Space Studies Institute
|This article relies on references to primary sources. (May 2009)|
|Founder||Gerard K. O'Neill|
|Type||Space advocacy, 501(c)3 Education|
|Focus||"open the energy and material resources of space for human benefit within our lifetime"|
|Key people||President and CEO Gary C Hudson; Trustee Freeman Dyson;|
Space Studies Institute is a non-profit organization that was founded in 1977 by the late Princeton University Professor Dr. Gerard K. O'Neill. The stated mission is to "open the energy and material resources of space for human benefit within our lifetime".
In 2009 SSI moved its operations from its long-term base in Princeton, New Jersey, to Mojave, California. SSI is involved in several initiatives, including a solar sail project that it is developing with Carnegie Mellon University and an effort to find asteroids that could be mined for valuable materials. The use of extraterrestrial resources in space settlement has been an area that has received very little attention in recent years. 
SSI's research priorities:
- 1. Low cost space access
- 2. Fully reusable propulsion systems
- 3. Mass driver engines
- 4. Use of non-terrestrial materials
- 5. Produce evidence that establishes that manufacturing and extraction industries on the Moon or on asteroids is cost-effective
- 6. Develop closed environment life support systems for space.
The Institute has sponsored research studies on several transport systems for the development of space. Their first program was in the development of prototype mass driver systems. They are also studying the use of an Orbital Transfer Vehicle as a component of space manufacturing. Other areas of research include a search for Earth-Sun Trojan asteroids, a design study of a Lunar Polar Probe to search for water and useful volatiles at the poles of the Moon, and studies of reuse of the Space Shuttle external tank. Dr O'Neill performed a pioneering study of a large space habitat named Island Three that could house 10,000,000 people.
SSI began hosting a bi-annual Space Manufacturing Conference in 1977, although the conference had actually begun in 1974 at NASA Ames Research Center. This is a list of conferences hosted or co-hosted by SSI.
- Space Manufacturing Facilities (Space Colonies) 1974-75
- Space Manufacturing Facilities II 1977
- Space Manufacturing III 1979
- Space Manufacturing 4 1981
- Space Manufacturing 1983 — Advances in the Astronautical Sciences - AAS 1983
- Space Manufacturing 5 — Engineering with Lunar and Asteroidal Materials 1985
- Space Manufacturing 6 — Non-terrestrial Resources, Biosciences, and Space Engineering 1987
- Space Manufacturing 7 — Space Resources to Improve Life on Earth 1989
- Space Manufacturing 8 — Energy and Materials from Space 1991
- Space Manufacturing 9 — The High Frontier, Accession, Development and Utilization 1993
- Space Manufacturing 10 — Pathways to the High Frontier 1995
- Space Manufacturing 11 — The Challenge of Space: Past and Future 1997
- Space Manufacturing 12 — Challenges and Opportunities in Space 1999
- Return to the Moon II 2000 — Space Frontier Foundation Lunar Development Conference 2000
- Space Manufacturing 13 — Settling Circumsolar Space 2001
- International Space Development Conference (with National Space Society and The Planetary Society) 2006.
- Space Manufacturing 14 — Planning Humanity's Future on the High Frontier October 2010
- "SSI Update December 2011". Space Studies Institute. 2011-12-28. Retrieved 2011-12-31.
- "Space Studies Institute (SSI)". Retrieved 2010-01-11.
- "Space Studies Institute Heads West, Plans Renewed Effort". Retrieved 2010-01-11.
- ""Where first for space resources?" Jeff Foust, The Space Review, November, 22, 2010". Retrieved 2010-11-22.
- "SSI Track at ISDC 2006". Space Studies Institute. 2006-05-07. Retrieved 2011-12-31.
- "Space Manufacturing 14". Conference Archive. Space Studies Institute. Retrieved 2011-12-31.