Summary of the January 5, 2019 Meeting – Gateway, Orbits, Space Solar Power

The January 5, 2019 meeting of NSS North Houston Space Society was a big success.  Doug Hall gave us an overview of the Gateway.  Dr. Greg Stanley talked about orbits and the pros/cons of various of each for the Gateway.  Dr. Feng Hsu talked about the benefits of Space Solar Power (SSP) and the need to prioritize it.  And there was much lively discussion before, during, and after the presentations.

In Doug Hall’s presentation, we saw the 2016 plan for the Gateway (previously called Lunar Orbital Platform and Gateway (LOP-G)) which was a slimmed down, minimalist version of the orbital platform with 10% of the pressurized volume of the ISS.   Compared with the version that was announced in summer of 2018 which had 8 modules and would be manufactured by a host of countries.   This would result in agreements between the countries that would make the Gateway “cancellation proof” once it got underway.

David Cheuvront also attended and was able to provide some background of the Gateway back from the Vision for Exploration (VSE) days where the Gateway would also serve as a fuel depot (which is not in the current plans).   In the JSC concept, propellant supplied from terrestrial sources for re-fueling in Low Earth Orbit would facilitate lunar resource development, both of which would precede the development of an L1 Propellant Depot/Gateway.

Dr. Greg Stanley gave a presentation of various orbital parameters, orbit families, and key considerations of each.  He explained the difference between the Low Lunar Orbits, Prograde Circular Orbits, Frozen Lunar Orbits, Elliptical Lunar Orbits, Near Rectilinear Halo Orbits, Earth-Moon L2 Halo Orbits, and Distant Retrograde Orbits.  We looked at the feasibility of reaching each from Earth using Orion, ability to access the surface of the moon, the amount of propellant needed for station keeping, the ability to communicate with Earth, and the ability to cool the station in each orbit with radiators.  After looking at this analysis, it became clear why NASA is interested in the Near Rectilinear Halo Orbit (NRHO or shortened to NRO). (see the full presentation: Lunar Gateway Orbit Options Presentation)

Dr. Feng Hsu also visited our club.  He is the chair of the NSS Space Solar Power (SSP) Committee and is the NSS Director for our region.  He has worked as a Senior System Engineer at Lockheed Martin and as a Sr. Engineer, Manager at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center.   He pointed out that China has big plans to develop space.  This week they landed a rover on the far side of the moon, and China plans to have manned missions to the moon by 2035 with a permanent lunar base on the south pole.  And with the non-interference provisions of the Outer Space Treaty, the group that gets there first effectively has control.  This will lead to a space race between China and other countries including the US.

Dr. Hsu talked about Space Solar Power (SSP).  China has plans to develop this important energy resource.  And there needs to be an American response.  He proposes the MAGA Project on Energy & Space which would be a concerted effort by the US to ensure that we are able to generate power in space 24/7 and beam it anywhere we need it.  Space Solar Power is an example of space activities improving life here on earth.

Our three speakers were presented with framed pictures from the Falcon Heavy launch back in February 2018.  Thank you Dr. Feng Hsu, Doug Hill, and Dr. Greg Stanley for sharing your knowledge and leading the discussions about these exciting topics.

Before and after the meeting, there were lively discussions.  Several people said that it was the best meeting yet.

Our next meeting will be on February 2, 2019 and Anita Gale will be speaking on Large Space Infrastructure Development.


When Gerard O’Neil popularized space settlements decades ago, we believed that people would be living in space by 2019.  The L5 Society and NSS kept the idea alive, and Space Settlement Design Competitions started in 1984 to get high school students interested in living in space.  Now, presentations in technical conferences are showing that serious progress is finally being made to enable space settlements to happen, and part of the path to make it happen was predicted by the high school Competitions.

About the Speaker:

Anita Gale is a member of the NSS Executive Committee and a member of the NSS Space Settlement Advocacy Committee. She has chaired or co-chaired the Space Settlement Sessions for ISDC since 2007.

In 1984, Anita co-founded Space Settlement Design Competitions, industry simulation games that engage high school students in designing future space settlements. The Competitions have evolved into an International activity involving over 1000 students each year on six continents. Anita’s work with Space Settlement Design Competitions was recognized by NSS in 2008 with the presentation of a Space Pioneer Award, in the Category of Educator.

