Voting Is Open For The Enterprise In Space Orbiter Design Contest

NSS Enterprise In Space Orbiter Design Contest Vote
Enterprise In Space Project

Voting is open for the public to select their favorite entry in the National Space Society (NSS) Enterprise In Space Orbiter Design Contest. The purpose of the Enterprise In Space (EIS) project is to build and return to Earth a satellite that will carry approximately 100 student experiments to low-Earth-orbit. Upon its return to Earth the satellite will go on a tour of museums world-wide before becoming a permanent exhibit at a museum to be named.

The public vote represents the first round in the selection process. The results of this vote will be a key consideration in the final round of judging which involves a panel of seven judges. These judges will formally select the Grand Prize, First Prize, and Second Prize winners. In addition to the results of the public vote, the judges will consider design feasibility as well as submission adherence to contest guidelines.

Voting ends at midnight UTC on December 21.

Vote now in the Enterprise in Space Orbiter Design Contest.

Update: Close of voting has been extended from midnight UTC Fri. Dec 19 to midnight UTC Sun. Dec 21 to give people the opportunity to vote over the weekend.

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Benefit eBay Auction to Name Martian Crater the Size of Florida

The National Space Society and Uwingu are excited to announce a partnership for a first of its kind auction. Uwingu and eBay will be auctioning the naming rights to the biggest unnamed crater on Mars with 25% of the proceeds benefiting the National Space Society.

eBay

With over 14,000 craters named on it by the public in 2014 alone—more than ten times the number named by scientists in the past 50 years, Uwingu Mars’s map is becoming a de facto standard as the most complete map of Martian craters.

The huge, ancient crater, located at 25.1 deg south latitude and 327.3 deg east longitude on Mars is 627 km (391 miles) in diameter—as big as the state of Florida; it is bigger than 60% of the countries on Earth.

As with all Uwingu efforts, 50% of the proceeds will go to Uwingu Fund sales to support space exploration, research, and education grants. For the eBay auction, the National Space Society will be supported via eBay’s Giving Works program. The balance of the Uwingu Fund proceeds from the auction will benefit other grant recipients of the Uwingu Fund, including the Mars One project and other efforts to further space education, exploration, and research.

The name given to the crater by the eBay auction winner will forever be recorded on our new map of Mars, and then sent to Mars by the Mars One project. The winner will also receive a framed certificate of naming, two (2) VIP passes to the Mars Insight mission launch (NASA’s next Mars launch), and a handsome desk globe of Mars valued at over $300.

“Our goals at Uwingu are to get more people excited about space exploration, and to fund space exploration, research, and education projects via this new private sector way,” said Uwingu’s CEO, planetary scientist Alan Stern. “There are still almost 500,000 unnamed craters on our people’s map of Mars.”

The auction will run until Monday December 15th at 4:49pm Mountain Time. Go check it out on eBay: http://www.ebay.com/itm/Naming-Rights-to-the-Largest-Crater-on-the-Uwingu-Mars-Map-/351246953010?

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International SunSat Design Competition

International SunSat Design CompetitionSunSat Design is an international competition intended to accelerate the conceptualization, manufacture, launch and operation of the next-generation satellites that will collect energy in space and deliver it to Earth as a non-polluting source of electrical power.

The purpose of the SunSat Design initiative is to move space solar power out of the research labs and onto the public agenda. This is being done by virtual story-telling and networking on a global basis, explaining what space solar power is and how and why it will become the ultimate renewable energy resource for Planet Earth.

The strategy is to link global scientific communities with university-based (and other) digital media labs for the purposes of advancing knowledge of space-based solar power satellites (SunSats) and illustrating their many Earth-energy applications.

Winning designs are 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.

Registration for the competition is now open, and team enrollments will be taken until January 12, 2015. Deadline for submission of completed designs and supporting documentation is March 27, 2015. Winners will be announced and their “Creative Visualizations” will be shown and celebrated in May 2015 at ISDC-Toronto.

See the International SunSat Design Competition website for more information.

The winners of the 2014 competition were announced at the ISDC-Los Angeles in May 2014, with six teams honored. Three of these were given cash prizes. The first-place award was $10,000 and there were two second-place awards of $5,000 presented at ISDC-Los Angeles. The three top designs have been published in the Online Journal of Space Communication:

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 the Ohio University GRID Lab.

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Join the NSS Leadership Team — Apply by December 31

The National Space Society (NSS) is an open, democratic, grassroots organization where its members are directly involved in NSS operations and thus help shape the future.  You are not only the heart and soul, but the legs and arms, of the NSS.  Apply now to become an active part of the Space Movement via any of our various committee or officer positions.  We want you to be a part of the NSS leadership team.  Help make the future happen.

NSS Officers and their operating committees work as necessary with staff, volunteers, Chapters, and contract services to further the Vision, Mission, and Objectives of the Society, as outlined in the Strategic Plan and related corporate documents.

