Space Access '16 Conference

April 7th - 9th, 2016

at the Radisson Hotel Phoenix North

Updated 04/05/16

Rooms Again Available At The Radisson

Conference and Presentations Schedule

Thursday April 7th

Friday April 8th

Saturday April 9th

Travel Information

Conference Site Hotel

Conference Registration

Supporting Space Access

Space Access Conference Background

SA'16 is just days away make those travel arrangements now, reserve your room, register online while you still can, and be there! (Advance registration closes after Monday, April 4th.)

Note: We have a few display tables still available in the ballroom lobby. If you have something interesting to show off relevant to our conference, contact us.

Space Access Society's 2016 conference on the technology, business, and politics of radically cheaper space transportation will feature a cross-section of the growing cheap access community, talking about what's going on now and what will be happening next, in an intensive informal atmosphere, single-track throughout so you don't have to miss anything.

Confirmed launch-project & space-industry presenters so far: Agile Aero, CubeCab, DARPA XS-1, EXOS Aerospace Systems & Technologies, Flometrics, Frontier Astronautics, Izentis LLC, Lasermotive, Masten Space Systems, Nanoracks, Spaceport America, Tethers Unlimited, ThumbSat, United Launch Alliance, Unreasonable Rocket, XCOR Aerospace.

We'll also feature essential space writers, bloggers, innovators, and policy leaders including Mitch Clapp, Jeff Foust, Jeff Greason, Gary Hudson, Jordin Kare, Clark Lindsey, Charles Lurio, Dave Masten, Doug Messier, Aaron Oesterle, Dave Salt, John Schilling, Rand Simberg, and Henry Spencer for a variety of presentations and panels, as well as progress reports on high-end student & amateur rocket hardware projects.

Our major additional focus this year is, now that a thriving low-cost space transportation industry is near, What's Needed for The Next Thirty Years? This year's conference has numerous presentations and panels related to the policy decisions and technology directions needed for Beyond Low Orbit: The Next Step Out.

Space Access has been described as a "Hackers" conference for rocket people, with better content than other space conferences costing many times more. It's two-and-a-half days of total immersion in making the future happen.

Conference Style

Space Access conferences are designed to let people who are serious about low-cost space transportation get together, trade information, make deals, and learn useful things. Dress averages business casual, and we don't do rubber-chicken banquets - just an intensive single-track presentations schedule with relaxed on-your-own meal breaks, in a setting with plenty of comfortable places in the hotel and nearby to go off for food, drink, and talk - not least of these our world-famous volunteer-run Space Access Hospitality Suite.

return to top

Conference and Presentations Schedule

Summary: SA'16 Registration (Main Ballroom Lobby) and Hospitality (156 & 158) will be opening at noon on Thursday April 7th. We'll be starting conference programming in the Main Ballroom at 1 pm, running (with breaks) till after 10 pm Thursday.

Registration and Hospitality will open at 8 am Friday and Saturday. Friday April 8th sessions will run from 9 am till after 10 pm, then Saturday April 9th sessions 9 am till after 6 pm, with hanging out, talking and partying to follow Saturday night till late.

Should you arrive in the evening after Registration has closed, just go on in and catch the sessions, and get registered the next morning.

Check the conference program book for any late schedule changes that may matter to you. Last-second changes during the conference itself (if any) will be announced and handwritten onto the program schedule posted by Registration.

Speakers: If we've scheduled you before you're arriving or after you're leaving, let us know ASAP.

Presentations Schedule

Thursday April 7th

Morning setup will be underway. Please stay out of the ballroom, ballroom lobby, and Hospitality rooms unless you have business there.

NoonHospitality (156 & 158) and Registration (Main Ballroom Lobby) will open.

12:45 pm Main Ballroom will open.

1 pm – Henry Vanderbilt your Conference Manager gives a brief welcome.

