Completed Projects

The Space Frontier Foundation has successfully completed many projects over twenty years of activity.  Below is the list of all the past projects of the Foundation, including the year(s) the project was active, the goal(s) of the project, the outcome & legacy of the project, and any surviving press coverage & associated documentation. Archived projects are sorted by date of completion, starting with the most recently completed projects at the top.



Teachers In Space


Project Managers: Edward Wright (2006-2010), Elizabeth Kennick (2010-2014)

Goal(s) of the Project: Teachers in space was a project that focused on stimulating student interest in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). It set out to accomplish this by engaging their teachers through actual suborbital spaceflight for some teachers, and space-related experiences, along with unique teaching materials for others. The end goal of Teachers In Space was to spark a transfer of passion from teachers to their students and to prepare those students for the emerging new generation of space development, along with the exciting possibilities that STEM curriculum creates.

Results: When the Teachers In Space project began, the suborbital launch industry seemed to only be 3-5 years away. With that in mind, a competition was held and a set of seven “pathfinder astronauts” in the teacher community were chosen to fly to suborbital space on privately owned and operated rocket ships. These flights were donated from private firms Armadillo Aerospace, XCOR Aerospace and Rocketplane,  and following this initial announcement, additional flights were announced by Planetspace and Masten Space Systems. As the years progressed, these private rocket companies were delayed in their development, and by 2011, it was clear that no teachers were going to fly into space any time soon. In order to keep momentum up, morale high, and the teachers and students engaged, a series of workshops were sponsored by the NASA Education Office and hosted by the Teachers In Space project, on the topics of suborbital & orbital flight experiments, and space medicine & human factors. These workshops were held over a series of 3 years within the NASA grant, and were so overwhelmingly popular that they continued to be funded by Space Frontier Foundation and hosted around the country. Due to natural growth of both the Teachers In Space management team, as well as their loyal following, Teachers In Space was spun off as a successful separate 501(c)3 non-profit institution in 2014.

Documents & Press Coverage:


The High Frontier

A Book Printing & Marketing Project


Project Managers: Many (all past Chairmen of the Board)

Goal(s) of the Project: In the mid 1970′s, the late physics professor Professor G. K. O’Neill published his book “The High Frontier.” In it he laid out a possible road map for human settlement beyond the Earth. The book also provided America and the world with clear cut alternative to our current Cold War space program (which is modeled on that of W.W.II Germany). To O’Neill, the future was positive and exciting, and his astronauts looked like you and me. He believed in the power of individuals carving out pockets of life in a largely dead Solar System and he basically told us how to do it.. Although written in the 1970′s and with its focus on a relatively specific path to large scale settlements in free space, his concepts and the type of thinking behind them are more relevant now than when first written. The High Frontier is still seen as one of the most important books ever written on the subject of the human breakout into space. The Space Studies Institute & Space Frontier Foundation, at Dr. O’Neill’s request, promised to keep The High Frontier in print as long as the organizations existed.

Results: Over 25 years, many different editions of The High Frontier were published and sold and distributed all over the world. The success of this book caused many to view the settlement of space not only possible, but inevitable. The Space Frontier Foundation was proud to have distributed versions of this book to college students throughout the U.S., which also resulted in the newer generations being exposed to Dr. O’Neill’s monumental work. In 2013, The Space Studies Institute published this book online for free, available for download anywhere in the world, thus carrying out Dr. O’Neill’s ultimate vision of spreading the word of space settlement as far and wide as possible.


The Overview Institute


Project Manager: Frank White

Goal(s) of the Project: The Overview Institute was created with the purpose of both researching and informing the world of the reality, nature, and potential of the Overview Effect. The Institute also planned to promote and support widespread experience of the Overview Effect, through direct space travel, and newer, more powerful and more publicly available space art, multi-media, and education. The plan is to encourage artists, educators, entertainment creators, and simulation media designers and technologists to consider the rich potential of integrating the Overview Effect into their work as well as the opportunity to play a role in bringing space experiences to the world. And, just as important, they plan in the future to network with world social leaders in all those areas most likely to benefit from the Overview Effect, both directly experienced and through space media.

