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!
Smithsonian Science Education Center and NSS Team Up for Next-Generation Space Education Program “Enterprise In Space”
Enterprise In Space (EIS), an international program of the National Space Society, is excited to announce the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding with the Smithsonian Science Education Center (SSEC). EIS and SSEC plan to collaborate on two projects dedicated to space education. The first is a mission patch design challenge in collaboration with the U.S. Department of Education to present at Space Day at the National Air and Space Museum, tentatively set to occur this summer. The second is the development of a space science summer course for the Smithsonian Science Education Academies for Teachers (SSEATs) that will enrich and enhance space education in the participating educators’ classrooms. See full press release.
Program Manager Pete Worden to Present Interstellar Mission at International Space Development Conference
Pete Worden, former director of NASA Ames Research Center, will present “Starshot, Mission to Alpha Centauri,” at the Thursday (May 19) luncheon during the National Space Society’s International Space Development Conference®. Starshot is a $100 million research and engineering program aiming to demonstrate proof of concept for light-propelled nanocrafts. These could fly at 20 percent of light speed and capture images of possible planets and other scientific data in our nearest star system, Alpha Centauri, just over 20 years after their launch. See full press release.
SpaceX to Receive the National Space Society’s 2016 Space Pioneer Award for Science and Engineering
SpaceX is the winner of the National Space Society’s 2016 Space Pioneer Award for Science and Engineering. This award recognizes the company’s recent major achievement, the historic first landing of the Falcon 9 rocket on Dec 21, 2015, which was a major step toward fulfilling one of the major “holy grail” quests of the space community—reusability. This flight marked the first successful vertical landing by a large first-stage rocket, which reached space and whose second stage carried a payload into orbit. Creating reusable rockets is a fundamental requirement for spaceflight to be inexpensive enough for general and large-scale use. Josh Brost, Director of Government Business Development at SpaceX, will accept the award in the name of SpaceX on May 20 at the National Space Society’s 2016 International Space Development Conference® (isdc.nss.org/2016) in San Juan, Puerto Rico, at the Sheraton Puerto Rico Hotel and Casino. The conference, open to the public, will run from May 18-22, 2016. See full press release.
International/U.S. Students and Teachers Head to Puerto Rico for International Space Development Conference
(Washington, DC -- April 30, 2016) Hundreds of students and teachers from the United States and countries across the globe will converge in Puerto Rico next month for the National Space Society’s (NSS) 35th annual International Space Development Conference® (ISDC). They are attending the conference as a result of their participation in this year’s NSS/NASA Ames Space Settlement Contest, co-sponsored by the National Space Society and NASA Ames Research Center.
“The students attending the ISDC are so passionate and excited to be there to share their ideas and projects. There is so much to learn from them, their cultures, and creative insights,” said Lynne F. Zielinski, NSS vice president of public affairs and chair of NSS’ education and outreach committee. “We are always dazzled by their insightful and futuristic designs. Their enthusiasm is infectious and gives us all hope that we will soon be living and working in space ourselves. These students are the ones to take us there.”
See full press release.
Acclaimed Science Fiction Author Dr. Jerry Pournelle Wins the National Space Society Robert A. Heinlein Award
(Washington, DC -- April 12, 2016) The National Space Society takes great pleasure in announcing that its 2016 Robert A. Heinlein Memorial Award has been won by acclaimed science fiction author Dr. Jerry Pournelle. This award recognizes Dr. Pournelle’s many years of support for space science, exploration, development and settlement and his close association with Robert Heinlein. He was active in the NSS predecessor, the L5 Society, during its early years. Jerry served as co-chair of the very first ISDC, NSS Secretary, and as a Board member. Jerry was also Chair of the Citizen’s Advisory Council on National Space Policy.
This prestigious award selected by an international vote of NSS members will be presented to Dr. Jerry Pournelle at the 2016 International Space Development Conference (ISDC). The public is welcome to attend the conference and see the award presentation at the Sheraton Puerto Rico Hotel and Casino in San Juan, Puerto Rico. The ISDC will run from May 18-22, 2016. See full press release.
NSS Applauds SpaceX for Successful Drone Ship Landing and Launch of CRS-8/BEAM
(Washington, DC -- April 8, 2016) With a successful launch on April 8, SpaceX achieved several dramatic milestones. “In this mission it is hard to know what to be the most excited about,” said Dale Skran, NSS Executive Vice President. “SpaceX continues to break new ground in lowering the cost of going into space, and the drone ship landing is key to maximizing the amount that can be lifted into space by a first stage that is flying back to Earth. BEAM will pave the way for more affordable future commercial and deep space stations.” See full press release.
