NSS IN ACTION
2001 International Space Development Conference . . . the odyssey began!
Space Development Conference
. . . the odyssey began!
Between 24th and 28th May, the Hilton Hotel in Albuquerque, New Mexico, was the site of the National Space Societys 20th Annual International Space Development Conference. With much appreciated support from SAIC, Orbital, the U.S. Department of Energy, SGI, Boeing, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, and our Honorary Chairman Harrison Schmitt, the conference was a successful exploration of where we have been in space and where we are going today and in the future. The six days of the ISDC, beginning with special symposia on the first day, had themes which gradually lifted off from our home to encompass a wider world: Leaving Earth, International Space Stations & Earth Orbital Activities, The Moon and Mars, and finally, The Outer Planets and Beyond (Ad Astra).
These topics brought in a great diversity of speakers, vendors, and exhibits, of course in addition to the many excited participants who attended the ISDC. Certainly, everyone walked away with some new thoughts and perspectives about the universe we live in. Some of the interesting seminars featured at the conference included: a Space Development Entrepreneurial Seminar chaired by George Friberg of Technology Ventures Corp.; Space Law chaired by C. Heather Walker of Wiley, Rein & Fielding; Lunar Geology chaired by the Honorary Chairman Harrison Schmitt, an Apollo 17 Astronaut now at the University of Wisconsin; Advanced Launch Concepts and Technologies chaired by Bradley C. Edwards of Los Alamos National Laboratory; an Asteroid/Comet Workshop chaired by Andy Smith of the Safety Research Institute; Space Tourism/Entertainment chaired by Angie Bukley of Aerospace Corp.; and Space Medicine chaired by Eleanor ORangers of AstraZeneca LLC. There were also meetings of NSS committees to review and plan activities.
On Saturday and Sunday, a Students Program was run, involving children between seven and fourteen in a variety of projects, demonstrations, and presentations. Students could listen to talks about the space station, learn about robots and electronics, or create model rockets and a Mars Colony, among myriad other things. As a part of the same Students Program, attendees of the conference could themselves become students again and go to a variety of workshops on 25, 26, and 27 May about space outreach and education. In addition, there was a very interesting NASA moon rock certification course that enabled people to present moon rocks for school programs.
A number of tours took place at ISDC, showing many people the fascinating aspects of the surrounding areaincluding historic Santa Fe, the Satellite Control Facility, Solar Tower, and National Atomic Museum at Kirtland AFB, and the Very Large Array. There was a mesmerizing stargazing session in the Manzano Mountains Thursday evening and a model rocket and high power rocket launch on Saturday morning that did not fail to thrill observers.
Many distinguished speakers appeared at the 2001 ISDC to speak at luncheons and dinners throughout the conference. One of these banquets was Hail Columbia: 20th Anniversary of STS-1, which presented the commander of the first shuttle flight, John Young, and members of the STS-1 mission control team celebrating that first launch and the achievements of the shuttle program so far, and looking ahead to the future of space flight. Buzz Aldrin spoke at a Space Tourism luncheon, giving a perspective on recent events in this area and explaining the goals of his ShareSpace Foundation, which is committed to making space tourism real. In addition to these and other great speakers, we were very excited to have a dinner devoted to 2001: A Space Odyssey. Joining us were Keir Dullea, who played astronaut Dave Bowman, Dan Richter, who played Moonwatcher the ape man, Frederick Ordway III, the technical advisor, Robert McCall, space artist, and by videotape, author Arthur C. Clarke. The audience enjoyed engaging discussions from our speakers as well as behind-the-scenes footage of the film.
