BIS Heads for the Stars

Daedalus - Adrian MannOriginating in the British Interplanetary Society, the Icarus project has been the underpinning technical element in the winning bid for the 100 Year Starship Studyâ„¢ under the umbrella of the Dorothy Jemison Foundation for Excellence. The BIS has had a long association stretching back to the 1930s advocating the development of interstellar travel for humans in the quest for survival in a cosmic dimension, liberated from the gravitational bonds of the Earth in space and from the eventual demise of our Sun and the life-support properties of the Solar System in time. It has its roots in the Daedalus study conducted by a BIS team led by Alan Bond in the 1970s. Originating in 2009 by Kelvin Long and Richard Obousy with Ian Crawford the Icarus project was presented via a symposium at the BIS that included papers from Richard Osborne, Martyn Fogg and Andreas Tziolas.

The Dorothy Jemison Foundation for Excellence has been selected by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) to receive seed funding to form 100 Year Starship™ to support that quest. An independent, non-governmental, long-term initiative, it will ensure that the capabilities for human interstellar flight exist as soon as possible and definitely within the next 100 years. The winning 100YSS proposal ‘An Inclusive, Audacious Journey Transforms Life Here on Earth and Beyond’, was created by Dorothy Jemison Foundation for Excellence embracing Icarus Interstellar and the Foundation for Enterprise Development.

Former NASA astronaut Dr Mae Jemison will lead the global multi-partner organization. Dr Jemison, the world’s first woman of colour to travel in space (1992’s Space Shuttle Endeavour), brings to the leadership role her vast experience as an engineer, physician, professor, former Peace Corps medical officer, and entrepreneur. Known for achieving the improbable, Dr. Jemison also brings a spirit of audacity, innovation and inclusion to 100YSS.

‘Yes, it can be done. Our current technology arc is sufficient’ says Dr Jemison. ‘100 Year Starship is about building the tools we need to travel to another star system in the next hundred years. We’re embarking on a journey across time and space. If my language is dramatic, it is because this project is monumental. This is a global aspiration. And each step of the way, its progress will benefit life on earth. Our team is both invigorated and sobered by the confidence DARPA has in us to start an independent, private initiative to help make interstellar travel a reality’.

100 Year Starship will bring in experts from myriad fields to help achieve its goal – utilizing not only scientists, engineers, doctors, technologists, researchers, sociologists and computer experts, but also architects, writers, artists, entertainers, and leaders in government, business, economics, ethics and public policy. 100YSS will also collaborate with existing space exploration and advocacy efforts from both private enterprise and the government.

In its first year, 100YSS will seek investors, establish membership opportunities, encourage public participation in research projects, and develop the visions for interstellar exploration. A 100 Year Starship Public Symposium will be held in Houston September 13-16, 2012, inaugurating what will be an annual event open to scientific papers, engineering challenges, philosophical and socio-cultural considerations, economic incentives, application of space technologies to improve life on earth, imaginative exploration of the stumbling blocks and opportunities to the stars, and broad public involvement.

The 100 Year Starship also will include a scientific research institute, The Way whose major emphasis will be speculative, long-term science and technology.

Alongside the Dorothy Jemison Foundation for Excellence, a non-profit organization that promotes science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) awareness and achievement, the principal 100 Year Starship team members are: Icarus Interstellar, a non-profit research and development organization dedicated to the research that will enable interstellar flight; and the Foundation for Enterprise Development centered on governance, innovation, entrepreneurship, technology and R&D based organizational planning, management, and strategic planning. The SETI Institute, a private, non-profit organization dedicated to astronomy, life sciences, education, and public outreach, will hold a permanent seat on the 100YSS Advisory Council.

To sign up for e-mail alerts from 100 Year Starship or learn more about the 100YSS Public Symposium visit

Follow 100 Year Starship on Twitter (@100YSS). Contact 100 Year Starship at [email protected]

The Editor (Spaceflight)


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