Results: Space Frontier Foundation was used as an incubator for this project, while those involved with formation of The Overview Institute formulated their plan for the organization, as well as filed for their 501(c)3 status. On May 27, 2008, at National Space Society’s International Space Development Conference, the formation of The Overview Institute was formally announced, and a declaration of goals and principles (“The Declaration of Interdepencence” was signed by more than 20 leaders of the space movement). Space Frontier Foundation ended the project in 2012, when The Overview Institute became an independent organization.

Documents & Press Coverage:


Space Investment Summit


Project Manager: Mark Lorimer

Goal(s) of the Project: Space Investment Summit was an annual event that started in 2005, as a way to increase investor visibility for startup companies focused on Lunar Commerce (hence the name “Lunar Commerce Roundtable”). In 2007, this was changed to “Space Investment Summit” and opened up to all companies associated with the space experience (e.g., advertising, entertainment, hotels, and tourism), energy production in space, materials sciences, biotechnology, pharmaceuticals, robotics, artificial intelligence, communications, Earth imaging, and navigation. In addition, space commerce experts provided the latest updates at each event on emerging space technologies and enterprises in suborbital transportation, Earth-to-orbit transportation, on-orbit pursuits and ventures beyond Earth orbit.

Results: 3 successful Lunar Commerce Roundtable events were held between 2005-2007, and 9 Space Investment Summits were held from 2007-2011 across the country. In 2011, main sponsorship for the event was lost, and the project was put on indefinite hiatus. As of 2013, the Space Angels Network (who was involved in Space Investment Summit #2) continues to host similar events (Aerospace Venture Forums & Virtual Pitch Sessions) across the country, thus successfully linking Aerospace entrepreneurs with interested investors.

Documents & Press Coverage:


We-Are-Space Video Competition


Project Manager: Will Watson, Sara Meschberger

Goal(s) of the Project: The We-Are-Space Video Competition, sponsored by the Space Frontier Foundation (SFF), Students for the Exploration & Development of Space (SEDS), and, asks the question, “How will emerging low-cost access to space transform both the role of government space agencies and the lives of ordinary citizens?” The 2-3 minute videos entered into this competition hopefully would not only fuel the imaginations of those who were currently working to lower the cost of spaceflight, but also to raise awareness in the general population about the possibilities space holds for the everyday person.

Results: We-Are-Space awarded $1,000 to the winning student video, decided by public social media votes and partner organizations’ approval. While the competition received lower submission levels than expected, planning was well executed. We-Are-Space served as an excellent testbed project for training future Foundation management and nurturing relations with Foundation partners. Failure to generate the desired minimum amount of submissions caused the sponsors to question the interest and capabilities of students to produce clips on this topic. The Foundation review team delivered prerequisites to planning a follow-on competition: higher value prize, contacts within notable film schools, more general question, and opening up the competition beyond students.

Documents & Press Coverage:




Project Manager: Liz Kennick

Goal(s) of the Project: The goal of SpaceVentures was to increase public awareness of SFF’s viewpoints of space settlement and commercial space. TEDxMidTownNY & Yuri’s night were the two different methods used to achieve this. TedxMidTownNY was a multidisciplinary presentation/discussion series, featuring speakers who were actively engaged in the advancement of field research, exploration, and opening the space frontier. The main goal of this project was to inform the general public of SFF’s viewpoints via the popular presentation style of, and using the brand name of TED to increase visibility and credibility. Yuri’s Night is a global celebration of humanity’s past, present, and future in space. Yuri’s Night parties and events are held around the world every April in commemoration of April 12, 1961, the day of cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin’s first manned spaceflight, and April 12, 1981, the inaugural launch of NASA’s Space Shuttle. SpaceVentures was responsible for New York City’s Yuri’s Night event.

Results: 4 successful annual Yuri’s Night events were held from 2008-2011, and 5 separate TEDx speaking events were held in New York City from 2010-2011. SpaceVentures was put on indefinite hiatus in September of 2011, when Project Manager Liz Kennick was appointed as leader of the project Teachers In Space.

