Our Vision: People living and working in thriving communities beyond the Earth, and the use of the vast resources of space for the dramatic betterment of humanity.
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February 21-23, 2016 Blitz
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National Space Society Congratulates Blue Origin on First Return to Launch Site of New Shepard
(Washington, DC -- November 30, 2015) On November 23, 2015, Blue Origin’s New Shepard rocket successfully flew to the edge of space, reaching the Karman line (100 km/329,839 ft) before a picture-perfect landing in West Texas. This marks the first time that a re-usable vertical take-off/vertical landing vehicle has reached space and returned to its launch site.
“Although the New Shepard is a sub-orbital vehicle rather than an orbital rocket, this is a significant milestone for space tourism.” said Dale Skran, NSS Executive Vice President. “The successful landing clears the way for a program of sub-orbital research flights over the next year or so, expected to lead to sub-orbital tourist flights.” NSS believes that space tourism, including sub-orbital tourism, can be a driving force toward lowering launch costs and increasing access to space. “Blue Origin’s successful landing of the New Shepard booster after reaching the edge of space represents a major step toward a fully re-usable sub-orbital vehicle,” said Bruce Pittman, NSS Senior Vice President and Chief Operating Officer. “We congratulate Jeff Bezos and the entire Blue Origin team for their hard work, dedication, and vaulting ambition.”
National Space Society Applauds Presidential Signing Commercial Space Launch Competitiveness Act
(Washington, DC -- November 27, 2015) On November 25, 2015, President Obama signed the landmark Commercial Space Launch Competitiveness Act (CSLCA). NSS congratulates President Obama and the Senate and House leadership for their hard work in hammering out a compromise between the previously passed House and Senate versions.
“It is hard to over-emphasize the importance of the CSLCA,” said Dale Skran, NSS Executive Vice President. Perhaps the most historically significant part of the CSLCA calls for the establishment of a legal right for U.S. citizens to mine asteroids in a fashion consistent with international law, including the Outer Space Treaty.
National Space Society Urges Presidential Signing of the Commercial Space Launch Competitiveness Act
(Washington, D.C., November 17) On November 10, 2015, the Senate passed H.R. 2262, the Commercial Space Launch Competitiveness Act (CSLCA). The House responded on November 16, 2015 by passing the final version as well. NSS congratulates both the Senate and House leadership for their hard work in hammering out a compromise between the previously passed House and Senate versions. “The CSLCA is a large and important pro-space bill that contains some vitally important steps toward space development and settlement,” said Dale Skran, NSS Executive Vice President. “NSS has been campaigning for the extension of the International Space Station, and NSS is delighted to see that the CSLCA formally extends the ISS to 2024.”
The CSLCA contains a large number of additional provisions, each important in some fashion to advancing the development of space resources. The CSLCA calls for the establishment of a legal right for U.S. citizens to mine asteroids in a fashion consistent with international law, including the Outer Space Treaty. “The establishment of the right to mine asteroids and profit from the results is an event of historic importance,” said Bruce Pittman, NSS Senior Vice President.
See full press release.
National Space Society Welcomes Janet Ivey as New NSS Governor
(Washington, DC -- August 27, 2015) Janet Ivey, a 12-time Emmy and 5-time Gracie Award winning educational TV host and founder of Janet’s Planet, seen on more than 140 PBS stations across the USA and on multiple online sites like BatteryPop, Club Jelly Telly, HighBrow, Ameba TV, and YouTube was recently named to the National Space Society’s Board of Governors.
Janet is thrilled to be among such an elite group of space enthusiasts and pioneers. Among Janet’s duties of promoting the National Space Society and its goals, a primary initiative will be to be a spokesperson for the NSS Enterprise in Space (EIS) project, along with Geoff Notkin of Meteorite Men fame.
National Space Society Welcomes Geoff Notkin as New NSS Governor
(Washington, DC -- August 26, 2015) Geoff Notkin, host of Meteorite Men, was recently named to the National Space Society’s Board of Governors. “NSS is proud to have Geoff on our board to help promote our vision of a spacefaring civilization,” said Bruce Pittman, NSS chief operating officer.
Geoff Notkin is a world renowned meteorite specialist, science writer, photographer, adventure traveler, and owner of Aerolite Meteorites, Inc., a company providing meteorite specimens to collectors and institutions worldwide. An Emmy-winning television host, Notkin starred in three seasons of the Science Channel series Meteorite Men and hosted the educational series STEM Journals for two seasons on Cox Media.
