Initiative for Interstellar Studies

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The Initiative for Interstellar Studies
Abbreviation i4is
Motto "Scientia ad sidera"
Formation 2012
Legal status Incorporated in the UK as a not-for-profit company limited by guarantee
Purpose To conduct activities or research relating to the challenges of achieving robotic and human interstellar flight.
Region served
Astronautical engineers Astrophysicists
Executive Director
Kelvin F. Long
Main organ
Affiliations British Interplanetary Society
Remarks See also the i4is blog

The Initiative for Interstellar Studies (i4is) is a nonprofit organization, whose objectives are education and research into the challenges of Interstellar Travel.[1] Several of its principals were involved in the 100 Year Starship winning team originated by NASA and DARPA.[2]


Although practical studies of interstellar travel date back as far as the JBIS red cover editions in the early 1950s and the BIS Daedalus Project in the 1970s, there has been a resurgence of interest in the 2010s and a number of initiatives and institutions have paid attention to the subject. These include the 100 Year Starship project of NASA and DARPA, the Tau Zero Foundation, the Global Starship Alliance, Star Voyager, and Icarus Interstellar.


The first of a planned annual series of symposia inspired by the i4is took place on 29 May 2013 at the British Interplanetary Society(BIS). Titled The Philosophy of the Starship[3] it included contributions on self-replicating Von Neumann probes, the Fermi Paradox, developments since the British Interplanetary Society Project Daedalus of 1975, interstellar discovery as an antidote to intellectual stagnation citing the views of John Locke and Francis Fukuyama, science fiction as a vehicle for discussion of the ethics and cultural impact of alien contact and geopolitical influence on deep space exploration.

The i4is sponsors the Alpha Centauri Award. The first Alpha Centauri Award[4] was to Armen Papazian [5] for his paper Money Mechanics For Space.[6] at the first Starship Congress.[7][8]

The i4is publishes a quarterly newsletter, Principium.[9]

The i4is sponsors postgraduate work at the International Space University and awarded its first prize[10] to M.Sc. student Piotr Murzionak on 29 August 2013.

The Initiative for Interstellar Studies delivered a 2-week elective to the students on the Masters of Space Studies course at the International Space University, Strasbourg, 2–13 May 2016. The course modules were delivered by Professor Chris Welch of the International Space University, Professor Ian Crawford of Birkbeck College, University of London, Robert Swinney, chair of the i4is Education Committee, Kelvin F Long, Executive Director of the i4is, Angelo Genovese, Andreas Hein, John I Davies, Marc Casson, Sam Harrison and Stephen Ashworth.[11]

Notable projects[edit]

i4is has initiated a project working on small interstellar spacecraft, propelled by a laser sail in 2014 under the name of Project Dragonfly.[12][13] Four student teams worked on concepts for such a mission in 2014 and 2015 in the context of a design competition.[14][15] In November 2017, i4is launched Project Lyra and proposed a set of mission concepts for reaching the interstellar asteroid 1I/ʻOumuamua.[16]

Prominent figures[edit]

The i4is has a number of internationally renowned academics and engineers who have oversight and involvement with its work -


  1. ^ “The Institute for Interstellar Studies”, Spaceflight (magazine), Editorial, Vol.54, No.12, p.445, December 2012, by David Baker
  2. ^ "100 Year Starship". DARPA. Archived from the original on 2013-07-22. 
  3. ^ “The Philosophy of the Starship”, Spaceflight (magazine), Vol.55, No.8, pp.314-315, August 2013, by Stephen Ashworth and Kelvin F. Long
  4. ^ "Alpha Centauri Award". 
  5. ^ "Armen Papazian". 
  6. ^ "Money Mechanics For Space". 
  7. ^ "first Starship Congress". Icarus Interstellar. 
  8. ^ "The London Speaker Bureau - News - Dr. Armen Papazian Wins the First Alpha Centauri Prize". 
  9. ^ "Principium". i4is. 
  10. ^ "A conceptual study to design an interstellar precursor mission to the gravitational lensing point of the Sun using a solar sailing-type architecture". International Space University. 
  11. ^ "Principium 13:Interstellar News:i4is at the International Space University" (PDF). Initiative for Interstellar Studies. 
  12. ^ “Project Dragonfly”,
  13. ^
  14. ^
  15. ^
  16. ^ Hein, A. M., Perakis, N., Long, K. F., Crowl, A., Eubanks, M., Kennedy III, R. G., & Osborne, R. (2017). Project Lyra: Sending a Spacecraft to 1I/'Oumuamua (former A/2017 U1), the Interstellar Asteroid.
  17. ^ "Professor Rachel Armstrong". 
  18. ^ "Dr Ian Crawford". Birkbeck College, University of London. 
  19. ^ "Roman Kezerashvili". New York City College of Technology. 
  20. ^ "Gregory L. Matloff". New York City College of Technology. 
  21. ^ "Austin Tate". University of Edinburgh. 
  22. ^ "Dr Chris Welch". International Space University. 

External links[edit]