She has worked as a Senior Project Engineer in Space Shuttle Payload & Cargo Integration, for The Boeing Company in Houston. Her professional career started on the Space Shuttle program in 1974, for Rockwell International in Downey, California. She provided conceptual designs for cargo integration on future launch vehicles, contributed to R&D for Shuttle upgrades and future missions of both reusable and expendable launch vehicles, and developed process improvements. She holds three US patents on launch vehicle payload interface standardization and containerization, which are essential technologies for reducing future vehicle processing costs and schedules.  After the end of the Space Shuttle Program, Anita developed cargo integration processes for the Boeing Commercial Crew program.  She retired from Boeing in 2016.

Next Meeting January 5, 2019 – NASA Gateway Presentations and Discussions

Join us at our next meeting of the NSS North Houston Space Society Saturday (January 5, 2019) at 6 PM at my house (9327 Swansea Bay Dr.; Spring, TX 77379).  (Everyone is welcomed, feel free to invite others.)
Topic:  NASA’s planned Gateway – Space Station around the moon
6:00 – Pizza/Open discussions
6:20 – NASA’s Gateway – Overview
6:40 – Choosing a Lunar Orbit for the Gateway – Dr. Greg Stanley
7:00 – Alternative Approach – Moon Direct – Keith Dauzat
7:20 – Discussion and Wrap Up

This meeting will feature several small presentations about topics related to the NASA Gateway, an orbital outpost around the moon.

What is it?  What is the history of the idea?  What are the plans?  What alternatives are there?  Is it something that we should support, oppose, or just accept/observe?

Here are some articles that will help you come up to speed about the Gateway.  (Reading them is not required to enjoy the meeting)


Overview Material/Articles


Opinion and Other Points of View

Summary Infographics:




Next Meeting December 1, 2018

Join us our next meeting of the NSS North Houston Space Society  Saturday (December 1, 2018) at 6PM at my house (9327 Swansea Bay Dr.; Spring, TX 77379).  I’ll send out more details as we get closer and  we have several sites to keep you updated:

We will have a guest speaker in December:

Suzi Bianco is a space architect with a strong background in architecture and urban planning. For 8 years she worked in the engineering company Promon Engenharia, developing large scale industrial and infrastructure projects such as ports, factories, subway systems and power plants. Recently she shifted her career towards space exploration by pursuing a Masters degree in Space Architecture at the University of Houston, from which she graduated in May 2018. Suzi joined Space Cooperative in 2017, and helped found Space Decentral, an autonomous, decentralized space agency. She currently leads operations, community and the Space Mission Activation Process, and is currently working on a number of projects such as Coral, Nasa’s 3D-printed habitat challenge, and Galaktika Orbital City

November 3, 2018 – Monthly Meeting Details – Space Law

Join us our next meeting of the NSS North Houston Space Society  Saturday (November 3, 2018) at 6PM at my house (9327 Swansea Bay Dr.; Spring, TX 77379).  I’ll send out more details as we get closer and  we have several sites to keep you updated:

We will have a guest speaker in November:

Nathan Johnson is a space law attorney licensed in Washington, DC, and has worked in the emerging commercial space industry. He worked at the FAA Office of Commercial Space Transportation during SpaceX’s first berth with the International Space Station, on Capitol Hill during deliberation over regulating commercial human spaceflight, and has consulted for private companies and investors in evaluating new and novel business opportunities in orbit, lunar, and deep space. He also volunteers as the Executive Director of the new Texas Space Foundation, a 501(c)(3) non-profit advocacy group which works to increase awareness, activities, and action on behalf of the regional Texas space economy.

Nathan Johnson will discuss the history of space law, including the context of when it was created, the structure and principals of the major Outer Space Treaties, and the application of it on an international and domestic level throughout the past 50 years. He will talk about how space law has affected exploration and discovery, and how it will apply to the future of mankind’s endeavors in space.

Recap of our October 6, 2018 Meeting – BFR/BFS


If you are not already a National Space Society (NSS) member, please sign up.  It is only $20.  And if you join through this link, half of that comes back to our chapter to help pay for food, supplies, and anything else that will help us in our mission to keep up on advances in Space Exploration and sharing that with others.

Next month (November), the New Worlds Conference is happing in Austin, TX on November 9-10, 2018.  Find more information and sign up at  There are many great guest speakers and people to meet there.  While I won’t go into them all, there are a few to point out Richard Garriott one of the private space explorers who has spent a week on the ISS will be there.   Dr. Philip Metzger from the UCF Florida Space Institute gave a great presentation covering the moon mining contests that he oversees.  Last years presentation was amazing seeing the variety of approaches to this problem, his analysis of commonality of certain design characteristics of successful designs.  Rick Tumlinson is the main guy behind the conference.  He has been a very successful advocate for space.  Holly Melear who runs STEAMSPACE will be hosting the cities in space contest.  It is amazing to see the creativity of these students.  Bill Gerstenmaier the NASA Associate Administrator, Human Exploration and Operations.  Last year I got to speak to him for a bit before the conference started.  And there are many, many more.  I definitely recommend going!