The National Space Society Pays Tribute to Dr. Kalam — One of Our Leading Lights Has Joined the Stars
(Washington, DC -- July 31, 2015) On 27 July 2015, Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam, eleventh President of India and a friend and inspiration to the National Space Society (NSS), passed away. “NSS would like to convey our condolences to the family and friends of Dr. Kalam, and to all of India. His death is a great loss not only to India, but to the whole of humanity,” said Mark Hopkins, chair of the NSS Executive Committee. “In his honor, a permanent part of the online NSS library will be dedicated to his visionary space legacy.” He was a true friend to NSS — giving his name to our shared Kalam-NSS Space-based Solar Power Initiative.
One of the true statesmen of our generation, Dr. Kalam was regarded as one of the greatest minds, visionaries, and peacemakers of the early 21st century. Dr. Kalam was a towering spacefaring advocate. His passing is a deep loss to NSS. Loved and admired by the masses of India, he was loved and admired by us as well. We were honored to work with him and to present him with our 2013 Wernher von Braun Memorial Award (photo) for leading India into space and for being a global leader in space development. He will be missed terribly by all around the world who share a common vision of humanity’s future in space.
See full press release.
NASA-Funded Study Reduces Cost of Human Missions to Moon and Mars by Factor of Ten
(Washington, DC -- July 20, 2015) The National Space Society (NSS) and Space Frontier Foundation (SFF) today announced their support for NASA’s funding of the newly released NexGen Space study, illustrating how to cut the cost of human space exploration by a factor of 10. The study, “Economic Assessment and Systems Analysis of an Evolvable Lunar Architecture that Leverages Commercial Space Capabilities and Public – Private – Partnerships,” finds public-private partnerships are able to return humans to the Moon for approximately 90% less than the previously estimated $100 billion, allowing the United States to ensure national security in a new space age.
“NSS congratulates NASA for funding the team at NexGen that discovered how such cost reductions are possible,” said NSS Executive Committee Chair, Mark Hopkins. “A factor of ten reduction in cost changes everything.”
Buzz Aldrin: SpaceX Failure Shows We Need More Commercial Space Travel—Not Less
(Washington, D.C., July 2) Buzz Aldrin, second man on the Moon and member of the National Space Society Board of Governors, has a fine op-ed piece for Time magazine which we recommend.
Epic Video Takes Pluto-mania Viral
(Washington, DC -- June 30, 2015) Earlier NSS-commissioned video on NASA’s New Horizons Mission gets a million views in a week; this extended Director’s Cut version was dropped today on YouTube. More details.
NSS Urges NASA and SpaceX to Continue Developing Innovative Rocket Reuse Technology
(Washington, DC -- June 29, 2015) The loss of NASA’s Commercial Resupply Services 7 (CRS-7) mission on June 28th demonstrates, in the view of the National Space Society (NSS), the wisdom of NASA's policy of maintaining technologically different competitive CRS providers.
NSS would like to express continued support for SpaceX and NASA as they analyze and test to understand and recover from Sunday's launch failure. “Spacecraft engineering is a very challenging profession and failure is always one possible outcome but we learn, implement and move forward,” said Bruce Pittman, NSS Senior Operating Officer. “NASA and the US government should continue to support the ISS, including the commercial cargo and crew programs.”
National Space Society Opposes Senate Gutting of Commercial Crew Program
(Washington, DC -- June 12, 2015) NSS strongly opposes the Senate Appropriations Committee’s $344 million (27%) cut of the 2015 Commercial Crew budget requested by the Administration. The Senate cuts were $100 million more than those recently passed by the House.
NSS stands with NASA administrator Charles Bolden when he said “By gutting this program and turning our backs on U.S. industry, NASA will be forced to continue to rely on Russia to get its astronauts into space—and to continue to invest hundreds of millions of dollars into the Russian economy rather than our own.” The two winners of the Commercial Crew competition, Boeing and SpaceX, have been making excellent progress, exemplified by the May 6th successful pad abort test of the SpaceX Dragon 2 crew escape system. Both are on track to fly astronauts in 2017 assuming funding is provided.
Interview of Mark Hopkins, Chair of the NSS Executive Committee
(Washington, D.C., June 7) Mark Hopkins, Chair of the NSS Executive Committee, was interviewed on the subject of interstellar space settlement on the program “Contours” on FM radio station WNTI on May 28. WNTI is a member supported public radio station providing non-commercial FM broadcast service for northern New Jersey and northeast Pennsylvania, operated by Centenary College in Hackettstown, NJ. The 21-minute interview was conducted by Dr. Karl Hricko and is posted here with permission.
