Author Archives: jburk

Minutes from January Chapter Business Meeting – January 23rd, 2019

James Burk, Organizer

James provided an overview of the several current projects being undertaken by the Mars Society including:

  • The Mars Desert Research Station, where James was a crewmember on Crew 197 in October.
  • Several Internet Task Force projects that James leads: (in order of priority below)
    1. MarsVR Public Beta
    2. Redesign of
      • Includes a common look & feel across all TMS websites that will be rolled out over 2019.
      • Common header design
      • WordPress 5.0 + Gutenberg Editor
    3. MDRS Crew Reporting & Field Season Support
    4. Education & Outreach Website
    5. Chapter Websites
    6. HAL (Raspberry PI hardware+software solution)
    7. Marspedia
    8. Video Production & Support of Conventions

In the course of discussing these projects, James showed the following resources:

Afterwards the group had a discussion of what projects individuals could help with and were interested in pursuing. James committed to follow up with each person to ensure they could work on what they’d be interested in, and which of their skills could make the best impact to the Mars Society.

We plan to meet every month at the same location (Conference room 5K at WeWork Lincoln Square). James has these booked out for 6 months. February’s meeting will also be a Fireside Chat with Sean McClinton of the Seattle Space Entrepreneurs.

James’s contact info is: and cell phone is 206-601-7143.

Meeting Minutes – November Meeting

At our November meeting, which was held Sunday November 12th at the Museum of Flight, former SpaceX project manager and technical writer Crystal Moore gave an excellent presentation of her experiences while working for SpaceX for the last two years. Her slide deck which has some great photos has been uploaded here. Also, she shared this Youtube video link which is a look ahead at what’s next for SpaceX.

We also discussed some of the past conferences that folks have attended as well as upcoming conferences.

James Burk (our organizer) will be speaking at the December meeting, providing an overview of all the Mars Society projects currently going such as the recently-began MDRS field season and the Marspedia online encyclopedia.

Also, James is planning to start an additional series of chapter organizing meetings starting in January, which will be held on the Eastside, likely at the Orange Studios co-working space (which his company owns).  We will also continue to have a presence at the monthly NSS Seattle meetings which are held every 2nd Sunday of the month at 7pm at the Museum of Flight’s Red Barn classroom.  Everybody is welcome to join!


Meeting Minutes – October Meeting

Meeting Minutes – 10/8/17 – NSS Seattle & Mars Society – Red Barn Classroom

# of attendees: 15 overall (3 new) of which 4 were Mars Society members (1 new from

Dave Stuart began the meeting by discussing the upcoming space-related events at the Museum of Flight (MOF) including a talk next week by Astrobiology students and a talk about the DAWN mission.

Brief mention of the locations where events are posted: NSS Seattle eList, Our Universe Seattle meetup, and NSS Seattle & Mars Society Seattle FB pages.

The Economist is holding a space summit on November 9th at MOF but it is very expensive (~$1200).  There are ways to get a 10% or 20% discount.

We watched the National Space Council introduction speech by Mike Pence and had a discussion about the Council, since this will likely “color” everything else for the next couple years.  All of us are curious to see what the budget/plan will be and how Congress will react.

Chris Vancil showed some of the recent mission photos from Juno and Cassini, as well as the Boeing CST-100 designs and the comparisons between Boeing CST-100, Orion, SpaceX Crew Dragon (v2), and the Apollo capsule.

Dr. Pano Churchill spoke about his new space startup which will be building a “space tow truck” called the USS Ptolemy.  It will be a “simple tow truck between Earth & Moon, useful and humble”.  Dave Stuart echoed the need for space tugs that have been discussed at this meeting over the years, and how many satellites are fully functional but stuck in the wrong orbit, or could be moved to a newer one providing huge value.

Open floor discussion about the following topics:

– More on the National Space Council

– NASA Education budget

– Spaceflight company here in Seattle working on Cubesats

– STEM events that are at MOF.

– Recent Rocket Launches

– Space Frontier Foundation – will they have a conference in Seattle?  They committed to alternate between SF and Seattle but it has not yet been scheduled.

– NASA Hackathon – will they do another one in Seattle?  Several in the room would be interested in helping organizate & participate, but we didn’t know the contact info of the person who organized the last one.  “Hackathons are about results & solving engineering problems, not just talking about them (like conferences).”

– What are the two 2 projects in the next 5 years that you want to see succeed?  National Space Council, NASA having a budget, Elon Musk’s BFR, Humans to Mars.

Next Month:

– Larry James is proposing to do a presentation on VR.

– James Burk will speak about the Mars Society conference and some of the current initiatives of the Mars Society including HP’s Mars Home Planet, the MDRS, and the Internet Task Force (which James leads).

– There may be 1-2 other speakers depending on their availability.