FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Apollo Legend to Present Burt Rutan with National Space Society's Highest Award at Opening Ceremony of International Space Development Conference
WASHINGTON, May 17, 2005 - The National Space Society (NSS) will honor SpaceShipOne designer Burt Rutan on Thursday morning, May 19, with the presentation of the NSS Von Braun Award, kicking off the group's 24th annual International Space Development Conference (ISDC).
Rutan will receive the award in a ceremony with Konrad Dannenberg, one of the original rocket scientists that worked with Wernher von Braun to land American astronauts on the Moon. Driven by the same dream that inspired Von Braun's team - a permanent human presence in space - Rutan captured the $10 million Ansari X Prize last October by designing, building and launching the world's first private, reusable passenger spacecraft, SpaceShipOne. Rutan's company, Scaled Composites, is now designing a fleet of personal spacecraft for Sir Richard Branson's space tourism company, Virgin Galactic.
"Burt Rutan's historic achievement picks up where Wernher von Braun and our team left off," said Dannenberg, one of the leading propulsion experts on the Mercury, Gemini and Apollo programs. "But instead of a space race with the Soviets, space tourism and entrepreneurs are driving this new space program. By giving people hope again for a long-term future in space, Burt Rutan is the natural choice for this award."
The awards ceremony will begin at 8:30 a.m. EDT at the Sheraton National Hotel in Arlington, VA, and will serve as the official opening ceremony for ISDC, the National Space Society's annual conference. Founded by Wernher von Braun, the National Space Society is celebrating its 30th anniversary at this year's ISDC, with presentations from space experts, entrepreneurs and pioneers from all corners of the space industry.
"I can't think of a better way to kick off our most ambitious conference ever than by bringing together one of the principal architects of America's first space age and the man who is leading the new private spaceflight revolution," said George Whitesides, the society's executive director. "With NASA as a major sponsor and an unprecedented lineup of leading space scientists, entrepreneurs and visionaries, ISDC '05 is the beginning of an entirely new role for NSS - uniting the various players in the space industry and rebuilding public support for space exploration by communicating the benefits of space to life on Earth."
NASA will run a "Benefits of Space Exploration" track at ISDC, featuring more than a dozen specialists from in and outside of NASA. Speakers from many walks of life will show how space exploration enables breakthroughs in industry that lead to everyday products and technologies that benefit millions of people on Earth.
Driven by the theme "Your Ticket to Space," ISDC will examine how commercial and government space efforts are enabling citizens to participate and engage in space in unprecedented ways.
The conference will take place from Thursday May 19 to Sunday May 22, 2005 at the Sheraton National Hotel in Arlington, Virginia. For more information about the conference, including online registration and hotel information, visit: http://isdc.nss.org/2005/
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About the National Space Society
The National Space Society (NSS) is an independent, grassroots organization dedicated to the creation of a spacefaring civilization. Founded in 1974, NSS is widely acknowledged as the preeminent citizen's voice on space. NSS counts thousands of members and over 50 chapters in the United States and around the world. The society also publishes Ad Astra magazine, an award-winning periodical chronicling the most important developments in space. For more information about NSS, how to join or donate, or the annual International Space Development Conference, visit: www.nss.org