ISDC Space and Media Track: Julie Miller

By Candice Nunez, NSS ISDC Reporter, courtesy QGITS

Julie Miller is a talented strategic communications pro in entertainment & technology and Associate Producer of the Space & Media track for this year’s International Space Development Conference (ISDC) 2014 happening May 14-18 in Los Angeles. Julie’s background: she was Director of Communications & Marketing at Academy Award-winning digital production studio Digital Domain. The company is known for creating visual effects for feature films, advertising and games. There she oversaw communications, publicity and marketing for the company’s work on movies like “Iron Man 3,” and “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button,” the ‘hologram’ Tupac Shakur at Coachella and more. QGITS had the chance to meet and chat with Julie about the upcoming ISDC 2014. Here’s what she had to say:

QGITS: What do you think of having a Space & Media Track, at this year’s ISDC conference 2014?

Julie Miller: I think it’s great and so important, relevant and timely. The media, whether it’s through entertainment or advertising – that’s a way we all discover views of space. Games, films and TV shows, and of course, the news, all show us different visions of what space looks like. This a great conference track that shows where these visions of space come from and how the public perceptions get shaped. I think it’s really interesting.

Julie Miller (right) at the California Science Center with some team members of the ISDC conference 2014. Next to Julie in photo is Derek Cederbaum, Associate Producer, Space & Media track/ISDC, William Harris VP of Marketing, California Science Center Foundation, and David Knight. Film Producer of “Journey of Endeavour”.

QGITS: How did you get involved in the space tech industry?

Julie Miller: It’s really interesting because my involvement is very new. I come from a background in digital production, marketing for technology and creative companies. Space travel, space battles and things like aliens are common themes in visual effects productions, for the obvious reasons. Filmmakers don’t get out into space much.. Digital Domain created some of the memorable space visuals for movies like “Apollo 13,” “Oblivion,” a couple of “Star Trek” movies, and “Ender’s Game.” It’s fascinating to learn the processes and research that visual effects companies undertake to achieve what you see on screen. I have made lots of contacts in the media industry and just recently got connected to  Conference Producer David Knight, actually through a journalist at the Hollywood Reporter who called me to help place some speakers. I’m totally sucked in now and really loving working on this event.

QGITS:  What are you excited about this year’s ISDC conference?

Julie Miller: I am just becoming aware of how big, important and prominent it is, and it’s exciting to be part of fostering the awareness and excitement about space.  With commercial space companies making their marks and the show “Cosmos” being such a big event, it feels like the space movement is reaching critical mass in the public domain and I am looking forward to being a part of that cross over bridge of the media and perceptions it makes. In addition to getting a behind-the-scenes look at some of the big movies and shows that create a picture of space, I’m most excited about getting exposure to topics I know very little about — like space-based solar power, the new business models of the space industry, and of course, maybe getting the chance to hear Buzz Aldrin or Elon Musk speak.

QGITS:  Anything else you would like to talk about?

Julie Miller:  I guess one more point worth mentioning is how the visual effects industry relates to STEM and STEAM. It’s a really exciting field to get into and it’s everything that STEAM stands for science, technology, engineering arts and math. That’s visual effects – all of those things combined. I have met amazing, brilliant, talented artists who solve crazy difficult problems by combining technology with art.

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ISDC Space and Media Track: David Knight, Film Producer, “Journey of Endeavour”

By Candice Nunez, NSS ISDC Reporter, courtesy QGITS

For the first time, ISDC includes a track called Space & Media: the purpose of the track is to illuminate how media, in all of its forms, influences the public perception of space exploration, and in particular, manned spaceflight. The new track includes presenters drawn from film, television, news, social media, simulations, games and even music,  including Oscar-winning Visual Effects Artist Ben Grossman from the movie “Star Trek: Into Darkness,” Buzz Hays who until recently was Senior Vice President of 3D Production at Sony Pictures, and many others. Click here to view the track’s session schedule, which runs for the full four days of the conference.