Documents & Press Coverage:


The Cosmos Review


Project Manager: Vanna Bonta

Goal(s) for the Project: The Cosmos Review was intended to be an online literary magazine dedicated to space poetry. The magazine was planned to feature classic poems from ancient Greece to contemporary voices of poetry, all related in some way to the cosmos. A children’s category was planned to feature poems from tomorrow’s leaders, providing classroom project suggestions for teachers to lead poetry and cosmos appreciation in the classroom.

Results: The Cosmos Review became an online resource of archived space‐relevant poetry, essays and quotes. Within the website that was built for this project, a database was begun which cataloged poetry dedicated to space from 8th century B.C. up through contemporary times.

Documents & Press Coverage:


Mind The Gap


Project Manager: Jim Muncy

Goal(s) of the Project: By convincing NASA to switch from building brand new rockets (Ares 1 and Ares V) to buying flights from commercial launch providers, NASA will reduce or eliminate the time span where the United States will be without orbital launch capability, due to the retirement of the Space Shuttle. NASA would be able to accelerate other elements of Constellation and more space jobs will be created across America. By doing this, there will be more overall economic growth, as well as stronger nation-wide public support for America’s human spaceflight efforts.

Results: After the Review of United States Human Space Flight Plans Committee (also known as the Augustine Committee) reviewed Constellation (October 2009), they found it to be economically unsustainable at the current NASA budget, and Constellation was cancelled. A shift in thinking began within Congress, NASA’s leadership, and elsewhere within the space community, where commercial launch providers began to be thought of as a viable, less-expensive alternative to a brand-new NASA rocket.

Documents & Press Coverage:


Space Solar Power


Project Manager: Margo Deckard

Goal(s) of the Project: The goal of the project was to reach out to the environmental community to inform them of SSP and give them a forum to address SSP issues. The environmental community mentioned here consisted of academics, industry, advocacy groups, and general enthusiasts. The objectives of the project included (1) an introduction of the concept of SSP as a space-based energy source for the Earth to this environmental community, (2) the assessment of the environmental community’s concerns about SSP impact, and (3) the development of a framework for which to address the benefits and concerns raised by the environmental community. SFF hoped this project would be one of many successful endeavors by the campaign.

Results: On February 28, 2001, Space Frontier Foundation, ProSpace, and FINDS sponsored a Senate Roundtable on Space Solar Power. The Roundtable was held in the Space Subcommittee Hearing Room, Room 2325, in the Rayburn House Office Building, Washington D.C. A report was generated out of the meeting, and disseminated amongst the space community. After this successful event, SFF continued to keep SSP in the public’s eye by planning and/or hosting panels and speaking engagements at various conferences throughout the years. In 2008, following the NSSO published report, and after hosting a highly successful online discussion forum on the subject, SFF released a White Paper outlining the importance of SSP to the Obama-Biden Presidential Transition Team, resulting in significant political exposure. From 2008-2010, various articles were written on the subject of SSP and published.

Documents & Press Coverage:




Project Managers: Will WatsonGreg Zsidisin

Goal(s) for the Project: In 2008, the Space Frontier Foundation, in conjunction with SpaceContest.Org and, concluded the first Space VidVision Contest, in which contestants were asked to post short videos on YouTube answering the question, “What should the future of American human spaceflight be? This project looked to develop grass-roots videos for the best arguments for or against sending people into space, or for changing current plans, developing compelling cases for what the future should bring.

Results: Space VidVision received over 30 submissions and awarded a $2000 1st prize, $1000 2nd prize, and $500 to the 3rd place team. Half of the submissions had professional production value and successfully communicated the respective producer’s future space vision. In the years following the competition, some of these videos served as public inspiration through the Foundation’s YouTube page, at Foundation public events and within Foundation presentations around the globe. While Space VidVision did achieve basic goals, and proved sufficient interest in a space video competition, team management felt that a follow-on competition would only be warranted if a significantly larger prize could be raised.

