Reach for the Stars ~ National Rocket Competition is an exciting STEM Challenge for Kids

Everyone agrees – we need to get more kids interested in STEM careers. National Space Society is doing its part by lending support to the Reach for the Stars ~ National Rocket Competition. In this year’s contest, students are gearing up to build and launch a solid-fuel powered rocket. This is a fantastic way to turn kids on to the STEM subjects. Nothing lends itself to Science, Technology, Engineering and Math like a launch. After all – this is rocket science!

rocket competitionThe five national winners in the 2015-2016 Reach for the Stars ~ National Rocket Competition will be celebrating in grand fashion this Saturday, October 15, under an October Sky event at Space Camp / US Space & Rocket Center in Huntsville, Alabama. Each winner will receive a Space Shuttle Challenger commemorative medal and a certificate signed by Astronaut Jon McBride. Captain McBride piloted the Challenger on her early missions. The winners get to conduct a victory launch of their rockets from Homer Hickam Field – named after NASA engineer and author of the memoir, Rocket Boys that became the movie October Sky. NSS Director Ronnie Lajoie will also present students with a congratulatory certificate from the National Space Society.

The only thing more exciting than a rocket launch – is a rocket competition. And, excitement is building for the 11th annual competition, 2016-2017. Open for ages 10 to 18 – competitions are being hosted across the USA by schools, YMCAs, Scouts, Challenger Learning Centers, 4-H, Boys & Girls Clubs and other youth groups. Held at their own location, there is no travel expense or hassle to compete. It is fun, affordable and easy to run.

The Competition honors the memory of Christa McAuliffe, 1st Teacher-in-Space. Everyone involved in the Competition receives a certificate that bears Christa’s likeness and her quote, “Push yourself as far as you can. Reach for the stars!” The background of the certificates is the artwork of astronaut and moonwalker, Alan Bean.

Ten astronauts recommend this competition. Several have presented medals to the national winners. Two, US Senator Bill Nelson and Kennedy Space Center Director Bob Cabana, encourage the kids in video clips prepared especially for the competitors.

Contestants will compete at an event held in their area. After two launches and parachute landings, the closest average distance from an on-field target wins. Local winners’ results are sent to the national headquarters to determine the five national winners.

Competition director, Jack Colpas says, “We promise the national winners – memories to last a lifetime and bragging rights for generations to come. Launching their rockets from a historical location and receiving a medal presented by an astronaut allows us to fulfill our promise.”

This year’s competitions are already beginning to be held across the country. Local competitions can be held anytime throughout the year. Your kids can’t win it – if they’re not in it!

For photos and more details about the competition go to

Elon Musk talk “Making Humans a Multiplanetary Species” to be webcast September 27

On Tuesday September 27, on the second day of the International Astronautical Congress (IAC) in Guadalajara, Mexico, Elon Musk will deliver a special keynote presentation on “Making Humans a Multiplanetary Species.”

Musk will discuss the long-term technical challenges that need to be solved to support the creation of a permanent, self-sustaining human presence on Mars. The technical presentation will focus on potential architectures for colonizing the Red Planet that industry, government and the scientific community can collaborate on in the years ahead.

The presentation is scheduled for one hour beginning at 2:30 PM Eastern Daylight Time, 1:30 PM Central Daylight Time (Guadalajara), 12:30 PM Mountain Daylight Time, and 11:30 AM Pacific Daylight Time.

This and other IAC plenary sessions will be webcast on this direct link to IAC webcasts on For a schedule of other sessions see the IAC website plenaries and highlight lectures page.

Olympus Mons

Image courtesy SpaceX

Agile Aero CEO Jeff Greason to Receive the National Space Society’s 2016 Space Pioneer Award for Entrepreneurial Business

Jeff GreasonNational Space Society governor Jeff Greason is the winner of the Society’s 2016 Space Pioneer Award for Entrepreneurial Business. This award recognizes Jeff’s successes in founding and helping manage and direct technical work at XCOR and other entrepreneurial space companies. It also recognizes his bold spirit in founding Agile Aero, Inc., a new company that will seek to break through a rapid prototyping barrier that has slowed aerospace development for the last several decades.

Jeff will accept the award on May 21 at the National Space Society’s 2016 International Space Development Conference® ( This will be the 35th ISDC and will be held in San Juan, Puerto Rico, at the Sheraton Puerto Rico Hotel and Casino. The conference will run from May 18-22, 2016.

Jeff presented a memorable speech regarding the future of space settlement at the 2011 ISDC in Huntsville. That speech (with transcript) can be viewed here and has over 11,000 views so far:

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 left, 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. 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, citizen astronaut Anouseh Ansari, Dr. Kip Thorne, and the European Space Agency (ESA) Rosetta mission team.