NSS asked STEM supporter and documentary filmmaker David Knight to chair Space & Media: David is an entrepreneur primarily involved in computing and space technology. Most recently he became a film producer, heading a multi-year effort to document the final phases of the Space Shuttle program, culminating with the journey of Endeavour to Los Angeles. David is now building a technology company involving microsatellites and UAVs, and continues to invest in high-tech and entertainment related startups. He is among the original members of the XPRIZE, which saw SpaceShipOne achieve the first private spaceflight, and plans to fly on Virgin Galactic. With a background in applied physics, David is committed to bringing science education to youth of all ages. He is a Trustee of the California Science Center Foundation and various other STEM-focused non-profits.

David states: “With ISDC taking place this year in the world center of media, it was logical to highlight the people and activities that shape people’s perception of what we’re doing, and what we could be doing, in space. The stunning popularity of films like Gravity, Star Trek and others, coupled with private spaceflight companies such as Virgin Galactic and SpaceX, and the new generation of immersive technologies that can ‘take us there’ right from our living rooms, are building an excitement that hasn’t been there since the Apollo program.”

In fact, as David Knight points out, it was Walt Disney himself who worked with the Kennedy administration to build a series of promotional films that not only influenced the public via television airings, but were utilized in depicting the possibilities and advances that a moonshot program would bring, to Congress in order to obtain funding. “Often with each new technological wave comes a range of opportunities which we are all going to benefit from,” Knight said. “Ranging from personal spaceflights to individualized medications to ultra-rapid transcontinental travel, we’re only at the beginning of where this next wave will take us.”

Take a look and watch this incredible ‘mini-film’ documentary produced by David Knight chronicling Endeavour’s final journey three-day voyage to the California Science Center Museum with a cheering crowd of over 1.5 million who lined the route.

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Commercial Crew Needs Competition

The following Op-Ed article appears in the May 12 issue of SpaceNews.

By Paul Werbos, Dale Skran | May. 12, 2014

The SpaceNews editorial “A Feckless Blame Game on ISS Crew Access” [April 14, page 18] defends NASA’s Commercial Crew Program against disingenuous attacks by its congressional opponents. We support many of the points made in the editorial, especially the assertion that the failure of Congress to fully fund Commercial Crew as requested by the White House is the major reason for delays in the date Americans can start flying on American rockets to the international space station. However, we take issue with the suggestion that a down-select to a single Commercial Crew provider is desirable.

We strongly recommend that the following considerations guide the Commercial Crew Program:

  • A minimum of two complete, technologically independent commercial crew systems should be brought to operational status. Commercial Crew can only be fully successful with real competition between multiple U.S.-based service providers.
  • The value of Commercial Crew lies not just in providing the means of transporting astronauts to the ISS without relying on Russian spacecraft, but also in significantly strengthening the U.S. commercial orbital access industry.

There has long been a strain of criticism in Congress that calls for an immediate down-select in Commercial Crew to a single contractor in the name of saving money and moving forward more rapidly. Traditionally, NASA has run “competitive” procurement processes in which a number of proposals are considered, and then one is chosen to be developed into a flight article. This approach, although a reasonable one for experimental or some operational vehicles, is not the best approach for building a new industry.

The traditional NASA approach has the effect of the system or service ultimately being supplied by a single “monopoly” vehicle from a single vendor, and provides no competition that would work to lower costs over time. Commercial Crew, like the Commercial Resupply Services program, is intended to create a situation in which NASA has multiple, independent methods of transportation to and from the ISS. Two fully independent U.S.-based providers combined with occasional use of the Russian Soyuz would be the minimum system to put real competitive pressures on all vendors.

A highly desirable characteristic of a fully successful Commercial Crew Program is the operational availability of two technologically and financially independent solutions. For example, selecting the Sierra Nevada Dream Chaser/Atlas 5 and the Boeing CST-100/Atlas 5 introduces a single point of failure, the Atlas 5. It would be equally risky to select as the two solutions the Dream Chaser/Falcon 9 and the SpaceX Dragon/Falcon 9 for the same reason.

