The National Space Society (NSS) is proud to announce that LtCol Paul E. Damphousse USMC (Ret) has been named Executive Director effective January 1, 2012. The appointment of LtCol Damphousse coincides with the 25th anniversary of the 1987 merger of the National Space Institute (NSI) and the L5 Society to form the National Space Society.
“Since its creation, the National Space Society has been, and remains today, the nation’s preeminent space advocacy organization,” said LtCol Damphousse. He added, “NSS traces its roots to NSI’s first president, Werner Von Braun, and to Gerald O’Neill, who was the inspiration for the L5 Society. Today we count visionaries such as Buzz Aldrin, Norm Augustine, and Pete Worden among our leadership. It is my distinct honor to serve as NSS Executive Director while we chart a path toward our collective goals of human settlements beyond the Earth and of using the vast resources of space for the betterment of life here at home. These are challenging times for our country and for its future in space – but I view challenges as opportunities; I look forward to strengthening our membership, building new relationships, and creating new opportunities in and from space together.”
“Paul is a good friend and I can’t think of a better person to lead the NSS at this critical time,” said NSS Board of Governors member and Apollo 11 astronaut Buzz Aldrin. “This year the U.S. must decide whether it has the will and ability to lead the world in human space exploration. Paul’s leadership and vision will be vital to ensuring our nation makes the right decisions regarding our future in space.”
LtCol Damphousse brings a wealth of space, operations, and legislative leadership experience to the position of Executive Director. Until his recent retirement from the U.S. Marine Corps following a 22-year career, he served as Chief of Advanced Concepts for the National Security Space Office (NSSO) and the DoD Executive Agent for Space in Washington, DC. In this capacity he led the NSSO’s space-based solar power effort and championed the Small Unit Space Transport and Insertion (SUSTAIN) concept as a near-instantaneous crisis response capability. His work on the latter resulted in the publication of a concept of operations and technology roadmap for suborbital/SUSTAIN missions. He has also served as Florida Senator Bill Nelson’s NASA Fellow, the Senator’s principal advisor for all civil and national security space matters, where he played an instrumental role in advancing new commercial spaceflight activities.
While serving as a Marine Corps pilot, LtCol Damphousse accumulated over 2300 flight hours, several hundred of which were flown in combat. His last operational deployment was as the Operations Officer for Marine Aircraft Group 16 (Reinforced) where he led the planning and execution of all Marine combat aviation operations during Operation Iraqi Freedom. He holds a Master’s degree in Astronautical Engineering from the Naval Postgraduate School and was a Marine Corps Space Operations Officer. He was twice selected by the Marine Corps as a nominee for NASA astronaut candidate.
LtCol Damphousse has been a member of the NSS since 1999, serving on the NSS Board of Directors since 2010, and is a 2008 recipient of the NSS Space Pioneer Award for Space Development.