The final banquet was our 20th Annual National Space Society Awards Banquet, hosted by Greg Allison, NSS Executive Director Pat Dasch, and NSS President Dan Brandenstein. The National Space Society was proud to present the Wernher von Braun Memorial Award to Donna Shirley, Assistant Dean of Engineering for Advanced Program Development at the University of Oklahoma. This award, which recognizes those who possess and promote an ideal for the future of space flight and can motivate cross-boundaries teamwork, was presented to Ms. Shirley due to her impressive work with NASAs Jet Propulsion Laboratory and her reflection of Dr. von Brauns vision. Devoting herself to space exploration for 32 years at JPL, she has worked with Cassini and Mariner 10, led the Sojourner rover team, and managed the Mars Exploration Program. Currently teaching at Oklahoma, she is also the official Spokesperson for the Mars Millennium Project for K-12 students. NSS also awarded Space Pioneer Awards in the areas of Science/Engineering, Media, and Activist of the Year at the Banquet. Dr. Robert W. Farquhar and the Near Earth Asteroid Rendezvous Team were awarded the honor for Science and Engineering in recognition of the teams successful study of the asteroid Eros and the amazing (and unplanned) landing as well. Mr. Jason Jenkins, the Lead Power System Engineer, accepted the award on behalf of Dr. Farquhar and the entire NEAR team. Mr. Leonard David, a Senior Space Writer for space.com and director of Space Data Resources & Information, was given the Space Pioneer Award for Media; in his wide-reaching career, he has worked with NSS, NASA, President Reagan, and writes freelance work that can be found in many space science publications. The recipient of this years Space Pioneer Award Activist of the Year is recognized by many in the NSS and is best known for the band she leads, ZIA. Elaine Walker is the Region 8 NSS Chapters organizer as well as a musician who brings space-themed music to many audiences.
Our NSS Chapters themselves were honored as well at the Awards Banquet, with awards in the areas of Chapter Excellence, Special Merit, and Meritorious Service. Those recognized for Chapter Excellence are the best examples of the NSS vision. The Special Merit Awards are given to the chapters who demonstrate exceptional quality and effectiveness. Chapters with great and consistent dedication to their purposes are awarded the Meritorious Service Award. The Chapter Excellence Awards were presented as follows: Chapter of the Year Award, Illini Space Development Society; Education Award, Orange County Space Society; Chapter Newsletter Award, Space Nursing Society. Eight chapters were recognized for Special Merit Awards: Explorer Award, Oregon L5 Society; Community Service Award, Wichita Chapter of NSS; Publicity and Media Award: Middle Tennessee Space Society; Most Improved Chapter Award, National Space Society of New York City; Political Activism Award, NSS/Western Spaceport Chapter; Public Outreach Award, OASIS; Service to the Chapters Award, Lunar Reclamation Society; Service to the Society Award, Austin Space Frontier Society. Chapters which received Meritorious Service Awards are: Public Outreach, Baltimore Metro Chapter NSS; Publicity and Media, DC-L5 Society and NSS Atlanta; Community Service, Central Coast Space Frontier Society; Education and Service to the Society, San Antonio Space Society; Recruitment of NSS Membership, United States Air Force Academy Chapter. NSS sincerely gives its appreciation and thanks to our Most Promising New Chapter, the DRG (German Space Society).
All in all, I think we can count this years conference an enlightening adventure, and this year as truly marking the beginning of an odyssey. Be sure to save 23-27 May on your calendar next year and register for ISDC 2002: Settling the Solar System!
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Report by Greg Allison
Former Speaker of the House, Tip ONeill was famous for saying All politics are local. Surely the glitter and charm lie at the centers of power and celebrity, such as Washington DC but the rubber meets the road in the streets and byways of America and in communities around the globe. The heartbeat of our enthusiasm lies in both cities and rural communities.
The chapters are the homes of the Minute Men of our Revolution the Revolution of spreading civilization to the stars! Chapters are the troops ready to take the dream to the people, the civil engineers of taking concrete steps to enable the processes that will spread humanity to the cosmos.
Chapter meetings promote the merging of minds which further unfold the vision for a grand future for humanity. Several hundred, maybe even a thousand, chapter displays promoting space development have been set in movie theaters and malls over the past 26 years. More than two thousand public lectures and debates have shaped and promoted the dream. Quite a number of chapters have produced dozens of videos, many of which have been aired on cable access television. Chapter activists frequent local television and radio broadcast. Newspapers run articles on their activities. Chapters have helped reshape the way space is seen in many local communities.
Chapters have in the past collected tens of thousands of signatures on petitions calling for more rapid space development. Chapters have showed up in force and staged a major pro-space demonstrations at political conventions. Chapter newsletters go out into the communities spreading the good news for the future. Many chapters help with student science fairs and classroom activities which teach the importance of space exploration and development. Inspired children often inspire parents.
