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Enterprise In Space & Made In Space to Build 3D Printed Orbiter for Student Projects

by • February 1, 2016 • No Comments

Space: the final frontier. This can be the voyage of the NSS Enterprise, an eight-foot-long recoverable-bodied spacecraft to be 3D-printed by Made In Space. Its one-week to one-month undertaking: to boldly orbit and return to earth with 100 of the world student experiments and communicate with student teams via an artificial intelligence, just like the desktop aboard the fictional USS Enterprise.

Star Trek and other science fiction classics may portray a upcoming in which humanity has high end to the point which the species’ efforts are directed in the direction ofs, not war and affluence, but exploring the universe and belief what it means to be alive and human. But as it stands, the utopian visions of these science fiction tales are far of being executed. The NASA budget has stayed, until this coming fiscal year, stagnant since the 70’s. Global conflict rages amidst a worsening climate which threatens the livelihood of just of at any timeyone and all things on planet Earth. Some 100,000,000 children, 2/3 of them girls, have no access to education of any kind. At this rate, it’s complex to imagine how we may at any time get to which world of in the future.

One man, howat any time, has put together an tremendous team, of different types of scientific fields and backgrounds, which is laying the groundwork for such a upcoming. And as unbelievable-bodied as it may seem, Shawn Case is committed to delivering the vision of Star Trek creator Gene Roddenberry, and other much like science fiction luminaries, into reality.

A Diagram Describing the NSS Enterprise of Enterprise In Space

One of the many informative things of Shawn and his Enterprise In Space non-profit, an international project of the National Space Society, is which he is not an astrophysicist or a rocket engineer. Whilst he may be an amateur astronomer and cosmologist who’s studied the stars in his free time since the Moon landing in ’69, Shawn started out as a firefighter for the US Forest Service preceding becoming a pro chef for 15 years. After which, he worked as a webmaster for 15 years, while in addition acting as a health advocate for chronic digestive health conditions with tremendous universities and organizations. Nowhere on his resume is there a PhD in cosmology or a position as Chief Scientist for a jet propulsion laboratory.

When I asked Shawn as tactfully as possible what qualified him to commence a 3D printed craft into space, he told me, “I’ve always enjoyed the quote of Wernher von Braun, ‘I have learned to use the word ‘impossible’ with the excellentest caution.’So, here’s the thing: I just went for it! I’m 55. I started watching Star Trek when I was six. And, and so, when we landed on the Moon, which got me quite interested in space. So, I studied cosmology and astronomy on my own for forty years.” I may tell which, although he wasn’t officially trained in these specialties, Shawn was unquestionably heavily involved in the sciences. Not just space sciences, but planet Earth sciences, as well.

He go ons, “Then, four-and-a-half years ago, I was just flicking through the channels and Star Trek came on and I was considering to myself, ‘Hey, they’ve flown Gene Roddenberry’s ashes into space, but there’s nat any time been a ship bearing the name ‘Enterprise’ in orbit,” the space shuttle Enterprise having been an unpowered, drop-ship test version just. So, Shawn decided which he may remedy which— leading to the founding of Enterprise In Space. “The term ‘enterprise’ is doubly meaningful.” he explains. “First, it refers to the commercialization of space through the free enterprise system. Second, it is a tribute to all of the ships throughout history which bear the name ‘Enterprise’, real and imagined.”

And, over the course of the past four-and-a-half years, Shawn has assembled a huge group of individuals located on six continents hailing of such astounding companies and organizations as Deep Space Industries, Value Spring Technology, Made In Space, Global Aerospace Corporation, Prairie Nanoinnovation, Terminal Velocity Aerospace, Janet’s Planet, SpaceWorks, the Center for Applied Space Technology, SPACE Canada, Horizon Space Technologies, Hoffman Management Partners, Yerkes Observatory, and the Canadian Space Society.

