March Storm 2017 Legislative Blitz Update

To NSS Members and anyone who supports a Citizen’s Space Agenda (a message from NSS Executive Vice President Dale Skran):

I hope you all are having a good week. I wanted to give you all an update of where things stand on recruiting for March Storm 2017.

At this time there are 17 official registrations, with around 10 others verbally committed that are yet to register. There has  been a heavy emphasis on getting more students involved this year, and that is showing in the registration numbers so far, as almost all of those currently registered are students. We are seeing excellent support from universities around the country, with some providing travel money to allow students to participate.

The more students the better, but this is a shout-out to everyone else to sign up now. The sooner we know how many are coming, the more meetings we can set up. This is a critical time for the space program and we need your voice in Washington the week of March 12th!!

Although we are requesting a sign-up fee this year, students are free with an ID, and scholarships are available for those who cannot afford the fee.

Please forward/distribute this message as widely as possible. All those who support a Citizen’s Space Agenda are welcome to participate without regard to prior membership in any space related group.

As a reminder, here is a link to the March Storm registration page:

https://www.eventbrite.com/e/march-storm-2017-tickets-31103425182

Please let me know if you have any questions or comments.

Best Regards,

Dale Skran
NSS Executive VP
Chair, NSS Policy Committee
dale.skran@nss.org

ESA Director Wörner Wins National Space Society’s Prestigious von Braun Award

Prof. Johann-Dietrich Wörner, Director General of the European Space Agency (ESA), is the winner of the National Space Society’s 2017 prestigious Wernher von Braun Memorial Award. This award recognizes Wörner as an effective leader of the European Space Agency and the contributions of ESA to the world space community. Prof. Wörner will accept the award on Friday, May 26, 2017 at the National Space Society’s 2017 International Space Development Conference® (isdc.nss.org/2017). This will be the 36th ISDC® and will be held in St Louis, Missouri at the Union Station Hotel. The conference is open to all and will run from May 25-29, 2017. Prof. Wörner will join other luminaries such as NASA Associate Administrator Bill Gerstenmaier, Gemini and Apollo astronaut Thomas Stafford, space program pioneers MAC’s Old Team, and the Kepler-K2 space mission team.

About the von Braun Award

Von Braun AwardThe von Braun award is given in odd-numbered years to recognize excellence in management of and leadership for a space-related project or effort. The project or effort must be significant and successful and the manager must have the loyalty of a strong team. The award was originally proposed in 1992 by National Space Society Awards Committee member Frederick I. Ordway III, a close associate of and co-author with Wernher von Braun.

As shown to the left, the award consists of a representation of the von Braun “Ferry Rocket” design from the early 1950’s, beside a representation of the actual Saturn V rocket used in the Apollo program. These are set on a base inlaid with black granite and with a brass plaque. The two rocket figures are to scale: one represents the dream, the other—fulfilled reality. This award was created and cast in stainless steel by Michael Hall, a renowned artist, sculptor and foundryman, owner of the Studio Foundry in Driftwood, TX. Recent winners include the Mars Science Laboratory (Curiosity Mars rover) Team, Dr. A.P.J. Abdul Kalam (former President of India), and Elon Musk. More information about the von Braun award and past recipients can be found on the NSS awards page.

About Prof. Johann-Dietrich Wörner

WornerAs ESA Director General, Prof. Wörner heads one of the world’s leading space organizations. ESA is contributing to the current global effort to explore the solar system via important projects like ExoMars and Rosetta/Philae. ESA is also in cooperation with projects at other space agencies worldwide like the James Webb Space Telescope.

NSS recognizes Prof. Wörner’s great success in leadership, both in academia and in government, and his excellence in mediation. He is now using both skills to support the space community and expedite its goals.

From July 1995 to February 2007, Wörner was the president of the Technical University of Darmstadt. In 2011, the state government of Baden-Wurttemberg appointed him to serve as a mediator for the railroad infrastructure project Stuttgart 21. Before joining ESA, between 2007 and 2015, Prof. Wörner served as Chairman of the Executive Board of the German Aerospace Centre, DLR, as well as Chairman of the ESA Council from 2012 to 2014. As head of ESA, he is promoting the “Moon village” concept, a vision for global cooperation beyond the International Space Station era. This would be a great asset to an integrated human space program. His support of public-private partnerships as part of the “Space 4.0 approach” aligns with the NSS vision and is supported by NSS.

