Astronaut Buzz Aldrin talks to “Face the Nation” about Mars this Sunday September 6th

In CBS’ first interview with the Apollo 11 astronauts on Face the Nation in 1969 (5-minute segment shown below), Buzz Aldrin discussed future goals for space exploration. Aldrin will be back on Face the Nation this Sunday September 6, 46 years later, to talk about his vision for Mars. Check local listings for times.

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.

Britain Adds Funds to Repurpose ESA ATV as Orion Service Module

ATV
European Space Agency (ESA) Automated Transfer Vehicle (ATV)
Image Credit: ESA / CNES / Arianespace / Photo optique video du CSG

The European Space Agency (ESA) announced they will inform NASA they are ready to build an ATV derived Service Module for Orion, to be ready for the first launch of the Space Launch System (SLS) in 2017. The announcement came after the UK stepped up with additional funding, marking the country’s first real human Beyond Earth Orbit (BEO) commitment.

Some Additional Reaction to Neil Armstrong's Death

From Hugh Downs, Chairman of the NSS Board of Governors: “News of Neil Armstrong’s passing is so shocking that there is no way it can be absorbed right away as reality. His position in history is deeper than that of any known discoverer or explorer in the history of  this planet. As the first human to land on any world outside the Earth, and probably the first living creature of any sort to come from the Earth and reach the Moon, his legacy will be safe as long as intelligent life survives in this corner of the cosmos.”

From Paul E. Damphousse, NSS Executive Director: “Humanity will one day become a truly space-faring species and millions of people will venture beyond the Earth. But Neil Armstrong will always be the first among us to set foot on another world. Today we mark his passing and celebrate his place in history. He was one of the giants upon whose shoulders we stand, and we will honor his legacy by continuing our efforts to move humanity into the cosmos.”

From Buzz Aldrin, fellow Apollo 11 Astronaut and member of the NSS Board of Governors: “I am deeply saddened by the passing of my good friend, and space exploration companion, Neil Armstrong today. As Neil, Mike Collins and I trained together for our historic Apollo 11 Mission, we understood the many technical challenges we faced, as well as the importance and profound implications of this historic journey. We will now always be connected as the crew of the Apollo 11 mission to the Moon, yet for the many millions who witnessed that remarkable achievement for humankind, we were not alone.

“Whenever I look at the Moon I am reminded of that precious moment, over four decades ago, when Neil and I stood on the desolate, barren, yet beautiful, Sea of Tranquility, looking back at our brilliant blue planet Earth suspended in the darkness of space, I realized that even though we were farther away from Earth than two humans had ever been, we were not alone. Virtually the entire world took that memorable journey with us. I know I am joined by many millions of others from around the world in mourning the passing of a true American hero and the best pilot I ever knew. My friend Neil took the small step but giant leap that changed the world and will forever be remembered as a historic moment in human history.”

From Charles Bolden, NASA Administrator: “On behalf of the entire NASA family, I would like to express my deepest condolences to Carol and the rest of Armstrong family on the passing of Neil Armstrong. As long as there are history books, Neil Armstrong will be included in them, remembered for taking humankind’s first small step on a world beyond our own.

“Besides being one of America’s greatest explorers, Neil carried himself with a grace and humility that was an example to us all. When President Kennedy challenged the nation to send a human to the Moon, Neil Armstrong accepted without reservation. As we enter this next era of space exploration, we do so standing on the shoulders of Neil Armstrong. We mourn the passing of a friend, fellow astronaut and true American hero.”

Family Statement Regarding the Death of Neil Armstrong

Neil Armstrong died today at the age of 82. His family released the following statement:

We are heartbroken to share the news that Neil Armstrong has passed away following complications resulting from cardiovascular procedures.

Neil was our loving husband, father, grandfather, brother and friend.

Neil Armstrong was also a reluctant American hero who always believed he was just doing his job. He served his Nation proudly, as a navy fighter pilot, test pilot, and astronaut. He also found success back home in his native Ohio in business and academia, and became a community leader in Cincinnati.

He remained an advocate of aviation and exploration throughout his life and never lost his boyhood wonder of these pursuits.