Chapter-run International Space Development Conferences (ISDCs) and regional conferences have provided the glue which has held our NSS activist community together. These events have reached out into numerous communities and provided a positive face for the NSS.
Chapters are not content just to influence public, governmental, and corporate policy. A number of chapters are researching the technologies for space settlement and preparing missions, and even flight vehicles intended to penetrate space. Some chapters have simply decided not to wait on others. They are blazing their own pathways to space! The Orange County Space Society launched remains of one of their chapter members, Charlie Carr, into orbit last year. Chapters have sponsored and assisted student payloads which flew in Space Shuttle Get-Away-Special (GAS) Canisters. The Clear Lake Chapter in Houston Texas is currently planning to launch a student experiment on a space shuttle GAS can. Its a really neat experiment. The students are developing an environmentally friendly laundry washing machine to operate in orbit. They plan to implement an ultrasonic process employing lemon juice, baking soda, and vinegar, but not together! This is valid basic research. NASA had tried to develop a washing machine for the International Space Station, and had to give it up. This is something needed on orbit right now! Chapters have designed space habitats, and space hotels. Some NSS chapters have even performed research under NASA contract, or entered cooperative agreements with NASA.
Chapters often take advantage of local events to promote the NSS an our vision for settling space. Last Labor Day weekend 6000 attendees graced the World Science Fiction Convention in Chicago. Members of the Chicago Space Frontier L5, Chicago Society for Space Studies, and Illinois North Shore chapters put together almost 70 science programs, including 34 on space and astronomy. They displayed the NSS placard and copies of Ad Astra at these programs. They also conducted a town hall meeting. The Philadelphia hosted a hospitality party. These chapters gathered exhibits from several museums, including JPL and set up NSS tables with audio visual support, space models and planetary globes. They did an interview with Fox Network TV, four radio stations, and made eight print sources.
The Lunar Reclamation Society, and the Oregon L5 Society are leading the way in the study building a civilization on the Moon. The Space Nursing Society looks at health care and medical research in space. And the rest of the chapters spread that gospel through local television, radio, and lecture series.
Four years ago HAL5 launched a balloon named the HALO SL-1 hybrid rocket to 36 nautical miles, and into the Guinness Book of World Records, 2000 Millennium Edition. HAL5 is now looking to launch the HALO SL-3 mission into space. The rocket is waiting in the wings (pending additional funding) to punch out 70 nautical miles and place the NSS firmly into space. To date this local chapter program has sung to the tune of $45,000 in funds raised and expended toward the goals of the HALO Program. It all started on less than half of the surplus revenue from a chapter run ISDC. The Sacramento L5 chapter is supporting a similar launch effort by JP Aerospace.
Chapters are the crown jewels of the National Space Society. It is our chapters that distinguish us from so many other organizations. What can chapters do? Anything that fits within the realm of their imagination and shear determination. So far the limits are UNDISCOVERED! Chapters, I say unto you, reach for the stars!
I do want to announce some good news for chapters and the NSS.
In the past, many chapters have operated in isolation from each other and the national organization like random atoms in a bar of iron. Now we have developed an active Chapters Committee which provides a new avenue for chapters and the NSS Board of Directors to work together. Now we can envision aligning the atoms along with their associated magnetic domains to produce a strong unified field to better accomplish our vision. In short we expect that the sum of the whole will exceed the sum of the parts.
The Chapters Committee has taken the lead to establish a framework upon which to rebuild the NSS Phone Tree using the chapters regional network of volunteers.
A budget has been set aside for chapter projects. The Foundry at this ISDC was the initial event to promote, incubate, and judge candidate chapter projects to receive this funding.
A website has been established which offers free hosting to NSS chapters. The Chapters Committee is developing an online chat capability through this website to foster increased communications within the committee, and between chapters while minimizing expensive teleconference requirements.
And we have produced new NSS banners and plaques for chapter use. Though we could not produce enough for all of the chapters this year we will distribute first to some of our most active chapters who are attending this ISDC.
