The National Space Society Supports New Horizons Stamp: Urges Others to do the Same

The National Space Society has announced its support for an effort to honor the New Horizons mission to Pluto and the Kuiper Belt with a United States Postal Service (USPS) stamp. The on-going petition effort seeks to gather 100,000 signatures by March 13, 2012.

Since there is a three-year time lead for approval of commemorative stamps, the plan is to gather enough signatures for the stamp to come out in 2015, just in time for New Horizon’s arrival at Pluto.

After traveling for 10 years and more than 3 billion miles, the New Horizons spacecraft is more than half the way to Pluto and due to arrive on July 14, 2015. Upon arrival, New Horizons will complete the first human reconnaissance of Pluto and will visit one or more Kuiper Belt Objects before exiting the outer solar system.

Working with New Horizons’ principal investigator, Dr. Alan Stern, NSS has urged its over 10,000 members and friends to support this campaign through a variety of communications, including the NSS web site, blog, and social networking pages/groups.

“New Horizons will finally complete our initial picture of the solar system,” says NSS Executive Director Paul Damphousse. “This mission is another important step on our journey to create a spacefaring civilization and we are proud to support this effort.”

Please join the hundreds of NSS members who have already signed the petition by visiting the stamp drive web site at tinyurl.com/plutostamp.

NSS Executive Director Addresses Media at Next-Generation Suborbital Researchers Conference

National Space Society Executive Director Paul E. Damphousse addresses the media at the 3rd annual Next-Generation Suborbital Researchers Conference (NSRC) today in Palo Alto, CA.

“The NSRC has quickly become the premier event for the advancement of research activity within the burgeoning suborbital community,” Damphousse said. “We at NSS feel this compelling new sector, while opening up new research opportunities, will have an even greater impact on advancing low-cost access to space through routine and repeatable missions. These missions will advance the technologies and techniques needed in our ultimate quest to become a spacefaring civilization – NSS is proud to support these efforts.”

About NSRC: A new generation of space vehicles capable of economically delivering payloads and researchers is coming on line in 2012 and 2013. These vehicles will revolutionize space access by providing frequent, low-cost access to space, and the capability to carry research and education crew members, thereby simplifying and further reducing the cost of experimentation in space. They will also carry automated experiments for technology and TRL (Technology Readiness Level) demonstrations, and for atmospheric science, solar physics, microgravity science, planetary science, space life science, space physics, and education and public outreach (EPO).

NSRC-2012 brings together researchers from government, industry, and academia and provides a forum for researchers, educators, and other users to learn about the research and EPO capabilities of these new systems, their experiments, and EPO integration processes. NSRC-2012 will also provide the user community for these vehicles a key opportunity to make inputs on vehicle design and operational requirements. For more information go to nsrc.swri.org.

NSS Salutes John Glenn on 50th Anniversary of Friendship 7 Space Flight

The National Space Society salutes former astronaut and member of the NSS Board of Governors, John Glenn, Jr., on the 50th anniversary of his historic flight as the first American to orbit the Earth.  On February 20, 1962 Glenn boarded his Mercury spacecraft – dubbed Friendship 7, honoring his fellow “Mercury Seven” astronauts – and rocketed into space, further opening the new frontier.

Soaring on the call of “Godspeed, John Glenn” from mission control, Glenn orbited the Earth three times over the course of the five-hour mission.  The flight was not without its problems, however, as Glenn addressed issues with his control and re-entry systems, which led flight controllers to believe the capsule’s heat shield and landing bag had moved to an unlocked position.  Rather than risk a catastrophic event, the controllers ordered Glenn to leave the capsule’s retrorocket pack in place, a decision that resulted in a dramatically fiery, yet successful, re-entry.

“A true American hero, Glenn ushered in American orbital spaceflight 50 years ago and brought the U.S. into the space age in earnest,” said NSS Executive Director Paul E. Damphousse.  “His service to this nation reminds us of the bravery, determination, and excitement needed to achieve these ambitious goals – we hope his example will serve to further motivate our progress in space.”

Following his years with NASA, Glenn went on to serve four terms as a United States Senator from the state of Ohio.  In 1998 at age 77 he became the oldest person to travel to space as he joined the crew of STS-95 aboard the Space Shuttle Discovery for a nine-day mission, marking his second space flight.

