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!
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National Space Society Encourages Virgin Galactic To Press On
(Washington, D.C., October 31) The National Space Society (NSS) extends its support to Virgin Galactic and Scaled Composites over the tragic loss of SpaceShipTwo and offers its heartfelt sympathy to the families involved and to everyone who worked on that program.
“We are extremely honored that Virgin Galactic CEO George Whitesides served on the NSS team as our Executive Director and we all stand by him in this time of difficulty,” said Mark Hopkins, Chairman of the NSS Executive Committee. “We expect that the cause of the accident will be found and fixed so that the Virgin Galactic dream of ‘opening space to tens of thousands of people’ can become a reality.”
See full press release.
SPACE IS OUR FUTURE: A Campaign for Space
The National Space Society (NSS) has initiated a campaign to explain the importance and wonder of space exploration and development. To support this campaign, NSS conducted a Kickstarter project to produce a short, compelling video that explains the great things we can do in space, and why they matter. Focusing on the exciting new opportunities that are now appearing, the video includes interviews with a wide range of space proponents, from artists to astronauts, scientists to students, engineers to entrepreneurs. They all explain, in their own words, why space is important to them and to humanity, and how everyone can be involved. Their passion is evident, and typifies NSS's commitment. The video is intended to be used with a wide range of audiences, from students to investors, civic groups and Congressional representatives, and explains why "Space Is Our Future". The video consists of several independent segments that are shown here together in one 15-minute video.
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.
National Space Society Praises Inclusion of Competition in NASA’s Commercial Crew Decision
(Washington, D.C., September 18) NSS has been a consistent supporter of competition in NASA’s Commercial Crew program to ferry astronauts to the International Space Station (ISS). NSS today congratulates the winners of the Commercial Crew competition, Boeing and SpaceX. NSS also thanks NASA for its diligent efforts to maintain real competition in the Commercial Crew program.
NSS Executive Vice President Paul Werbos summed up the situation: “This is a great moment for Boeing, SpaceX, and NASA. The door to the American future in space is opening wider, and we need to ensure that Commercial Crew is fully funded to keep it that way.”
See full press release.
NSS Joins Successful Integrated Space Plan Kickstarter
(Washington, D.C., July 27) The National Space Society became a $500 logo backer to the “Integrated Space Plan” Kickstarter and encouraged NSS members to help this Kickstarter effort reach its goal.
The “Integrated Space Plan” project is to remake, maintain, and expand the uses of the Integrated Space Plan, a graphically detailed timeline of our future in space for the next 100 years. NSS leader Ronnie Lajoie writes "The five team leaders are all NSS members, including Jay Wittner, a past NSS Officer and Director, and current chapter officer. The ISP will complement and supplement our Roadmap to Space Settlement."
Jay Wittner writes "20 years ago a detailed long term plan was created showing what was needed to develop a robust space infrastructure. It was called the Integrated Space Plan (ISP). It was an early infographic developed to depict our future in space. The original plan by Ron Jones was a hit in the space community and it's time to update the ISP and post it online so everyone can see the path forward!" Ron Jones is part of the new team.
NSS leader Gary Barnhard adds "While no one has a monopoly on insight into the future, the combination of perspectives should be integratable into a common framework which provides a context for understanding where we have been, where we are, and where we could go."
Thank you to all NSS members who supported this Kickstarter.
National Space Society Calls for Less U.S. Dependence on Russian Space Technology
(Washington, D.C., July 15) The Washington DC-based National Space Society (NSS) strongly recommends in a position paper issued today that Congress should fully support the Commercial Crew program in order to restore independent access to the International Space Station (ISS), prepare to operate the ISS without Russian support, again make low-cost access to space a primary goal of U.S. space policy, and avoid replacing the RD-180 engine manufactured in Russia with a single new engine funded via cost-plus development.
Paul Werbos, NSS Executive Vice President, said “The U.S. space program has become far too dependent on Russian technology. It is long past time to change that situation.”
NSS Pays Tribute to Space Pioneer Frederick I. Ordway III (1927-2014)
Frederick I. Ordway III, 87, of Huntsville, AL, passed away Tuesday. Fred was an icon of the space community. He joined with the L5 Society and the National Space Institute which later became today's National Space Society. He served on the NSS Board of Directors and then on the Board of Governors. Fred was one of the most active Governors, making nearly every meeting and participating in many NSS International Space Development Conferences (ISDCs) as a speaker and panelist. The members of the National Space Society will miss him greatly.
Fred Ordway was awarded the 2012 NSS Space Pioneer Award for a Lifetime of Service to the Space Community as well as the Arthur C. Clarke Award for Lifetime Achievement. The awards honor him for his many contributions to the advancement of space technology and to the space community, which include working extensively with Dr. Wernher von Braun, and being the lead science advisor on the movie 2001: A Space Odyssey, about which he wrote a retrospective. Ordway wrote many books and over 350 articles about space travel. Ordway was the author of Visions of Spaceflight: Images from the Ordway Collection, The Rocket Team: From the V-2 to the Saturn Moon Rocket, and (with Wernher von Braun) History of Rocketry and Space Travel. See full statement.
