back for another dose later on. I am adding new links as I find them, I won't bother with boring you with comments about them. 

If you find or know about a site just shove the link in a comment and I will put it on the top. Once my crawler is done I will try and let it lose on this blog and see what happens. Thanks for the help.





Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Fifty-Eight: OAO, networks

Open Aerospace.org just made my list.

I got lucky. Through Mach30 and them going to Space Up, I might be making contact with a project in Europe called Resolution Mars. I got a mail from Mach30 introducing somebody from Resolution Mars, and they asked if we could organise a hangout to see if we could help eachother out.

The network is growing, or maybe I should see it the other way around. I am being more and more incorporated into the network.

Open Aerospace is another clear example that I am not the only lunatic around. There might just be enough of us around to make this happen. 



Monday, April 22, 2013

Fifty-Seven: programming, spamming

Hello there.

Programming:
I was watching more TED videos as usual and came across this one.
http://www.ted.com/talks/matt_cutts_try_something_new_for_30_days.html

It motivated me to stop being lame and crank up the programming I do. So I am doing my 30 day of programming every day. So far great success this is the third day. I managed to figure out the bug in my breakout clone. So that tutorial is dusted. Today I will work on my pong clone and completely redo my lame implementation from half a year ago. It works, but has an extremely buggy collision detection.

Spamming:
In the facebook group of SpaceGAMBIT someone posted a link to this blogpost.
http://www.philipmetzger.com/blog/space-hackers-colonize-solar-system/

It was awsome to read "freespaceships" popping up again in someone else's head
It gives me a lot of hope. Maybe when it pops up in enough heads someone will succeed at making it happen and then I won't have to waste my time on this. :) 

So I left a comment there and the address to this blog. It might attract some comments or help, or long awaited link to an awsome project that will suck me right in.

Speaking of spamming. I don't know what happened but on the 18th of April there was a spike in the views to this blog. Around 80-90 views, and I have no idea what caused it. It does coincide with the night when Steph was away. I was just watching periodictable,  and sixtysymbols videos, and also some spacevidcast, but I don't remember doing anything spamlike.

Maybe someone out there has the answer. Maybe the bots went nuts over my page.

Anyway, I am off to Eclipse and writing up some proper classes for my pong.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Fifty-Six: vidcast, TMI

Today I watched the latest Spacevidcast which made me check out The Mars Initiative.

Check out how they show the bank statements and key information about how the organisation and the fund is growing.


Also note the comments about crowd funding space exploration at the end of the vidcast. :) Extremely relevant for my pet project.


Monday, March 11, 2013

Fifty-Five: STOTT space

Was reading a space ref article and found them there.

Stott space

I like their connect the dots section.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Fifty-Four: SpaceGambit

I have just found out about this today and put it straight on my list.

SpaceGAMBIT

So an organisation that got money from DARPA to spend on supporting small makerspace projects and the likes related to human space activities and ambitions.

It seems the playing field for opensource space flight development is changing quite fast. It's only a matter of time before a "freespaceships" type organisation level is reached and we will be spending the current yearly budget of SpaceGAMBIT in a day on relevant science and engineering.

I am hopeful.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Fifty-Three: past, present

So just to put things up here, I did actually manage to achieve a couple of things in the past couple of inactive months.

I managed to get to the local Hackerspace in October or November, I can't remember exactly. It was quite interesting, I got shown around and was given a short intro into what's happening there. I would love to go there and work on my projects, I just need to get them going first.

I also had an interesting chat with a friend on google+ last year. He basically suggested to write a space flight simulator of a sort, and we discussed it a little bit, but it hasn't got far because of life stepping in the way and making both of us quite busy. This was still a great thing for me, it showed at least another person thought about this project for some time. :)

Present:
I managed to get back into my tutorials, working through them so hopefully this year I can roll out my first lame app for android. Something simple, something I can do myself, and hopefully if I get some people buy it, I can move some money towards the projects I like.

Deep Space Industries:
I added them to my list after reading about them for the first time today. Maybe I am way behind hearing about them, but this seems extremely exciting because it means Planetary Resources are not alone anymore in their ambitions. 

So my plans at the moment:
-learn to write simple 2D games
-write one for android
-make some money /even if it's just me buying it for my phone :P/
-give money to projects that are cool
-see where this takes me

Friday, January 18, 2013

Fifty-Two: inactive, activity

Hey there crawlers, bots, Mr Google /I know you are aware :P/ and occasional human passersby. It has been a while since my last blog. A lot has happened, sadly not much regarding my silly idea of free spaceships.

I haven't stopped thinking about the problem, I just had some inhibiting factors in addition to my laziness stopping me from doing some work. Computer issues, time issues, financial issues etc... These all are helping getting my feet back on the ground, and looking at the problem more realistically.

Over the holidays I had one of my friends visit from overseas and I managed to squeeze some information out of him about software development and what he thought about "freespaceships" and where to start, what kind of game to develop etc...

He pointed out that a relatively simple game for smart phones would be much easier to develop and deploy with a small or just one person crew. So I think I will try and head that way. I need to draw up and design a concept first, before I try and attack the coding part. I have been thinking about what kind of game I would like to play on my phone, and what features it should have.

I keep a small file on my phone full of random notes of ideas that just pop into my head. It is still just a jumbled mess of ideas but I guess for a start it will have to do.

I was also thinking of starting out the crowd funding aspect of freespaceships with simply offering the profits /if there will be any/ to a handful of the projects out there that I am aware of and I like. Once and If some sort of community grows around this, we can make more collective decisions about where to send our moneys.

Well it's a new year, and hopefully by the end of it I will have more than just a couple of notes.