The International Open Space Initiative or IOSI is the world's first open global public space program, founded on the premise of applying a Linux-like Open Source development model to space development as a global social enterprise. It's basic objective is the development of the telerobotic outposts as described in TMP:Avalon. In the TMP context the IOSI is a means to catalyzing international cultural relevance for space through space activity that is truly open to public participation. The key analogy is space development like the greatest community model train layout ever--the kind you might one day move into. It chooses the goal of telebase development because, unlike other aspects of space development, robotics has now become very accessible to the general public and offers a vast unexplored field of potential innovation long overlooked by national space agencies and directly relevant to applications here on Earth. Along with this is habitat design. Based on excavated and large shell habitat concepts, the Avalon settlement concepts offer a unique accessibility for public participation as all design is primarily retrofit interior design that can be mocked-up in any large space interior setting.
The organizational model for the IOSI is based on the examples of the open software movement with the core or 'kernel' of the program being a Mission Profile established by an initially ad hoc team of more-or-less expert volunteers. The Mission Profile defines the functional elements, standards, performance requirements, and logistics of the initial telebase and is used to establish a project solicitation database. This, in turn, is used to create a SourceForge-like web site that showcases the Mission Profile and its project solicitations and provides a central location for information and communication for the program. Individual and team developers adopt projects and establish blogs and source data information repositories on the program web site, their individual blog news fed into a higher level primary blog for the program. The site would also host mailing lists, chat, and many other media features to aid in community communication and promotion of program.
The program would also establish an exposition circuit, starting modestly with introductory promotion at existing aerospace, science, and science fiction events and eventually growing to its own independent continental expositions conducted on a regular schedule. The IOSI Expos would function primarily as social and promotional gatherings but would also support showcasing and demonstration of team project work and host casual competitions.
The IOSI would not employ the competition model that has become popular with organizations like X-Prize. All developers are competing only against the criteria for spaceworthiness established by the Mission Profile in the hopes of getting prototype hardware/systems supported for production and deployment. But informal competitions to demonstrate capability/performance, achieve key functional milestones, and also to encourage involvement by children/students would be conducted chiefly for their entertainment value and philanthropic or commercial sponsorship may provide suitable prizes or otherwise support these events.
Another key feature of the IOSI Expos would be home shows of the space future, where participants showcase concepts for orbital, lunar, and Mars habitat design, as well as future terrestrial home and lifestyle concepts, much as conventional home shows showcase home design concepts through mock-up interiors and exposition structures. Finally, the Expos would also function as showcases for TMP and hose our portable TMP-specific exhibits and media.
As the program grows regional IOSI 'labs' would be established internationally. Following the model of Hackerspaces and Fab Labs, these would provide the same kind of shared resources for research and fabrication with the chief difference being the addition of test-bed environments for robots. The IOSI labs would serve a critical function as points of back-flow of technology to regional communities, the open source technology developed for the program being easily re-applied to terrestrial uses and forming the basis entrepreneurship.
Ultimately the IOSI would establish one or more full scale testbed telebases in analogous environments such as the Atacama Desert. Using analogs to spacecraft deployment, these outposts would be designed to simulate full-scale the three key phases of telerobotic settlement as detailed in TMP:Avalon; beachhead, cluster outpost, and excavated outpost. No human beings would be allowed on these test sites, being relegated to deployment support stations at a distance and using 'drop zones' to interface with the outposts. Similar but indoor facilities would be used for orbital telerobotic outposts and the ergonomics study of large habitat interiors that would be optionally manned.
As spaceworthy hardware is developed and demonstrated partnerships for actual production and launch/deployment would be sought with space agencies and commercial interests. Initial participation by these organizations is unlikely. The P2P/Open Source models of development employed here are simply too alien to their professional cultures. They are unlikely to 'get it' until the program has produced spaceworthy hardware and has a public following of some scale. But with that they are likely to eventually realize the missed opportunity in this program and seek to 'catch up'.
Initial IOSI activity will focus on promotion and demonstration of the telebase concept through prototype robot and mock-up telebase demonstrations at small scales. Here the IOSI program links to the previously noted OSbot and Versabot programs described under the Open Source Everything project in TMP:Foundation:Foundation Community Network. These early projects would be very far from spaceworthy hardware, being designed to encourage early public participation and to demonstrate key concepts like Cloud Robotics and IP-based telebase systems backplanes.