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International Space Development Conference, 2005: Get Your Ticket to Space

The last year has seen a number of significant spacedevelopments. President Bush introduced a new exploration initiative for NASA,featuring the development of new spacecraft to return humans to the Moon andventure on to Mars. In the meantime, the agency works to return the SpaceShuttle to flight while its robotic explorers venture to all corners of theSolar System. The private sector has been active as well, with the successfulflights of SpaceShipOne as well as the continuingefforts of other companies to develop new vehicles to serve space tourism andother markets, and even carve out a role in NASA's exploration plans.

Given the dynamic nature of space exploration anddevelopment today, how can space advocates keep abreast of all these activitiesand their significance? One of the best ways is to attend the InternationalSpace Development Conference, presented by Transformational Space Corporation,to take place May 19-22 in Washington DC. The ISDC is an opportunity to spend a fewdays in the company of several hundred other people interested in space, fromexperts to ordinary people, learning about the latest space developments andmaking personal and professional connections.

The theme of this year's ISDC is "Your Ticket to Space". Theheart of the conference will be three and a half days of presentations The conference sessions feature six major tracks:

  • Government space activities, including the Vision for Space Exploration as well as space law, policy, education, and history;
  • Private space activities, such as the development of new vehicles, spaceports and markets, as well as financial and regulatory issues;
  • Science, ranging from studies of the Moon and Mars to the search for life in the universe;
  • Settlement of the Moon, Mars, and elsewhere in the solar system;
  • Technologies required for space exploration and development, such as propulsion, life support, and nanotechnology; and
  • A space arts competition for teens.

These tracks will feature plenary speeches by leaders in theirfields, panel sessions, and other presentations. For those interested inpresenting at the conference, a Call for Papers is available on the conferenceweb site (;the deadline for submitting abstracts for consideration is February 1.

There's more to the ISDC than just papers and presentations.Just before the conference the NSS will conduct its annual legislativeconference, an opportunity to brief Congressional offices on key space policyissues. During the conference there will be a variety of luncheons and dinners,tours, and other special events. The highlight of the conference will be a galadinner Saturday night at the National Air and SpaceMuseum's Udvar-Hazy Center. Attendees will dine in theshadow of the space shuttle Enterprisewith some special presentations--and maybe a surprise or two--in store.

Most of the conference events--other than the galadinner--will take place at the conference hotel, the Sheraton National Hotel in Arlington, Virginia, justacross the Potomac River from downtown Washington.The conference web site,,has more information about the conference, including hotel, travel, andregistration details. Come to Washingtonin May and get your ticket to space!

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Jeff Foust is a Senior Staff Writer at SpaceNews, a space industry news magazine and website, where he writes about space policy, commercial spaceflight and other aerospace industry topics. Jeff has a Ph.D. in planetary sciences from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and earned a bachelor's degree in geophysics and planetary science from the California Institute of Technology. You can see Jeff's latest projects by following him on Twitter (opens in new tab).