From the movie “2001: A Space Odyssey”, 1968. Dr. Heywood Floyd is talking with Elena, a colleague from Russia:
Elena, “Well, I hope that you and your wife can come to the I.A.C conference in June.”
Floyd, “We’re trying to get there. I hope we can.”
I was able to attend the IAC conference in 2014 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. I presented two papers:
“Direct Fusion Drive for a Human Mars Orbital Mission”
“Space Rapid Transit – A Two Stage to Orbit Fully Reusable Launch Vehicle”.
2001: A Space Odyssey was the “theme” for my two papers. I had a photo of the Discovery II spacecraft in my DFD talk and an image from an online simulator of the full Orion III launch vehicle in my SRT talk. Both papers were well received. I got a good question from an engineer from Reaction Engines Limited about separation. We have done some separation simulations but have not testing our separation control mode in depth. He noted that the D-21 program, and example of high speed separation I gave, was not really successful.
When I wasn’t in my sessions, I spent my time in the exhibits hall talking with the representatives at the booths, handing out business cards and flyers about Princeton Satellite Systems. Some of our customers, including KARI from Korea and the Canadian Space Agency, had exhibits.
I spoke at length with Astrobotics, a company that plans to land a rover on the moon. They were founded by a professor from Carnegie Mellon. I suggested that our flight control experience could be of value to them. Their work shows the feasibility of helium-3 mining on the moon. We would need helium-3 mining if we were ever to use DFD for base load terrestrial power generation.
I chatted with the Aerospace Corporation. I worked with them on GPS IIR while at GE Astro Space. I explained that they might be interested in working with us on DFD particularly in applying it to Air Force applications like space based radar.
SpaceX had the crew chairs and displays from their Dragon Capsule in their exhibit. It was the coolest exhibit in the hall! I had a nice chat with their marketing person on DFD. SpaceX and Boeing recently were awarded contracts to develop the Commercial Crew vehicle.
Lockheed Martin had a huge exhibit. They had a 3D printer running
I talked with them about A2100, a comsat under design at GE Astro Space when I left. I also talked about ControlPlan applications for MUOS, a satellite Lockheed Martin is building for the Navy. We developed antenna beam optimization for MUOS using our ControlPlan multi-objective optimization package.
I spoke with Surrey about their new comsat program and suggested that we could help as we have extensive comsat experience. Surrey now has a U.S. branch. I spoke with the Canadian Armed Forces about their satellite programs. They were interested in our Kestrel Eye work.
The CN Tower is in the middle of the convention center:
On the way home I ate at the Apropos restaurant in the Air Canada terminal. It is really cool! You order through an iPad and pay using a credit card terminal next to the iPad. Besides being high tech, the food was really good! The restaurant can be seen in the following picture.