There are some local events on drones, space talks, and some other related topics that STEM-E, Youth Career Development Program will be hosting.  Check out the events page at


Did you see the big announcement about DearMoon?  check out this video:

This was announced on Sept 17, 2018 at SpaceX headquarters.  The plans to send a handful of artists around the moon, a group of people that might be able to take that experience and share it in such a way that the billions back here can feel like they were on it too.

More details about the current iteration of the BFR/BFS system can be seen at the announcement:

We seem to be getting BFR/BFS announcements about once a year.  Sept 29, 2017 at  IAC in Adelaide, Australia:

And then the original announcement Sept 27, 2016 at IAC in Guadalajara, Mexico:

My younger son, wife, and I attend this.  We were able to sit in the VIP section because the efforts of the great people over at the reddit SpaceX group

You can see that we are about 4-5 rows from Elon presenting on the stage.  And had a phenomenal view:

The BFR/BFS will open up space in amazing ways:

But how to pay for it?  Use it for point to point transportation here on earth:

Next Meeting:

Join us our next meeting of the NSS North Houston Space Society  Saturday (November 3, 2018) at 6PM at my house (9327 Swansea Bay Dr.; Spring, TX 77379).  I’ll send out more details as we get closer and  we have several sites to keep you updated:

NSS North Houston Space Society – October Meeting – SpaceX BFR

Join us for the October meeting of the NSS North Houston Space Society this Saturday (October 6, 2018) at 6PM at my house (9327 Swansea Bay Dr.; Spring, TX 77379).  We will be having pizza.  Below is the agenda of the meeting. (Feel free to forward and invite others.)
Also, we have several sites to keep you updated:


Focus of the meeting will be SpaceX’s BFR

SpaceX has announced the latest design for their BFR Rocket which will allow for global travel to be completed in 30 minutes instead of 12 hours on a plane. It will have the greatest capability and the lowest operational cost of any rocket ever produced. And in 2023 it is planned to send a group of artists around the moon. (The first time that humans have left low earth orbit this century.)
See more:

Check out:

September Monthly Meeting – Topic: Lunar Exploration

We will be having the September meeting of the NSS North Houston Space Society this Saturday (September 1, 2018) at 6PM at my house (9327 Swansea Bay Dr.; Spring, TX 77379).  We will be having pizza.  Below is the agenda of the meeting. (Feel free to forward and invite others.)
Also, we have several sites to keep you updated:

6:00 – Work in small teams to learn about Lunar Exploration and to put together a small presentation
7:00 – Each team gives a 10-minute presentation with 5 minutes QA
8:00 – Space Exploration Jeopardy
8:30 – End of meeting

It would be great if you brought a computer, tablet, or cell phone to do some research on.  Also, if you have some books on Lunar exploration that you think would make good source materials, then bring them along.  I am working on recruiting some team leaders.  But if you have an interest in leading a team, then email me (  Please let me know if there is a particular aspect of Lunar exploration that interests you.

A few resources that would be worth exploring:
Spudis Lunar Resource:
Wikipedia article on Exploration of the Moon:
Moon Village Association:
Moon Express:
Team Indus:
Wikipedia article on Chinese Lunar Exploration:

I look forward to seeing you on Saturday.

August 4, 2018 – NSS North Houston Space Society Monthly Meeting

We will be having the August meeting of the NSS North Houston Space Society this Saturday (August 4, 2018) at 6PM at my house (9327 Swansea Bay Dr.; Spring, TX 77379).  We will be having pizza.  Below is the agenda of the meeting and more information about the speakers.  (Feel free to forward and invite others.)
Also, we have several sites to keep you updated:

6:00 – Gathering activity
6:30 – Everything you Wanted to Know about Spaceports and Space Tenants (John Diiorio)
6:50 – Open discussion
7:00 – Proposal for Laboratory Generated Gravitomagnetic Field Measurement (Gary Stephenson)
7:20 – Open discussion
7:30 – Space Exploration Jeopardy
8:00 – End of meeting