Losing the Geomagnetic Shield: A Critical Issue for Space Settlement

Losing the Geomagnetic Shield: A Critical Issue for Space Settlement, a new paper by Philip K. Chapman, has just been published in the NSS Space Settlement Journal.

Abstract.  The geomagnetic field seems to be collapsing. This has happened many times in the deep past, but never since civilization began. One implication is that the cost of space settlement will increase substantially if we do not expedite deployment of initial facilities in low Earth orbit. Another implication, less certain but much more damaging, is that the collapse may lead to catastrophic global cooling before the end of this century. We must establish self-sufficient communities off Earth before that happens.

Read full paper.

“MAC’s Old Team” Wins the National Space Society’s 2017 Space Pioneer Award for Special Merit

“MAC’s Old Team,” consisting of former employees of the McDonnell Aircraft, McDonnell-Douglas and Boeing Companies in the St. Louis area, is the winner of the National Space Society’s 2017 Space Pioneer Award in the Special Merit category. This award recognizes the exemplary work this team did building our nation’s historic Mercury and Gemini spacecraft beginning 59 years ago!

The National Space Society invites the public to join them in presenting the Pioneer Award to MAC’s Old Team on Saturday, May 27, 2017 at the 36th NSS International Space Development Conference® (isdc.nss.org/2017). The conference will be held in St Louis, Missouri, at the Union Station Hotel, running from May 25-29, 2017.

Macs Old Team
MAC’s Old Team. Photo taken at the James S. McDonnell Planetarium at the Saint Louis Science Center.

Members of MAC’s Old Team feel privileged to have worked on the Mercury and Gemini programs and are proud of a series of firsts which include:

  • The first American to fly in space
  • The first American to orbit the Earth
  • The first spacecraft to change orbits
  • The first American to perform an EVA
  • The first in-orbit rendezvous between two spacecraft
  • The first docking between two spacecraft
  • The setting of spacecraft flight endurance and altitude records

As historically significant as these achievements may be, however, the team is most proud of the safety record. Over a period of more than five years and sixteen manned flights, nineteen different astronauts flew on Mercury and Gemini missions with durations ranging from fifteen minutes to two weeks without injury or loss of life.

About MAC’s Old Team

Members of this team under McDonnell Aircraft Company worked on the Mercury and Gemini spacecraft, which supported, developed and proved the methodology necessary for the Apollo Program to reach the Moon. The company was “ground zero” for America’s first human spaceflight program, flying six Mercury and ten Gemini manned missions for those programs. James S. McDonnell, company founder and CEO, had the foresight to use company funds to carry out original design studies for a manned satellite well before the launch of Sputnik 1 and well before being chosen as a prime contractor, which was announced on February 13, 1959. Beyond designing and building the spacecraft, much of the simulation and training for America’s first astronauts also happened in St. Louis, and those astronauts worked closely with the McDonnell employees.

MAC’s Old Team’s influence on the nation’s space programs did not end with Mercury and Gemini. Team members continued to work on several programs including: Skylab, the Manned Orbiting Laboratory, the Space Transportation System (Space Shuttle), the International Space Station, Hexagon, and other NASA, military and company-funded programs.

Why are they called MAC’s Old Team?

“THIS IS MAC CALLING THE TEAM. THIS IS OLD MAC CALLING ALL THE TEAM.” All employees would hear these words over the company PA system announcing special events and introducing visiting dignitaries which included the President of the United States. What could be more fitting to honor Mr. McDonnell’s memory than ‘MAC’s Old Team’?

About the Space Pioneer Award

NSS Space Pioneer AwardThe Space Pioneer Award consists of a silvery pewter Moon globe cast by the Baker Art Foundry in Placerville, California, from a sculpture originally created by Don Davis, the well-known space and astronomical artist. The globe, as shown at right, which represents multiple space mission destinations and goals, sits freely on a brass support with a wooden base and brass plaque, which are created by the greatly respected Michael Hall’s Studio Foundry of Driftwood, TX. NSS has several different categories under which the award is presented each year, starting in 1988. Some of the recent winners of Space Pioneer Awards include Elon Musk, Ray Bradbury, Robert Bigelow, Apollo Astronaut Russell L. Schweickart, Dr. Michael Griffin, and the Rosetta Mission Team.

National Space Society’s Space Settlement Summit Draws Industry Leaders

An enormously successful first annual Space Settlement Summit hosted by the National Space Society (NSS) occurred on January 10-11, 2017, in Santa Monica, California. Industry leaders, financial experts, scientists and engineers, and leading space activists were brought together to assess the state of the art driving space settlement.

