Pre-Symposium Seminars and Tour

There will be events held on Tuesday, October 3, before the main events of the 2017 Symposium. We will have three seminars over two sessions in the morning and afternoon, and we will also have an afternoon tour.

Tour: (Free) Beginning at 1:00 pm.

Tour the United Launch Alliance (ULA) rocket assembly facility in Decatur, AL – Home of Atlas V, Delta IV, and the future Vulcan launch vehicles.


United Launch Alliance, 1001 Red Hat Rd, Decatur, AL 35601

The tour will be limited to the first 30 people to apply. Applications will be processed only after payment for symposium participation is received. Only US citizens may take the tour and all must register and pay at least 15 days in advance.

The tour will take place at the same time as the Human Life in Space seminar, so attendance at that seminar will take priority over tour attendance.


Seminars: Registration for the TVIW conference is completely separate from registration for the Pre-Symposium Seminars. Each Pre-Symposium seminar is $100.

Three pre-symposium seminars will be offered on Tuesday October 3.  These seminars are separate from the TVIW 2017 Symposium, and you can sign up for one or two seminars without attending the Symposium.  The seminars are 3-hour presentations on a single subject, providing an in-depth look at that subject.  The cost for each seminar is $100 on top of the symposium cost.  Attendance is limited to 35 individuals for each seminar, first come first served.  Handouts will be provided on a thumb drive.

There will be a morning and afternoon session (9:00-12:00 and 1:00-4:00).  Each seminar is taught by an individual who has expertise in the subject area.

We have the following seminars available.  You may sign up for both a morning and afternoon session by contacting if not attending the TVIW 2017 Symposium, or when you register for the Symposium, or you can add it later by editing your registration. Registration for Human Life in Space excludes the registrant from participating in the ULA tour.

Conflict in Space 
October 3, 2017, morning session
Presenter is Major Brent D. Ziarnick, USAFR

This seminar will survey the state of conflict in space today, including the players (focusing on the United States, Russia, and China) as well as the technologies and concepts that exist now or are expected in the near future.  The state of space weapons in policy and strategy will be discussed, as well as the possible goals of each player in the space environment.  This seminar will not discuss science fiction or historical concepts but will arm attendees with the latest unclassified and open-source understanding of the state of the militaries of the great space powers.  Those who attend this seminar will be well-prepared to assess international space news and separate the real from the ignorant – and the realistic from the sensational – in modern debates about space conflict.

Laser Propulsion: An Introduction to Laser Propulsion and Assessment of Relevant Current Technologies  
October 3, 2017, morning session
Presenter is Edward. E. (Sandy) Montgomery

This Seminar will address both Earth-to-Orbit and In-Space applications of lasers to propel space vehicles. It’s particular relevance to interstellar travel is often noted in reference to advanced conceptualizations such as StarWisp by Robert Forward. The fundamental mission concepts, system mechanizations, trajectories, and key performance parametrics will be presented for Laser thermal rocketry, Laser photon momentum exchange, and Laser ignited fusion/fission.

A summary of the historical perspective on the development of high power lasers and advanced beam directors will be provided. Current on-going technology development initiatives in the United States and Australia will be described. Some questions to be addressed include: Is a gigawatt laser needed? How could it be constructed? Where will the power for the laser come from? How far can a laser be projected? What laser propulsion systems have been designed and built? What do they look like? How does the cost of laser propulsion compare to conventional propulsion technologies? How does its cost compare with other future propulsion technologies? Can laser propulsion enable us meet and maybe exceed the goals of Breakthrough Starshot?

Human Life in Space – Separating Reality from Wishful Thinking
October 3, 2017 – afternoon session
Presenter is Dr. Robert E. Hampson (aka Speaker to Lab Animals), neurophysiologist and SF writer.

Most fiction, even hard science fiction, glosses over the problems that humans will have adapting to environments other than Earth. Good Science Fiction addresses a few of the problems, such as the body’s adaptations to zero-G or microgravity, but there are so many issues that a body evolved in a constant 1-G field, with plentiful air and water will have adapting to space, that no one story can address them all.

So we guess, and we invoke wishful thinking that all of the problems will somehow be solved by the time we get there.

The problem is, even with the extensive Human Research Program sponsored by NASA and various international space agencies, we just don’t know how humans will tolerate partial gravity, rotating habitats, exotic atmospheres and hostile space and planetary environments. Even the ISS is a relatively benign environment compared to Mars or the asteroids.

This seminar will examine many of the real medical and physiological problems encountered by the few humans who have spent more than a handful of days in space. From fluid balance to vertigo, from radiation to immune deficiencies, Dr. Hampson will lead participants in discussions of the real problems facing humans as we move out into space and potentially other planets.

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