“As a member of the NSS Board of Governors, we are proud to call John Glenn one of our own,” Damphousse said.  “We expect to build upon his legacy as we advance our goals in space over the next 50 years.”

NASA Events And Future Forum Mark 50 Years Of Americans In Orbit

Feb. 16, 2012

WASHINGTON — Feb. 20 marks the 50th anniversary of the day in 1962 when U.S. Sen. John Glenn piloted his Friendship 7 spacecraft on the first U.S. orbital. In the next two weeks, NASA Television will broadcast a series of live events and special programming to commemorate 50 years of Americans in orbit, including the premiere of a new documentary and special interactive online features.

Here is a list of scheduled activities, all of which will be broadcast on NASA Television:

  • Thursday, Feb. 16
  • 8-8:30 p.m.: Premiere of “Friendship 7: 50th Anniversary of Americans in Orbit” on NASA TV, a documentary on Glenn’s historic mission featuring new interviews with Glenn and fellow Mercury astronaut Scott Carpenter.
  • Friday, Feb. 17
  • 10-11 a.m. EST: Glenn and Carpenter, the first two Americans to orbit Earth, will join NASA Administrator Charles Bolden and Kennedy Space Center Director Robert Cabana for a presentation about NASA’s past, present and future. The event is open to employees at the space center in Florida.
  • 3-3:30 p.m. EST: Glenn and Carpenter will conduct a news conference in the Mercury Mission Control exhibit of the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex.
  • Saturday, Feb. 18
  • 6:30 p.m. EST: Glenn and Carpenter will participate in “On the Shoulders of Giants,” a ceremony at the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex honoring all who made NASA’s Project Mercury possible. The program will include remarks from Cabana, Sen. Bill Nelson (D-Fla.) and astronaut Steve Robinson, who flew with Glenn on his second trip into orbit on space shuttle Discovery’s STS-95 mission in 1998.
  • Monday, Feb. 20
  • 1:30-3:15 p.m. EST: Glenn and NASA Administrator Charles Bolden will speak live with the crew on board the International Space Station to kick off the agency’s two-day Future Forum at Ohio State University in Columbus. Glenn also will participate in a panel session, “Learning from the Past to Innovate for the Future,” at the event.
  • Tuesday, Feb. 21
  • 3-3:15 p.m. EST: Glenn will deliver closing remarks at the NASA Future Forum.
  • Friday, March 2
  • 1-2 p.m. EST: Glenn will deliver the keynote address at “Celebrating John Glenn’s Legacy: 50 Years of Americans in Orbit” a special event hosted by NASA’s Glenn Research Center at Cleveland State University’s Wolstein Center, 2000 Prospect Ave., in Cleveland. The tribute will be included in a Tweetup which the research center is hosting for its Twitter followers on the same day.

An interactive online feature about the Mercury program and Glenn’s flight is available on the agency’s Internet homepage at:
http://www.nasa.gov/externalflash/glenn50/

For NASA TV downlink, schedule and streaming video information, visit:
http://www.nasa.gov/ntv

NSS Comments on NASA's FY2013 Budget; Calls for Continued Commitment to Space

While falling short of the recommended levels needed for a “space program worthy of a great nation” as proposed by the Augustine Committee in 2009, the Obama administration’s fiscal year 2013 budget plan for NASA does spare the agency from significant overall cuts. The National Space Society (NSS), with its goals of creating a spacefaring civilization and of using the resources of space for the betterment of life on Earth, is guardedly optimistic about portions of the budget while calling for increased support for others.

“This budget for NASA reflects the realities we’re unfortunately now facing: ‘flat is the new up,’ and, while continuing to advocate for increased funding, we’ll have to work hard with what we have to achieve our goals,” said NSS Executive Director Paul E. Damphousse. “That being said, we will push the Administration, Congress, and NASA to meet these goals. The programs of record must come in on schedule and on budget; support for commercial spaceflight must be unwavering; and our Mars program, while undergoing restructuring, must still strive to make upcoming launch windows with relevant missions.”

NSS, as the nation’s preeminent voice on space, will continue its engagement with the nation’s leaders as this plan is debated in the coming months. In association with the Space Exploration Alliance, NSS will conduct a grassroots Legislative Blitz on Capitol Hill later this month with over 100 meetings scheduled with Members of Congress and their staffs. The Blitz allows NSS members to voice their support for our goals and to urge our elected officials to enact policies which will enable our sustainable future in space.