International Lunar Decade Declaration Unveiled at NSS Conference
(Washington, D.C., June 1) The National Space Society has released an International Lunar Decade Declaration in support of an international campaign to return to the Moon. The campaign will continue lunar scientific exploration, begin a program of development to learn how to use the Moon’s resources for the benefit of the Earth, and lay the foundations to advance further to Mars and the asteroids. See full press release.
Matthew McConaughey Narrates Video about NASA/NSS Student Contest Winners at ISDC
NSS Applauds Northrop Grumman/Caltech Push Toward Space Solar Power
(Washington, D.C., April 27) The National Space Society (NSS) applauds a recent Northrop Grumman announcement that it is providing up to $17.5 million to an initiative with the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) for the development of Space Solar Power (SSP). SSP will be a major focus at NSS’s annual International Space Development Conference (ISDC)® in Toronto on May 20-24 (nss.org/2015). See full press release.
National Space Society Issues Position Statement on Next Generation Space Stations
(Washington, D.C., April 15) The Falcon 9 launch by SpaceX to the International Space Station (ISS) on April 14th highlights the importance of the ISS in furthering space development and settlement. However, the ISS is scheduled for destruction in 2024. If that time comes with no replacement, America’s and humanity’s hard-won foothold in Low Earth Orbit (LEO) will be lost.
NSS has released policy recommendations to extend and expand this foothold in space. NSS does not suggest that the ISS be replaced by a single, large, government owned and operated facility. Instead, NSS proposes a program structured much like the successful Commercial Orbital Transportation Services (COTS) which led to the current CRS program and Commercial Crew (CCDev) programs where NASA helps develop multiple, privately owned, commercially operated space stations and then becomes an anchor tenant. See full press release.
National Space Society and Space Frontier Foundation announce the formation of the Alliance for Space Development
(Washington, D.C., February 25) The National Space Society (NSS) and the Space Frontier Foundation (SFF) will announce the formation of the jointly managed Alliance for Space Development (ASD) at a media event on 25 February in Washington DC. ASD (allianceforspacedevelopment.org) is dedicated to influencing space policy toward the goals of space development and settlement. At press time the LifeBoat Foundation, the Mars Society, the Mars Foundation, the Space Development Steering Committee, the Space Tourism Society, Students for the Exploration and Development of Space, Students on Capitol Hill, Tea Party in Space, and the Texas Space Alliance have also joined ASD. Charles Miller, Executive Coordinator of ASD, said “We're delighted at the support ASD, and the focused, coordinated, year-long strategy it represents, has received in the space community.”
See Space News article: New Alliance to Promote Space Development and Settlement Policies.
Enterprise In Space Announces Orbiter Design Contest Winners
Enterprise In Space (EIS), a project of the National Space Society, is excited to announce the winners of the Enterprise in Space Orbiter Design Contest. The EIS project will take the Grand Prize winning design, which is a visualization of a science fiction concept, and make it science fact. EIS will do this by building the winning design and sending it into Earth orbit as the first real spacecraft bearing the name Enterprise. This mission is also unique in that it will carry more than 100 student experiments into space and back.
The Grand Prize winning entry was submitted by Stanley Von Medvey, a concept artist who grew up in Chicago and currently resides in California's San Francisco Bay Area. The winning designs can be seen at www.enterpriseinspace.org/winner.
National Space Society Launches “Enterprise In Space”
(Washington, D.C., September 29) The National Space Society (NSS) is launching a new project called “Enterprise In Space” (EIS). This project will design, build, launch, orbit, re-enter, tour, and display a science-fiction-inspired satellite as a science education and technology demonstration project for all ages and as a tribute to the great visionaries of science and science fiction.
Famed Apollo 11 moonwalker and NSS Governor Edwin “Buzz” Aldrin endorses EIS: “There’s an exciting new project called Enterprise In Space that I want to tell you about. Together with the National Space Society, the Enterprise In Space project will launch an eight-foot Enterprise satellite into orbit and bring it back to Earth. This is an educational and inspirational tribute to all Enterprise ships in history, to science visionaries, and to the vision of the Great Bird of the Galaxy himself, Gene Roddenberry. My name has been to space and back. Now it’s your turn. Rendezvous with me and support the Enterprise in Space project. Help make history all over again.”
See full press release.