Participate in the International SunSat Competition – Over $40,000 in Prizes Will Be Awarded!

The National Space Society in affiliation with Ohio University is pleased to announce that the International SunSat Design Competition is now registering competitive teams.  This two-year project is designed to link global scientific communities with university-based (and other) digital media labs for the purposes of advancing knowledge of space-based solar power satellites (SunSats) and illustrating their many Earth-energy applications.

International SunSat Competition

If you are a space scientist, engineer, academic, business or digital media professional with an idea for moving space solar power closer to implementation, consider forming a team to join in this effort. And please forward this message to others.

In the first cycle of this competition, two First Place prizes of $10,000 and three Second Place prizes of $5,000 are expected to be awarded at the May 2014 International Space Development Conference in Los Angeles. For registered teams successfully completing the Feb. 2014 “significant progress point,” an additional $1,000 incentive can be earned, and $1,000 travel assistance will be awarded to winners.

Winning entries of 2014 and 2015 will be published in the Space Journal as Issue No.18: Top SSP Designs.

To learn more, check  the SunSat Visualization Guidebook and look at the SunSat Design Competition website.

To see where the idea of a SSP Design Competition came from, take a look at SpaceJournal Issue No.16: Solar Power Satellites.

To see how Ohio University’s Game Research in Immersive Design (GRID) Lab, with the help of Georgia Institute of Technology, University of North Dakota and others in academia, has experimented with making the advanced science and technology concepts of SSP more accessible to the public, view SpaceJournal Issue No.17: Creative Visualization of Space Solar Power.

This competition is managed by Ohio University, the host institution for the Online Journal of Space Communication, but guided and juried by members of the National Space Society and the Society of Satellite Professionals International.

NSS Partners with Explore Mars for 2013 Humans to Mars (H2M) Summit

We are pleased to announce that NSS is a partner organization for the Humans to Mars Summit (H2M). Co-sponsored by Explore Mars and the Space Policy Institute of George Washington University, H2M will be held on May 6-8, 2013 at the Lisner Auditorium at George Washington University in Washington, DC.  H2M is a comprehensive Mars exploration conference to address the major technical, scientific, and policy related challenges that need to be overcome to send humans to Mars by 2030.

“Mars beckons and we intend to answer the call.  NSS is excited to partner with Explore Mars and the H2M Summit to advance the human experience to the red planet,” said Paul Damphousse, NSS Executive Director.

Stated Chris Carberry, Executive Director of Explore Mars, “Our goal is to have one of the most authoritative and diverse Mars exploration conferences ever held.  We will involve key players from NASA, industry (including both established aerospace leaders as well as newer commercial space entities), the science community, and non-traditional players.”

Topics include: robotic and human pre-cursor missions; launch systems; Mars transit challenges; human factors; entry, descent and landing; in situ resource utilization; space suit design; surface power; science goals; and many other topics. H2M will also discuss space policy, as well as ways to stimulate private sector participation in Mars exploration.

Tentative speakers include:

Dr. Doug McCuistion (NASA: Director, Mars Exploration Program)
Dr. James Garvin (NASA: Chief Scientist, Goddard Space Flight Center)
Andrew Chaikin (Author/Historian)
Dr. David Beaty (NASA JPL: Chief Scientist, Mars Exploration Directorate)
Michael Raftery (Boeing: ISS Deputy Program Manager)
Joe Cassady (Aerojet: Executive Director, Advanced Programs Engineering)
Dr. Chris McKay (NASA Ames: Planetary Scientist)
And many others…

To take advantage of the special $95.00 “Pre-Launch” registration today and save money before the registration fee increases after September 12, 2012, register here.

Additional Keynote Meal Speakers Announced for ISDC

We are pleased to announce that the following individuals have been confirmed as featured meal speakers for the 2012 International Space Development Conference later this month:

Mark Sirangelo, Chairman, Sierra Nevada Space Systems, as the Keynote Speaker at the 25th Anniversary Governors Dinner and Gala on Friday, May 25th. Mr. Sirangelo will also present the Space Pioneer Awards to John Glenn and Scott Carpenter.

Michael Lopez-Alegria, President, Commercial Spaceflight Federation, as the Keynote Luncheon Speaker on Saturday, May 26th.

Rick Tumlinson, Founder, The EarthLight Institute, as the Keynote Luncheon Speaker on Sunday, May 27th.

These speakers supplement previously-announced Keynote Speakers:  Charles Bolden, NASA Administrator, and Lori Garver, Deputy NASA Administrator, Eric Anderson of Planetary Resources, Inc., and Jeff Greason, President of XCOR Aerospace.

For more information on these noted individuals, as well as all of our other featured speakers and VIPs, please visit the ISDC Speakers and VIPs page. If you haven’t yet registered for ISDC 2012, please visit the registration page today. Registration rates go up on May 21 and the last day to register for these and all other ISDC meals is May 20.

1st Space Solar Power International Student and Young Professional Design Competition

The Space Generation Advisory Council is announcing a partnership with the International Astronautical Federation’s Space Power Committee (SPC) to organise and run the 1st Space Solar Power International Student and Young Professional Design Competition.

The competition aims to challenge entrants to submit a technical paper for a new and innovative technical concept for Space Solar Power (SSP).

SSP, in its typical implementation and for the purposes of this competition, is the idea of transmitting power harvested from the sun in space down to Earth.

The winning entrant will be given up to $2000 USD to cover travel costs to to Naples, Italy to present their paper at the 2012 Space Generation Congress (SGC) and to present a poster at the International Astronautical Congress (IAC).