About our speakers:
John Diiorio:
Mr. DiIorio graduated from the University of Minnesota, College of Science & Technology in 1974 with a degree in Mechanical Engineering, power and propulsion. He graduated from the United States Army Management Engineering College in 1975 with a diploma in Quality and Reliability Engineering. In 1971, his first college project was a team effort titled: Project BCD. This was a computer program of one parameter (i.e., overkill) to simulate a full-scale thermal nuclear war between the United States and the Soviet Union. Mr. DiIorio went on to serve with several accommodations as a General Engineer specializing in the field of ‘the state of the art’ or the leading edge of technology. His voracity lead him to be chosen as an investigator in seven criminal actions with Defense and NASA contractors, as well as, several other special investigations. His dedication to national security issues lead to become a chief instructor of technical subjects and a liaison to other agencies within DOD. He participates in technology innovation and concept contests; the Conoco-Phillips Energy Prize, and others. He develops new analytical tools for the quality, reliability, and safety fields. With emphasis on STEM, STEAM, STREAM, physics, and astronomy, he derived a formula to replace the conjecture burden Frank Drake equation. Today, he is a technical writer on national security issues and a presenter of science and space technology.

Gary Stephenson:
Gary Stephenson is a Lead Systems Engineer at United Technologies Aerospace Systems (UTAS) providing systems engineering support for EVA Mobility Unit (EMU) on ESOC program, spacesuit upgrades, new spacesuit product development, and other life support systems development (ECLSS) for NASA, NASA prime contractors, and commercial customers. Duties include certification of spaceflight hardware, including airlock equipment such as UIAs, FPUs, and IEUs (umbilicals).

June 2, 2018 – Monthly Meeting – Orion Span

At our June 2, 2018 meeting, we will have Dr. David Jarvis visit us to discuss Orion Span which aims to build a private space station.

The meeting will be from 6Pm-8PM at Nathan’s house (9327 Swansea Bay Dr., Spring, TX 77379).  Hope to see you there!

Monthly North Houston Space Society Chapter Meeting

Saturday, Jun 2, 2018, 6:00 PM

Location details are available to members only.

8 Members Attending

We are working on finalizing the agenda for the upcoming meeting. Additional topics may be added. One of the main parts of the meeting will be a guest speaker, David Jarvis, who will be sharing about his company Orion Span About the David Jarvis David Jarvis is the CTO for Orion Span and has extensive experience in human spaceflight, having spent 1…

Check out this Meetup →


David Jarvis is the CTO for Orion Span and has extensive experience in human spaceflight, having spent 13 years at Johnson Space Center in Houston Texas providing operations support to the Japanese Space Agency, a key International Space Station partner. David’s work included inter-agency coordination to facilitate technical and programmatic solutions to issues related to the ISS, as well as real-time console support during Space Shuttle missions. In 2014, David co-founded a four-person team that designed a unique remote sensor system to monitor maritime vessel traffic around the world. This demonstration technology, called Maritime Awareness, was launched and successfully installed on the International Space Station in 2016.

David is a veteran of the United States Coast Guard and holds a BS in Physics from the University of Massachusetts Amherst, and a MBA from University of Texas Austin Mccombs School of Business.


About Orion Span

Orion Span is a private commercial space company with the goal of providing affordable human-rated facilities in space for governments, industry, and private citizens. Orion Span has offices in Silicon Valley and plans to open a manufacturing and operations facility in Houston, TX.


Topics for Discussion

David will discuss an overview of Orion Span and Aurora Station, as well as the company’s development schedule and future plans. David will also be speaking about the ecosystems of commercial space and how the industry can attain large scale growth for commercial human space flight. A Q&A session will follow the presentation.

2018-May – Biosphere 2 and Space Exploration Jeopardy

Our May meeting went well.  Dr. Greg Stanley presented a talk entitled “Biosphere 2 and Closed Ecological Systems

A biosphere is the worldwide sum of all ecosystems.  It is materially closed but open for energy and information.  The word “biosphere” was coined by geologist Eduard Suess in 1875 (no relation to Dr. Suess 🙂 ).  The word meant “geology of the place that life dwells”.  The Geochemist Vladimir Vernadsky developed the concept further in his 1926 book entitled “The Biosphere”.  In it, he argues that life is a geological force.

How small can a biosphere be?  Biosphere 1 is the earth.  Biosphere 2 was created to help answer the question if it is possible to create a miniature version.  This is important because when we travel out into space, we will need to bring our Biosphere with us.

We had 10 people attend the meeting.

We finished up by playing Space Exploration Jeopardy.

We look forward to seeing you at our June 2nd meeting.