1:05 pm - Henry Spencer on The Road (Still) Not Taken: What Might a Proper Beyond-LEO Plan Look Like?

and on SCRAMBLE = Short-notice Characterization and Reconnaissance of Asteroids by Microsats Between Luna and Earth

2:05 pm - Dustin Still reports on CubeCab's plans to position themselves as a provider of launches to LEO for 1U and 3U CubeSats.

2:30 pm - Portland State Aerospace Society, Erin Schmidt, with an update on small reaction control systems, a new liquid motor project, and CubeSat projects. PSAS is a student aerospace engineering project at Portland State University working toward ultra-low-cost, open source rockets.

2:50 pm - Jess Sponable, DARPA XS-1 Program Progress & Plans

3:30 pm - <break>

4:00 pm - Dave Masten, on Masten Space Systems, a leading developer of VTVL suborbital payload-carrying systems, provider of planetary lander systems flight-testbed services, and competitor for the DARPA XS-1 highly-reusable high-performance rocket stage program.

4:50 pm - Dave Salt is a longtime professional in the European space industry (currently Senior Consultant, Space Systems & Operations at Telespazio-Vega GmbH) and will give a talk on Optimizing An Orbital RLV For Commercial Finance.

5:20 pm - John Gibson, CEO, XCOR Aerospace, on XCOR Plans and Progress.

6 pm - <dinner break>

8:00 pm – John Schilling on Deep Space Propulsion Practicalities

and on Mixed Monopropellants.

8:50 pm - Joan Horvath and Rich Cameron on the Scientific Maker Session they're running at the AAAS Pacific Division meeting in San Diego, June 16.

8:55 pm - Alex Bruccoleri, of Izentis LLC, on the NASA Ames Millimeter-Wave Thermal Launch System Program.

9:20 pm - Rick Maschek, on Sugar Shot To Space progress and plans, plus a Brief Report on ThumbSat, a full-service Tiny-Sat startup.

9:40 pm - Dr. Doug Plata, with a Preliminary Report on Some Practical Aspects of Increasing Space Crew Duration.

10 pm - Gerry Nordley will report status and progress at Tethers Unlimited and will give a Brief Report from Experimental Rocket Propulsion Society, a longtime Bay Area amateur rocketry organization.

10:15 pm - Prestwick Spaceport Consortium report by Chuck Lauer

10:30 pm - <end of Thursday programming>

Midnight – Hospitality closes. Get some rest, there's two more long days ahead!

return to top

Friday, April 8th

8:00 am – Hospitality and Registration open

9:00 am - Paths To Reusability. Blue Origin and SpaceX have both successfully recovered rocket booster stages now (and Blue Origin reflown theirs.) Others are also working on a variety of reusable rocket vehicles, with widely varying approaches (and degrees of readiness.) Our panelists take a look at the technologies, tradeoffs, costs, and benefits of reusing rocket vehicles - Gary Hudson, Dave Salt, Henry Spencer, Justin Karl

9:45 am - Exos Aerospace Systems & Technologies, Inc., John Quinn and Russ Blink, on their 100+ km SARGE Reusable Sounding Rocket Flight Plans.

10:10 am - Aaron Prescott, Spaceport America, on the New Spaceport Master Development Plan, the New “First Flight First Sight” Program, and a General Update

10:30 am - <break>

11 am - Desirable Technologies For LEO, Cislunar & Beyond - What Might Be Done Commercially and/or Non-Profit? Government funding is never unlimited, and further is often directed, ahem, less than optimally. What useful technologies might be cheap enough and/or have quick enough potential revenue to get developed even absent government support? - Jeff Greason, Steve Hoeser, Dave Masten, Mitchell Burnside Clapp

11:50 am - Ron Goedendorp, Nanoracks

12:15 pm - <lunch break>

2:00 pm - Eric Monda, United Launch Alliance, on ULA's Cislunar 1000 long-term concept for a transportation/habitation/resource-extraction network supporting a thousand people living and working in cislunar space in thirty years.