The competition aims to challenge entrants, in this case individuals and small teams (1-3 people) between the ages of 18-35, to submit a technical paper for a new and innovative technical concept for Space Solar Power (SSP). SSP, in its typical implementation and for the purposes of this competition, is the idea of transmitting power harvested from the sun in space down to Earth.

The entrant shall describe in technical detail their idea on a new SSP technical concept taking into consideration the use of current or realistic near-future technologies in a single technical paper (maximum length of 10 pages).

The competition is intentionally broad. Contestants should attempt to understand the scientific, engineering, economic and social challenges involved.

The submitted papers will be judged based on, but not only, aspects such as originality, feasibility, economic viability or novelty with previously proposed concepts.

After the competition’s results announcement, the winning entry will be requested to prepare a 3 to 5 min long executive summary video as well as both IAC and SGC presentations.

Submission Deadline: 1st July 2012 (23:59 UTC)

Winners Announced: 17th August 2012

For more information please read the SSP Competition Rules.

Buzz Aldrin Presents NSS Space Pioneer Award on Colbert Report May 3

On Thursday, May 3, Buzz Aldrin, Apollo XI Astronaut and Member of the NSS Board of Governors, presented a 2012 Space Pioneer Award for Mass Media to Stephen Colbert on The Colbert Report on the Comedy Central cable network.

Colbert is receiving the award in recognition for his unceasing promotion of “space tourism, space development, NASA programs, and the use of private enterprise for better access to space”, all of which are supported by NSS.  He frequently interviews astronauts, space entrepreneurs and scientists, demonstrating that it is possible to inform the public on serious space topics in a comedic setting.

Colbert is probably best known in the space community for his campaign to name a new space station node that actually resulted in the naming of a space station treadmill after him.  The Combined Operational Load Bearing External Resistance Treadmill, or C.O.L.B.E.R.T. for short, is located in the Tranquility node of the ISS, the node that was the subject of the naming competition.  Colbert received the most votes; however NASA decided to name the node after the Sea of Tranquility, site of the Apollo XI moon landing.

NSS Executive Director Paul E. Damphousse, Stephen Colbert, and lunar astronaut Buzz Aldrin.

Why Explore Space Video Contest

The Coalition for Space Exploration is sponsoring a video contest to communicate why space matters. Deadline for submission is May 19.

Do you have “The Right Stuff” to make an inspirational and thought provoking video with “Deep Impact” about the critical importance of why America must continue to explore space?

Could YOUR vision for why space matters, coupled with your storytelling capabilities create the next “Space Odyssey?”

Will your video excite the American public about space exploration and how it makes our lives exponentially better each day?

Enter the contest HERE.
• Video submissions should be no longer than: 120 seconds.
• The video submission can be a produced piece or handheld video format.
• One submission per person.
• Contest is open to residents of the U.S. only age 13 and up.
• Sharing and distribution of your submission is encouraged.
• The winner will be selected by the organizer with number of public votes used as the key selection criteria.
• The winner will receive a 64gb iPad 3, smart pad cover and a 2-year Apple digital protection plan with a retail value of $967.

NSS Executive Director Addresses Media at Next-Generation Suborbital Researchers Conference

National Space Society Executive Director Paul E. Damphousse addresses the media at the 3rd annual Next-Generation Suborbital Researchers Conference (NSRC) today in Palo Alto, CA.

“The NSRC has quickly become the premier event for the advancement of research activity within the burgeoning suborbital community,” Damphousse said. “We at NSS feel this compelling new sector, while opening up new research opportunities, will have an even greater impact on advancing low-cost access to space through routine and repeatable missions. These missions will advance the technologies and techniques needed in our ultimate quest to become a spacefaring civilization – NSS is proud to support these efforts.”

About NSRC: A new generation of space vehicles capable of economically delivering payloads and researchers is coming on line in 2012 and 2013. These vehicles will revolutionize space access by providing frequent, low-cost access to space, and the capability to carry research and education crew members, thereby simplifying and further reducing the cost of experimentation in space. They will also carry automated experiments for technology and TRL (Technology Readiness Level) demonstrations, and for atmospheric science, solar physics, microgravity science, planetary science, space life science, space physics, and education and public outreach (EPO).

NSRC-2012 brings together researchers from government, industry, and academia and provides a forum for researchers, educators, and other users to learn about the research and EPO capabilities of these new systems, their experiments, and EPO integration processes. NSRC-2012 will also provide the user community for these vehicles a key opportunity to make inputs on vehicle design and operational requirements. For more information go to

Day of Remembrance

The last week of January includes an annual observance to remember those who lost their lives in pursuing a goal of human spaceflight.

President Obama said on January 26: “It is important to remember that pushing the boundaries of space requires great courage and has come with a steep price three times in our Nation’s history – for the crews of Apollo 1 and the space shuttles Challenger and Columbia. The loss of these pioneers is felt every day by their family, friends, and colleagues, but we take comfort in the knowledge that their spirit will continue to inspire us to new heights.

“Today, our Nation is pursuing an ambitious path that honors these heroes, builds on their sacrifices, and promises to expand the limits of innovation as we venture farther into space than we have ever gone before. The men and women who lost their lives in the name of space exploration helped get us to this day, and it is our duty to honor them the way they would have wanted to be honored – by focusing our sights on the next horizon.”

On Thursday, Charlie Bolden, NASA Administrator laid a wreath at Arlington Cemetery and said, “This last week of January, as we do every year, the NASA family honors those who have lost their lives carrying out our missions and pays tribute to their lives and memories.

“So on this Day of Remembrance, we honor the Apollo 1, Challenger and Columbia crews, as well as other members of the NASA family who died supporting NASA’s mission of exploration. We thank them and their families for their extraordinary sacrifices in the service of our nation.”