In the approved 2014 budget, language exists holding back $171 million of the allocated Commercial Crew funding until the NASA administrator certifies an independent cost-benefit analysis of the program. It should be noted that this level of scrutiny — an independent cost-benefit analysis — is not being applied to other NASA programs such as the Space Launch System rocket and Orion capsule.

It is possible to alter the outcome of a cost-benefit analysis via careful selection of underlying assumptions. In the case of a cost-benefit analysis of Commercial Crew, key areas to consider are the operational lifetime of the ISS, the probability that the ISS will be followed by a similar base in low Earth orbit, and the crew size of the ISS.

The Obama administration is proposing an ISS extension for an additional four years, meaning that the anticipated Commercial Crew operations would be extended to 2024. It is very likely, and indeed highly desirable, that the life of the ISS will be extended well beyond this date. NASA has certified that an extension to 2028, an additional four years beyond that just proposed, is possible without major efforts.

The Chinese have announced that their large China Space Station will become operational in the 2020-2024 time frame, and they are currently seeking international partners. It is difficult to imagine that the United States will at just that moment deorbit the ISS, abandoning space research in low Earth orbit to the Chinese.

Thus all analysis of Commercial Crew value should be based on the realistic assumption that: the ISS lifetime is significantly extended beyond 2020; the ISS is replaced with a follow-on U.S./international/commercial station; and/or Commercial Crew vehicles will continue to be used to transport crew to low Earth orbit in support of other future NASA projects, such as assembly of a Mars ship from multiple launches. In all of these scenarios, low-cost, specialized and reliable transport of crew to low Earth orbit will be of continuing value to NASA.

The current size of the ISS crew is limited to six, since only two Soyuz “lifeboats” can dock to the ISS at the same time, and each Soyuz can carry only three astronauts. The introduction of Commercial Crew vehicles that can carry up to seven astronauts allows for expansion of the ISS capabilities to support a crew of up to 14.

Even the use of a single Commercial Crew vehicle would allow for an expansion from six to seven, something that would significantly increase the scientific return from the ISS. The ISS can accommodate one additional long-term crew member with minimal effort.

The ISS also can accommodate multiweek “surges” of additional crew members, as was demonstrated during the shuttle program. Thus, Commercial Crew vehicles could expand the output of the ISS by periodically allowing teams of, for example, five scientists accompanied by two crew members, to live on the ISS for weeks at a time. It is expected that expansion to a permanent crew of 14 might require additional facilities to be added to the ISS. Finally, it should be noted that the number of astronauts on the Commercial Crew vehicles significantly affects the cost per seat. Arbitrary limits of, for example, four astronauts per vehicle artificially increase the cost per seat by a large factor.

The Commercial Crew Program offers the potential to build the foundation for a true private crewed orbital access industry. In the past, the U.S. government has supported the development of new industries in various ways, ranging from federal airmail contracts supporting early aviation to current nanotechnology research centers. The crewed orbital access industry involves not just space tourism but also satellite repair and refueling, industrial research and private commercial space stations. Commercial Crew is a key enabler of this new industry, and can significantly contribute to strengthening the larger U.S. space access industry, which has vast potential for the creation of large numbers of well-paying American jobs.

Strong industries must have competition. A major advantage of the nature of the Commercial Crew Program is that the competitive environment keeps costs low and forces each competitor to seek other markets for its solution. But the development of alternative markets is also related to the timely success of the Commercial Crew

Program. Companies such as Bigelow Aerospace have flown multiple orbital test vehicles to demonstrate some of the technologies that they are planning to deploy to create inflatable private space stations. At one point, delays in the readiness of Commercial Crew vehicles led Bigelow to lay off a substantial portion of its workforce to conserve capital. Although Bigelow has since won a contract to attach an inflatable module to the ISS, its commercial space station plans remain in a holding pattern until the Commercial Crew Program moves to operational status.