2:55 pm - Frank Zegler, United Launch Alliance, on Cislunar 1000 Enabling Technologies: IVF, CRYOTE, ACES, and XEUS.

3:50 pm - <break>

4:20 pm - Whither NASA? NASA is in transition, but to what is still far from clear, with major forces pulling it in a variety of directions. What might be the agency's ideal end state, in terms of both missions & organization? - Jeff Foust, Jeff Greason, Jordin Kare, Dave Masten

5:05 pm - Ken Biba, of the Carmack-Prize winning AEROPAC team, reports progress & plans on the ARLISS Extreme 2-stage 100,000-feet recoverable CANSAT-launcher project.

5:20 pm - Justin Karl, Assistant Professor of Commercial Space Operations, Department of Applied Aviation Sciences, ERAU, on ERAU CSO

and, with Carl Christiansen, Bryan Malave, Edgardo Manzanera, Daniel Risler, UCF students supported by the Florida Space Grant Consortium SpaceOps Lab, on An Undergrad G-Lab Study

5:45 pm - Steve Harrington, with a Flometrics and Chilldyne update.

6:00 pm - <dinner break>

8:00 pm - Mitchell Burnside Clapp, formerly of DARPA, Pioneer Rocketplane, and the DC-X Program, on A Novel Air-Launch Configuration

and on The Closing Demographic Window, or, Why People In Space?

8:40 pm - ASU Newspace Initiative, Scott Smas, with a brief overview of Arizona State University space activities.

8:55 pm - Paul Breed, of Unreasonable Rocket, on A Garage-Team Approach To Orbit

9:25 pm - Dr. Paul Mueller, President ESRA, on the Intercollegiate Rocket Engineering Competition

9:40 pm - BYU's Patrick Walton reports on their student projects, Origami Bellows For Space Drilling Applications, Passive Inspection Cubesat, and Student Rocket Competition

9:55 pm - David Summers, Universal Transport Systems, reports progress on their full-scale inflatable hybrid flight prototype.

10:10 pm - Misuzu Onuki, on The New Commercial Landscape for Space Policy and Companies in Japan

10:25 pm - <end of Friday programming – don't miss the Prestwick Spaceport Scotch Tasting>

Midnight – Hospitality closes. Get some rest, there's one more long day ahead!

return to top

Saturday April 9th

8:00 am – Hospitality and Registration open

9:00 am - Potential New Markets for Low-Cost Launch to LEO, Cislunar, & Beyond. Investing in lower cost space transportation only makes sense if there will be enough customers for it. But those lower costs (and some new capabilities) will very likely open up new market possibilities, as well as expand existing ones. Our panelists take a look at what some of these might be - Clark Lindsey, Paul Breed, Doug Jones, Rand Simberg

9:45 am - Jeff Greason, former CEO/CTO of XCOR Aerospace and current CEO of Agile Aero, on Agile's Plans and Prospects.

10:15 am - <break>

10:45 am - Desirable Technologies For LEO, Cislunar & Beyond - What Should Government Be Investing In? The low-cost revolution to Earth orbit is well underway, but affordable capabilities beyond that are still very speculative. One of the proper roles of government is supporting development of technologies whose benefit is significant, yet too diffuse or long-term to motivate private investment - Jordin Kare, John Schilling, Dave Salt, Henry Spencer

11:35 am - Rand Simberg, recovering aerospace engineer and well-known space and current-events blogger, editorialist, and author of Safe Is Not An Option, on LEO Infrastructure

and on Kill Apollo To Mars

12:15 pm - <lunch break>

2:00 pm - LEO Regulation - There's currently a push on to give the task of regulating space traffic in and around LEO to the FAA. What's Actually Needed, How Soon, And What Does This Imply About The Proper Nature Of The Eventual Regulator? - Rand Simberg, Jeff Foust, Jeff Greason, Aaron Oesterle

2:45 pm - Doug Messier writes on space at Parabolic Arc, on Lessons Learned From The SS2 Investigation, with discussion of the NTSB's findings and various released documents.

