Community:Email 25mar13b

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This is a generic mailing to the CEDAR community sent 25 Mar 2013. Meetings and jobs are listed at under 'Community' as 'Calendar of Meetings' and 'CEDAR related opportunities'. CEDAR email messages are under 'Community' as 'CEDAR email Newsletters'. All are in 'Quick Links' on the main page.

"The End of the Ignorosphere: An Aeronomy Researcher's Conference on Commercial Suborbital Access to Space" workshop 28-30 April in Annapolis, MD.

From Todd Smith (h.todd.smith at

Dear Colleagues,

The organizers and steering committee would like to invite you to "The End of the Ignorosphere: An Aeronomy Researcher's Conference on Commercial Suborbital Access to Space." '

The goal of this workshop is to investigate using commercial spacecraft as dedicated aeronomy research vehicles. During this workshop, we will provide information on the latest spacecraft/spaceport developments and explore the utility, challenges and interest in aeronomy research enabled by these revolutionary vehicles. We are also soliciting talks about scientific investigations that could be greatly enhanced by these spacecraft (high altitude lightning, sprites, nocti-luminescent and polar-mesospheric clouds, mesopause, and D/E region etc.).

Workshop Description

Multiple companies are in the process of developing commercial suborbital reusable launch vehicles (sRLV's). While these companies originally targeted space tourism as the primary customer base, it is rapidly becoming apparent that this dramatic increase in low cost access to space could provide revolutionary opportunities for scientific research and STEM education. These vehicles are currently designed for manned and unmanned flights that reach altitudes of ~100 km (microgravity environment for ~3-5 minutes) for $5K-$500K per flight with payload capacity exceeding 600 kg. Considering the much higher cost per flight for a sounding rocket with similar capabilities, the low cost, high flight cadence, and guaranteed return of payload, commercial spacecraft has the potential to revolutionize access to near space.

Perhaps most important from a scientific perspective is that dedicated rapid turn-around flights allow for near persistent , in situ profiling and measurement from 0-100 km altitude. This capability provides for completely new thematic approaches in scientific investigations that were never before possible. The increase in low cost access to near space anticipated by these new vehicles could also offer game changing opportunities with respect to education. A space research vehicle will not only grant scientists much more frequent access to in situ investigations near the mesopause, but students at all levels will gain hands on access to space science and engineering. One can envision a model where students can conduct complete end to end projects where they design, build, fly and analyze data from individual research projects for thousands of dollars instead of hundreds of thousands.

This new paradigm offers the realistic possibility of establishing mankind's first dedicated commercial space aeronomy research vessel similar to those already established as research aircraft and ocean vessels. The goal of this workshop to educate the aeronomy community and begin discussions of future enabled research investigations. The results of the workshop will culminate in a workshop report and will be distributed via the National Science Foundation CEDAR Aeronomy Community.

We look forward to seeing you at the workshop. Please do not hesitate to contact us with any questions.

Workshop Details

  • Workshop Dates: 28-30 April, 2013.
  • Workshop Outline:
    • April 28: Evening Icebreaker reception
    • April 29-30: One half-day update on spacecraft and spaceports followed by two half days of community presentations and discussions on science goals and future plans
  • Location: Historic Inns of Annapolis, Maryland:
  • Registration Deadline: 04/28/13
  • Workshop details available at (website)
  • Please provide talk titles by 22 April, 2013 to

Contact the Local Organizing Committee with questions and to submit proposed talks:

  • H. Todd Smith (
  • Lars Dyrud (
  • Abigail Rymer (
  • Jonathan Fentzke (