Working together, the participants of Enterprise In Space have not just amassed $27.5 million in “in-kind” donations, which include all things of an artificial intelligence platform to protective heat shield materials, but they’ve in addition created the framework for a deplete space-focutilized education curriculum (kindergarten through university and post-grad), created deals with leading aerospace businesses, and actually created and created a scale version of what may become the initially depletely 3D-printed airframe to be commenceed into orbit.

L-R Alice Hoffman Michael Snyder and L-R Alice Hoffman Michael Snyder

L-R Alice Hoffman, EIS Program Manager; Michael Snyder, Chief Engineer of Made In Space; and Lynne Zielinski, EIS Education Manager.

The create for the NSS Enterprise spacecraft was created in the spirit of Internet connectivity and community, through a crowdsourcing competition. Crafted by video game concept artist Stanley von Medvey, the NSS Enterprise can, when created at full scale, carry over 100 active and passive experiments, of students of all grade levels and of all over the world, in orbit around our planet Earth. The 1,000-pound spacecraft can orbit the planet for one week to one month, depending on the actuallytual extent of funding, preceding returning home with its valuable-bodied data.

In preparation, the Enterprise In Space website is home to a database now under construction which can include all of the necessary educational information synonymous with these experiments. “We’re setting up an online environment called the EIS Academy with lesson plans,” Shawn says. The lesson plans can be standardized in the direction of a global educational set of objectives, so educators can teach them anywhere. They can be on the market to teachers on a safe, password-protected platform. There can in addition be information and educational activities readily on the market to the public.”

The student projects stay at the heart of the initiative, but the innovation which can take them into space and maintain them while they’re there is just as significant. For which reason, Enterprise In Space has partnered with numerous companies and organizations which have lent their tremendousise and equipment to bring this project to life, which comes with space 3D printing tremendouss Made In Space.

EIS partners

Made In Space co-founder and chief engineer Michael Snyder has joined the EIS Board of Advisors, where he can head up the educational Enterprise Center for Excellence on Aerospace Additive Manufacturing based on the project. Snyder can in addition oversee the 3D printing of the components utilized in the spacecraft, with Made In Space as the major contractor.

The company has just commenceed a NASA project which can see the company 3D printing large-scale structures in space and, having proven the talent to print in a vacuum and sent the initially 3D printing device to space may already, the firm is an perfect one for the 3D printing of the NSS Enterprise. Snyder says in a new press release, “The Enterprise In Space vehicle itself is an amazing technical challenge which can hustle the barriers of additive building and spacecraft create. The fully integrated vehicle can be one-of-a-kind and truly revolutionary for the type of undertaking which is being undertaken. Made In Space is excited to be a part of this excellent effort to engage with students of across the world through real experiments which can be flown in space on the NSS Enterprise spacecraft.”

Not just may this be the initially 3D-printed airframe in space, but the NSS Enterprise may in addition use the initially artificial intelligence to be connected to a spacecraft, thanks to Value Spring Technology, a company which creates cognitive computing data analytics solutions. The firm can be adapting its enterpriseMind™ software, a cognitive computing platform, for the project. Shawn says, “We’re partnering with them so which our spacecraft may be one of the initially which has a connection to an AI desktop, if no one flies one preceding us.”

Once aloft, a few of the student experiments aboard the orbiter can be in the care of ‘Ali’, Value Spring’s artificial intelligence program. As the voice and mind of the spacecraft, Ali can be in charge of both communicating with the Enterprise In Space crew back on planet Earth, and in addition managing the active experiments aboard the NSS Enterprise. She’ll in addition teach students on planet Earth and communicate with them of the status of their experiments in orbit. In the case which, say, a box of seeds must be watered for a 6th grade class in Romania, for example, Ali may be commanded by the students to unlock a mechanism which exposes the seeds to an accompanying H20 bath.