As much as Neil cherished his privacy, he always appreciated the expressions of good will from people around the world and from all walks of life.

While we mourn the loss of a very good man, we also celebrate his remarkable life and hope that it serves as an example to young people around the world to work hard to make their dreams come true, to be willing to explore and push the limits, and to selflessly serve a cause greater than themselves.

For those who may ask what they can do to honor Neil, we have a simple request. Honor his example of service, accomplishment and modesty, and the next time you walk outside on a clear night and see the Moon smiling down at you, think of Neil Armstrong and give him a wink.

NSS Mourns Sally Ride – First American Woman Astronaut

The National Space Society (NSS) mourns the death of Sally Ride, the first American female astronaut and, at the time of her first flight, the youngest as well. Ride passed away on Monday, July 23 after a 17-month battle with pancreatic cancer.

“Sally Ride was an extraordinary woman who spent almost her entire life as a role model to women and girls desiring to pursue careers in space and other STEM fields,” said Paul E. Damphousse, Executive Director of NSS. “She was an inspiration to many of us, men and women alike, desiring to open up the space frontier for exploration and settlement and her dedication and enthusiasm will be sorely missed by the entire space community.”

Ms. Ride was selected as one of the first five women in the astronaut corps in 1978 and her historic first flight into space took place on June 18, 1983 on board Challenger for the STS-7 mission, which deployed two communications satellites and conducted several scientific experiments. She returned to space as a member of STS-41G in 1984. A third mission for which she had been selected was cancelled after the Challenger accident in 1986. Sally Ride was the only person who served on the investigative commissions for both the Challenger and Columbia accidents.

“I remembered watching her launch with pride, and I had read and remembered her work on the Challenger commission when I met her,” said NSS Board of Governors member and CEO of XCOR Aerospace, Jeff Greason. “It was a privilege to work with her on the Augustine Committee. Her passion for education was clear and it was the subject she would turn to whenever we had a free moment. I am surprised and saddened to hear of her death.”

After a short tenure at NASA Headquarters as a special assistant to the NASA administrator for long-range and strategic planning, Ms. Ride became a highly respected physics professor at the University of California in San Diego in 1989. She founded Sally Ride Science in 2001, to pursue her long-time passion of motivating girls and young women to pursue careers in science, math and technology.

Ride was soft-spoken and not a fan of being in the limelight, although she executed her role as the first American female astronaut with grace and style. She also faced her illness in the same way, sharing it with few and spending her last days peacefully at home. We hope she is now soaring freely among the stars….

Sally Kristen Ride, 1951 – 2012

Sally Ride died peacefully on July 23rd, 2012 after a courageous 17-month battle with pancreatic cancer. Sally lived her life to the fullest, with boundless energy, curiosity, intelligence, passion, joy, and love. Her integrity was absolute; her spirit was immeasurable; her approach to life was fearless.

Sally was a physicist, the first American woman to fly in space, a science writer, and the president and CEO of Sally Ride Science. She had the rare ability to understand the essence of things and to inspire those around her to join her pursuits.

Sally’s historic flight into space captured the nation’s imagination and made her a household name. She became a symbol of the ability of women to break barriers and a hero to generations of adventurous young girls. After retiring from NASA, Sally used her high profile to champion a cause she believed in passionately—inspiring young people, especially girls, to stick with their interest in science, to become scientifically literate, and to consider pursuing careers in science and engineering.

In addition to Tam O’Shaughnessy, her partner of 27 years, Sally is survived by her mother, Joyce; her sister, Bear; her niece, Caitlin, and nephew, Whitney; her staff of 40 at Sally Ride Science; and many friends and colleagues around the country.

More information at www.sallyridescience.com.

NASA Gains Breathing Room On Commercial Crew Program

NASA has negotiated a continuation of its successful Space Acts Agreements (SAA) procedures for contracting and funding of the next phase of its Commercial Crew Program (CCP). The SAA has also been the process for NASA’s Commercial Orbital Transportation Services (COTS), which saw the flight of the SpaceX Dragon to the International Space Station (ISS) with cargo, and its return with science experiments and no longer needed space station equipment.

