The Integrated Space Plan is a 100 year vision of space exploration as envisioned over 20 years ago. It is a beautiful and intricate timeline covering the period 1983 to 2100. The timeline was developed in 1989 by Ronald M. Jones at Rockwell International, using long range planning data from NASA, the National Space Policy Directive and other Western space agencies.
While optimistic the plan nonetheless outlined unmanned rover exploration on Mars (done), a comet sample return mission (done), and an orbiter around Mercury (done). Over the longer-term the plan foresaw “human expansion into the inner solar system” by 2018, with “triplanetary, earth-moon-mars infrastructure” in place by 2023, “small martian settlements” followed in 2060, and “Venus terraforming operations” in 2080. The plan concludes with “human interstellar travel” sometime after the year 2100. So, perhaps there is hope for humans beyond this Pale Blue Dot after all.
More below on this fascinating diagram and how it was re-discovered from Sean Ragan over at Make Magazine. A detailed and large download of the plan follows: Integrated Space Plan.
I first encountered this amazing infographic hanging on a professor’s office wall when I was visiting law schools back in 1999. I’ve been trying, off and on, to run down my own copy ever since. It’s been one of those back-burner projects that I’ll poke at when it comes to mind, every now and again, but until quite recently all my leads had come up dry. All I really knew about the poster was that it had been created in the 80s by analysts at Rockwell International and that it was called the “Integrated Space Plan.”
About a month ago, all the little threads I’d been pulling on suddenly unraveled, and I was able to connect with a generous donor willing to entrust an original copy of the poster to me long enough to have it scanned at high resolution. It’s a large document, at 28 x 45?, but fortunately it’s monochrome, and reproduces well using 1-bit color at 600dpi, so even uncompressed bitmaps come in at under 5MB.