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Hackerspace Space Program needs startup help


Hackerspace Space Program needs startup help

I posted a comment under the Education MAKE and Makerspace post and realized this topic should probably be its own thread.


I am the Technical Contact (and at present primary negotiator) on the "Hackerspace Space Program", which was just selected for contract negotiations by the same DARPA folks funding MAKErspace (my typography for Dale's program).

I am not sure how SpaceFederation people feel about Govt $ but it has suddently become quite relevant.

The Hackerspace Space Program is supposed to be a US 501(c)3 corporation. At present there is no official, legal entity with whom DARPA can negotiate.  We are starting to scramble - I have been contacted by DARPA as the lead negotiator and they are asking for Maui Makers Cage Code, DUNS, etc.  

My first thought is to turn to Space Federation for assistance.  The project is all about international collaboration between hackerspaces - with very little, if any, mil/dod aspects.   Would Space Fed members be willing to help out?

The main source for basic information on the progtam is the proposal itself...

Vol 1: Technical

Vol 2: Costs

email Discussion List



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We're certainly willing to help. We can become a legal entity for this negotiation. I also think the folks from Mach30 are a natural fit given the mission.


I looked through the first doc. Looks like there's quite a bit of alignment between what we've been doing with hackerspaces and the HSP's plans. Plenty of existing infrastructure could be used for this effort. Who are the other collaborators in the document? How do we link with them?


Hi, my name is J. Simmons.  I am the President and founder of Mach 30, a 501c3 public charity dedicated to developing open source spaceflight systems in order to facilitate humanity becoming a spacefaring civilization.  We have long thought that open source hardware broadly, and open source spaceflight hardware specifically, should leverage the physical and communal systems of hackerspaces, which is why we approached the Space Federation to see if there were ways we could work together and support each others' missions.

I have only just begun to look over the documents you linked to, but it appears Mach 30 and HSP are working toward the same or similar goals.  You can see a summary of our current projects in this blog post.  I'd like to organize a meeting (over phone bridge, Skype, Google+ Hangouts, etc) so interested parties (Mach 30, HSP, Space Federation) can meet one another and share their progress and plans.

I look forward to meeting you,



This looks like a great collaborative opportunity. I will make some time this weekend if the three of us want to go through a quick agenda!


Howdy, my name is Greg Moran and I'm the VP of Mach 30.  I would be willing to meet in the very near future to meet & greet.  I'd like to get the chance to talk (via Google+, skype, or conf call) about how similar are organizations are.  I'm particularly interested in what makes Mach 30 different from the HSP.  Based on my initial assumptions, I dont see any, but that's why I'd like to talk about it.


I do have some experience managing Govt funded contracts, but from the other side of the coin.  My "day job" is working as a program manager in the Air Force.  I know how much work it is to run a government contract for the government and I would like to discuss this topic from the perspective of the "contractor".  Also, because of my military affiliation, I'm wary of any real or perceived conflicts of interest and will let everybody know when my participation is and is not appropriate.  With a broad brush, i can say this is very exciting to see another interest spike in open source space hardware, and I look forward to helping sustain it as much as possible.  




Howdy Jerry,

Oh also, con you add a link to the original solicitation?  Thx




I never really read the original BAA.. The proposal was written for the 100yr Star Ship BAA, and when we didnt win that we were encouranged to resubmit under BAA 11-13.  When I went looking for it just now several of the top links were bad -- I think the archive date may have passed for some.  I did find 

in the FBO Daily...

which lead to the permaLink:

which has a link to the PDF:

The original 100Yr StarShip RFI is at


HSP seems a bit different from Mach30 in that HSP is primarily a meta-organization, serving to coordinate hackerspaces doing space work, and providing grant money to fund projects at the selected member spaces.  Budget calls for about $30k every three months for project funding.  Projects are intended to be quick - with results shown at the end of the 3 month period.



Greg-- thanks for asking for the original solicitation. That was to be my next question. And also, how important is it to invite people who are leaving comments in the Google Docs you provided to this conversation? Are they all still involved?



I think the parallels between the HSP and Mach 30 may be greater than you realize (and I think those parallels are a testament to the the efforts of both groups to wrestle with the challenges of developing open source spaceflight hardware).  First I should present a little bit more background on Mach 30.  Our mission is "to hasten the advancement of humanity into a spacefaring civilization through sustainable leadership, open design practices, and a bias toward mature technology".  The business about "open design" is our terminology for open source hardware (why do we have our own terminology about this, well, because the development of Mach 30 predates the formal definition of open source hardware by several years).

Early on in our work, we realized that if we wanted there to be a vibrant open source spaceflight hardware community we needed the broader open source hardware community to grow into a community that equals the open source software community in scale and impact.  So, we decided to spend a significant portion of our time (20%) supporting the larger open source hardware community.  This focus on open source hardware led to projects such as Open Design Engine (a web portal for managing and sharing open source hardware projects) and the Openeering Wiki (a catalog and companion forum discussing free and open source engineering tools).  It also led us to really reflect on how different open source hardware is from open source software.  One of our key conclusions is the need for contributors to work physically together in addition to collaborating over online forums.  When we heard about hackerspaces, we immediately saw a connection between this need for physical collaboration (and the accompanying need for a space to do this work in) and the work hackerspaces are doing to build communities around making things.  We became so convinced of the role hackerspaces could play in open source hardware that two of our board members helped form the hackerspace in Dayton, OH, and it is part of the reason we were so interested in forming a partnership with the Space Federation.  

And, honestly, that is why we are so eager to learn more about the HSP.  Encouraging hackerspaces to get involved in open source hardware, and to collaborate on projects between spaces is an important part of the work we believe needs to happen to make developing open source spaceflight hardware possible.


PS - Your 3 month timelines remind me of Dan Ward's FIST principles of systems engineering.  You may want to check out his eBook on the subject.



Do you have any update on the Hackerspaces in Space program from the last month?




I have not heard anything from DARPA in the last month. (probably time to drop an email)

Our team has been working on the ByLaws and some planning.  Our documents, including ByLaws are in a google doc folder.  We have been combining the Noisebridge bylaws with Mach30's to pull in good parts of both.  There are some worrysome issues dealing with international grant distributions - like how to insure the recipient's use is non-profit by US rules.

Also heard from a german group starting up what they call "Hacker Space Program". They have a fbook page and are looking to develop "THE LAIKABOARD – PROPOSAL FOR A GENERIC, MODULAR AND DISTRIBUTED OPEN SOURCE SATELLITE ON-BOARD DATA HANDLING SYSTEM"  (they sent us a pdf of an article with that title from the 2012 63rd International Astronautical Congress)



Since the aims of your efforts and the goals and vision of Mach 30 are so closely aligned I'd like to keep close communication between groups.  I'm wondering if there is need for actual meetings.  We at Mach 30 have been using Google+ hangouts effectively to communicate.  Since our board members are distributed accross the US, and sometimes world wide (depending on travel schedules), these hangouts, and monthly conference calls have been indispensible.  I hope you are making good progress and *cue spooky music* BEWARE the ITAR...OOoooOOOOOOOO!!!

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