The Rockwell Integrated Space Plan (Vector Redux Version)

Craft & Design Science
The Rockwell Integrated Space Plan (Vector Redux Version)
Ron Jones' Rockwell International Integrated Space Plan, color-coded by Dr. Nicolas Lee.  Don't like the color scheme? Download the vector art and add your own!
Ronald M. Jones’ 1989 “Integrated Space Plan,” redrawn and color-coded by Nicolas Lee. Don’t like the palette? Download the vectors and design your own!

Almost a year ago, thanks to the kind assistance of an anonymous donor, we were able to capture and post a high-resolution scan of this beautiful chart, prepared during the 1980s by Rockwell International analyst Ron Jones. It charts a fantastic, inspirational vision for humanity’s future in outer space.

At the top appear historical events like “Voyager II Uranus Encounter” and “OV-105 Delivery;” at the bottom, ambitious future milestones like “Stationary Martian Skyhook” and “Interstellar Traversing World Ships.” The timeline spans roughly 100 years, from 1983 to 2100 AD.

The post has since attracted tens of thousands of viewers and dozens of commenters, including chart author Ron Jones, himself:

Wow! What’s really amazing about that chart, is that the technology and technical ingenuity it embodies and harnesses, hardware and software, focused on the many paths enabling the human expansion into space, also has enabled, along the way, a bevy or talented entrepreneurs and the government, to create and evolve a globally interactive environment, called the Internet, which, through the marvels of modern free market IT capabilities, has enabled the Makezine blog to initiate a discussion on the Integrated Space Plan (ISP) by a guy named Ragan and, within 24 hours, it can land on my computer desktop, the creator of the document in question…

Below, Dara O’Briain and Professor Mark Miodownik discuss the Integrated Space Plan on BBC2’s Science Club back in May:

YouTube player

Among those who’ve taken an interest in the ISP is Caltech aerospace post-doc Nicolas Lee, who recently e-mailed us:

I saw your September 2012 Makezine article about the integrated space plan, and spent the past day or so engrossed in the details. I made a start at vectorizing the scan and figured I’d share what I have so far.

I did not ask how he did it (my guess is manually), but the resulting files are really beautiful. They occupy less than 1% of the disk space of the huge raster scan we posted originally. Dr. Lee has generously shared both black-and-white and color-coded versions, linked below.

He adds:

I was thinking it would be neat (though I don’t think I’d have the time to do it in the near future) if this were more of an interactive document – for example, pop-ups for each box discussing current or cancelled programs that relate to the technology/milestone, etc, or simply the ability to click boxes and see what is connected with the arrows highlighted.

Thanks again to everyone who made this document possible: Ron Jones, the research staff at Boeing Defense, our anonymous donor, and, most recently, Dr. Lee. And to you, as always, for reading and sharing.

Integrated Space Plan – Vector Art (PDF)

Integrated Space Plan – Vector Art, Color (PDF)

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I am descended from 5,000 generations of tool-using primates. Also, I went to college and stuff. I am a long-time contributor to MAKE magazine and My work has also appeared in ReadyMade, c't – Magazin für Computertechnik, and The Wall Street Journal.

View more articles by Sean Michael Ragan


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