Foundations of Interstellar Studies Workshop 2019

Organising Committee:

  • Co-Chairman: Kelvin F. Long, Initiative for Interstellar Studies, Stellar Engines, UK.

  • Co-Chairman: Rob Swinney, Initiative for Interstellar Studies, UK.

  • Co-Chairman: Harold ‘Sonny’ White, NASA Lyndon B Johnson Space Center, USA.

  • Secretary: Samar AbdelFattah, University of Cairo Aerospace Department, Egypt.

  • Logistical Planning: John Davies, Initiative for Interstellar Studies, UK.

  • Promotions: Alex Storer, Initiative for Interstellar Studies, UK.


The 2019 workshop took place in the village of Charfield, near Wootton-under-Edge, in the English county of Gloucestershire, a part of the historical Cotswolds which was an area that was a key part of the industrial revolution. This is an area designated of Outstanding Natural Beauty.


The technical component of the workshop took place at the Bone Mill, which since October 2017 has been the Headquarters of the UK non-profit the Initiative for Interstellar Studies.

Download Event Booklet Here.

Download Event Booklet Cover Here.

Download Event Flyer Here.

Download Event Poster Here.

This was three days of scientific discussions on interstellar flight, focussed on the themes of (1) Living in Deep Space (2) Advanced Propulsion Technology & Missions (3) Building Architectural Megastructures. Further details on these sessions below:-

Living in Deep Space

This included space habitats on moons or planets. It also included existing on small exploration vessels, living within medium slow boats or large world ships that travel over interstellar distances. The assumption was that any vessels that require human occupation had travel times which were equivalent to or exceed a human lifetime.

Advanced Propulsion Technology, Missions

& foundational physics

This included technologies that will take our probes to the farthest extents of our Solar System, beyond the Voyagers to near interstellar space, and onto nearby star systems. This included beaming systems, energetic reactions engines such as fusion and also exotic systems such as antimatter. Propulsion concepts which include an application of known physics were considered. Mission application concepts were sought that spanned the gambit of deep space exploration within the solar system, such as human missions to the outer planets, interstellar precursor missions, and missions to nearby star systems. Foundational physics concepts with a proper grounding in understood physics were sought that would facilitate better understandings of the natural world and hence may provide avenues for more effective power and propulsion approaches that would make interstellar aspirations more feasible.

building archetictural Megastructures

This included a consideration for constructions that are the size of moons or planets, such as planetary/stellar engineering initiatives like Dyson-Stapledon spheres, Stellar Engines, Matrioska brains, Ring Worlds and other innovative inventions. This also included the possibility of constructing gravity-based engines from space-time geometry such as worm holes.

The three days was represented by a diverse and international collection of scientists all working on different elements of the interstellar problem. The speakers are listed below:


  1. Keynote 1: Philip Mauskopft, Interplanetary and Interstellar Communications and Navigation, Arizona State University, USA.

  2. Speaker 1: Mark Hempsell, “Colonies and World Ships, The British Interplanetary Society, UK.

  3. Speaker 2: Kelvin F. LongCalculations for a Crewed Interstellar Dysonship Driven by Microwave Beam Propulsion, Interstellar Research Centre, Stellar Engines Ltd, UK.

  4. Speaker 3: Angelo Vermeulen Evolving Asteroid Starships: A Bio-Inspired Approach for Designing Generation Starships, Delft University of Technology, Netherlands.

  5. Interactive Workshop Discussion: Communications, Navigation, Space Colonies, World Ships, Evolving Starships, Asteroid Mining.

  6. Speaker 4: Samar AbdelFattah, “Hyperloop: Martial Operation 1”, Sypron Solutions, Egypt.

  7. Speaker 5: Peter Robinson, “Space Elevators: The Earth, The Moon and Beyond”, International Space Elevator Consortium.

  8. Speaker 6: Richard Osborne, “The Use of Near-Term Launch Systems for Developing A Stanford Torus”, StellarDyne, UK

  9. Speaker 7: Patrick Mahon, “Worldships - Some Ecological and Resource Constraints”, Initiative for Interstellar Studies.

  10. Interactive Workshop Discussion: Hyperloop, Mars, Space Elevators, Stanford Torus.

  11. Panel Session Chaired by Rob Swinney: “A Near-Term Tactical Discussion on the Build-up of an Interplanetary Infrastructure Toward the Strategic Vision of Interstellar Flight Capability”, featuring Richard Osborne, Samar Abdelfattah, John Davis, Angelo Vermeulen, Stephen Ashworth, Harold ‘Sonny’ White.


