NSS Urges Congress to "Choose to Explore Space" on 50th Anniversary of JFK's Historic Speech

On September 12, the 50th anniversary of President John F. Kennedy’s “We Choose to Go to the Moon” speech, members of the National Space Society (NSS) went to Capitol Hill and urged Congress to support our nation’s space program in a Legislative Blitz that was co-organized with Explore Mars, Inc. (see Blitz Talking Points).

Kennedy’s famous speech, given at Rice University on September 12, 1962, issued a challenge to our nation’s people, to American ingenuity, and to our technological prowess in space, to land a man on the Moon before the end of the 1960’s – a goal that was achieved with the Apollo 11 mission in 1969. NSS and Explore Mars adopted the theme of “We Choose to Explore Space” in recognition of Kennedy’s speech, which inspired our entire nation to provide broad support for the development of our space program.

“During our September 12th visit to Capitol Hill, we found broad bi-partisan support for our space program, yet our space program continues to be subject to the budgetary pressures of these difficult fiscal times. With the ever increasing threat of the implementation of further budget cuts, members of the space advocacy community must continue to speak out in order to have their voices heard,” said NSS Executive Vice President Rick Zucker. Mr. Zucker chairs the NSS Policy Committee and is the primary coordinator for such NSS grassroots efforts, including the two-day, annual Legislative Blitz, usually held in late February.

NSS advocated for the following major components of a well-developed U.S. space program:

Development of the next generation of launch vehicles that are mission-enabling and mission-enhancing, while at the same time focused on efficiency, affordability, safety, reliability, and sustainability;

Full support by Congress for the commercial launch industry in its efforts to restore American access to the International Space Station, with NASA focusing its resources on exploration;

Establishment of timelines and goals for future human space activities, including at least one intermediate destination beyond Low Earth Orbit (LEO), such as an asteroid or the Moon, as well as a plan to land humans on Mars;

Support for robotic missions that will push the boundaries of knowledge and pave the way for human space exploration;

The definition and prioritization by NASA of the most promising advanced technology concepts, which will not only provide the means to explore and develop space, and a sustained human presence in space, but also to develop new applications to improve life on Earth; and

A sustained generational commitment to NASA’s mission that transcends partisan politics and election cycles, as well as provides incentives for private sector participation and international partnerships.

NSS Executive Director Paul E. Damphousse said, “NSS will continue to lead the space advocacy community in calling on Congress and the Administration to work together to leverage the necessary partnerships between the public and private sectors relative to space. We recognize the fiscal times that we live in today, but our future depends on a strong commitment to our nation’s space program.”

These grassroots visits to Washington unite individuals from all walks of life and with diverse political beliefs to meet with members of Congress and/or their staff to stress the importance of space exploration and development.

Uwingu – New Startup to Fund Space Exploration, Research, and Education

Uwingu LLC, a space-themed start up is seeking crowd-sourced funding to launch an ongoing series of public engagement projects. Uwingu’s mission is to use those proceeds to generate funding for space exploration, research, and education efforts around the world.

Uwingu LLC (pronounced “oo-wing-oo” and which means “sky” in Swahili) consists of astronomers, planetary scientists, former space program executives, and educators. Included in the company’s portfolio of space heavyweights are space historian and author Andy Chaikin, space educator Dr. Emily CoBabe-Ammann, citizen science leader Dr. Pamela Gay, author and museum science director Dr. David Grinspoon, planet hunter Dr. Geoff Marcy, planetary scientist and aerospace executive Dr. Teresa Segura, planetary scientist and former NASA science boss Dr. Alan Stern, and planetary scientist and CEO of the Planetary Science Institute, Dr. Mark Sykes.

“Uwingu will employ novel software applications to game-ify space, with the profits going toward research and education,” says Gay. “Our projects will be fun to use, and the proceeds from their use will make a real difference in how space exploration, research, and education is funded.”

Adds CoBabe-Aummann, “Uwingu’s influence on space education is going to be both broad and deep, with applications we think will be very popular in classrooms around the world, and proceeds going to promote space education both at home and abroad.”

“Our ambitions at Uwingu are high,” states founder Sykes. “Simply put, we want to use commercial sales to generate a new funding stream for space research, space education, and even space exploration. Nothing like this has ever been done.”

Uwingu’s launch project is already built, but its being kept under wraps to generate excitement and suspense. The company is seeking the public’s support to raise funds for Internet and other business costs it will incur in early operations. “We’ve already put the equivalent of over $1M in software development into our first project through donated hours by our team,” says co-founder Stern, “and we’ve each contributed funds as well, but to build up the nest egg of capital we need to launch our web site, we are asking people who believe in our mission to help.”

Uwingu’s crowd funding campaign to raise these funds can be found at: www.indiegogo.com/projects/180221.

NSS Website Server Fails

The NSS website servers suffered a catastrophic failure September 4 and the site is still down. We anticipate return to service on or before Monday morning September 10. The site uses donated space on private servers so it is taking a while. The NSS Blog is still functional.

Update: The site has been restored Saturday September 8 but will have some additional downtime over the weekend during some more hardware changeouts.

NSS Partners with Explore Mars for 2013 Humans to Mars (H2M) Summit

We are pleased to announce that NSS is a partner organization for the Humans to Mars Summit (H2M). Co-sponsored by Explore Mars and the Space Policy Institute of George Washington University, H2M will be held on May 6-8, 2013 at the Lisner Auditorium at George Washington University in Washington, DC.  H2M is a comprehensive Mars exploration conference to address the major technical, scientific, and policy related challenges that need to be overcome to send humans to Mars by 2030.

“Mars beckons and we intend to answer the call.  NSS is excited to partner with Explore Mars and the H2M Summit to advance the human experience to the red planet,” said Paul Damphousse, NSS Executive Director.

Stated Chris Carberry, Executive Director of Explore Mars, “Our goal is to have one of the most authoritative and diverse Mars exploration conferences ever held.  We will involve key players from NASA, industry (including both established aerospace leaders as well as newer commercial space entities), the science community, and non-traditional players.”

Topics include: robotic and human pre-cursor missions; launch systems; Mars transit challenges; human factors; entry, descent and landing; in situ resource utilization; space suit design; surface power; science goals; and many other topics. H2M will also discuss space policy, as well as ways to stimulate private sector participation in Mars exploration.

Tentative speakers include:

Dr. Doug McCuistion (NASA: Director, Mars Exploration Program)
Dr. James Garvin (NASA: Chief Scientist, Goddard Space Flight Center)
Andrew Chaikin (Author/Historian)
Dr. David Beaty (NASA JPL: Chief Scientist, Mars Exploration Directorate)
Michael Raftery (Boeing: ISS Deputy Program Manager)
Joe Cassady (Aerojet: Executive Director, Advanced Programs Engineering)
Dr. Chris McKay (NASA Ames: Planetary Scientist)
And many others…

To take advantage of the special $95.00 “Pre-Launch” registration today and save money before the registration fee increases after September 12, 2012, register here.