The deal, worked out between NASA Administrator Charles Bolden and the chairman of the House Appropriations subcommittee, Representative Frank Wolf (R-Va), will allow NASA to select 2.5 partners under the CCP using SAA rather than the more restrictive and cumbersome Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR). Wolf’s statement on his website was followed by a letter from Bolden.

The agreement allows the Commercial Crew Integrated Capability (CCiCAP) phase of CCP to proceed under SAA rules, but then commits NASA to using FAR procedures for certification and procurement of services.

There was also agreement to fund the program at the Senate level of $525 million, although Bolden in his letter urged the conference committee to fund the CCP at a higher level for 2013. The Administration had originally requested $836 million.

Contenders in the Commercial Crew arena include:

  • Space Exploration Technologies Corporation – SpaceX – Dragon
  • Sierra Nevada Corporation – SNC – Dream Chaser
  • Boeing – CST-100
  • Blue Origin – New Shepherd

NASA Administrator Places Call to ISS Following SpaceX Historic Feat

25 May 2012

WASHINGTON — NASA Administrator Charles Bolden offered his congratulations to the International Space Station Expedition 31 crew and mission flight control teams at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston and SpaceX’s headquarters in Hawthorne, Calif., following Friday’s successful first-time berthing of a commercial company spacecraft, SpaceX’s Dragon, to the space station.

Bolden talked with NASA astronauts Don Pettit and Joe Acaba, and European Space Agency astronaut Andre Kuipers during a call to the space station Friday afternoon live on NASA Television. Bolden told the crew, “You made history today and have firmly locked into place the future direction of America’s space program.”

John Glenn and Scott Carpenter Featured Guests for NSS 25th Anniversary Gala

The National Space Society is pleased to announce that Project Mercury astronauts, Senator John Glenn and Commander Scott Carpenter, will be the featured guests at the Society’s annual Governors’ Dinner and Gala being held at the National Air and Space Museum on the National Mall in Washington, DC on Friday, May 25, 2012.

This year marks the 50th anniversary of Glenn’s (February 20) and Carpenter’s (May 24) historic flights in 1962 as the first two American astronauts to orbit Earth.  Further, the National Space Society is celebrating the 25th anniversary of its founding due to the merger between the National Space Institute and the L5 Society in 1987.

“We are extremely honored that both Senator Glenn and Commander Carpenter will be joining us in Washington for this event,” said Paul Damphousse, NSS Executive Director.  “I can’t think of a better inspiration for those of us looking to build a new future in space than by recognizing the dedication and commitment of these two American heroes and the part they played in advancing U.S. space exploration and travel.”

At the dinner, Glenn and Carpenter each will receive NSS’s Space Pioneer Award for Historic Space Achievement and they have both been asked to speak briefly after the award ceremony.

The Governors’ Dinner and Gala is the highlight of the Society’s annual International Space Development Conference, taking place in Washington from May 24th through 28th at the Grand Hyatt Washington.  The Gala honors the NSS Board of Governors, a volunteer advisory board composed of outstanding individuals in the fields of science, engineering, the arts, government, the press, business, law, medicine, and other professions and occupations, and individuals who have made outstanding contributions to the Society or its goals. Current members of the Board of Governors include former astronauts Buzz Aldrin, Jim Lovell, Frank Borman, and Harrison Schmitt, as well as celebrities Hugh Downs, Tom Hanks and Tom Cruise.

Tickets for the 25th Anniversary Governors’ Dinner and Gala will go on sale April 1.  Please be sure to visit the ISDC 2012 web page at isdc.nss.org/2012, as we will continue to post updates on conference and Gala information.  You may also “Like” our page on Facebook www.facebook.com/NSSISDC, follow us on Twitter, or join the International Space Development Conference group on Linked In.

About ISDC: The International Space Development Conference is the annual conference of the National Space Society.  ISDC 2012 will take place at the Grand Hyatt Hotel in Washington, DC from May 24 through 28, 2012. ISDC brings together a diverse group of NASA officials, aerospace industry leaders and interested private citizens to engage in discussions about today’s prevalent space issues in order to stimulate innovation and overcome the obstacles that hinder human advancement off the Earth.