  1. Keynote 2: Alan Costley, Development for Faster Fusion at Tokamak Energy, Tokamak Energy Ltd.

  2. Speaker 8: Angelo Genovese, “Laser-Powered Electric Propulsion Precursor Mission”, Initiative for Interstellar Studies, UK.

  3. Speaker 9: Ryan Weed, Antielectron Propulsion, Positron Dynamics, USA.

  4. Speaker 10: Rob Swinney,Project Icarus Fusion Starship Concept Design Solutions, Initiative for Interstellar Studies, UK.

  5. Speaker 11: Charles Swanson, Direct Fusion Drive for the Gravitational Lens Mission, Princeton Satellite Systems, USA.

  6. Interactive Workshop Discussion: Fusion, Antimatter Catalysed Fusion, Laser-Electric Propulsion, Precursor Missions.

  7. Speaker 12: Jeremy Munday,Engineering Quantum Vacuum Fluctuations, University of Maryland, USA.

  8. Speaker 13: Harold ‘Sonny’ White,Dynamic Vacuum Propulsion, NASA Johnson Space Center, Houston, USA.

  9. Speaker 14: Heidi Fearn, Advances in Mach Effect Gravitational Assist (MEGA) Drive Experimentation, CSU Fullerton, California, USA.

  10. Speaker 15: Mike McCulloch,Quantised Inertia, Propellant-less Thrust and Interstellar Travel, Plymouth University.

  11. Speaker 16: Philip Lubin, “Directed Energy – The Path to Interstellar Flight, University California Santa Barbara, California, USA.

  12. Interactive Workshop Discussion: Quantum Vacuum, Mach Effect, Inertia Drives.

SESSION THREE: building architectural MEGASTRUCTURES

  1. Keynote 3: James, Schalkwyk, “The Scale of an Interstellar Mission: Microphotonics to Megastructures”, Breakthrough Initiatives.

  2. Speaker 17: Remo Garattini, Engineering Wormholes, Bergamo University, Italy.

  3. Speaker 18: Francisco Lobo, “Wormholes, Warp Drives and Interstellar Travel”, Institute of Astrophysics and Space Sciences, University of Lisbon.

  4. Interactive Workshop Discussion: Starshot, Wormholes, Warp Drive.

  5. Speaker 19: Al Jackson, Neutrino Beacons for Interstellar Communications, Triton Systems, USA.

  6. Speaker 20: Gregory Matloff, Is the Kuiper Belt Inhabited?, New York City College of Technology, CUNY, USA.

  7. Interactive Workshop Discussion: SETI, Interstellar Communications.

From 17:30 hours a poster session will take place in a separate room of the building. The posters so far accepted includes: 

  1.  C Bangs and Greg Matloff, “Potential Application of Holographic Photon Sails to Project Starshot Interstellar Probes”, New York City College of Technology, CUNY and Central Booking NYC Art Space, USA.

  2. Kelvin F Long, “The Apkallu Initiative: A Minilithic Artefact in the Event of Global Cataclysm”, Interstellar Research Centre.

  3. Kelvin F Long, “The Interstellar Research Centre”.

  4. John Kokkalis, “Laser-Ablation of Interplanetary Media During the Acceleration Phase for Laser-Driven Interstellar Travel”, McGill University, Quebec, Canada.

  5. Navneet Kaur, “Investigating the Stability of a Thin Laser Powered Lightsail using Doppler Velocimetry”, McGill University, Quebec, Canada.

  6. Rob Swinney, “Project Icarus Fusion Starship Concept Design Solutions”, Initiative for Interstellar Studies.

  7. Patrick Mahon, “Worldships - Some Ecological and Resource Constraints”, Initiative for Interstellar Studies.(part 2)(part3)

In addition to the formal scientific proceedings, there will also an opening social event on the evening of Thursday 27th June, starting at 18:00 hours taking place at the Bone Mill. It will feature the jazz band ‘Blue Shift’.

There will also be a formal conference dinner on Saturday 29th June starting at 19:00 hours to take place at the Swan Hotel, Wooten-Under-Edge.

An invitation will be made to submit papers from selected authors post-conference, to the Journal of the British Interplanetary Society (JBIS) and/or publication in the official conference proceedings. More information will be posted to this site as the planning develops.

photos from the 2019 workshop

The following is a random collection of photos from the 2019 Foundations of Interstellar Studies workshop that took place in the village of Charfield, United Kingdom, with social events in the nearby village of Wotton-under-Edge. We had a lot of fun, a huge thank you to all that participated.