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Ad Astra
Volume 14, Number 4 July/August 2002


Lifting Off

Space Transportation needs your action now!
By Christopher M. Pancratz, NSS Vice President of Public Affairs & Chairman, Executive Committee

Transportation to space is critical, vital, and essential to the realization of our vision—we don’t leave home without it! Solve the problems of cost and reliability and everything else should fall into place and we are on our way. Nothing else is more important!

How can you address this barrier to human travel and settlement beyond the Earth?

You can take an active role in the public debate on the Space Launch Initiative (SLI). It is in the early stages, and facing critical funding tests in Congress as part of the NASA budget request. I encourage you to visit www.nss.org, learn more about the issue, prepare to participate in NSS alerts at critical points as the budget moves through Congress, and make an appointment to discuss your support with your Representative at the office in your District.

While you are there, you can discuss the Space Exploration Act of 2002 (H.R. 4742). We all know that people work best and accomplish the most when they have specific goals to meet. This legislation, recently introduced into the Congress by Representative Nick Lampson (D-TX) and 7 of his colleagues, would provide NASA with specific goals for the development of key transportation technologies to take humans to specific destinations including back to the Moon and to Mars. Even though it is considered a long-shot (at best) for passage, the NSS Board of Directors has officially endorsed this Bill and as the discussion proceeds, legislative compromises and your support could improve its chances for consideration.

You can help NSS and the SETI Institute support The NASA Haughton-Mars Project, which is doing research on the advanced planetary exploration concept spacesuit during the HMP-2002 summer field season on Devon Island, Canadian High Arctic. This important research will help move us closer to the days of large numbers of human travelers by investigating the technologies, strategies, human factors and hardware designs relevant to the future exploration of Mars and other planetary bodies. See the article in Ad Astra May/June 2002 and for more information visit www.nss.org.
You can help carry out the NSS Mission of promoting change by planning now to observe World Space Week 4-10 October, with an event in your community and/or by participating in the NSS Letters-To-The Editors campaign during World Space Week. Look for more information in this Ad Astra and at www.nss.org.

And don’t forget those things that we can all do every day:
• Share the Vision with everyone you meet.
• Vote and communicate regularly with your legislators.
• If you invest, consider space-related companies.
• Ask others to join NSS.

Please let me know what you are doing in your community and feel free to contact me to share your ideas or to ask others for their ideas—email me at NSSPublicAffairs@aol.com. Ad Astra!

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