3:25 pm - Frontier Astronautics, Timothy Bendel. Frontier provides affordable and reliable rocket engines and attitude control systems, as well as custom design and testing services for customer's rocket engines or flight vehicles.

3:55 pm - <break>

4:25 pm - Robert Watzlavick will report on his ongoing amateur development of a recoverable liquid bipropellant rocket stage.

4:50 pm - Jordin Kare, on Lasermotive progress and plans

and on A Hybrid Chemical-Rocket/Laser Launch Concept

5:30 pm - The Year In Space, A Review, With Thoughts On The Year To Come - Jeff Foust, Clark Lindsey, Doug Messier, Aaron Oesterle, Charles Lurio

6:30 pm – SA'16 sessions done. Once you're back from dinner, see you at the Return Of The Rocket-Margaritas Pump, at Hospitality till way late, in the Hotel Bar, and hanging 'round the pool deck – it's time to enjoy a traditional Space Access Saturday night.

Various Panelists Not Mentioned Elsewhere

- Jeff Foust is a long-time space journalist, tweeter, and blogger.

- Gary Hudson, President of Space Studies Institute.

- Steve Hoeser is a Senior Systems Engineer and Space Systems Architect who has spent years involved in many aspects of commercial space development. Opinions expressed at this conference are his own.

- Doug Jones is Chief Test Engineer of XCOR Aerospace - his opinions expressed at this conference are however strictly his own.

- Clark Lindsey is one of the original essential space bloggers, a couple years ago went pro.

- Charles Lurio publishes the insider newspace newsletter The Lurio Report.

- Aaron Oesterle is VP of the independent space policy consultancy PoliSpace

return to top

Conference Site Hotel

We'll once again be at the Radisson Hotel Phoenix North, 10220 N Metro Parkway E in Phoenix Arizona, with Space Access conference room rates of $97 a night plus tax, single/double, rate includes the hotel full-breakfast buffet.

This is the same recently-renovated resort-style pool-and-courtyard location as last year, fifteen freeway miles from Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport (PHX), with a wide variety of restaurants and shopping a short walk away.

Update 4/4/16: Rooms Still Available

The Radisson tells us some cancellations have come in from another group, so they (for now) do have some rooms available for our dates at our rate. Our $97 rate is good (on a space-available basis) from the Sunday before our conference through the Tuesday after.

Click on this link to reserve your room, or call the Radisson at 602 997-5900 and ask for the "Space Access Conference" rate. (Our rate is available for up to three days before and after our dates. Historical average Phoenix temperatures on our dates: 86F afternoon high, 58F overnight low.)


If you need to cancel your room at the Radisson, they require 24 hours notice before checkin or they may charge you for a night.

return to top

Travel information

- Getting To the Hotel From The Airport

We're at the Radisson Hotel Phoenix North, 10220 North Metro Parkway East in Phoenix (the northeast quadrant of the ring road around Phoenix's Metrocenter Mall), about ten miles north of central Phoenix and fifteen from the Phoenix Airport, off I-17 near the Peoria Rd exit. The Radisson does have a shuttle van, but it's for local trips around the hotel only, no airport runs.

The blue Super Shuttle airport van costs $17 a person to the Radisson (make sure you ask for “Radisson Phoenix North, in Metrocenter” so you don't end up at the wrong Radisson). Cab fare from the airport should be around $40-$50, depending on traffic. (Phoenix weekday rush hours run roughly 7-9 am and 3-6 pm, and the hotel is across the center of town from the airport, so it may be slow going during those hours.)

- Via Rental Car

If you're renting a car, you'll need to catch an airport shuttle bus to the rental car center just west of the airport. Once you have your car, you can take a left out of the rental center exit, follow the signs for I-10 West through a number of turns and lights, take I-10 West through downtown Phoenix for about four miles, then exit onto I-17 North. Take I-17 North for about ten miles to Exit 208 (Peoria Ave).

