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Icarus Interstellar is an international organization dedicated to technical achievements enabling interstellar spaceflight. Research is performed by volunteer citizen scientists with a wide swath of backgrounds, ranging from NASA, ESA, professional scientists, university professors, students, science fiction writers, artists, thinkers and enthusiasts.
Design teams are coordinated around research projects with a central theme, such as the design of a mainly fusion propulsion based engine, such as Project Icarus (Interstellar Probe Design Study) and Project Hyperion, a human occupied worldship (interstellar migration ship) study.
Organizationally, Icarus is a 501c3 non-profit registered in Alaska, February 2011. The organization was created from members of Project Icarus, initiated in September 2009, in an effort to explore multiple interstellar spacecraft systems simultaneously.
Icarus Interstellar was founded by Andreas Tziolas, Richard Obousy, Kelvin Long, Pat Galea and Adam Crowl, all members of the original Project Icarus Study Group.
Icarus Interstellar's Mission Statement:
"The mission of Icarus Interstellar is to realize interstellar flight before the year 2100. We will accomplish this objective by researching and developing the science and the technologies that will make interstellar flight a reality, igniting the public's interest, and engaging with all those prepared to invest in interstellar exploration." Icarus Interstellar
Icarus Interstellar's board and members are widespread by a variety of geographic locals, backgrounds, and areas of expertise. Board members work in a volunteer capacity. The organizations has six Directors, as follows:
- Andreas Tziolas, President
- Richard Obousy, Treasurer
- Robert Freeland, Secretary
- Adam Crowl, Director
- Bill Cress, Director
- Robert Swinney, Director
The organization has an Experimental Committee, Fund Development Committee, Public Outreach Committee, an Education Committee and a Starship Congress Committee.
Icarus Interstellar has several projects all relating to the exploration of space, this includes:
- Project Icarus; Launched in September 2009 by Kelvin Long and Richard Obousy, Project Icarus is a five-year theoretical design study for a fusion based starship. It starts from the original 1970s Project Daedalus study conducted by members of the British Interplanetary Society. Project Icarus is the flagship project of Icarus Interstellar, being its first design study.
- Project Hyperion; Launched in December 2011, by Andreas Hein, Project Hyperion is to perform a preliminary study that defines integrated concepts for a crewed interstellar starship. This is a two-year study mainly based out of the WARR student group at the Technical University of Munich (TUM). The study aims to provide an assessment of the feasibility of manned interstellar flight using current and near-future technoloigies. It also aims to guide future research and technology development plans as well as reassess the Fermi Paradox. Finally it aims to inform the public about the prospects of manned interstellar flight.
- Project Forward; Launched in December 2011, by James Benford, Project Forward has the purpose of exploring beamed energy propulsion. The project is named in honour of the late Dr. Robert Forward, a pioneer in the field of interstellar travel research. Project Forward aims to analyze and assess past beam energy concepts, describe the construction and assembly of sail designs and provide a detailed starsail system concept.
- Project Persephone; Launched in October 2011, by Rachel Armstrong, Project Persephone will focus on research and development of living/sustainable architectures for worldships.
- Project Bifrost; Launched in December 2011, by Tabitha Smith, The Icarus Interstellar Nuclear Space Technology (NST) and Propulsion Development Program will operate with long-term goals of tangible deliverables in mind, such as (1) Partnership with the US Government and other vital members of the NST community, (2) The Creation of Nuclear Engines (Thermal (NTR) and/or Electric) and (3) Proof of concept for NTR and building the foundation for evolving nuclear propulsion.
- Project Helius; Launched in August 2011 by Richard Osborne and Kelvin Long, Project Helius has the purpose of building prototype pulsed propulsion demonstrators to test elements of the Daedalus (or other) architecture. The main areas of study are currently focussed on the tracking of pellets and the timing of laser devices.
In addition, Icarus Interstellar is supporting experiments into exotic propulsion techniques such as faster-than-light warp drive. As the theory is somewhat speculative at this stage, these experiments are designed to test the theory at a fundamental level to determine whether it is consistent with real physics.
Icarus members have published articles in peer-reviewed scientific journals under the flag of Icarus Interstellar, such as:
Stanic, M; Cassibry, J.T.; Adams, R.B (2013). "Project Icarus: Analysis of Plasma jet driven Magneto-Inertial Fusion as potential primary propulsion driver for the Icarus probe". Acta Astronatica 86: 47–54. http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0094576512003177.
Hawking, S.W. (1972). "Project Icarus: The First Unmanned Interstellar Mission - Robotic Expansion and Technological Growth". Journal of the British Interplanetary Society 64: 107–115. http://adsabs.harvard.edu/abs/2011JBIS...64..107L.
Ceyssens, F.; Driesen, M.; Wouters, K. (2012). "On the Organisation of World Ships and Other Gigascale Interstellar Space Exploration Projects". Journal of the British Interplanetary Society 65: 134–139. http://adsabs.harvard.edu/abs/2012JBIS...65..134C.
- British Interplanetary Society
- Tau Zero Foundation
- 100 Year Starship
- Tennessee Valley Interstellar Workshop
- Global Starship Alliance
- Icarus Interstellar homepage
- Icarus Interstellar blog
- Project Hyperion: Generation Ship Mission Architectures and Various Feasibility Issues
- Project Icarus: Political and scientific case for an interstellar mission
- Starship Congress webpage
- Starship Congress Schedule icarusinterstellar.org