We strongly endorse the $848 million 2015 NASA budget request for Commercial Crew, along with the $250 million supplemental request. At a time when the availability of the Russian-supplied Soyuz is being increasingly questioned, we need to move Commercial Crew to the top of NASA’s priority list.

Dr. Paul Werbos is executive vice president and chairman of the National Space Society’s Policy Committee, and Dale Skran is deputy chairman of the committee. For a longer version of this article see the NSS Position Paper: The NASA Commercial Crew Program.

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ISDC Workshop: Enabling the Space Economy

By Candice Nunez, NSS ISDC Reporter, courtesy QGITS

Rich Philips is one of the Track Co-Chairs of the Space Enterprise Track at the ISDC National Space Society conference coming up just around the corner in Los Angeles May 14-18. Rich is founder of Phillips & Company a global communications firm serving both emerging and established leaders in the markets that are changing our world such as the commercial space market, homeland security, mobile computing, education, healthcare and energy. In 2007 Rich launched his space practice at Phillips & Company and has been working with companies in the space economy for many years now. The Space Enterprise track will address business plans, projects, and concepts that have reasonable potential within 10 years to become profitable and offer a competitive return to investors. QGITS (an online publication for STEM students) had the opportunity to chat with Rich and hear more about what he had to say about the emerging new space economy.

QGITS: What are some of the topics that will be discussed on the Space Enterprise track?

Rich Phillips: It’s very important that we recognize the space economy is real, it’s here today and we will be focusing on opportunities for investors and entrepreneurs to grow and to be financially successful. We will see opportunities within the next 10 years that will have a return on investment. So we are looking at very near term, we put together a two day program that will explore opportunities for growth and success in a very near term space economy. We are also going to do something very unique on the 2nd day. We are going to break out as a group to conduct workshops designed to identify the requirements for a space economy to exist. Markets exists because of certain forces: legal, policy, economic, & technology. In order for a market to exist it needs to be sustainable on its own. It can’t be funded entirely by government it can’t be funded by any one mission, a true space economy needs to be multi-mission, multi- product and multi-service. So what conditions are necessary for a market to exist? We are going to explore that question and produce an answer amongst the leaders in the room. It’s a unique opportunity I think to bring together leaders in space entrepreneurship on the investment financial services side of space to really tackle these core issues. Once we defined what the requirements are we can begin working to make sure those requirements exist in order to continue to grow the space economy and achieve what we want for this country and the world.

In photo: Rich Phillips (front left) with his team with one of the Get Curious campaign “rocks.” Phillips & Company coordinated with Explore Mars and other firms vested in the advancement of space exploration, including NASA, Boeing, United Launch Alliance, AeroJet and National Geographic.

QGITS: One of the innovative companies Phillips & Company is working with is Mars World Enterprises. How is the new emerging space economy becoming an opportunity for businesses like Mars World?

Richard Phillips: I believe that space is a platform for experiences, applications and services. And I believe that in this economy, people buy experiences they just don’t buy products and services. I think the Mars World concept is designed to create an immersive experience for those here on earth to be part of something very special that will transform the way we think about space and ultimately I think Mars World has a very good chance of redefining the way that entertainment and theme entertainment is produced.

QGITS: Is there anything else you would like to express about the space economy?

Rich Phillips: I believe that exploration is critical to prosperity and human progress and ultimately the space economy is an opportunity for us to really be truly ourselves as human beings. Human beings were destined to explore. I don’t think there is anything different between the first people who discovered the semi conductor, the first people who had the innovation to build that first computer or to really create the first internet application and those that are now looking at space and saying what can we do there. That’s exciting to me not just because of the destination but because of the platform for human expression and human prosperity.