At the bottom of the I-17 North Exit 208 ramp, turn left under the freeway onto Peoria, then left again after about 1/4 mile (at the light) onto 28th Drive, then left again at the next light (about 2 blocks) onto Metro Parkway. The hotel will be on your right in just over a block, and hotel parking is free.

The alternative route, less well-marked but fewer lights, and partially bypassing downtown, is to take a left out of the rental car center exit, then left at the first major cross-street (Buckeye Rd), left again at the next major cross street (16th St), drive south on 16th for half a mile then just before going under the freeway turn right onto the I-17 access road. Bear left onto the I-17 North onramp, drive about 15 miles to Exit 208 Peoria Ave, then follow the directions as above.

- Public Transit

If you're not in a hurry and want to save some money and/or see a bit of the city, you can take the local "Light Rail" trolley line most of the way to the hotel. Catch the free “Sky Train” Light Rail shuttle from the airport (Terminals 3 and 4 only; you'll need to catch a shuttle bus over from Terminal 2) to the local Light Rail station, buy a ticket at the vending machine in the station ($2 for one ride, $4 for an all-day pass if you might want to get off and on again, cash or credit card) then catch the next "19th Ave & Dunlap" train that comes along.

Once you're at 19th Ave and Dunlap, the current northern end of the Light Rail line, you're about a mile and a half from the hotel. Cab fare, Uber, Lyft etc should be reasonable from there, or you could try calling the Radisson to send their hotel shuttle van for you.

The hotel shuttle van will take you back to the Light Rail station at 19th & Dunlap by arrangement, so if you're not in a hurry it will be possible to get back to the airport Sunday morning for the $2 Light Rail fare. Check with the hotel for van departure details, check the Light Rail schedule, and allow plenty of time. (Don't forget there's another shuttle to catch from the Light Rail to the airport terminals.)

- Driving Into Town

Take your best route to I-17 Exit 208 Peoria Ave (about ten miles north of I-10). At the bottom of the Exit 208 ramp, turn west onto Peoria (left under the freeway if you're coming from the south, right if you're coming from the north) then after about 1/4 mile on Peoria, turn left at the light onto 28th Drive, then left again almost immediately at the next light onto Metro Parkway. The hotel will be on your right in just over a block; hotel parking is free.

Conference Registration

Advance registration closes after Monday April 4th. After that, it's at-the-door only.

SA'16 registration is $120 in advance, $140 at the door, student rate $40 in advance and $50 at the door. Day rates Thu/Fri/Sat will be $60/$60/$60 and $20/$20/$20 student, and will be available at the door only. You can register online via Paypal or your credit card, or mail a check, along with your name, email, and desired organization name (if any) for your badge, to Space Access '16, PO Box 16034, Phoenix AZ 85011.

return to top

Supporting Space Access

Our sustainability goal is once again to raise ten thousand dollars in SA'16 donations. Current progress: $3650. Last year, you all gifted $9605, which is what allowed us to spend the summer fighting for our policy goals and then get ready for this year's conference. Thanks!

This year, one thing we're hoping to do after the conference is over is to spend some time summing it all up, and publish an "Advice To The Incoming Administration" policy paper in the hope of providing some common-sense counterbalance to all the nonsense out there.

If you believe that our conferences, and the work we do in between, are useful to this community, help, please. Mail a donation of whatever size - fifty, a hundred, a thousand, it all helps - via check to: Space Access Society, PO Box 16034, Phoenix AZ 85011.

(Note that this is NOT tax-deductible, as we are not a 501c-anything. It is however entirely confidential, as we have never and will never share or disclose in any way our supporters' names. Our ongoing gratitude goes out to all who've supported us over the years and who continue to help.)

return to top

Return to Space Access Main Page