The Space Exploration, Development, and Settlement Act of 2016
(Washington, DC -- March 25, 2016) The Space Exploration, Development, and Settlement Act of 2016 (H.R. 4752) has been introduced by Congressman Dana Rohrabacher “to require the National Aeronautics and Space Administration to investigate and promote the exploration and development of space leading to human settlements beyond Earth, and for other purposes.”
The National Space Society urges you to call or write your Congressional Representative today and request that he or she co-sponsor H.R. 4752 (the Space Exploration, Development, and Settlement Act of 2016). You should specifically ask that the space staffer for your Representative should contact Tony DeTora in Congressman Rohrabacher’s office to become a co-sponsor.
Space Solar Power Team Breaks Through at D3 Innovation Summit
(Washington, DC -- March 7, 2016) The National Space Society congratulates the Space Solar Power D3 (SSPD3) team on sweeping the awards in a March 2 multi-departmental competition to find promising new technology ideas that could simultaneously advance diplomacy, defense and development (D3). The SSPD3 team proposal was titled “Carbon-Free Energy for Global Resilience and International Goodwill.” See full press release and video of the 11-minute presentation below.
NSS Awards to be Presented at International Space Development Conference in Puerto Rico May 18-22
Mr. Orlando Figueroa wins a 2016 Space Pioneer Award for Non-Legislative Government Service. This award recognizes the work he has done at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center and NASA Headquarters, including serving as the NASA Deputy Chief Engineer, Director for Mars Exploration, and other important positions at Goddard in engineering, management and as a Deputy Center Director for Science and Technology. See full press release.
Dr. Ellen Ochoa wins a 2016 Space Pioneer Award for Non-Legislative Government Service. This award recognizes Ochoa’s career serving as a professional engineer, a shuttle astronaut, the first hispanic woman in space, and subsequently in very important management positions in NASA, including her current position as the Director of NASA’s Johnson Space Center. See full press release.
Blue Origin wins a 2016 Space Pioneer Award for Science and Engineering, recognizes the company’s first successful vertical landing by a large rocket which has reached space and carried a payload, followed by the first re-use of a large rocket which has reached space. Mr. Rob Meyerson, the company’s President, will accept the award. See full press release.
NSS Governor Jeff Greason wins the 2016 Space Pioneer Award for Entrepreneurial Business, recognizing his successes in founding, managing, and directing technical work at XCOR and other entrepreneurial space companies, as well as his bold spirit in founding Agile Aero, Inc., a new company that will seek to break through a rapid prototyping barrier that has slowed aerospace development for the last several decades. See full press release.
The New Horizons Team wins a 2016 NSS Space Pioneer Award for Science and Engineering for their highly successful journey to Pluto. Accepting the award on May 20 will be Principal Investigator Dr. Alan Stern and two other key members of the mission team. See full press release.
The Gravity of the National Space Society’s Vision
(Washington, DC -- February 15, 2016) We are very proud and honored to congratulate the amazing achievement of our NSS member Dr. Kip Thorne for his leading involvement in the creation of the LIGO (Laser Interferometer Gravitational Wave Observatory) project. LIGO’s recent world-changing detection of the existence of gravitational waves predicted by Einstein a century ago in his General Relativity Theory.
Regarding the grand NSS vision, Dr. Thorne remarked, “I think that it’s clear that it is attainable to colonize the solar system. Getting beyond the solar system is going to be exceedingly difficult. We are going to either require a lot of brute force over a period of several centuries or else a brilliant idea that none of us has grasped yet. The first thing is the solar system, but we have not been moving at anything like the pace that we could or we should.” See full press release.
NSS Pays Tribute to Late NSS Governor Dr. Marvin Minsky, A Pioneer in Artificial Intelligence
(Washington, DC -- February 11, 2016) The National Space Society pays tribute to Dr. Marvin Minsky, who was very involved in early NSS activities and was part of many NSS space policy projects such as the 1981 “Citizens Advisory Council on National Space Policy.” He died on January 14 in Boston from a cerebral hemorrhage at the age of 88. Hugh Downs, Chair of the NSS Board of Governors, said, “Marvin Minsky was a bright light in the arena of accelerating knowledge in modern physics. Where many of us plodded along to keep up with these changes, he seemed to always manage to be even with them. He will be sorely missed by those who worked with him and knew him well.” See full press release.
National Space Society 35th annual International Space Development Conference ISDC2016
The Puerto Rico National Space Society Chapter (NSS-PR) invites you to the National Space Society 35th annual International Space Development Conference (ISDC): “Space Beyond Borders” to be held at the Sheraton Puerto Rico Hotel & Casino from Wednesday, May 18th to Sunday, May 22nd, 2016.
You will have the opportunity to tour the world’s largest radio telescope, the Arecibo Observatory and embark in the exploration of the Camuy Caves carved out by the third largest underground river in the world. We invite you to visit our website for more information and registration: isdc2016.nss.org.
