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.
The Society publishes Ad Astra magazine and maintains an active global network of volunteers and local chapters. Membership and participation are open to all. Join the space movement, and help build a positive future for humanity!
|Please use this NSS Amazon link! ANY purchase (books, electronics, etc.) earns a credit for NSS at no cost to you. Bookmark/Favorite this link for all your Amazon shopping.|
National Space Society Congratulates SpaceX on First Successful GEO Transfer Mission
(Washington, D.C., December 6) The National Space Society congratulates Space Exploration Technologies (SpaceX) on the successful launch of the SES-8 telecommunications satellite, the first mission to geo-synchronous orbit for SpaceX. Bruce Pittman, NSS Senior Vice President, said, “This milestone injects a new US competitor into the international commercial satcom launch market, and is an important step toward lowering the cost of access to space, which in turn will help drive space development and settlement.” See full press release.
Roadmap to Space Settlement 2014 International Student Art Contest
The National Space Society is looking for student artists to create illustrations for the NSS Roadmap to Space Settlement. Submitted artwork should REALISTICALLY illustrate one of this year's two themes: Asteroid Settlement or Building a Space Settlement. All full-time students at any grade level between the ages of 12 and 25 are eligible. The deadline for submissions is March 16, 2014. See our contest web pages for information about prizes and submission requirements.
National Space Society Position on Space Solar Power in Economist Magazine Debate
(Washington, D.C., November 14) The Economist magazine has conducted an open, on-line forum on the topic, “Can Solar Energy Save the World,” which concluded on Friday, November 8, 2013. The Washington DC-based National Space Society (NSS) has voted “YES” in this debate.
NSS urges that the European Union (EU) allow Space Solar Power to be given equal treatment with other sources of renewable energy as part of the European system of feed-in tariffs, which have worked for ground-based solar power to create a viable new market for energy. Feed-in tariffs are a guaranteed offer of a price and a market to generators of renewable electricity and not a tax on imported goods.
Dr. Paul Werbos, Chair of the NSS Policy Committee, said “What are some good strategies to really help develop space resources? The best strategy is one which tries to ‘kill two or three birds with one stone.’ And so, at nss.org/EU, you will see a new position statement aimed at three goals — to create new jobs where they are badly needed in the EU, to accelerate low-cost forms of solar farms on Earth, and to set the wheels in motion for serious market-oriented investment in space solar power.”
Participate in the International SunSat Competition — Over $40,000 in Prizes!
(Washington, D.C., October 28) The National Space Society in affiliation with Ohio University is pleased to announce that the International SunSat Design Competition is now registering competitive teams. If you are a space scientist, engineer, academic, business or digital media professional with an idea for moving space solar power closer to implementation, consider forming a team to join in this effort.
Space Settlements Represent Hope for Humankind
(Washington, D.C., August 23) The National Space Society (NSS) offers a comparison of its vision for space settlement to that promoted by many dystopian science fiction movies of today. NSS has supported the concept of rotating space settlements in orbit or deep space since the epochal publication by Dr. Gerard K. O’Neill of his seminal article on space colonies in Physics Today (1974).
Since those days, concepts of democracy and egalitarian societies have been integral to our vision. A goal of NSS is the creation of a free, spacefaring civilization with people living and working in space. We believe in democracy to build and operate space settlements, whether in space, on the Moon, on Mars, or even on planets around other stars.
A large part of the space movement today is founded on improving life on Earth by creating an ability to operate in space. This includes the ability to divert threatening asteroids, detect solar outbursts that could destroy our electrical grid, and build solar power collection/transmission satellites that could produce huge amounts of carbon free energy in space for use on Earth, enriching all of humankind. In fact, an early justification for building space settlements was to house the labor force needed to build the solar power satellites that would provide a global solar power source to all nations, helping to prevent the ecological and economic collapse and chaos depicted in many dystopian movies of today. NSS believes that we are making the future every day and that we want to build a hopeful future.
NSS is happy that space settlements are beginning to appear in popular culture such as the recent motion picture Elysium. NSS applauds the cinematic skill that resulted in the depiction of the physical appearance and operation of a rotating orbital space settlement. While NSS accepts that a conflict is fairly fundamental to a good story, we would like movie viewers to keep in mind that the tyrannical government depicted in the movie does not represent the path of humans in space envisioned by the NSS and its thousands of members.
National Space Society Salutes Lori Garver's Service at NASA
(Washington, D.C., August 12) The National Space Society (NSS) would like to congratulate Lori Garver for the tremendous contributions she has made to NASA and America's space program during her four years as Deputy NASA Administrator.