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ISDC Keynote address will focus on Space Solar Power

SPACE Canada (Solar Power Alternative for Clean Energy), a nonprofit organization dedicated to the promotion of solar energy from space, is sponsoring a dinner at the International Space Development Conference (ISDC 2014), the yearly conference of the National Space Society (NSS).

The dinner will be held on Saturday, May 17 from 7:00-9:30 p.m. PT in the Grand Ballroom at the site of ISDC 2014, the Sheraton Gateway Los Angeles Hotel, 6101 West Century Boulevard.  The theme of Saturday evening’s event is “A Space Renaissance Celebration.”

In keeping with SPACE Canada’s mandate to support, encourage and facilitate international dialogue on solar energy from space, John Mankins, President of Artemis Innovation Management Solutions LLC, will deliver the evening’s keynote presentation, “The Case for Space Solar Power.”

Mankins, widely acknowledged as the world’s leading expert on Space Solar Power (SSP), had a 25-year career at NASA.  During that time, he led an $800 million per year R&D program and, for many years, was in charge of NASA’s studies on SSP.

Following Mankins to further discuss SSP will be Mark Hopkins, CEO of the National Space Society and former Rand Corporation Economist.  Hopkins and Dr. Abdul Kalam, former President of India, are working together to establish an international organization to build SSP.

Space Solar Power uses satellites in space to collect the sun’s energy, which is beamed to receivers on the ground and then fed into the power grid like energy produced by conventional power plants.

Mankins and Hopkins will explain how the first economically viable SSP satellite could be built in less than 20 years, followed in rapid succession by additional profitable satellites.  The resulting electricity could be sold at prices below those of competing alternatives such as coal or nuclear.  This premise is based on studies completed recently by such prestigious organizations as the International Academy of Astronautics.

“The sun produces 10 trillion times the amount of energy currently consumed by humanity,” said Hopkins.  “By harvesting a tiny fraction of this energy via SSP, the energy crises would be over.  Humanity would have all of the energy it needs for the foreseeable future.  Further, this energy is renewable and extremely green, producing almost no carbon dioxide and thus greatly mitigating the problem of climate change.  The Earth’s resources are limited.  A successful Space Solar Power program would smash these limits, leading to a prosperous and hopeful future.”

Online registration is currently open for ISDC 2014 with a variety of options, from single day registration passes to full conference registration with meals.  Discounts are provided for youth, full-time students, seniors, and members of NASA Federal Credit Union and the National Space Society and its affiliates.  Visit isdc.nss.org/2014 for complete registration details and discount requirements.  For registration assistance, call 408-736-2363.  For information on NASA Federal Credit Union, visit nasafcu.com.

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National Space Society Officer and Director Lynne Zielinski Receives Alan Shepard Technology in Education Award

Lynne F. Zielinski, National Space Society (NSS) officer and director has been selected by the Astronauts Memorial Foundation (AMF), the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and the Space Foundation as recipient of the Alan Shepard Technology in Education Award.  This prestigious award will be presented on Monday, May 19th, 2014 at the 30th Space Symposium Opening Ceremony at The Broadmoor Hotel in Colorado Springs, Colorado, USA.

Lynne

Lynne Zielinski (center) with NASA astronauts Mark Polansky and Sandra Magnus, Ph.D., at Space Foundation World Headquarters in Colorado Springs.

Lynne F. Zielinski, a retired physics, astronomy and space science teacher from Glenbrook North High School in Northbrook, Ill., was selected for the award for her work with the Glenbrook Aerospace Development Get-away Experiment Team (GADGET) program, which she founded 22 years ago. The program enables students to design and conduct microgravity experiments, initiate and direct aerospace and engineering research, develop spaceflight hardware and design space settlements. The GADGET program flew active experiments on six space shuttle flights, nine NASA Nike-Orion sub-orbital rockets, three Zero-G airplane flights and four high altitude balloon missions.

Read news articles about Zielinski in the Chicago Tribune here and the suburban-Chicago Daily Herald here.