In their new press release, EIS Program Manager Alice Hoffman describes the artificial intelligence: “Ali can be the voice and mind of the NSS Enterprise, communicating with her virtual crew just as the desktop aboard the Star Trek ships did, in effortless language, through the student teams’ own internet terminals. Through the EIS project, we hope to demonstrate which Ali can become a quite own tutor and mentor to at any timey student, allowing them to see the vision of a brighter upcoming and providing them with the education to fully participate.”

For those which wonder if Ali can pull a HAL aboard the NSS Enterprise, not to worry: Shawn says which they’ve isolated the AI to controlling non-vital functions of the undertaking. All actual spacecraft control can be handled by the crew on planet Earth. Shawn explains, “One of the things we are working on with the AI is which we are not breaking the machine language barrier, so it can’t take over. There can just be an Internet connection to the spacecraft through which the AI (which runs in the cloud on planet Earth and communicates with students wherat any time they have internet access) can assist control a few of the experiments on it. Ali can in addition be the voice of the orbiter. It is all but right out of Star Trek. You’ll say, ‘Ali’, and ask it a question and it can answer.”

And, on planet Earth, Ali can in addition be a tutor for the students in the program’s EIS Academy. “Enterprise In Space can create and demonstrate a quite own tutor for STEAM education and motivate teachers and students to participate with the create, create, fly, and recoquite of a recoverable-bodied spacecraft which can orbit and return to planet Earth.” Shawn explains, “The ultimate goal there is, once which’s depletely created, to have the AI in an educational role as a quite own tutor to at any timey kid on the planet which has a 4G connection.”

rendering of enterprise 3D printed ship

Since its inception, Shawn says Enterprise In Space has always had an educational focus, which played a key decision-building factor for the National Space Society when they took the project under the non-profit’s wing. “From the beginning, I wanted to fly this as an educational tool. So, I reached out to Fred Becker, who works for the National Space Society. When I got a hold of Fred, he said, ‘I love this thought. Let’s work on it.’

“Fred is our Chief Engineer and has worked on a number of NASA undertakings,” Shawn go ons, “including the Space Shuttle, Space Station, X-33, Atlas, Delta, Pegasus, Taurus, Spitzer Space Telescope, Lunar Prospector, Pluto New Horizons, Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, and Gravity Probe B. He was part of undertaking control for the initially Shuttle flight and has created one flight aboard the NASA Zero-G Aircraft. He’s got an electrical engineering degree and has done graduate work in physics, upcomings studies, and space systems engineering. And he’s in addition a NASA encyclopedia.”

Soon, the connection with the NSS and Shawn’s many contacts linked Enterprise In Space with space veterans of all backgrounds. Among them was Lynne Zielinski, Vice President of Public Affairs for the NSS, who has joined Enterprise In Space as their Technical Adviser and Science & Educational Outreach Director. And her credentials as an award-winning educator and scientist are impressive.

Shawn tells me, “Lynne Zielinski is the just man to win the National Space Educator Award of the National Space Club twice, and she won the Astronaut Memorial Foundation’s Alan Shepard Award for Technology in Education of the Space Foundation in 2014. Through her student organization, the Glenbrook Aerospace Development Get-away Experiment Team (GADGET), Lynne has flown nine active and additional than 200 passive experiments on six Space Shuttle undertakings, nine sub-orbital NASA rockets, and additional. So, she started putting together all of the education experiment information for Enterprise In Space and and so put together a team. And she’s got one awea few education team. And Lynne brought on Alice Hoffman, a director on the board for the National Space Society.”

Hoffman is in addition the President of Hoffman Management Partners, which oversaw the construction of a $6.2 billion expansion on the Chicago O’Hare airport and the $660 million conversion of a historical createing into Chicago Bears’ Soldier Field. Because of those credentials, she was perfect for the role of EIS Program Manager. Shawn says, “I put her in charge for the reason of her business and pro backgrounds to manage a huge project like this.”