Documents & Press Coverage:


External Tanks


Project Manager: Alex Gimarc

Goal(s) of the Project: The concept of taking the Space Shuttle External Tank (which was scrapped after each flight) into orbit, salvaging it, and using it on-orbit has been around since the mid 1970s. Public interest in the concept started with a suggestion by Gerard K. O’Neill to use the expended tanks as a source of aluminum for Space Manufacturing Facilities and habitats. Interest in the scientific and technical community grew to the point where the National Commission on Space in 1986, Congress in 1987 and 1988, and President Reagan in 1988 directed NASA to make the tanks available to entrepreneurs in the late 1980s. NASA signed Memoranda of Understanding in 1987, 1989, and 1992 to provide ETs to the External Tanks Corporation (ETCO) of Boulder, CO and Global Outposts of Las Cruces NM. An external tank-based platform was even proposed as a low-cost alternative to the current International Space Station in 1993. After a few years of relative quiet, the concept came back as a low cost way to fly large commercial platforms in space. This project was intended to give an overview of 25 years of concepts, policy and research into ET Applications.

Results: The External Tanks project page became an online resource for all the research to-date that was put into using the external tank for on-orbit operations. Although the academic community disagreed on what the tanks should be used for, there was 100% agreement that it should be used for something other than just one shuttle flight. But due to political and budgetary pressures within NASA and Congress, nothing ever happened with the external tanks, as the possible station(s) that could be built with these tanks were seen politically as an irresistible low-cost alternative to the International Space Station, which was currently being built at a massively higher cost. The project within SFF was completed and archived in 2008. After a total of 135 missions from 1981-2011 (30 years), each Space Shuttle External Tank was scrapped and a new one was built and flown. This archive survives as an example of how government can be inefficient and impede massive progress, and how difficult change can be despite how many professionals in the academic community voice their concerns.

<remove link once page is complete>:

Documents & Press Coverage:


The Watch

An Asteroid and Comet Detection and Research Project

1996 – 2008

Project Manager: Richard Haase <>

Goal(s) of the Project: Near Earth Objects (NEOs) pose a danger to Earth as we know it.  Though the danger may not be imminent, the possibility of a large space borne object colliding with the Earth is very real, and the consequence could be extinction. The Watch Project was created to address concerns about our efforts in monitoring and preparing for NEOs that are on a collision course with Earth. The primary goals of the Watch Project were as follows: to form a group of the top experts in the field that can act in an advisory role, increase the non-governmental funds available for searching for NEOs, disburse these funds impartially based on input from those active in the field, plan for action if Earth threatening objects were discovered, broaden the discussion with the public to include the promise of utilizing the materials of a NEO and develop means for amateur astronomers to effectively participate in the search for NEOs.

Results: The Watch was founded by a $50,000 grant from the Foundation for the International Non-governmental Development of Space (FINDS). The Watch started with a donation of $30,000 to the University of Victoria in Canada to further the cause of asteroid observation, follow-up and characterization. These moneys and others were contributed by philanthropists and businessmen, all of whom recognize the ramifications of neglecting this serious issue.

The Watch Project created the watch council that currently consists of Dr. Tom Gehrels of the University of Arizona, Dr. Eleanor Helin of Jet Propulsion Laboratories in California, Dr. Richard Binzel of Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Dr. John Lewis of the University of Arizona, Laurel Wilkening a member of the National Commission on Space and Dr. Brian Marsden of The Minor Planet Center.

The excellent work performed by the Minor Planet Center was continued when The Watch provided $5000 in 2000 for the purchase of the CCD camera ST-8E. This camera was attached to a 50/70cm Schmidt telescope (f/3.44), one of three telescopes at the Bulgarian National Observatory-Rozhen. Observations were carried out in support of the investigation of small bodies of the Solar System, non-stationary objects in stellar aggregates and photometry of stellar aggregates in the Milky Way and galaxies of the Local Group. Between July and December 2000, 499 positions of 80 NEOs and 34 positions of 6 comets were taken. The results were published in Minor Planetary Catalog and some of them were used in orbital determinations. Magister Gordana Apostolovska from Skopje University, Macedonia also participates in observations. Observations with CCD ST-8E continue every month.