Michael Suffredini, President Axiom Space and Jeff Manber, CEO Nanoracks, exchange views at the Space Settlement Summit
Michael Suffredini, President Axiom Space, and Jeff Manber, CEO Nanoracks, exchange views at the Space Settlement Summit

The NSS invitation-only Space Settlement Summit featured industry leaders including Josh Brost, Director of Government Business Development SpaceX, Dr. George Sowers, VP Advanced Programs ULA, Michael T. Suffredini, President Axiom Space, Steven Oldham, Senior VP MDA, Karlton Johnson, Director Information Risk Management Arconic, Jeff Manber, CEO Nanoracks, Akshay Patel, VP Strategy and Business Development Planetary Resources, and energy CEO and famous actor Harry Hamlin. Special guest Astronaut Yvonne Cagle headlined a dinner event celebrating the success of the movie HIDDEN FIGURES, speaking on recent medical advances from NASA. Key industry experts speaking included Dr. John C. Mankins on space solar power, Lt. Col. Thomas P. Schilling USAF on ultra-low cost access to space, Steve Wolfe of SpaceCom on open-source space settlement design, and Jeff Greason (XCOR founder) on funding space startups.

Dr. Knatokie Ford, White House Sr. Policy Advisor, Mark Hopkins, Chair of NSS Executive Committee, Astronaut Yvonnne Cagle, Aldis Hodge, Actor, Hidden Figures, and Bruce Pittman, NSS Senior Vice President celebrating Hidden Figures success.
Dr. Knatokie Ford, White House Sr. Policy Advisor, Mark Hopkins, Chair of NSS Executive Committee, Astronaut Yvonnne Cagle, Aldis Hodge, Actor in Hidden Figures, and Bruce Pittman, NSS Senior Vice President celebrating Hidden Figures success.

“The resources of Earth are limited and humanity is increasingly constrained by these limits. This is particularly true when reasonable environmental considerations are taken into account” said Mark Hopkins, Chair of the NSS Executive Committee. “Fortunately, the vast majority of the resources of the solar system both in terms of energy and materials lie in space rather than on Earth. Space settlement allows us to tap into these resources, thus smashing the resource constraints of Earth. Space settlement can create a hopeful prosperous future for all of humanity.”

Left to Right, Mark Hopkins addresses the SSS wrap-up panel of Jeff Greason, James Bennett, Rick Tumlinson of DSI, John Mankins, and Karlton Johnson.
Mark Hopkins (standing) addresses the Space Settlement Summit wrap-up panel of (left to right) Jeff Greason, James Bennett, Rick Tumlinson of DSI, John Mankins, and Karlton Johnson.

“With Elon Musk calling for the colonization of Mars, and Jeff Bezos looking forward to millions of people living and working in space, space settlement is an idea whose time has come,” said Dale Skran, NSS Executive Vice President.

“NSS has been developing a Roadmap for space settlement for a number of years (see www.nss.org/settlement/roadmap)” added Bruce Pittman, NSS Senior Vice President and Senior Operating Officer. “The Space Settlement Summit will provide input that guides NSS’s current updating of the Roadmap. Anyone interested in learning more about how NSS is supporting space development and settlement should attend the International Space Development Conference in St. Louis, Missouri, May 25-29 (isdc2017.nss.org).”

National Space Society Honors NASA’s William H. Gerstenmaier with 2017 Space Pioneer Award

William H. Gerstenmaier, Associate Administrator for Human Exploration and Operations at NASA Headquarters in Washington DC, is the recipient of the National Space Society’s 2017 Space Pioneer Award in the Non-Legislative Government Service category.

William GerstenmaierThis award recognizes Mr. Gerstenmaier’s service as Associate Administrator as well as his dynamic career with NASA, which spans 40 years!

The award will be presented on Saturday, May 27, 2017 at the National Space Society’s 2017 International Space Development Conference® (isdc.nss.org/2017). This will be the 36th ISDC® and will be held in St Louis, Missouri, at the Union Station Hotel. The conference is open to the public and will run from May 25-29, 2017.

