Monday, May 01, 2017

This Week's 8th Joint Planetary and Terrestrial Mining Sciences Symposium & Space Resources Roundtable

          By Chuck Black

As the Federal government focuses on traditional funding for the usual suspects, the real future of the Canadian Space Agency (CSA), along with the space industry the agency is intertwined with, is being assessed and discussed in Montreal at the 8th Joint Planetary and Terrestrial Mining Sciences Symposium (PTMSS) & Space Resources Roundtable.

Gerald Saunders, the deputy project manager for the NASA in-situ resource utilization (ISRU) project, on the main stage of the 2017 Canadian Institute of Mining, Metallurgy and Petroleum (CIM) conference, which he shared with Michelle Ash, the chief innovation officer at Barrick Gold; Pierre Lapointe, the president and CEO of ArcelorMittal Mining Canada; Renaud Adams, the president and CEO of Richmond Mines; Daniella Dimitrov, a director at Exellon Resources and Carol Plummer, the VP of project development for the US and Latin America at Agnico Eagle Mines. Saunders presentation focused on commercial space activities and how they overlap with the activities of the mining industry. The 8th Joint PTMSS & Space Resources Roundtable is being held in conjunction with CIM 2017. Photo c/o Chuck Black

First day presentations included:
  • "Bringing the Moon into our Sphere of Economic Influence: The Importance of Lunar Resources," a presentation written by Clive R. Neal from the University of Notre Dame, which was presented by Gerald Saunders, the deputy project manager for the NASA in-situ resource utilization (ISRU) project.
  • "A Business Case Tradespace Tool for Off-Earth Mining," a presentation written by Robert Shishko from the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) at the California Institute of Technology and Joel Sercel, the founder and principal engineer at TranAstra Corporation, which was presented by Mr. Sercel. 
  • "The Space Economic Simulator: A Unifying Vision of the Future Commercial Space Economy" a presentation by Andrew Gemer from the University of Colorado at Boulder. 
  • "Leveraging Terrestrial Industry for Utilization of Space Resources," a presentation by Gerald Sanders, Diane Linne from the NASA Johnson Space Centre; Stanley Starr from the NASA Kennedy Space Center and Dale Boucher, from Deltion Innovations, which was presented by Mr. Saunders. 
Joel Sercel, during a break at the 8th PTMSS & Space Resources Roundtable on May 1st, 2017. As outlined in his presentation on "A Business Case Tradespace Tool for Off-Earth Mining," the cost of launch drives the cost of everything else in the space industry. But the use of public-private partnerships (PPP) for funding, in conjunction with the adaption of current private sector methodologies from the mining and other industries, makes space exploration and in-space resource utilization (ISRU), affordable under current national space agency budgets. According to Sercel, his company, after winning several NASA contracts worth several million dollars, is currently working with private investors to raise additional funds. Photo c/o Chuck Black. Power-point presentation c/o Joel Sercel. 

Several CSA representatives were in attendance. Rumour has it that members of the new Canadian space advisory board have also attempted to make contact with the organizers of this event.

But leave it to an outside observer to note the obvious.

As suggested by Tai Sik Lee, the president of the Korea Institute of Civil Engineering and Building Technology and a strong advocate of the PTMSS & Space Resources Roundtable, Canada simply might not be ready for the future.

Here's hoping that Lee is wrong.

The presentations continue through Wednesday.
Chuck Black.

Chuck Black is the editor of the Commercial Space blog.

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