Documents & Press Coverage:

Press Releases

Movie Producers of “Armageddon” and “Deep Impact” Challenged to Match $50K Grant to Find Killer Space Objects
Asteroid Hunters to Meet in Los Angeles, CA
Space Frontier Foundation Finances Global Asteroid Search

Richard Haase and The Watch Helping to Prevent Collisions with Huge Near Earth Objects

Great News – Hermes Rediscovered

<Lots of links to NEO news>



Our goal is humans on Mars

1996 – 2006

Project Manager: Elaine Walker


Return to the Moon

1999 – 2005

Project Manager: Jeff Feige 

Goal(s) of the Project:  The Return to the Moon Project was a long term goal of the Space Frontier Foundation encompassing all of the Foundation’s efforts geared toward returning humans to the Moon on a permanent basis. In keeping with the Space Frontier Foundation’s stated mission of “opening space exploration for all humanity within our lifetime” there were three crucial aspects to the Return to the Moon project goals of a lunar settlement. First, the lunar settlement must be large scale so that it is accessible to a large and diverse population. Second, it must be economically viable, “if it pays, we will stay”. Finally, lunar settlement must be accomplished within 25 years, we want to see an operational settlement in our lifetimes.  A successful project would create a real shot for everyday people to visit the Moon in our lifetimes.

Results: The Return To The Moon Project resulted in six successful conferences hosted by the Space Frontier Foundation between Houston and Las Vegas starting in May of 1999. The conferences advanced both government and private efforts to return to the Moon. The conference series enjoyed the participation of many well known and accomplished scientists, engineers, authors, astronauts, visionaries, and entrepreneurs from many different backgrounds. The Space Frontier Foundation was honored by the presence and support of Captain John Young, Dr. Buzz Aldrin, Dr. Harrison Schmitt, and Gene Cernan, all of whom walked on the surface of the Moon. Additionally there were hosted presentations from such authorities as Dr. Alan Binder (Lunar Prospector mission), Dr. Paul Spudis, Dr. David Criswell, Dr. Wendell Mendell, among many others.  The six conferences served as a forum for new ideas, a networking opportunity for the lunar community, an assessment and refinement of the Return to the Moon project and brought critical information about what was happening in lunar exploration to the public.

Documents & Press Coverage:

Return to the Moon FAQ Document (separate page to be created for this – TBD)
Conference Reports (separate page to be created for this – TBD)

Report on Return to the Moon VI from Hobby Space

Leonard David of wrote a very nice article about the Return to the Moon III Conference.


NewSpace Economic Development


Project Manager: Jeff Krukin

Goal(s) of the Project: The Space Frontier Foundation’s then-Executive Director, Jeff Krukin, was working with several organizations in his home state of North Carolina to demonstrate how the state can contribute to and benefit from the emerging commercial space industry (for example, SFF partnered with and received grant funding from the NC Space Grant and NC State University). Although not a traditional aerospace state, North Carolina did (and still does) have aviation and non-aerospace technical and manufacturing industries that could participate in a larger aerospace economy. The Foundation intended to use this work as a template to assist other non-traditional aerospace states and grow the NewSpace Industry as a whole.

Results: This project’s effort had a small amount of success in North Carolina and elsewhere. After some research and follow-up discussions, it was found that state governments were not interested in stimulating the commercial space industry outside of traditional actions, like changing tax laws and incentives, which already took place when a NewSpace company chose a state to reside in.

Documents & Press Coverage: 


Space Settlement Project


Project Manager: Ron Kohl

Goal(s) for the Project: The goals of the Space Settlement Project were to present to the general public and our elected leaders a compelling vision equating American and global survival and prosperity with the permanent human settlement and development of space, and to establish a national strategy for the permanent human settlement and development of space that involves government, business, and academia. These goals would be achieved by carrying out various activities, including publishing a series of white papers outlining a strategy for achieving sustainable space settlement, presentations at conferences and elsewhere, press releases & commentary, and an annual space settlement summit for opinion leaders, space advocacy organization leaders, and select space industry organizations to evaluate progress towards achieving the project’s goals, and consider changes to our strategies.