About William Gerstenmaier:

The National Space Society presents this award to outstanding individuals like Mr. Gerstemaier who share our vision to advance humanity’s presence in space. Throughout his career and for many years under his management, Mr. Gerstenmaier has overseen the development and maintenance of the International Space Station – a blueprint for global cooperation off the Earth. Mr. Gerstenmaier’s indelible contributions to space station operations are helping to facilitate the growth of a robust commercial market in low-Earth orbit (LEO) for scientific research, technology development, and human and cargo transportation.

As commercial space companies build on NASA and its partners’ many achievements in LEO, the agency’s human exploration efforts are focused on an ambitious journey to send humans beyond the Moon and farther into space than we have ever traveled. NASA’s Space Launch System rocket, Orion crewed spacecraft, the commercial crew program, and a revitalized space launch complex in Florida were all managed under Mr. Gerstenmaier’s vision and leadership. The best of NASA’s human spaceflight program is yet to come, and that is largely thanks to what Mr. Gerstenmaier and the spaceflight team have done to push the boundaries in space for humans.

Before becoming Associate Administrator for Human Exploration and Operations at NASA Headquarters, he has held a series of leadership positions at the agency. These include manager of Space Shuttle Program Integration, head of the Orbital Maneuvering Vehicle Operations Office, Director of Space Shuttle and Space Station Freedom Assembly Operations, Chief of the Projects and Facilities Branch of the Flight Design and Dynamics Division, Shuttle/Mir Program Operations Manager, and International Space Station Office Program Manager. Mr. Gerstenmaier earned a Bachelor of Arts in Aeronautical Engineering from Purdue University in 1977, as well as a Master of Science in Mechanical Engineering in 1981 from the University of Toledo.

About the Space Pioneer Award

NSS Space Pioneer AwardThe Space Pioneer Award consists of a silvery pewter Moon globe cast by the Baker Art Foundry in Placerville, California, from a sculpture originally created by Don Davis, the well-known space and astronomical artist. The globe, as shown at right, which represents multiple space mission destinations and goals, sits freely on a brass support with a wooden base and brass plaque, which are created by the greatly respected Michael Hall’s Studio Foundry of Driftwood, TX. NSS has several different categories under which the award is presented each year, starting in 1988. Some of the recent winners of Space Pioneer Awards include Elon Musk, Ray Bradbury, Robert Bigelow, Apollo Astronaut Russell L. Schweickart, Dr. Michael Griffin, and the Rosetta Mission Team.

March Storm Registration is now open

The Alliance for Space Development (ASD), the National Space Society (NSS), and the Space Frontier Foundation (SFF) are sponsoring the annual March Storm Washington DC Blitz March 12-16, 2017.

This year we are requesting participants pay a $35 registration fee —students can register for free (you are asked to bring your student ID to the training session), and scholarships are available if you are unable to pay the fee.

We are using Eventbite, a popular and reliable service, to collect the fees. Eventbrite will walk you through the process and inform you how to apply for a scholarship.

Please send any questions to dale.skran@nss.org.

See you in Washington March 12!

Dale Skran,
NSS Executive VP & Chair of the NSS Policy Committee

The Kepler-K2 Team Wins the National Space Society’s 2017 Space Pioneer Award for Science and Engineering

The NASA Kepler and K2 Team is the winner of the National Space Society’s 2017 Space Pioneer Award in the Science and Engineering category. This prestigious award will be presented to team representatives Charles K.Sobeck, Project Manager, and Dr. Natalie Batalha, Project Scientist, on Sunday, May 28, 2017 at the National Space Society’s 2017 International Space Development Conference® (isdc.nss.org/2017). This will be the 36th ISDC® and will be held in St Louis, Missouri, at the Union Station Hotel. The conference will run from May 25-29, 2017.

Kepler Mission Team

NSS proudly presents this award in recognition of the massive amount of work carried out by the whole team to propose, design, launch and operate the Kepler and K2 missions and to analyze the resulting data over many years. It also recognizes all of the many volunteers who have been poring over the Kepler data to assist in finding planets around other stars.

About the Space Pioneer Award

NSS Space Pioneer AwardThe Space Pioneer Award consists of a silvery pewter Moon globe cast by the Baker Art Foundry in Placerville, California, from a sculpture originally created by Don Davis, the well-known space and astronomical artist. The globe, as shown at right, which represents multiple space mission destinations and goals, sits freely on a brass support with a wooden base and brass plaque, which are created by the greatly respected Michael Hall’s Studio Foundry of Driftwood, TX. NSS has several different categories under which the award is presented each year, starting in 1988. Some of the recent winners of Space Pioneer Awards include Elon Musk, Ray Bradbury, Robert Bigelow, Apollo Astronaut Russell L. Schweickart, Dr. Michael Griffin, and the Rosetta Mission Team.