Shepard Award

The Alan Shepard Technology in Education Award shows Alan hitting a golf ball on the Moon.

The Alan Shepard Award is given annually in recognition of creative and innovative use of technology by K-12 educators or district-level education personnel.  Alan Shepard, one of the nation’s original seven Mercury astronauts, was the first American to fly in space, one of only 12 humans who have walked on the Moon and a former AMF board member. The award named after him recognizes excellence, quality and innovation in the development and application of technology in the classroom or to the professional development of teachers. More information about the award is available here.

Zielinski has been a member of NSS’s Board of Directors and Chairman of the Education and Outreach Committee since 2006. She also serves on the NSS Executive Committee as Vice President of Public Affairs. She annually organizes the activities that attract hundreds of students to the NSS International Space Development Conference for the NSS/NASA Ames Space Settlement Design Competition.  The 2014 ISDC will be held from May 14-18 in Los Angeles.

GADGET

The Sky is NOT the Limit!

“We are especially proud that Zielinski is being honored for her over 22 years of noteworthy accomplishments with the GADGET program, bringing science and math to life for thousands of students and teachers through space and technology,” said Mark Hopkins, NSS Executive Committee Chairman.  “Lynne’s involvement in our space settlement design contest has been vital to the success of NSS.  We are pleased that the Astronaut Memorial Foundation has chosen to honor such a deserving and forward-thinking educator with the Alan Shepard Award,” he added.

Her 32-year career as a physics, astronomy, and space science teacher at Glenbrook North High School in Northbrook, Illinois has been highlighted with numerous accomplishments, including participation in the Teacher In Space program.  For Zielinski’s full biography, please click here.

About the Astronaut Memorial Foundation:  AMF, based at Kennedy Space Center in Florida, honors and memorializes astronauts who have sacrificed their lives for the nation and the space program by sponsoring the national Space Mirror Memorial and by implementing innovative educational technology programs. AMF partners with NASA to provide technology training to educators throughout the nation with emphasis on space-related technology. In addition, at The Center for Space Education, AMF offers space-related educational opportunities for individuals to improve the quality of the workforce in the space industry. 

About the Space Foundation:  Founded in 1983, the Space Foundation is the foremost advocate for all sectors of space, and is a global, nonprofit leader in space awareness activities, educational programs and major industry events, including the annual Space Symposium, all in support of its mission “to advance space-related endeavors to inspire, enable and propel humanity.”

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ISDC featured on “The Space Show”

The upcoming May 14-18 International Space Development Conference in Los Angeles was the subject of a recent discussion on The Space Show and the entire internet radio show is now available as a downloadable MP3 file.

Featured on this edition of The Space Show were Dr. Nicola Sarzi-Amade, Vice President of Business Development of Scorpius Space Launch Company, member of the Space Systems Technical Committee of the AIAA, and Chairman Elect and Membership Co-Chair for the AIAA Los Angeles – Las Vegas Section, and John Spencer, member of the Board of Directors of the National Space Society and President and founder of the Space Tourism Society.

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Buzz Aldrin, Elon Musk Lead List of Luminaries at International Space Development Conference in Los Angeles

May 14-18 Event is Open to the Public with Paid Registration

Los Angeles, California (April 29, 2014) – The 33rd Annual International Space Development Conference (ISDC 2014) kicks off on Wednesday,  May 14, for five days of presentations, panels, exhibits, lunches and dinners celebrating this year’s theme, “A Space Renaissance.”

ISDC is the yearly conference of the National Space Society (NSS), a nonprofit organization that has hosted the gathering since 1982.  This year’s venue is the Sheraton Gateway Los Angeles Hotel, 6101 West Century Boulevard, conveniently located near Los Angeles International Airport.

Among the notable VIPs at ISDC 2014 is the Honorable Eric Garcetti, Mayor of Los Angeles, who will open Thursday morning’s plenary session, and Elon Musk, CEO of SpaceX and Tesla Motors, who will accept the Robert A. Heinlein Memorial Award during Friday evening’s Governor’s Dinner.