Results: Several successful events were held to discuss the issue of sustainable space settlement, including the Space Settlement Summit in 2003, and various other keynote speeches and panels during the annual Space Frontier Conference between 2003 – 2004. Many press releases,  opinion pieces, and articles were written and published in mass media discussing the issue of space settlement, thus attempting to educate the general public. Several other space settlement advocacy groups began to emerge as well, such as the Space Settlement Institute. These other groups began to become so successful with their endeavors that instead of just being a project within the Foundation, a whole group of people could focus on the issue with much more focus. The project successfully concluded in 2004.

Documents & Press Coverage:


Permission to Dream


Project Manager: George Whitesides

Goal(s) of the Project: Permission to Dream, a telescope donation project, had the goal of connecting students around the world through the wonder of space and astronomy by observing the night sky. Specifically, the goals were to inspire students to achieve great things, create the next generation of space explorers, instill a sense of wonder and responsibility about our planet Earth, motivate school learning, and open minds to new career possibilities.

Results: Over the course of the project, Permission to Dream donated telescopes to 25 groups in 13 countries on 6 continents. The team also held programs and seminars both here in the US and abroad, and each participating group that SFF visited agreed to to hold regular observation nights with their students, and explore the sky using online missions PTD had developed. This ensured on-going space activities whether or not Space Frontier Foundation had an on-going presence in that location. This project achieved a series of impressive objectives, including introducing students to science and technology career possibilities, deepening students’ knowledge of science, math, history, engineering, geography, and social studies, connecting students and teachers with astronomy experts, and providing telescopes, training, and lesson plans to classrooms around the world.

Documents & Press Coverage:


Keep Mir Alive


Project Manager: David Anderman

Goal(s) of the Project: The goals of the Keep Mir Alive project were to keep the Mir Space Station in orbit, and to get NASA to endorse the effort. Since Russia couldn’t afford both the Mir Space Station as well as their planned involvement with the future International Space Station, the Keep Mir Alive Project wanted to commercialize Mir, thereby allowing both Mir and the ISS to survive.

Results: Efforts were made to educate the media and the general public of the pressures NASA was putting on Russia to de-orbit the Mir Space Station. When public outrage was ignored, de-orbiting plans continued, until MirCorp was created, The Russian space station Mir was de-orbited in March of 2001.

Documents & Press Coverage:


$250,000 CATS Prize Project


Project Manager: David Anderman

Goal(s) for the Project: In November of 1997, the Space Frontier Foundation and the Foundation for the International Non-governmental Development of Space (FINDS) jointly announced a $250,000 prize for the first private team to launch a 2 kilogram payload into space, 200 km or higher, by November 8, 2000, using a privately developed launcher as specified within the rules. Called the CATS Prize, The Foundation and FINDS wanted to show that space is not purely the domain of governments.

Results: The Cheap Access To Space (CATS) Prize ended on November 8, 2000. Several private launch companies, including JP Aerospace, InterOrbital and HARC, as well as many individuals, vied for the prize. Although no company was able to achieve the objective within the allotted time, their efforts added to the advancement of private space enterprise. The project inspired a number of people, such as John Carmack and his Armadillo Aerospace, to form advanced rocket groups and continue to make progress with increasingly sophisticated rocket projects.

Documents & Press Coverage:


Frontier Files

1994 – 1995

Project Manager: Alfred Differ

Description: Beginning in 1994, with the then-new ability to email multiple people at once via an email list, Frontier Files was an essay collection emailed once per week for a series of 10 weeks to whomever signed up for them on the Foundation’s website. Touching on different topics each week, and written as opinion pieces by various Foundation leaders, the series was based on the current state & future vision of the Space Frontier Foundation, as of 1994-1995.