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Chicago Society for Space Studies
Spacewatch - February 2016

Space is Open For Business:
Business Opportunities on the High Frontier

CSSS is honored to have as our special guest speaker for our March meeting David Hurst, entrepreneur and CEO and Founder of Orbital Transports. David's presentation Space is Open For Business focuses on the recent growth in the commercial space industry and the rise of NewSpace companies as well as how new technologies and new ways of doing business in space are rapidly changing the marketscape and opening up new opportunities for space-related and space-scalable businesses. You don't want to miss this presentation.

As always, this CSSS event is free and open to the public as a part of our educational outreach activities.

Space is Open For Business Program Details
When: 1:00pm Sunday March 20, 2016
Where: Adult Classroom (on the 2nd Floor)
Schaumburg Township District Library
130 South Roselle Road
Schaumburg, IL
Visit the CSSS web site events page.


NewSpace Chicago Business Plan Competition

NewSpace Chicago announced their NewSpace Chicago Business Plan Competition for space-related and space-scalable business start-ups, to be held on Wednesday, March 16, beginning at 9am. Business plan submissions will be accepted from February 2 until March 9. Contestants will compete in a "shark-tank" style event, each having 15 minutes to present their business plan and answer questions before a panel of judges. The winner of the NewSpace Chicago BPC will receive a $2,500 cash prize and a guaranteed place in the national NewSpace BPC, to be held in Seattle on June 23, 2016.

The company should have technologies or products that advance the NewSpace movement. These would include the following general areas:

  • Entrepreneurial space: Those firms directly involved in launch systems and infrastructure, including data acquisition, communications, exotic fuels, space suits, flight safety, in-space market activities, etc.
  • Space-related: Process engineering, power systems, bioregenerative systems, tourism, media, software, and other supportive solutions.
  • Space-scalable: Technologies primarily developed to solve problems here on Earth, but are also scalable to solve key long range space problems to help make the settlement of the space frontier a reality.

This event is organized by NewSpace Chicago in partnership with the Space Frontier Foundation, Heinlein Prize Trust, and Orbital Transports, LLC. The competition in Chicago is the regional qualifying event for the national NewSpace Business Plan Competition organized by the Space Frontier Foundation. The national BPC will select the winners from among contestants from Chicago, New York, Los Angeles, Chattanooga and Colorado Springs.

When: 9:00 - 12:00, Wednesday, March 16
Where:1871 Chicago,
      222 W Merchandise Mart Plaza, 12th floor, Chicago
Web site: NewSpace Chicago BPC
Applications: All entries must be submitted through the Decision Desk software: Apply here

Coming Events


May 14: Astronomy Day at Harper College, Palatine

On Saturday, May 14, 2016, Northwest Suburban Astronomers and the Harper College Department of Physical Sciences will be celebrating Astronomy Day with an evening of programming and, weather permitting, telescopic observations of the night sky. In addition to exhibits, there will be a total of nine presentations of which two are given by members of our CSSS Speakers Bureau. Jim Kovac will give his presentation Mysteries of the Cosmos - The Possibility of Life on Mars and Venus and Jim Plaxco will give his new presentation The Globalization of the Solar System which addresses the potential for globalization to take place with human settlements spread across the solar system.

For complete details, see theNorthwest Suburban Astronomers web site.


May 20: Pluto Revealed

A lecture at Fermilab about the New Horizons mission to Pluto will be given by Dr. David Weintraub of Vanderbilt University. Dr. Weintraub will describe what we've learned about Pluto from the New Horizons mission and how that knowledge aids us in understanding our solar system. The lecture is Friday, May 20, 2016 at 8:00pm. Tickets cost $7.00. For complete details, see Fermilab Lectures page.


Mysteries of the Cosmos and Pluto - New Horizons

CSSS Speakers Bureau member Jim Kovac will be giving the following presentation:

  • 03/29/16: Mysteries of the Cosmos at Winfield Library, Winfield IL
  • 04/20/16: New Horizons: Exploring Pluto at Ela Area Public Library, Lake Zurich IL

Space News


NASA, Made in Space think big with Archinaut, a robotic 3D printing demo bound for ISS

Within five years, companies could begin in-orbit manufacturing and assembly of communications satellite reflectors or other large structures, according to Made in Space, the Silicon Valley startup that sent the first 3D printer to the International Space Station in 2014.
As Made in Space prepares to send a second 3D printer into orbit, the company is beginning work with Northrop Grumman and Oceaneering Space Systems on Archinaut, an ambitious effort to build a 3D printer equipped with a robotic arm that the team plans to install in an external space station pod, under a two-year, $20 million NASA contract. The project will culminate in 2018 with an on-orbit demonstration of Archinaut's ability to additively manufacture and assemble a large, complex structure, said Andrew Rush, Made in Space president.
For the complete story see

ATLASGAL Survey of Milky Way Completed

A spectacular new image of the Milky Way has been released to mark the completion of the APEX Telescope Large Area Survey of the Galaxy (ATLASGAL). The APEX telescope in Chile has mapped the full area of the Galactic Plane visible from the southern hemisphere for the first time at submillimetre wavelengths - between infrared light and radio waves - and in finer detail than recent space-based surveys. The pioneering 12-metre APEX telescope allows astronomers to study the cold Universe: gas and dust only a few tens of degrees above absolute zero.
The release, images and videos are available at:

Miscellaneous Space Bullets

* Space Policy Online has published a new fact sheet on NASA's FY 2017 Budget Request;

* A new study by The Tauri Group shows that private venture capital invested $1.8 billion into the space industry in 2015. This is double average for the last 15 years.

* The Rosetta lander Philae is not likely to call home any more. The comet is getting to far from the Sun for its solar panels to give it any power.

* NASA has awarded five new unmanned cargo mission to SpaceX. The contract was signed in December, but not announced until this month. It is worth about $700 million.

* On February 19, 2016, Virgin Galactic rolled out it's replacement for Spaceship Two. The first one was destroyed in a accident in 2014. It is named VSS Unity.

* The Wide Field Infrared Survey Telescope (WFIRST) get approval from NASA as the next large space telescope, after the James Webb. NASA Introduces New, Wider Set of Eyes on the Universe.

* Astronaut Edgar Mitchell, the 6th man on the moon died in Florida on February 4, 2016. He was 85.

Space On The Web


NASA Apps For Smartphones and Tablets

The NASA Apps For Smartphones and Tablets page identifies a large number of apps for Android and iOS smartphones and tablies. App categories include Earth, Solar System, Universe, Technology, Station and Shuttle, and others. If you need space on the go, then check out the apps at

This Issue's Quotation


"I think it would be a cinch to inhabit the moon, and it would also be a cinch to inhabit L-5... I know it is mind boggling, but still, a colony of 10,000 people at either place would be very straightforward... . Both of these could be done by 1990 if there was appropriate public support."

John F. Yardly, NASA Associate Administrator for Space Flight, 1976

What Do You Think?

If you have comments or suggestions regarding Chicago Society for Space Studies and/or Spacewatch please email Jim Plaxco at <email address omitted on web version >


Chicago Society for Space Studies is a chapter of
the National Space Society

For questions, contact Jim Plaxco at <omitted on web version > or

via email at <email address omitted on web version >