About Jeff Greason

Jeff Greason sits on the NSS Board of Governors and is a recent co-founder and new CEO of Agile Aero, Inc., a company targeting rapid prototyping capabilities for aerospace vehicles. Jeff’s achievements include being one of the four co-founders of XCOR (where he is also a board member) and leading the engineering team that developed ten different long-life, highly-reusable liquid-fueled rocket engines, a low-cost liquid propellant piston pump, and two manned reusable rocket aircraft – the EZ-Rocket and other similar vehicles. Agile Aero (, which he recently founded with several other XCOR employees, is intended to help speed up the typically long vehicle development process which strains the finances and resources of many aerospace companies. He expects the results to aid other aerospace companies in making their visions a reality. The company is located in Midland, TX. Jeff was also a member of the President’s Human Space Flight Review (Augustine II) Committee in 2009.

California Aerospace Days 2016 in Sacramento

On Tuesday, March 1, 12 noon to 5 pm, a number of Aerospace companies will have corporate exhibits and information about their STEM programs on the West Steps of the State Capitol in Sacramento as a part of California Aerospace Days. The Sacramento Chapter of NSS is supporting this event.

Participating exhibitors including Boeing, Northrup Grumman, Lockheed Martin and Aerojet Rocketdyne. NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory will be present as well, highlighting their 20 years of seeking “Exoplanets” and the Juno mission’s arrival at Jupiter. There will also be a flight simulator.


  • 12:00 PM – 5:00 PM: Public viewing of Aerospace Exhibition on West Steps
  • 1:00 – 1:45 PM: Importance and Promotion of Advanced Technology Start-ups and Small Businesses
  • 2:00 – 2:45 PM: Comprehensive Briefing on Aerospace Economic Study – Los Angeles EDC & San Diego EDC
  • 3:00 – 3:45 PM: Issues and Challenges Facing Aerospace Suppliers
  • 4:00 – 4:45 PM: FAA & NASA Briefing on Unmanned Aircraft Systems (drone) integration into the National Airspace System

International Space Development Conference (ISDC) 2016

The National Space Society invites you to come to ISDC 2016, where you’ll be immersed in bleeding-edge technologies and bold business models, rub shoulders with astronauts, and meet those able to help accelerate your own efforts to reach beyond borders…and beyond Earth.

The International Space Development Conference (ISDC) is the preeminent gathering place for people all around the world who seek to accelerate our pursuits beyond Earth. The conference brings together aerospace-industry leaders and startups, space exploration pioneers, academic thought leaders, and space supporters young and old – all united by a common goal to explore and develop space for the benefit of humankind.

With a theme of “Space Beyond Borders,” ISDC 2016 will be held in the beautiful island of Puerto Rico. International attendees will engage with a young, bilingual, educated, local workforce eager to increase its engagement in global space development efforts. Our theme also celebrates the increasingly collaborative, multidisciplinary, and interconnected nature of space development in the twenty-first century. Furthermore, “Space Beyond Borders” presents current space programs, cutting-edge aerospace technology and innovative projects and features astronauts and other pioneers.


New Worlds 2015, October 16 and 17 in Austin

The Alliance for Space Development, of which the National Space Society is a member, is a cosponsor of the October 16-17 New Worlds 2015 conference in Austin, TX. ASD and NSS Board Member Al Globus will be one of the speakers and will host the free-space settlement session. Members of ASD member organizations (that includes NSS) can get a 25% discount by using a promotional code: speakerglo15. This code is good for the first 150 applicants who use it.

New Worlds 2015 is the first comprehensive gathering of the people, companies and institutions that will open space to human development and settlement.  New Worlds 2015 will include academic sessions, interactive discussions and business presentations, blended with education, and the art, vision and the culture of the New Frontier.

New Worlds 2015 is the inaugural annual space conference and celebration presented by the New Worlds Institute. Featuring top level academic sessions on such topics as space habitats, resources, transportation systems and international policy, New Worlds brings together the best of the best when it comes to those setting our course towards the Moon, Mars and the Free Space between worlds, from NASA to commercial New Space companies. In parallel, specialized workshops and a cutting-edge student design competition and educational program will create a fully rounded experience that can speak to and inspire people of all types and all generations.

Unlike any other space conference ever, New Worlds, while built on a foundation of hard-core science and engineering, is also a celebration. Including art and music with diverse events ranging from recognizing those educating the next generation to an electronic dance festival that will inspire the next generation. It creates a platform for the heroes and experts who got us where we are today in space to inspire new ideas and concepts in the minds of those who will disrupt today’s conception of what tomorrow can be.

More information:  New Worlds 2015.

NSS/SFF August 2015 Home District Legislative Blitz – Sign Up Now!

The National Space Society (NSS) is organizing jointly with the Space Frontier Foundation (SFF) a “home district” blitz during August when Congress is in recess and members of Congress are most probably in their home districts. The themes for the blitz include supporting Commercial Crew, advocating for a gapless transition from the ISS to commercial space stations, supporting the “Space Exploration, Development, and Settlement Act” (SEDS Act) and protecting the Earth against asteroids and comets. Three of these four items are in support of the 2015 Campaign of the Alliance for Space Development.

Signup to the August Blitz this year is via google forms. Signup is open to anyone who wants to join, as this is a joint NSS/SFF activity. In other words, you do not need to be an NSS or SFF member to participate. However, you MUST fill out the google form. Please distribute this link to the google form to anyone you know who you think might be interested. Send email to with any questions.

