This is the first issue of the long awaited 100 Year Starship study papers from the 2011 conference. The aim of the 100YSS project was to develop a viable and sustainable model for persistent, long-term, private-sector investment into the disciplines necessary to make interstellar travel practicable and feasible. The project did not aim to design or build a Starship, but merely to excite several generations to commit to the research and development of breakthrough technologies across a range of disciplines. The other goal of the project was to anticipate technological advancements that would have relevance to the US Department of Defence, from propulsion to energy storage or computing, for example. Ultimately, the goal was to reinvigorate private entrepreneurs, as well as the science and engineering communities, towards the long-term vision.
The project was announced by the Defence Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) and their executing agent the NASA Ames Research Center, on 28th October 2010. Then on 11th and 12th January 2011 a strategic planning workshop was held that brought together 29 visionaries with diverse backgrounds, from engineers to authors. Over the course of two days, participants discussed the requirements for seeding research that would enable interstellar flight. On 5th May 2011 a Request For Information (RFI) to solicit ideas and information to support the 100 Year Starship Study program was released. On 15th June a public solicitation was released seeking abstracts for papers and/or topics/members for discussion panels, to be released at the 100 Year Starship Study Symposium, which was held in Orlando, Florida, from September 30th through October 2nd 2011. Then on the 26th August 2011 a solicitation announcement for the 100 Year Starship was released to solicit proposals detailing the “machinery” of the 100YSS business strategem. This would eventually result in the award of a grant to bring the 100YSS organisation into existence and cover start-up costs, as well as provide some initial intellectual property. The October symposium took place and the three-day event featured paper presentations, panel discussions and other special events.
At the end of December 2011, DARPA announced that the winner of the 100YSS award was the Dorothy Jemison Foundation for Excellence, along with teaming partners Icarus Interstellar and the Foundation for Enterprise Development. After selecting the organisational entity and awarding the seed money, the 100YSS project, as run by DARPA, officially ended. During the planning phase of the project, The Journal of the British Interplanetary Society negotiated with DARPA to publish the proceedings from this symposium and we were the only other organisation to have a place in the official 100YSS event program guide. Over the coming months we will be publishing many of those papers. The first set of this issue covers some of those presented in the Time-Distance Solutions track, which was chaired by Dr James Benford, and who has written a foreword for this issue. The Time-Distance Solutions track focussed on propulsion, time/space manipulation and/or dilation, near speed of light navigation, faster than light navigation, observations and sensing at near speed of light or faster than light.
The Journal of the British Interplanetary Society would like to congratulate DARPA for their bold efforts in initiating the 100YSS enterprise. For the interstellar community particularly, it helped to raise the profile of the important research being done, which so often goes without support or even government backing. DARPA tried to change that with this initiative and in some respects they succeeded. It is clear that the road to the stars will be a long one, addressing many political, social, economic, philosophical, scientific and technological issues. It is only by continued co-operation, persistence and determination against the challenge that we may someday succeed in this visionary and inspirational goal.
Kelvin F. Long, Editor JBIS