In order to ensure that the Society finds the best people to join the NSS Leadership Team, the NSS Executive Committee has established a 2014 Leadership Search Committee.  Its purpose is to seek out, from throughout the community of NSS members and those who share our vision, those individuals with the qualifications, abilities, and desire to serve a two-year term as an Operating Committee member or Chair, or NSS Officer.

This is your chance to join the leadership of NSS and shape the future of space settlement!  Our goal is to engage every interested NSS member at some level in Society activities.

The Leadership Search Committee is seeking volunteer candidates with the time, talent, and motivation to serve as a member, Secretary, or Chair on one or more of the following committees (click links for descriptions):

Superior candidates will also be considered for the following Officer positions (click links for descriptions):

NSS Officers and Committee members and Chairs are unpaid, volunteer positions, serving two-year terms.  Most positions come with voting privileges.  Some out-of-pocket expenses for volunteer leaders may be tax deductible.  See IRS Publication 526 for more details.

If you are motivated to become a part of the exciting new developments in space and have the right stuff to help make NSS the premier voice for space advocates and enthusiasts, then now is the time to join the NSS leadership team!

Please send a resume or bio and cover letter or message listing position(s) of interest to the email address leadership-2014@nss.org by Wednesday, December 31 to be considered for nomination by the NSS Executive Committee in January.

Note for existing NSS volunteers:  Feel free to use this solicitation to supplement the knowledge we have from your years of service to the Society.  There is a good chance that you have more skills and interests than we know about, especially if you have an interest in expanding your horizons and serving the Society in a different capacity.  What makes the NSS great is its ability to help members to grow into leaders of the space movement.

Thank you for all you do to advance the space movement.  Ad Astra!

— The NSS 2014 Leadership Search Committee

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Once the Officer Elections are completed in February, a follow-up notice will be released that will focus on seeking additional candidates for NSS committee positions.

People interested in serving in a leadership capacity are encouraged to join a local NSS chapter and/or to attend the NSS annual International Space Development Conference (ISDC).  ISDC 2015 will be held from May 20 to 24 in Toronto, Ontario.

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National Space Society Highlights Contribution of Japanese Hayabusa 2 Asteroid Mission to Space Settlement

The National Space Society (NSS) congratulates the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) on the successful launch of Hayabusa 2 December 2, 2014, at 11:22 PM EST on the Japanese H-IIA booster. Hayabusa 2 is planned to arrive at asteroid 1999 JU3 in July 2018, gather samples for about a year and one half, and return those samples to the Earth in 2020. The first Hayabusa craft gathered samples from the Asteroid Itokawa in September 2006 and returned them to Earth in 2010. Hayabusa 2 sports many improvements over the first probe, and carries a MASCOT Lander and three MINERVA Rovers.

Asteroid Itokawa is an S-type asteroid, meaning that it was of stony composition. A sample return from Asteroid 1999 JU3, a C-type (carbonaceous) asteroid, represents a major advance in our understanding of the availability and distribution of resources in the solar system. C-type asteroids are dark relative to other asteroids, and are believed to contain sources of water. Water can be used both to sustain human life in space, as well as to provide rocket fuel and store energy for later generation of electricity via fuel cells.

The utilization of asteroidal resources is a key step toward space settlement as described in the NSS Roadmap to Space Settlement which can be found at: nss.org/settlement/roadmap. The success of the Hayabusa 2 will represent a significant step toward the realization of the NSS Roadmap, and will help allow asteroid mining companies such as Planetary Resources (planetaryresources.com) and Deep Space Industries (deepspaceindustries.com) to advance their plans more quickly.

Hayabusa’s characterization of a C-type asteroid will also aid in deflecting similar asteroids should one threaten Earth.  The data gathered will help understand the structure of such asteroids which is key to choosing a deflection technology.  This contributes to the goals of the NSS policy on defense from cosmic threats described in the position paper at tinyurl.com/planetarydefense.

NSS Executive Vice President Paul Werbos summed up the situation: “We congratulate JAXA on the successful launch of Hayabusa 2, and wish them much success on this vital mission. Japan is to be commended for a steady focus on challenging robotic asteroid missions that are helping to bring the human settlement of space a bit closer.” Paul Werbos’ biography can be found at nss.org/about/bios/werbos.html.

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Astronaut Lunar Ambassadors 45th Anniversary Splashdowns

The 45th anniversaries of the Apollo lunar missions are now upon us and the National Space Society (NSS) is honoring the heroic accomplishments of these brave lunar astronauts. Monday, November 24, 2014, is the 45th anniversary of the return-to-Earth splashdown of Apollo 12, the second mission to land people on the Moon.

Apollo 12 splashdown

Apollo 12 splashdown, November 24, 1969

NSS hereby announces that it is granting the title of “Lunar Ambassador” to the crew members of the first two Apollo lunar landing missions. NSS, the leading nonprofit organization promoting space development and settlement, has taken this step to remind the world of the significance of humans reaching the Moon.

Apollo 11 and 12 patches

“NSS is proud to extend this honor to our pioneering Apollo astronauts who have led humanity’s advance into space,” said Mark Hopkins, chair of the NSS Executive Committee.