ISDC 2016: “Space Beyond Borders” presents current space programs, cutting-edge aerospace technology and innovative projects and features astronauts and other space pioneers. It brings together aerospace industry leaders, engineers, startups, space exploration pioneers, academic thought leaders, and space supporters young and old – all united by a common goal to explore and develop space for the benefit of humankind. ISDC will host tracks on different topics pertaining to Planetary Defense, Energy, Space Access, Space Resources, Deep Space Exploration, Commercial Space, Space Settlement besides others. Special speakers include Apollo 11 astronaut Buzz Aldrin, Director at Johnson Space Center Ellen Ochoa, and serial astropreneur Rick Tumlinson among many others.
ISDC 2016 will host receptions every day. On Friday, May 20 join Alan Stern, Principal Investigator of the New Horizons Mission to Pluto at the Governor’s Dinner and on Saturday, May 21 join Dr. Ling Ming, Vice President of the China Academy of Space Technology at the Gala Dinner.
Settling Space Is the Only Sustainable Reason for Humans to Be in Space
(Washington, DC -- February 1, 2016) Dale Skran, NSS Executive Vice President, has published the following article in The Space Review:
As robotic and artificial intelligence technologies improve and enable increasingly robust exploration without a human presence, eventually there will be only one sustainable reason for humans to be in space: settlement. Research into the recycling technology required for long-term off-Earth settlements will directly benefit terrestrial sustainability. Actively working toward developing and settling space will make available mineral and energy resources for use on Earth on a vast scale. Finally, space settlement offers the hope of long-term species survival that remaining on Earth does not. SEE FULL ARTICLE.
National Space Society Congratulates Blue Origin on First Reflight of New Shepard Rocket
(Washington, DC -- January 23, 2016) On January 22, 2016, two months after Blue Origin’s New Shepard rocket first successfully flew to the edge of space and returned to its launch site intact, Blue Origin again made history by re-flying the same vehicle. Jeff Bezos stated “Though wings and parachutes have their adherents and their advantages, I’m a huge fan of rocket-powered vertical landing. Why? Because—to achieve our vision of millions of people living and working in space—we will need to build very large rocket boosters. And the vertical landing architecture scales extraordinarily well.”
“Blue Origin’s successful re-use of the New Shepard booster after reaching the edge of space represents a major step toward a fully re-usable sub-orbital vehicle,” said Bruce Pittman, NSS Senior Vice President and Chief Operating Officer. SEE FULL PRESS RELEASE AND VIDEO on the NSS Blog.
National Space Society Applauds Selection of Dream Chaser, Dragon 2, and Cygnus for ISS Cargo Services
(Washington, DC -- January 16, 2016) NSS congratulates Orbital ATK (Cygnus), Sierra Nevada (Dream Chaser), and SpaceX (Dragon 2) for being selected to provide cargo services to the International Space Station as part of the Commercial Resupply Service 2 (CRS-2) contract. The CRS contract covers the delivery of supplies to the ISS, disposal of ISS waste, and the return of scientific samples from the ISS. The new contract provides a minimum of six missions to each of the three winners during the period 2019-2024. A NASA spokesperson said, “NASA’s service contracts to resupply the space station have changed the way the agency does business in low-Earth orbit. With these contracts, NASA continues to advance commercial spaceflight and the American jobs it creates.”
“This announcement represents a major forward advance for NASA and the CRS program,” said Dale Skran, NSS Executive Vice President. “Both Orbital ATK and SpaceX added significant new capabilities over the first contract. In the new contract, the up-sized Cygnus with new solar panels will be used, and the Dragon 2 offers options for both berthing and docking, along with a rapid return to Earth capacity via propulsive landing. However, the selection of Sierra Nevada and the Dream Chaser means that for the first time since the retirement of the Space Shuttle reusable winged vehicles will be returning from space and landing at Kennedy Space Center.”
“NSS congratulates NASA on adding a third CRS provider,” said Mark Hopkins, Chair of the NSS Executive Committee. “The CRS-2 program now has triple redundancy in both orbital components and launch vehicles. NSS members look forward to the Dream Chaser’s first return from space.” See full press release.
Interviews of NSS Chairman Mark Hopkins
Mark Hopkins, Chairman of the NSS Executive Committee, was interviewed on The Space Show on January 4 on the subject of space settlement in general and interstellar space settlement in particular. You can download the 90-minute program here: thespaceshow.com/show/04-jan-2016/broadcast-2617.
You can hear other interviews of Mark conducted by Dr. Karl Hricko on the show “Contours” on member-supported public radio station WNTI operated by Centenary College in Hackettstown, NJ: Mark Hopkins interview August 23, 2015 (14 minutes) and Mark Hopkins interview May 28, 2015 (21 minutes).
