Ad Astra magazine ONLINE (a special, limited, one-time “engagement”)!

The National Space Society is proud of its award-winning magazine, Ad Astra (“to the Stars”).  Ad Astra features the latest news and commentary about space exploration, development, and settlement, with stunning full color photographs.

As a way to show its appreciation to its loyal members for their continued support, as well as to “spread the word” to the greater community about the benefits of membership in the Society, NSS (for a limited time only) is making one full issue of Ad Astra available online to its members, as well as to anyone who registers on its website.  (Such registration is free and without obligation.)  Please follow the link below to review the full Spring 2009 issue:

NSS hopes that its members and registered users will enjoy this special, limited, one-time opportunity, and will also provide it with their feedback as to this online version of Ad Astra.

The Washington Post on Space Commercialization

Spaced Out NASA’s vision for human exploration needs some hard questions and perhaps an entrepreneurial boost in the Washington Post

Now that the station is nearly complete, this might be an optimal time to open space to entrepreneurs. Many companies claim they possess the capacity to transport humans and payloads into space; the review committee found their reports convincing enough to suggest that these space entrepreneurs could take over the transport of astronauts and supplies to the space station after the shuttle program ends.

Asteroid Defense

Scientists design spacecraft to save Earth A spacecraft capable of saving the world from a catastrophic asteroid collision has been designed by British space scientists.

Now, a team of British engineers have designed a real-life spacecraft to save the world from destruction.  Their invention, called a “gravity tractor”, would be deployed when an orbiting rock is detected on a collision course with Earth.

ARPA-E Seeks Public Input

Tell the government about space solar power.

Request for Information

Program: Advanced Research Project Agency – Energy (ARPA-E)

Release Date: August 31, 2009

Deadline for Responses: September 25, 2009, 5:00PM EST

Submission Method: Responses are to be submitted as email attachments sent to

Objective: The Advanced Research Projects Agency – Energy (ARPA-E) seeks public and stakeholder input on 1) programmatic areas well suited for support by ARPA-E and 2) specific scientific and technological opportunities to overcome key technological roadblocks to the development of widely market deployable transformational technologies relevant to the ARPA-E mission. The information collected through this process will assist ARPA-E in developing potential programs and funding opportunities.

Japan to Spend $21 Billion on SSP

Japan Plans $21 Billion Solar Space Post to Power 294,000 Homes by Ariel Schwartz in Inhabitat.

The concept of space-based solar power was introduced way back in 1968, but it’s only recently that the world has latched on to the idea. Japan is definitely getting in on the action with its latest spacey plan – a $21 billion solar-powered generator in the heavens to produce one gigawatt of energy, or enough to power 294,000 homes.

Mitsubishi, IHI to Join $21 Bln Space Solar Project (Update1) By Shigeru Sato and Yuji Okada

Sept. 1 (Bloomberg) — Mitsubishi Electric Corp.and IHI Corp. will join a 2 trillion yen ($21 billion) Japanese project intending to build a giant solar-power generator in space within three decades and beam electricity to earth.

Alan W. Dowd on The Gap

Surrendering Outer Space-America yields the high ground – By Alan W. Dowd in Policy Review published by the Hoover Institution.

What if, in the midst of the epic contest to explore and colonize the New World, Britain — the greatest seafaring power of its day — had to mothball its naval fleet and rely on other countries to transport British men and material across the oceans?

This much we know: With British subjects, ideas, and goods tethered to a little island off the coast of Europe, Britain and the world would be very different today.

Something not too dissimilar is about to happen in the heavens, as the United States prepares to retire its fleet of space shuttles. For almost 30 years, the venerable, if imperfect, space plane has been America’s workhorse in space, carrying astronauts, scientific experiments, and satellites into orbit, painstakingly building the International Space Station, and just as important, reviving America’s self-confidence and reinforcing America’s image as a pioneering nation. But by 2010, with the fleet grounded due to budget, age, and safety concerns, America will have no way of delivering its own astronauts into space. The hiatus could last almost 5 years.

America and the world — and space — could be very different by then.

Registration Opened for the 2010 Spirit of Innovation Awards

The Conrad Foundation, a non-profit science-education and entrepreneurship advocacy organization, announced that it has opened registration for the 2010 Spirit of Innovation Awards. This competition challenges teams of high school students to create innovative products in four categories: aerospace exploration, space nutrition, renewable energy and green schools. Competing students will be guided through a phased pathway incorporating science, technology, design, marketing and business in an interdisciplinary, project-based product development experience. Teams will be provided the opportunity to meet with and learn from professional scientists and entrepreneurs who will advise them on how to commercialize their products for general market use. Awards are provided to the schools, teachers, and students for the top product designs. Teams and their coaches will compete for more than $100,000 in prize money, opportunities to present their products to world level leaders in business and industry, an opportunity to become a Pete Conrad Scholar, and annual memberships to the ConradFoundation and its official partners, including Sigma Xi, the science and engineering research society, the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA), and the National Science Teachers Association (NSTA).

“The Conrad Foundation is poised for another successful year for the Spirit of Innovation Awards as we work to bring the tools for success to a new generation of innovators,” said Nancy Conrad, Founder of the Conrad Foundation. “We are bridging the gap between the greatest minds of today and the brightest minds of tomorrow, and together our teams of innovators are designing the future.”

Registration for the 2010 Spirit of Innovation Awards begins today, and will remain open until December 15, 2009 when all team submissions are due. The Spirit of Innovation Summit and Final Competition will take place on April 8 – April 12, 2010 at the NASA – Ames Research Center in Mountain View, California. During this event teams are introduced to leaders in business, industry, science, technology and work in a collaborative, peer-to-peer environment to refine their product concepts. Selected teams are invited to participate in the Conrad Portal and are offered the opportunity to commercialize their products. Recommendations and consultation on interdisciplinary educational pathways and product commercialization will be provided by theConrad Foundation’s official advisory partners: AIAA (Aerospace), Sigma Xi (Science) and NSTA (Education).

Spirit of Innovation Awards

Hopkins on The Inevitability of Space Settlement

The Inevitability of Space Settlement by Mark Hopkins

It is only a matter of time before the large scale move into space begins. It is the goal of NSS and more generally the Space Movement for this to occur sooner rather than later.

According to Michael Griffin, former NASA Administrator, “One day, I don’t know when, but one day, there will be more humans living off Earth than on it” (February 2006). NSS looks forward to that day.