Project Icarus (interstellar)
|This article needs to be updated. (August 2016)|
Project Icarus is a theoretical engineering design study aimed at designing a credible, mainly nuclear fusion-based, unmanned interstellar space probe. Project Icarus was an initiative of members of the British Interplanetary Society and the Tau Zero Foundation (TZF) started in 2009. It is now managed by the members as a separate division of the umbrella organization of the 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization Icarus Interstellar. It was motivated by the British Interplanetary Society's Project Daedalus, a similar study that was conducted between 1973 and 1978.
The project is planned to take around five years and began formally on September 30, 2009. An international team of scientists and engineers has been assembled. The Icarus Interstallar project web site lists the team.
Project Icarus was founded, mainly, by Kelvin Long and Richard Obousy. The project was first announced at a conference at the United Kingdom Space Conference, held at Charterhouse, Surrey on 4 April 2009, when Kelvin Long had organized the first interstellar session. He then approached Richard Obousy about helping to set up the project. A symposium was organized by Kelvin Long and Ian Crawford at the British Interplanetary Society to review "Daedalus After 30 Years". As well as presentations from Long, Obousy and Crawford, it included presentations from future team members Richard Osborne, Martyn Fogg and Andreas Tziolas. Other future team members in the audience that day included Pat Galea and Rob Swinney. The genesis of the project is described in the original paper as well as a history paper.
Project Icarus focuses on the technology challenges of interstellar travel. "The required milestones should be defined in order to get to a potential launch of such a mission. This should include a credible design, mission profile, key technological development steps and other aspects as considered appropriate." These goals are to be achieved by technical reports on engineering layout, functionality, physics, operation and other aspects of such an interstellar ship.
Members of the Project Icarus study group went on to form a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization called Icarus Interstellar, which then launched various other projects other than just Project Icarus. Icarus Interstellar has the mission of seeing interstellar flight achieved by the year 2100.
- Dr. Stephen Baxter, the renowned science fiction author who is one of the designers
- Dr. Vint Cerf, the American internet pioneer who is one of the project consultants
- Dr. Andreas Tziolas, former NASA research fellow at NASA who is the project leader
Project Icarus design competition
In 2013 a design competition internal to Icarus Interstellar was launched. During a final workshop at the British Interplanetary Society in October 2013 a team from the WARR student group of the Technical University of Munich under the leadership of Andreas Hein was nominated as the winner.
- Breakthrough Starshot
- Interstellar travel
- Nuclear pulse propulsion
- Project Daedalus
- Project Longshot
- Spacecraft propulsion
- K.F. Long & R.K. Obousy 12th May 2010—Project Icarus: project programme document (PPD)–overview project plan covering period 2009–2014 pdf Retrieved 2012-01-25
- Leonard David, "Futuristic interstellar space probe idea revisited", MSNBC, May 9, 2010.
- Stephen Ashworth FBIS, "Project Icarus—Son of Daedalus", Spaceflight, 454–455 (December 2009).
- Long, K. F.; Fogg. M.; Obousy, R. K.; Tziolas, A.; Mann, A.; Osborne, R.; Presby, A. (2009). "Project Icarus: Son of Daedalus — Flying Closer to Another Star". Journal of the British Interplanetary Society. 62 (11/12): 403–414. ISSN 0007-084X.
- Long, K. F.; Fogg, M.; Obousy, R. K.; Tziolas, A. (2011). "Technical Note—Project Icarus: The Origins and Aims of the Study". Journal of the British Interplanetary Society. 64 (3): 88–91. ISSN 0007-084X.
- Andersen, Ross (23 Feb 2012). "Project Icarus: Laying the Plans for Interstellar Travel". The Atlantic. Atlantic Monthly Group. Retrieved 24 July 2014.
- Gemma Lavender, "Ghost Ship to Alpha Centauri"
- Icarus Interstellar website, for updates and information about Project Icarus
- An article in The Atlantic with more information and an interview with Andreas Tziolas (a team member in the project)
- Project Daedalus Symposium
- Centauri Dreams—Icarus: Revisiting the Daedalus Starship
- SPACE.com—Futuristic Interstellar Space Probe Idea Revisited by Leonard David, 7 May 2010
- The Tau Zero Foundation
- Project Icarus facebook page