"She was a staunch supporter of commercial space and using public/private partnerships to leverage private investment using fewer taxpayer dollars," stated Mark Hopkins, chairman of the NSS Executive Committee. "Lori's calm leadership and grace under pressure will be missed by all of us in the space community and we wish her all the best in the next phase of her career."
Lori was the Executive Director of NSS for nine years until she left for her first tour with NASA in 1998. She was a key player in the building of the new organization that came into existence after the merger of National Space Institute and the L5 Society in 1987.
National Space Society Position on the 2014 NASA Budget
(Washington, D.C., August 5) The Washington DC-based National Space Society (NSS) announced its support of the 2014 Senate Authorization bill for NASA over the House version, which contains substantial cuts to the NASA budget. Dr. Paul Werbos, Chair of the NSS Policy Committee, said "The future of humans in space, as well as NASA itself, is very much at stake and at risk in current Congressional discussion." In particular, NSS urges full budgetary support for the following program elements:
- Commercial Crew
- Proposed Asteroid Return Mission
- Space Technology Program
- Earth Science
- Space Act Agreements
- Reusable launch vehicle research
- Exoplanet studies
The House NASA authorization bill singles out Earth science for heavy cuts, which should be reversed. Also, continuing a pattern from the previous year, the House bill fails to fund Commercial Crew at the level requested by NASA and the Administration, virtually assuring that the US will continue to rely on Russian spacecraft for access to the International Space Station. In addition, NSS urges Congress to make new investments in reusable launch vehicles and space solar power in such a fashion that they can be included in the Kalam initiative. Details on the Kalam initiative can be found here. The entire NSS position paper can be found here.
NSS Response to State Department Request for Public Comment on ITAR
(Washington, D.C., July 5) As part of the President's Export Control Reform effort, the Department of State proposes to amend the International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR) to revise Category XV (Spacecraft Systems and Related Articles) of the U.S. Munitions List (USML) to describe more precisely the articles warranting control on the USML. The definition of "defense service" is to be revised to, among other changes, specifically include the furnishing of assistance for certain spacecraft related activities.
The response from the National Space Society can be found at nss.org/itar expressing concerns that the regulations as proposed could have a major negative impact on development and use of commercial suborbital and orbital manned space vehicles, satellite and spacecraft servicing and refueling, and space solar power.
Space Solar Power: Key to a Livable Planet Earth
(Washington, D.C., June 10) The National Space Society (NSS) announces a new space solar power international initiative. NSS endorses this initiative and will work to forge an international organization involving America, India and other nations to develop space solar power. This has the potential of solving humanity's energy needs and greatly mitigating climate change.
Newly Illustrated Versions of the NSS Roadmap to Space Settlement Now Available
(Washington, D.C., May 18) A newly illustrated version of the National Space Society publication Milestones to Space Settlement: An NSS Roadmap is now available in three new formats from nss.org/roadmap: (1) A free downloadable PDF edition [6 MB]; (2) a free online full-screen flip-book edition; and (3) a quality full-color magazine-style printed edition for $9.95 (think Father's Day?). These new editions provide additional ways to read and distribute this material to help promote the NSS Vision.
The NSS Roadmap to Space Settlement discusses milestones to be reached for the settlement of four destinations: the Moon, Mars, asteroids, and orbital space settlements. The Roadmap takes no stand on which may or should come first but supports all four destinations.
As originally announced in Ad Astra magazine, this Roadmap was adopted by the NSS Board of Directors in 2012, updating the original NSS Roadmap published in 2000. On May 24th the 2013 International Space Development Conference will feature a Roadmap Track and Press Conference about the Roadmap.
National Space Society Applauds NASA Asteroid Capture Plan
(Washington, D.C., April 11) The National Space Society (NSS) applauds the new NASA budget item that would provide close to $100 million for a mission to rendezvous with a small asteroid and move it into orbit around the Moon where it could later be visited by astronauts.
"An asteroid capture mission is a tremendously important mission, and one that could not be more relevant to the challenges our civilization faces today," said Mark Hopkins, Chairman of the NSS Executive Committee. "Robotic asteroid capture is the first step to exploiting the vast material resources of the solar system for a hopeful and prosperous future for mankind."
Notes NSS Executive Vice President Paul Werbos, "Even small asteroids contain tremendous wealth—precious metals, rare strategic metals important for sustainable development, raw materials for in-space construction, and volatiles for life support and propulsion in space."
Robotic asteroid capture is also a key step toward an effective planetary defense. The mission will mature our ability to capture and deflect a hazardous asteroid—protecting civilization from suffering the same fate as the dinosaurs. The search for suitable targets will find huge numbers of smaller, currently unknown asteroids which pose a very real meteor threat to cities as evidenced by the explosion last month over Chelyabinsk, Russia that injured over 1000 people.