Apollo 11 astronaut and author Buzz Aldrin, the second man to set foot on the Moon, will speak at a noontime luncheon on Saturday.  A total of six astronauts will be attending the conference.

“I’ve participated in the ISDC since the very first one in 1982, and it remains the preeminent meeting of its kind anywhere in the country,” said Aldrin.  “I am looking forward to speaking at the conference again this year and I encourage anyone with an interest in space exploration and innovation to join me at ISDC 2014.”

Throughout the event, a stellar cast of experts and dignitaries, including astronauts, scientists, engineers, educators, aerospace industry leaders, and government officials will share their knowledge and opinions on contemporary space exploration topics.  Exhibitors from many leading companies will also be on hand to showcase the latest space-related products, projects and technologies.

Additional distinguished speakers include Geoff Notkin, meteorite expert and star of TV’s Meteorite Men; former NASA Astronaut Rick Searfoss, Director of Flight Test Operations and Chief Test Pilot for XCOR Aerospace; Gwynne Shotwell, President and COO of SpaceX; Taber McCallum, Cofounder of Paragon Space Development Corporation; and over 200 additional presenters and panelists.  Three members of the Mercury MESSENGER team will also be participating.

ISDC covers a number of broad topic areas organized into Program Tracks and sub-tracks.  One track garnering considerable interest is Space and Media, focusing on the effects of media on the public’s perception of space exploration.  Conference attendees will hear from some of the creative minds behind movies like Gravity, Oblivion, and Star Trek: Into Darkness, and the current hit television series COSMOS: A Spacetime Odyssey.  Other major tracks include Space Experience, Living in Space, NASA/Exploration, Mars, and Space Solar Power.

“ISDC 2014 is shaping up to be an amazing conference with an extraordinary group of talented speakers and panelists,” said Mark Hopkins, Chairman of the Executive Committee for the National Space Society.  “Some event seating is limited, so anyone interested in registering should act quickly.”

Online registration is currently open with a variety of options, from single day registration passes to full conference registration with meals.  Discounts are provided for youth, full-time students, seniors, and members of the National Space Society and its affiliates.

Visit http://isdc.nss.org/2014  for complete registration details and discount requirements.  For registration assistance, call 408-736-2363.  For information on exhibiting or participating, call 949-727-1211.

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National Space Society Congratulates SpaceX on the Success of CRS-3 and the First Flight of the Falcon 9R

The Washington DC-based National Space Society (NSS) congratulates SpaceX on the successful launch of Commercial Resupply Services 3 (CRS-3) from Cape Canaveral’s Space Launch Complex 40 (SLC-40) to the International Space Station (ISS) on April 18th at 3:25 pm EDT.  NSS Executive Senior Operating Officer Bruce Pittman said, “The successful reusability tests of the Falcon 9 v1.1 during the CRS-3 mission are a vital step on the path to dramatically reducing the cost of access to space.”

The National Space Society will present two special awards to SpaceX at their 2014 International Space Development Conference (ISDC).  Elon Musk, SpaceX Chief Designer and CTO, will accept the Robert A Heinlein Memorial Award.  Gwynne R. Shotwell, SpaceX President and Chief Operating Officer, will accept the Space Pioneer Award for the Entrepreneurial Business category.

The Dragon capsule berthed with the ISS at 9:06 AM EDT Sunday April 20th.  This is the first flight of the upgraded Falcon 9 v1.1 to the ISS, and the fourth overall flight of the v1.1 version.  In addition to carrying a record up mass (cargo) to the ISS, the Falcon 9 v1.1 demonstrated for the first time the unfolding of the landing legs on the first stage.   CRS-3 was part of a series of tests of reusable spacecraft technology that are planned to eventually lead to the full re-use of the Falcon 9.   If this occurs, it will drive a revolution in access to space via lowering launch costs.