The materials for the August Blitz are now available. They include:

It is planned to set up Contact team leaders on August 1st. The exact date of Congressional recess is still unclear, but is at least one or two weeks in the future from July 29, 2015.

You should read the first three bulleted items above as soon as you can. Please send any questions to and answers will be circulated to all participants. Please circulate the Blitz FAQ to anyone who may be interested in signing up. Remind them to fill out the google form if they have not yet done so.

Thanks to all who are helping,

Dale Skran
Chair, NSS Policy Committee
Chair, NSS/SFF August Home District Blitz

NSS of North Texas and “Moon Day” on July 18, 2015

Moon Day 2015

Over the last seven years, NSS of North Texas, in conjunction with the Frontiers of Flight Museum in Dallas has created the largest annual space exposition in the State of Texas. This year, the event features a live Uplink with the ISS, solar telescopes, three inflatable planetariums, robots, teacher workshops, three dozen exhibitors, over twenty hours of classes and lectures, Scout patches and the renowned Lunar Sample Bags — swag bags used to distribute a half ton of space informational materials to young visitors each year. Organized each year by former chapter president Ken Murphy, the event has become a showcase for space-related educational resources in North Texas with an increasing focus on STEM activities. It has also established NSS of North Texas as a credible source for high-quality space content in support of local community activities.

Details for the 2015 Moon Day event.

Dr. Kip Thorne, Renowned Physicist and Executive Producer of film Interstellar, to Speak at International Space Development Conference®

Conference convenes May 20-24 in downtown Toronto

The National Space Society’s 34th Annual International Space Development Conference (ISDC)®, being held next week in Toronto, Canada, features a presentation by famed physicist and author Dr. Kip Thorne. The National Space Society will present the 2015 Space Pioneer Award for Mass Media to Dr. Thorne at the ISDC Gala Dinner on Saturday, May 23, beginning at 7:00 p.m. EDT.

The award recognizes individuals whose accomplishments have helped open the space frontier and whose work has contributed significantly to the endeavor of developing a spacefaring civilization beyond Earth.

Dr. Thorne will also give a presentation entitled “The Science of Interstellar” on Saturday at 3:30 p.m. EDT. Among those attending the presentation will be over 300 award-winning students from around the world who are participants in the NSS/NASA Ames Space Settlement Design Competition. Students from last year’s competition appeared in Interstellar’s companion series The Science of Interstellar. Video clip:

Kip ThorneDr. Thorne is a theoretical physicist and an author known for his contributions in gravitational physics and astrophysics. He was the Feynman Professor of Theoretical Physics at the California Institute of Technology from 1977 to 2009 and is considered one of the world’s leading experts on the astrophysical implications of Einstein’s general theory of relativity. In 2009, he left Caltech to ramp up a new career in writing, movies, and continued scientific research. Along with his distinguished career as a theoretical physicist, Dr. Thorne was an executive producer and scientific consultant on the 2014 Academy Award-winning film Interstellar, which was inspired by his work.

ISDC is the yearly conference of the National Space Society, a nonprofit organization that has hosted the gathering since 1982. The event is set for May 20-24, 2015 at the downtown Hyatt Regency in Toronto, Canada. The conference brings together leading managers, engineers, scientists, educators, and business people from civilian, military, commercial, entrepreneurial, and grassroots advocacy space sectors. The Canadian Space Commerce Association is hosting this year’s ISDC.

Online registration for the 34th Annual International Space Development Conference 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.

For more information, visit

Renowned Astronauts & Space Experts On-Board for 2015 International Space Development Conference® in Toronto

Moon Walker Buzz Aldrin leads stellar list of guest speakers

The 34th annual International Space Development Conference® (ISDC® 2015) is set for May 20-24, 2015 at the downtown Hyatt Regency in Toronto, Canada. The event is this year’s best opportunity to meet and learn from leaders on the cutting edge of concepts shaping the future of life on Earth and in space.

ISDC® is the yearly conference of the National Space Society, a nonprofit organization that has hosted the gathering since 1982. The Canadian Space Commerce Association is hosting ISDC® 2015. The International Space Development Conference® is unique in bringing together members of the general public with space activists, scientists, engineers, educators, astronauts, aerospace industry leaders, and government officials for one purpose: to explore humanity’s future in space.

An exciting array of distinguished guest speakers is set to share their experiences and insights with conference attendees, led by Apollo 11 astronaut and ShareSpace Foundation founder Buzz Aldrin. The second man to walk on the Moon, Aldrin also serves on the National Space Society’s Board of Governors.

A still-growing list of featured speakers at ISDC® 2015 includes:

  • Christopher J. Ferguson, former NASA astronaut and veteran of three space shuttle missions.
  • Marc Garneau, Member of the Canadian Parliament and the first Canadian Astronaut in space.
  • Lori Garver, General Manager of the Air Line Pilots Association and former NASA Deputy Administrator.
  • Li Ming, Vice President of the China Academy of Space Technology.
  • Geoff Notkin, world-renowned meteorite expert and star of TV’s Meteorite Men.
  • George Whitesides, CEO of Virgin Galactic, a U.S. commercial spaceflight company.

ISDC speakers

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