“The new budget and its impact on NSS’ long-term goals will feature prominently in our Legislative Blitz this year,” Damphousse said. “The Blitz, as well as our recently released space development position paper, are just two examples of how NSS is fighting for our future in space.”

More information and ways to register for the upcoming Legislative Blitz can be found on the NSS home page at www.nss.org. The position paper can be found here: The Development of Space: Opportunities to Improve Life on Earth.

European Space Agency 30 Days from ATV Resupply Mission

ATV 3
Loading Cargo Aboard ATV 3 – Edoardo Amaldi
Image Credit: ESA / CNES / Arianespace / Optique Video du CSG–S. Martin 2011

The European Space Agency’s Edoardo Amaldi mission to the International Space Station is scheduled for 1000 UTC on 9 March 2012. It is scheduled to dock with the ISS at 0138 UTC on 19 March, and stay attached until the end of August, when it will detach and de-orbit with tons of garbage and burn up in the atmosphere.

This is the third mission by ESA to the ISS and will carry almost six tons of cargo:

  • two tons of dry cargo
  • 285 kg of water
  • more than three tons of propellants

ATV 3
Assembled ATV 3 Spacecraft
Image Credit: ESA / CNES / Arianespace / Optique Video du CSG – J.M. Guillon

International SunSat Design Competition

The SunSat Design Competition is an international contest intended to accelerate the design, manufacture, launch and operation of the next-generation satellites that will collect energy in space and deliver it to earth as electricity.

Registration:  May 2012 – January 6, 2013

Design Submission Deadline:  March 30, 2013

Registration will begin at the National Space Society’s International Space Development Conference in Washington DC in May 2012. Winners will be announced and their “Creative Visualizations” will be shown at ISDC-2013.

The purpose of this Design Project is to more closely link digital media labs around the world to the satellite and space community as a way to accelerate the way forward in development and implementation of universal access to space-based solar power.

Winning designs will be high-impact digital art, supported by credible science, engineering and business plans, that best promote media understanding and public acceptance of a path forward in using space satellites to deliver energy on-demand to any and all places on Earth.

The SunSat Competition is an initiative of the Online Journal of Space Communication in partnership with the Society of Satellite Professionals International, the National Space Society, and Ohio University Game Research and Immersive Design Laboratory (GRID Lab).

For more information and online registration, go to sunsat.gridlab.ohio.edu. Winning entries from the 2013 competition will be published in the Online Journal of Space Communication. To view sample designs prepared by the Ohio University GRID Lab see Issue No.17 of the Space Journal. A second contest will be held 2013-2014.

Passing of Bob Citron, a True Space Pioneer

The National Space Society is sad to report the passing of Bob Citron. Born in 1932, he was involved in dozens of space and future-related projects, businesses, and organizations during his lifetime of 79 years. He died on Jan 31, 2012 of prostate cancer.

He was an active member of many other organizations, including most of the well-known pro-space groups such as the National Space Society. Bob Citron was presented with a Space Pioneer award by the NSS for his work on developing the SpaceHab soon after the NSS Pioneer award was founded in 1988.

The creation of SpaceHab was perhaps his most important contribution. It was a small space laboratory, about 1/3 as long as the full size SpaceLab, that resided in the Shuttle cargo bay and provided additional crew locker and work space when a payload was also being delivered to orbit. SpaceHab flew on 17 missions with the Shuttle. Use of the SpaceHab units was phased out once the Shuttle’s primary work became ferrying space station modules into orbit.

Bob Citron’s other achievements included the founding or co-founding of five companies: Limpopo Films, Pty. Ltd. in 1964, Adventure Travel, Inc. in 1976, SpaceHab, Inc. in 1984, Kistler Aerospace Corporation in 1993, and Lunar Transportation Systems, Inc. in 2004. In addition, he also started three nonprofit foundations dealing with scientific field research: EarthWatch in 1969, The Center for Short Lived Phenomena in 1975, and the Foundation For the Future in 1996.

His long involvement with pro-future and humanitarian organizations showed his strong support for ways to advance and protect the progress of humanity.

He will be missed, but his work will continue in the many organizations he left behind.