The NSS Chapter Excellence Award is the highest award a chapter can receive. It is given to chapters whose pursuit of the NSS vision is representative of the best that our chapters have to offer. This year we have three winners:
This chapter recruited over 30 new NSS members this year. They have had numerous public programs which have included John Young, Gene Krantz, and George Abbey. Most notably this chapter has established a research division of their chapter which is developing a Martian gravity plant growth experiment, and microgravity research. Last year they flew TWO microgravity experiments on NASAs KC135 the vomit Comet. They presented over 56 public presentations this year to an audience of over 3,500 people. They participate in the University open house at the University of Illinois. They also exhibit displays at local malls, which include space games for children with prizes. This year the Chapter of the Year Award went to the Illini Space Development Society.
Some chapters dream big. Some take big actions. Last year this chapter sent the remains of one of their members into orbit. The previous year they managed an exhibit on the Queen Mary, which was sponsored by the Space Tourism Society. It was the largest space event of its type anywhere in the country that year. They also conduct two to three public programs per month. A few months ago they built a full scale replica of a Lunar lander, purchased a replica lunar rover and shipped them to mainland China, all in a span of 8 weeks. This display travels China and has Chinese reinacting our lunar moon landing. They even wear the American flag shoulder patch and plant the American flag. Imagine that, a Communist Chinese planting an American flag. This year they launched the Traveling Space Museum Project, which they have spent 5,000 dollars on. This is a traveling display which goes out to the local schools where they essentially take over the school for a day. This is an interactive display with components such as teleoperated rovers and associated lunar and Martian landscapes.
For their Traveling Space Museum Project the Education Award went to the Orange County Space Society.
This chapter, one of our special interest chapters, is now our largest chapter with almost 180 members. They have launched an excellent color newsletter with professional content. The chapter newsletter award went to the Space Nursing Society.
SPECIAL MERIT AWARDS are given to chapters whose programs show exceptional quality and effectiveness.
This chapter researches the use of lava tube caverns as sites for lunar settlements. Much of this work has been performed under contract to NASA. Recently they have been active processing Clementine lunar data. For their work on this Clementine lunar data we grant the Explorer Award to the Oregon L5 Society.
This chapter works extensively with area schools and assists tours at the Kansas Cosmosphere and Space Center. The Community Service Award goes to the Wichita Chapter of the National Space Society.
This chapter proves that small chapters can do big things. This chapter has three members. They are in the ninth year of broadcasting a one-hour weekly television show promoting public awareness of Americas space program. The publicity and Media Award went to the Middle Tennessee Space Society.
This rather large community once had a strong chapter. It faded away. Then like the Phoenix of legend it roared back to life. They now have a major program each month. The Most Improved Chapter Award went to the National Space Society of New York City.
This chapter has been active writing letters to the congress and White House. The Political Activism Award went to the NSS Western Spaceport Chapter.
This chapter placed booths at local science fiction conventions, provided public lectures, and an active community speakers bureau. For Public Outreach we recognize OASIS.
For providing newsletter services to a large number of chapters the Service to the Chapters Award went to the Lunar Reclamation Society.
This chapter is very active politically. Members participate in state level political caucuses. They also provide a unique service to the National Space Society. They have created and managed our flagship awards: the Heinlein Award and the Von Braun Award. The Service to the Society Award went to the Austin Space Society.
MERITORIOUS SERVICE AWARDS are given to chapters that show consistent quality in their activities. This years winners were:
Baltimore Metro Chapter NSS For Public Outreach
DC-L5 Society For Publicity and Media
NSS Atlanta For Publicity and Media
Central Cost Space Frontier Society For Community Service
San Antonio Space Society For Education and Service to the Society
United States Air Force Academy Chapter For recruitment of NSS membership
Members of these chapters please stand and be recognized.
Appreciation and Thanks Award:
This year we choose to express our appreciation and thanks to the Most Promising New Chapter, the DRG (German Space Society).
We also extend our appreciation and thanks to Michael James for his work with the international chapters.
The chapters are active but they do need help to carry on these programs, to expand their outreach, and most of all to work together and communicate more effectively with the rest of the society. Thats where you can come in. I would like to ask each of you, if you are not already active in a chapter, to approach or start a local chapter and at least offer some of your services. Even if you just lift a finger once a year every little bit counts. Do something extra to promote the future we all seek! N
Gregory H. Allison is the NSS Vice President for Chapter Affairs.
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