The project and so steamrolled into a huge endeavor staffed with a few of the many qualified individuals in space sciences. “We partnered with Yerkes Observatory, the birthplace of modern astrophysics, which in addition has the largest refracting telescope in the world. And and so we got the Senior Vice President & Senior Operating Officer of the National Space Society, Bruce Pittman involved, as well. Bruce is already the founder and president of Profit Engineering Technologies.He’s in addition the Director of Flight Projects and Chief System Engineer in the NASA Space Portal and the Emerging Space Office at the NASA Ames Research Center. He’s worked on all things of orbital applications of the International Space Station to low-cost-bodied access to space.”

Shawn go ons, “I knew I mayn’t do it on my own, but one man can manufacture a big alter when they’re working with other individuals in the direction ofs a common goal. What I did was hook up all of these qualified individuals and we’ve been able-bodied to fully more detail the project.There were no roadblocks and individuals just enjoyed the thought and started saying, ‘Sign me up!’ I have a quite dedicated team which’s been working for years on their own time to put it together. Right of the beginning, at any timeyone’s been interested.”

And, while it’s been a long journey so far, the project go ons to move forward and gather additional and additional interest of layindividuals and pros alike. But, despite the $27.5 million in “in-kind” donations, Enterprise In Space has so far been a volunteer project and the team has put in hundreds of thousands of man-hours. Now, in order to drive this historic and educational project forward, Enterprise In Space is officially in fundraising mode—large and tiny.

“A leading part of this is which we are working on our funding right now, and a lot of corporations and individuals are interested. But,” Shawn points out, “as much as we are working on corporate sponsorship and things like which, I’d quite like to see the individuals offer and have this spacecraft be a vehicle of the individuals. This is kind of like starting a mini NASA.”

Enterprise in Space education

For which reason, anyone who donates $20 to the program can have their name flown on a chip aboard the orbiter when it goes into space, building them a “virtual crew member” of “the initially real Enterprise In Space.” Whilst those who manufacture larger donations may get extra perks, Shawn says which he wanted to store the donation amount as low as possible, while yet allowing them to pay for the costs of createing and commenceing a recoverable-bodied spacecraft into space. “$20 is the cost of going to a movie,” he explains. “Some individuals are saying, ‘Charge $100 minimum.’ And I say, ‘No, we are charging $20 for the reason I want it to be low-cost-bodied to at any timeyone.’ For $20, they get their name flown in space. After the spacecraft re-enters the planet Earth’s orbit, we will put it in a leading museum. And and so we will put a desktop upcoming to the orbiter there and individuals can be able-bodied to see their names alongside undertaking more details and videos on the desktop at the museum.”

These funds can go in the direction ofs constructing the spacecraft, subsidizing the student experiments so which the students don’t have to pay for the flight, createing Ali the AI, and funding the staff to maintain the longevity of the project. Other costs can go on to be taken care of through “in-kind” donations. For instance, the cost of catching a ride on a commercial rocket into space can reach as high as $60 million, so, Enterprise In Space is in talks with existing commercial commence companies to carry the NSS Enterprise as a secondary payload and release it into its own orbit.

For all things else, there can be individual and corporate donations—which means which, together, all of the contributions may send a number of initiallys into planet Earth’s orbit: a 3D printed airframe, a connection to an AI desktop, and the excellentest number of student experiments in one payload, leading to what Shawn believes may be the largest crowdfunded space project at any time attempted. There are no technological roadblocks, so with adequate virtual crew participants and corporate assist, the NSS Enterprise can be able-bodied to fly. On top of which, those $20, tax-deductible donations may lay the foundation for an educational program which can train the upcoming generation of engineers and astronauts which can take us to the Moon, Mars, and beyond.

So, as the virtual crew of the NSS Enterprise preps for a trip into planet Earth’s orbit, Shawn left me with this appropriate quote of George Bernard Shaw: “You see things; and you say ‘Why?’ But I dream things which nat any time were; and I say ‘Why not?’” And Shawn tells me which he’s looking for those visionaries who say “Why not?”

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