NSS Letter to Congress on Commercial Crew [PDF version]
(Washington, D.C., June 18) National Space Society Urges House/Senate Conference to Fully Support Commercial Crew. The Washington DC-based National Space Society (NSS) has been a consistent supporter of NASA’s Commercial Crew program to ferry astronauts to the International Space Station (ISS).
* While not at the President’s request level, NSS is pleased to see a strong financial commitment to the commercial crew program. Adequate funding is required to rapidly end US reliance on Russia for astronaut transport to the International Space Station. We urge the Congress to adopt the Senate’s higher level ($805 million) as the bills move through the process.
* Competition between multiple commercial crew suppliers in the operational service is an essential element of the program and is critical to maintaining the highest level of safety, staying on schedule, and maximizing cost efficiencies.
* The next round of commercial crew development is progressing according to Congressional direction — through FAR-based firm fixed-price competitive contracts — and the process underway should not be altered or slowed down at this time.
* The country needs to rapidly develop domestic Astronaut transportation capabilities and NASA’s current approach, coupled with appropriate funding, puts America on that path.
* NSS also endorses the recent decision by the Obama administration to extend the life of the ISS by four years to 2024. NASA should take additional steps to further extend both the life and the capabilities of the ISS, including using commercial crew vehicles to support a larger ISS crew, creating greater science, technology and commercial output.
NSS Pays Tribute to Space Based Solar Power Pioneer Peter Glaser (1923-2014)
(Washington DC June 13) The National Space Society pays its respects to Dr. Peter Glaser, who in the late 1960s envisioned a way to harness limitless solar power in space and transmit it for use on Earth via low-density microwaves. This was a notion so intriguing that the government spent $20 million studying it in the Department of energy. He served as a long-term member of the NSS Board of Governors. In a 1995 conversation with NSS Director Karen Mermel, Peter expressed his gratitude for the effort of the National Space Society in promoting his ideas. He died on May 29 at his home in Lexington, Massachusetts. He was 90.
Dr. Glaser worked for the Arthur D. Little management-consulting company from 1955 to 1999, becoming a vice president. As a private engineering consultant, he developed experiments for the Apollo mission that put a man on the Moon in 1969. However, space solar power was his lifelong passion. He was in service to humankind. He served on numerous solar power and space exploration boards and committees. After the Department of Energy ended its space solar power study in 1978, he formed SUNSAT Energy Council, a nonprofit organization that promoted space solar power internationally through a relationship with the United Nations. See full statement.
NSS Officer and Director Lynne Zielinski Receives Alan Shepard Technology in Education Award
(Washington DC May 5) Lynne F. Zielinski, National Space Society (NSS) officer and director has been selected by the Astronauts Memorial Foundation (AMF), the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and the Space Foundation as recipient of the Alan Shepard Technology in Education Award.
Zielinski, a retired physics, astronomy and space science teacher from Glenbrook North High School in Northbrook, Ill., was selected for the award for her work with the Glenbrook Aerospace Development Get-away Experiment Team (GADGET) program, which she founded 22 years ago. The program enables students to design and conduct microgravity experiments, initiate and direct aerospace and engineering research, develop spaceflight hardware and design space settlements. The GADGET program flew active experiments on six space shuttle flights, nine NASA Nike-Orion sub-orbital rockets, three Zero-G airplane flights, and four high altitude balloon missions. See full press release.
NSS Congratulates SpaceX on the Success of CRS-3 and Falcon 9R
(Washington, D.C., April 22) NSS congratulates SpaceX on the successful launch of Commercial Resupply Services 3 (CRS-3) on April 18th and the berthing of the Dragon capsule to the ISS on April 20. NSS Executive Senior Operating Officer Bruce Pittman said, “The successful reusability tests of the Falcon 9 v1.1 during the CRS-3 mission are a vital step on the path to dramatically reducing the cost of access to space.”
On Thursday April 17th the SpaceX Falcon 9R flew for the first time from McGregor, Texas, to a height of 250 m. The Falcon 9R is a 3-engine successor to the single-engine “Grasshopper” and will continue the development of reusable SpaceX rocket technology.
See full press release with video of the Falcon 9R flight.
New Watershed for Space Solar Power
NSS Executive Vice President Paul Werbos writes: “The new book by John Mankins, The Case for Space Solar Power, is a major milestone in doing the work required to translate the National Space Society’s general vision into a concrete reality with a viable business case. The author was the leader at NASA of virtually all the useful work on space solar power (SSP) by the US government in the last 25 years, so this book is a unique and authoritative source. Mankins’ book is the game plan for bringing SSP to reality. If you could only afford to have one book on your shelves, this should be it.”
“Not only does this book provide the blueprint for providing Earth with limitless clean energy, the book also offers a whole new basis for solid, realistic hope that we might succeed after all in the kind of vision which Gerard O’Neill inspired decades ago, where humans settle space in an economically sustainable way, beaming energy to Earth as part of a growing space economy.”
The Case for Space Solar Power is available in hard cover and in an inexpensive Kindle edition from Amazon. If you don’t have a Kindle, there are free Kindle reader apps at tinyurl.com/kindlereaderapps that enable you to read it on your computer or mobile device.