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Changed Tone at Space Access

Space access last year was an excellent conference. I met Jeff Foust and have been writing for the Space Review ever since. I met David Livingston and was since on his show twice, signed his corporate space ethics pledge and have co-authored a paper with him. I met Thomas Olson and now I am on the Colony Fund's board of advisors.

But comparing last year's program to this year's there are several differences.

There are more political and regulatory discussions this year. Last year we praised Tim Hughes, who was pivotal in getting 5382 passed. This year, he is presenting. Last year political priorities was part of "open mike" time. This year there is a panel. Last year there was one presentation from AST. This year there are two. Last year there was an informal workshop on the FAA AST license process. This year there is a panel discussion on policy.

I am part of the change. On Friday night, I am co-presenting a paper first posted here. (Look for an update as soon as I can get it uploaded.) There is also a new panel discussion about what venture capitalists are looking for. These two additions really focus on calibrated business-goal setting, and filtering and tempering the pro-space rhetoric to enhance credibility.

The community will be taken more seriously if it graduates from being a victim to being proactive about removing alleged barriers, upholding standards of ethics and the professionalism on the business side of space access. This change was already underway last year, but perhaps in the next few years Space Access may yet become the kind of tacky commercial conference that Esther Dyson prefers.

Posted by Sam Dinkin at April 27, 2005 08:39 AM
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I think this is a general trend for all of our 'regular' space conferences. Return To The Moon VI's preliminary agenda also has a significant movement away from the "my moon base is shinier than yours" powerpoint. I'm hopeful that the "what do we do next" discussions around regulations can create a consistent drum beat of lobbying that can act as a counterweight to the "more money for NASA" lobby that, until recently, was the only message politicians heard.

I'll be there but I get in fairly late Thursday night. David Masten is presenting Masten Space System's progress on Saturday...

Posted by Michael Mealling at April 27, 2005 08:53 AM

Space Access has *always* been a commercial conference, although we try to avoid the excessively tacky. I was telling the would-be rocket builders "money is an engineering problem too" twelve years ago. Apparently they listened... The changes you're seeing are mainly results of specific differences in the situation from last year to this. That said, welcome; I look forward to your session with Drs. Jurist and Livingston.

Henry Vanderbilt
Executive Director
Space Access Society

Posted by Henry Vanderbilt at April 27, 2005 10:50 AM

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