The Dragon capsule pressurized area carried a record of one GLACIER and two MERLIN freezers for transporting experiment samples, a replacement Extravehicular Mobility Unit (EMU), or in everyday English, a spacesuit, plus additional supplies of food, water, and personal items.  The unpressurized Dragon trunk contained the Optical Payload for Lasercomm Science (OPALS) and the High Definition Earth Viewing (HDEV) package made up of four commercial HD cameras.  Dragon also brought VEG-01, a plant growth chamber to the ISS, where it will be used for experimental food production.

As expected for this early test flight, SpaceX did not recover the first stage, which “soft landed” in the ocean.  At this time it appears that CRS-3 met SpaceX’s reusability milestones, including first stage re-ignition to slow the first stage on its return.  Reusability tests of the Falcon 9 will continue throughout 2014, with a target of full first stage reuse by the end of 2014 or early 2015.

On Thursday April 17th the SpaceX Falcon 9R flew for the first time from McGregor, Texas, to a height of 250 m [VIDEO BELOW].  The Falcon 9R is a 3-engine successor to the single-engine “Grasshopper” and will continue the development of reusable SpaceX rocket technology.  Later this summer the Falcon 9R will move to Spaceport America in New Mexico for high-altitude test flights.

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Dr. John Lewis Wins National Space Society’s Space Pioneer Award for Science and Engineering

The National Space Society takes great pleasure in awarding a 2014 Space Pioneer Award in the Science and Engineering category to Dr. John S. Lewis.  This award is in recognition of his major contributions to the study of the formation and chemistry of asteroids and comets, and his effective work in explaining and promoting both the risks and benefits asteroids offer through his publications.  NSS will present the Space Pioneer Award to Dr. Lewis during the dinner on Thursday, May 15, at its annual conference, the 2014 International Space Development Conference (ISDC).  The conference will be held at the Sheraton Gateway Hotel in Los Angeles, CA. and will run from May 14-18, 2014.

About Dr. John S. Lewis:

Dr. John S. LewisDr. Lewis is Professor Emeritus of Planetary Sciences and Co-Director of the Space Engineering Research Center at the University of Arizona.  After his degree programs at Princeton, Dartmouth, and University of California at San Diego, he taught space science and cosmo-chemistry at MIT, before moving to the University of Arizona.  His work on the chemistry and composition of asteroids and comets has resulted in a series of significant scientific publications.  He has written 19 books, including graduate and undergraduate texts and popular science books.  He has authored over 150 scientific publications.

His clearly written popular books, (such as Rain of Iron and Ice: The Very Real Threat of Comet and Asteroid Bombardment; Mining the Sky: Untold Riches from the Asteroids, Comets and Planets; and Worlds Without End: The Exploration of Planets Known and Unknown) have contributed in a major way to public understanding of space dangers and space resources.  He began publishing on this topic when most people could not even conceive of using space resources.

It has always been a risk for professional scientists to write or communicate to the public though the popular media, even though competent communication in this area is always badly needed.  With the advent of both miniature space probes (allowing inexpensive investigation of asteroidal resources), and the imminent availability of reusable rockets (to reduce launch costs and thus allow high mass space operations), the prospect of actual recovery and use of space materials is now much more believable.  His association with Deep Space Industries as Chief Scientist underscores the new reality.  His service as a member of the NSS Board of Governors is also noted with appreciation.

About the Space Pioneer Award:

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 Michael Hall’s Studio Foundry of Driftwood, TX. There are several different categories under which the award is presented each year, starting in 1988. The NSS Awards Committee has been chaired by John Strickland since 2007 and its members seek prestigious award candidates on a continual basis.

About the ISDC: The International Space Development Conference (ISDC) is the annual conference of the National Space Society bringing together NSS leaders and members with leading managers, engineers, scientists, educators, and businessmen from civilian, military, commercial, entrepreneurial, and grassroots advocacy space sectors.

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