Mark was also on a special edition of The Space Show in March 2007: thespaceshow.com/show/10-mar-2007/broadcast-683-special-edition.
National Space Society Partners with Voices From L5: A Space Settlement Podcast
(Washington, DC -- January 6, 2016) The National Space Society is proud to announce its partnership with Voices From L5. This exciting new podcast will open new discussions on space settlement, focusing on the humanities and social sciences, and educate the public on the science of space settlement. Space settlement is the concept of humankind moving our economy into space, with people living and working in space.
NSS vice president for Public Affairs Lynne Zielinski said, “We are thrilled to strengthen our online community and outreach by branching into the vibrant world of podcasts, and we are very excited to be working with Voices From L5. This podcast project will explore topics such as law, art, politics and sociology to generate excitement among a whole new generation of space settlement enthusiasts.”
To learn more about Voices From L5 visit:
For previous podcasts visit:
THE FALCON HAS LANDED!
(Washington, DC -- December 22, 2015) “This is a game-changing event,” said Dale Skran, NSS Executive Vice President. “Never before has the entire first stage of an orbital rocket been returned to its launch site for potential re-use. SpaceX has challenges ahead to demonstrate that re-used first stages can significantly lower launch costs, but this could be the beginning of the true age of practical space commerce. NSS thanks the Air Force, Sierra Nevada, ORBCOMM, and the FAA for their essential support of this outstanding SpaceX mission. It was a true team effort.”
“Competition is the key to rapid progress in space,” said Bruce Pittman, NSS Senior Vice President. “NSS has strongly supported competition in both the NASA Commercial Re-supply Services program and the Commercial Crew program. Today’s success is a direct result of the competitive, commercial nature of these efforts.”
“NSS congratulates SpaceX on this incredible achievement,” said Mark Hopkins, NSS Executive Committee Chairman. “It took enormous courage and confidence to continue forward with rapid technical innovation following a loss of mission incident. The effect of this event, both long and short term, promises to be world-altering. We can now see the NSS vision for our future in space (nss.org/settlement/roadmap) coming ever closer to becoming reality.”
See full press release.
Made In Space Teams with Enterprise In Space to 3D Print First Space-Bound Airframe
(Washington, DC -- December 18, 2015) Enterprise In Space (EIS), an international project of the non-profit National Space Society, is excited to announce a partnership with Made In Space, Inc. to extensively use 3D printed components in a spacecraft to be launched into Earth orbit. This educational spacecraft will be the first real spacecraft bearing the “Enterprise” name. Once in orbit, the NSS Enterprise will not only be the first 3D printed airframe in space, but it will also carry more than 100 passive and active student experiments into space and back to Earth.
The National Space Society Pays Tribute to Dr. Kalam — One of Our Leading Lights Has Joined the Stars
(Washington, DC -- July 31, 2015) On 27 July 2015, Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam, eleventh President of India and a friend and inspiration to the National Space Society (NSS), passed away. “NSS would like to convey our condolences to the family and friends of Dr. Kalam, and to all of India. His death is a great loss not only to India, but to the whole of humanity,” said Mark Hopkins, chair of the NSS Executive Committee. “In his honor, a permanent part of the online NSS library will be dedicated to his visionary space legacy.” He was a true friend to NSS — giving his name to our shared Kalam-NSS Space-based Solar Power Initiative.
One of the true statesmen of our generation, Dr. Kalam was regarded as one of the greatest minds, visionaries, and peacemakers of the early 21st century. Dr. Kalam was a towering spacefaring advocate. His passing is a deep loss to NSS. Loved and admired by the masses of India, he was loved and admired by us as well. We were honored to work with him and to present him with our 2013 Wernher von Braun Memorial Award (photo) for leading India into space and for being a global leader in space development. He will be missed terribly by all around the world who share a common vision of humanity’s future in space.
See full press release.
NASA-Funded Study Reduces Cost of Human Missions to Moon and Mars by Factor of Ten
(Washington, DC -- July 20, 2015) The National Space Society (NSS) and Space Frontier Foundation (SFF) today announced their support for NASA’s funding of the newly released NexGen Space study, illustrating how to cut the cost of human space exploration by a factor of 10. The study, “Economic Assessment and Systems Analysis of an Evolvable Lunar Architecture that Leverages Commercial Space Capabilities and Public – Private – Partnerships,” finds public-private partnerships are able to return humans to the Moon for approximately 90% less than the previously estimated $100 billion, allowing the United States to ensure national security in a new space age.
“NSS congratulates NASA for funding the team at NexGen that discovered how such cost reductions are possible,” said NSS Executive Committee Chair, Mark Hopkins. “A factor of ten reduction in cost changes everything.”