100 Year Starship™ Study

Frequently Asked Questions


What is the official name of the effort?

The 100 Year Starship™ (100YSS™) is the name of the overall effort that will, over the next century, work toward achieving interstellar travel. The effort will also go by the moniker 100YSS. The 100 Year Starship study is the name of a one year project to assess the attributes of and lay the groundwork for an organization that can carry forward the 100 Year Starship vision.

What is the vision behind the 100 Year Starship?

The 100 Year Starship is about more than building a spacecraft or any one specific technology. Through this effort, DARPA seeks to inspire several generations to commit to the research and development of breakthrough technologies and cross-cutting innovations across myriad disciplines such as physics, mathematics, engineering, biology, economics, and psychological, social, political and cultural sciences. The goal is to pursue long-distance space travel while delivering ancillary results along the way that will benefit mankind.

Is it a starship? Where do I sign up?

Neither DARPA nor NASA is actually building a 100 Year Starship. We are planting seeds for an organization. Consequently we are not taking starship crew applications at the present time.

What is the specific objective of DARPA’s 100YSS Study?

Throughout the 100 Year Starship study, DARPA and NASA Ames will research ideas and collect data to identify the business model needed to develop and mature a technology portfolio that will enable long-distance manned space flight a century from now. The year-long study aims to develop a construct that will incentivize and facilitate private co-investment to ensure continuity of the lengthy technological time horizon needed to achieve interstellar travel.

Who is funding the 100YSS?

The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) is the primary funding agency together with the support of NASA Ames Research Center.

Why Is DARPA making this investment?

In attempting to achieve major endeavors, such as the first flight to the moon, mankind has pushed the boundaries of what’s possible technically. This will not only have an impact in the long term, it typically has very real impacts on society today. Space programs to date have resulted in benefits as far flung as improving water purification processes to enhancing breast cancer detection. The technologies we create can have very direct impacts here on earth, including benefitting the warfighter-DARPA’s principal customer.

What Does DARPA expect to get out of this program?

DARPA contends that the useful, anticipated and unanticipated consequences of programs such as the 100 Year Starship will have real and direct benefits for the Department of Defense and to NASA. Technologies ranging from robotics to the Internet have been spinoff results of innovative cutting edge research such as propulsion, energy storage and transfer, etc.

When did the program start?

The 100 Year Starship study began in Fall of 2010.

When will it end?

The 100 Year Starship study will end on 11/11/11.

Photos of the Space Shuttle Atlantis and Mission Control were taken by NASA.

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