About the Kepler-K2 Mission and Team 

After no less than five mission proposals, starting in 1992, the Kepler mission was finally approved in December of 2001 as a Discovery Class mission. Launched on March 7, 2009, the Kepler spacecraft has returned an enormous database, recording the brightness variations of more than 160,000 stars and galaxies. In addition to the primary objective of detecting and characterizing the distribution of terrestrial-size exoplanets, the mission has revolutionized the field of asteroseismology – the study of stars through their intrinsic brightness variability – ushering in a new golden age of stellar astrophysics.

As of January, 2017, Kepler and the follow-on mission K2 have confirmed 2514 actual exoplanets out of 5216 planet candidates. Kepler has made a massive contribution to the ongoing effort to obtain a large statistical sample of exoplanets so that the frequency of each type of planet can be estimated. In addition, it has helped to revolutionize our understanding of what types of exoplanets and exoplanet systems actually exist.

NASA’s Ames Research Center manages the Kepler and K2 missions for NASA’s Science Mission Directorate. JPL managed Kepler mission development. Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corporation operates the flight system with support from the Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics at the University of Colorado in Boulder.

National Space Society Congratulates SpaceX on the Falcon 9’s Return to Flight

The National Space Society congratulates SpaceX on the return to flight of the Falcon 9 on January 14, 2017, at 12:54 pm EST, successfully lofting ten Iridium NEXT communications satellites manufactured by Thales Alenia into polar orbit from Vandenberg Air Force Base, California.

Falcon 9 Iridium liftoff“NSS members are excited to see the F9 return to flight,” said Dale Skran, NSS Executive Vice President. “SpaceX has been pushing the envelope to perfect the use of technologies like sub-cooled rocket fuel and first stage recovery. Companies can only take risks on new technology with the support of customers like Iridium that have the courage to do new things in space. NSS congratulates SpaceX, Iridium, and Thales Alenia Space on a job well done.”

“The use of sub-cooled rocket fuel enables more fuel to fit into the rocket, providing extra thrust to allow for re-use of first stages which should result in lower costs to reach space,” added NSS Chair of the Executive Committee, Mark Hopkins. The re-use of first stages supports Milestone 2: Higher Commercial Launch Rates and Lower Cost to Orbit of the NSS Roadmap to Space Settlement which can be found at: www.nss.org/settlement/roadmap/RoadmapPart2.html. A great way to learn more about the NSS Space Settlement Roadmap is to attend the NSS International Space Development Conference (isdc2017.nss.org) in St. Louis, Missouri, May 25-29, 2017.

“NSS strongly supports the usage of space to provide benefits to people living on the Earth. The Iridium satellites enable first responders to communicate rapidly during an emergency anywhere in the world,” said NSS Senior Vice President Bruce Pittman. The launch of the Iridium NEXT satellites support Milestone 7: Applications of Space Technology on and for Earth of the NSS Roadmap which can be found at:  www.nss.org/settlement/roadmap/RoadmapPart3.html .

This was the first flight for SpaceX since a Falcon 9 exploded on the pad at Cape Canaveral, Florida, on September 1, 2016, destroying an Amos-6 communications satellite. For the first time, SpaceX successfully landed a first stage on the drone ship “Just Read The Instructions” in the Pacific Ocean. This is the 7th time SpaceX has landed a first stage safely after a launch, and the third time SpaceX has launched from Vandenberg.

Falcon 9 Iridium landing

Iridium has a contract with SpaceX for seven Falcon 9 flights to launch a total of 70 Iridium NEXT satellites, including the 10 launched January 14th. When signed in 2010, the SpaceX/Iridium deal was the largest commercial launch contract in history. Since then, this record has been exceeded by a 21-launch order with Arianespace from OneWeb in 2015. The next launch by SpaceX for Iridium is expected in April 2017.

Join the NSS Leadership Team – Apply by February 28

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 NSS. Respond 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.

The NSS 2017 Leadership Search Committee is seeking volunteer candidates with the time, talent, and motivation to serve as a member, Secretary, or Chair on an NSS operating committee. Superior candidates will also be considered for an Officer position. Apply by February 28 to be considered for a committee position, or January 28 to be considered for an Officer position.

See the full announcement for details and links to committee and officer descriptions.