NSS intends to confer the title of “Lunar Ambassador” on the members of the remaining Apollo crews as they reach the 45th anniversaries of their flights. All of these are steps leading to the historic 50th anniversary, July 20, 2019, of mankind’s first human Moon landing.

The Apollo missions were the result of a commitment by President John F. Kennedy to land a man on the Moon and return him safely before the end of the sixties. A similar presidential commitment would be very appropriate on the historic 50th anniversary of the first human landing on the Moon.

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NSS Enterprise in Space Orbiter Design Contest

NSS Enterprise in Space Orbiter Design Contest
NSS Enterprise in Space Orbiter Design Contest

The NASA Space Shuttle Enterprise never made it to orbit. While that was the original intent, subsequent redesigns undertaken during the Enterprise testing phase made this impractical.

Most tragically, another Enterprise – Virgin Galactic’s VSS Enterprise, crashed in the Mojave Desert on October 31, 2014 – a crash in which co-pilot Michael Alsbury lost his life. VSS Enterprise had undertaken more than thirty successful test flights and was the first of five planned suborbital spacecraft to be used to send tourists and experiments on suborbital trips to space.

Unfortunately the news media focus on the space tourism aspect of companies like Virgin Galactic and XCOR Aerospace while largely ignoring the fact that these spacecraft will be important platforms for conducting a wide variety of experiments in a microgravity environment.

But suborbital is not orbital. With luck and public support the first Enterprise to orbit the Earth will be the NSS Enterprise Orbiter which will carry approximately 100 competitively selected student experiments into low Earth orbit and after a week’s time return them safely to Earth.

Before the Enterprise can be built it must be designed. And this is where you can help. One feature of this program is that the Enterprise in Space team is calling on artists, engineers, science fiction fans, students, designers, space activists, and dreamers to come up with their own concept of what the NSS Enterprise Orbiter should look like. And unlike the overwhelming majority of art, graphics, and design contests that require entrants to pay a submission fee, entry in the Enterprise in Space Design Contest is free!

If designing spacecraft isn’t for you then you can support the Enterprise in Space project by:

As the newly appointed manager for the EIS Orbiter Design Contest I offer the following basic tips for those entering the contest.

My first tip is to do it. Not only are there some great prizes for the contest winner but the winner will have a place in the history of private/personal space exploration.

My second tip is that you don’t have to be a master of 3D or CAD software. I’ll remind you that such software is a very recent invention. It’s the design that counts and that can be illustrated using nothing more complex than paper, pencil, and ruler.

Third is to follow the rules. An important rule is to not design a spacecraft that looks like a spacecraft that is associated with a spacecraft from TV or film. It must be your own original design.

Fourth is to be mindful that the spacecraft you design will be housing somewhere around one hundred student experiments. That means avoiding a design that minimizes internal volume. Once manufactured, your orbiter will physically have as its maximum dimensions 8 feet by 8 feet by 6 feet so be mindful of the factors 8 x 8 x 6 in designing your craft.

So now is the time to either fire up your favorite graphics software or grab your drafting supplies and get to designing a spacecraft that is truly unique. The submission deadline is fast approaching so don’t delay. But first make sure you fully understand the contest by reading the Enterprise In Space Design Contest Rules.

Lastly, I would like to wish everyone entering the contest the best of luck and I look forward to seeing the designs you create.

Ad Astra, Jim Plaxco; Manager, Enterprise in Space Orbiter Design Contest

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National Space Society Encourages Virgin Galactic To Press On

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.”

NSS encourages Virgin Galactic to continue moving forward. NSS has been a consistent supporter of private efforts to develop space commercially, including both orbital and sub-orbital tourism. Economic returns from spaceflight are necessary for humanity’s long-term future in space.

NSS notes that fatal accidents during both the testing of aircraft and their operation were relatively common during the early days of commercial aviation, and now it has happened in commercial space flight. America was always built on the courage of those who dared to explore new frontiers. From Lewis and Clark to the Apollo astronauts, great men and women have tested themselves against the frontiers of their age.

The frontier of space is far from tamed. The men and women of Virgin Galactic and Scaled Composites are engaged in one of the great efforts of our time: opening space for all humanity. That is a noble pursuit and we are all thankful for their work and for their sacrifice.

NSS Executive Vice President Paul Werbos sums up: “This is a sad moment for the space tourism industry and the families of the pilots. The Scaled Composites pilots are true heroes who risked their lives to blaze a trail to a better future for everyone.”

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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.

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National Space Society Leaders Have Their Say

NSS Senior Vice President and Senior Operating Officer Bruce Pittman was featured on The Space Show on October 13, speaking for 90 minutes on the emerging commercial space industry and related topics. You can listen to the program here.

NSS Board of Directors member John Strickland had an article published in The Space Review, also on October 13: The Incredible, Expendable Mars Mission. Five years ago, NASA published its latest detailed architecture for human missions to Mars. Strickland’s article explores that architecture and discusses several ways it could be improved to make it more robust and less expensive.

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