The International Space Elevator Consortium (ISEC) 2017 Space Elevator Conference

This annual event will be held at the Museum of Flight in Seattle, Washington from Friday, August 25th through Sunday, August 27th.

Come experience learning, brainstorming, and international collaboration in an atmosphere of history, invention, and discovery! A Family Science Fest day will be held in conjunction with the conference.

The theme of this year’s conference is the “Space Elevator Simulations.” Papers will be presented on this and other space-elevator related topics. There will be a miniworkshop on Space Elevator Simulations (which is also the 2017 ISEC Study topic), a mini-workshop on the Next Space Elevator Research Projects, as well as the everpopular Shotgun Science Session where conference attendees can present their ideas.

Space Elevator

ISEC is proud to announce that the keynote speaker at the technical conference this year is Dr. David Raitt. Dr. Raitt will present a talk on history and how it leads to the future. Dr. Raitt served as Senior Technology Transfer Officer for the European Space Agency’s R&D division and is editor of the book recently published by ISEC on the history of space elevators.

The Space Elevator is one of the most magnificent engineering projects ever conceived. It promises abundant access to space and a multitude of benefits for humanity. Come to the conference and hear presentations and join discussions with people who are working to make space elevators a reality!

The Family Science Fest on Saturday, August 26th will also be held at the Museum of Flight. This event is open to the public (no registration required) and is included in the museum admission price. The Family Science Fest includes Space Elevator 101 and 201 presentations, a youth robotics competition, exhibits from science organizations and clubs, and much more.

More details of the conference program and the Family Science Fest events are posted at http://spaceelevatorconference.org, including information on registration for the technical conference. Registration for the technical conference closes August 17th.

The International Space Elevator Consortium (an affiliate of the National Space Society) is composed of individuals and organizations from around the world who share a vision of a world with inexpensive, safe, routine, and efficient access to space for the benefit of all mankind. The ISEC Mission is to promote the development, construction and operation of a Space Elevator (SE) Infrastructure as a revolutionary and efficient way to space for all humanity. To learn more about ISEC, please visit their website at http://www.isec.org.

International Astronautical Congress 2016 in Guadalajara, Mexico

IAC

Text and photos by Alla Malko, PhD

On September 26, 2016 3,000 delegates from 80 countries gathered in Guadalajara, Mexico, for the 67th International Astronautical Congress. The theme of this year’s congress was “Making space accessible and affordable to all countries.” The Congress aims to show how more and more countries are becoming involved in space exploration.

During the conference, policymakers and industry representatives discussed the latest technological breakthroughs and developments in space exploration. This Congress was full of important and interesting announcements, panels, presentations and lectures.

The most popular was Elon Musk’s keynote speech entitled “Making Humans a Multiplanetary Species.” Musk discussed 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 was focused on potential architectures for colonizing the Red Planet that industry, government and the scientific community can collaborate on in the years ahead.

Another extraordinary event was a special live coverage of the final descent toward the comet of the famous spacecraft, Rosetta. The final moments of this historic mission were broadcast live from ESA’s mission control in Germany and gathered about 1,000 attendees at 5 am on September 30. ESA’s Director General Johann-Dietrich Woerner, as well as the heads of the German, French and Italian space agencies, were in attendance at the event.

As always, members of NSS took an active part in this important astronautical forum. John Mankins, Dr. Paul Jaffe, Gary Barnhard,  and professor Nobukaia presented their research at the Space Power Symposium. Mark Hopkins, CEO of NSS, did a lot of networking with important commercial space organizations and key people, introducing NSS as the number one organization to promote space settlement.

Next year the International Astronautical Congress will be organized in Adelaide in Australia.

Rosetta final mission, 5:30 am, IAC2016, Guadalajara, Mexico
Rosetta final mission, 5:30 am, IAC2016, Guadalajara, Mexico
NSS members at the Expo during IAC2016
NSS members at the Expo during IAC2016
3,000 attendees at Elon Musk’s presentation
3,000 attendees at Elon Musk’s presentation
Space Solar Power track at IAC2016
Space Solar Power track at IAC2016

Heinlein Award Delivered to Dr. Jerry Pournelle

By Dave Dressler, NSS Conferences Committee Chair

At the International Space Development Conference 2016 in San Juan, Puerto Rico, I promised to deliver the coveted Heinlein Award directly to Jerry Pournelle. Mission accomplished! I met with Jerry, son Alex, Larry Niven and Larry’s wife Marilyn on September 11, 2016 at the Four ‘N 20 Restaurant in Sherman Oaks, CA (West LA).

From left to right: Larry Niven, Dave Dressler, Alex and Jerry Pournelle at the Four 'n 20 in West LA
From left to right: Larry Niven, Dave Dressler, Alex and Jerry Pournelle at the Four ‘n 20 in West LA

Over the summer, I read three acclaimed collaborations from Jerry and Larry: A Mote in God’s Eye, Lucifer’s Hammer, and Footfall, all available at Amazon. (Revenue from Amazon enabled Blue Origin—go Blue Origin!)

The usual question people ask them is “How do you two work together?” and the answer, spoken in unison, is “Superbly.”

I asked Jerry what he thought about Starshot (from Breakthrough Technologies, Pete Worden’s latest venture) as it relates to A Mote in God’s Eye, and science fiction moving into the realm of science fact. Jerry gave credit to physicist Robert L. Forward, the creator of the beam-pushed lightsail concept in 1985.

Jerry told in depth stories about the times he shared with Robert and Virginia Heinlein and where they lived. I further realized how appropriate the Heinlein Award was for Jerry as he was a very close friend of Heinlein’s. The Heinlein Award features a brass cannon inscribed with one of Heinlein’s favorite acronyms, “TANSTAFL.” The original title of The Moon is a Harsh Mistress was to have been The Brass Cannon, but reasonably, the publisher changed it. The cannon is featured in that novel as a symbol of the Lunar Republic.

Jerry shared his personal account of Robert’s relationship with the cannon:

The story about the cannon is not one that happened to Robert or anyone he knows so far as I know. I have heard him tell it several times over the years, and it’s always about a nameless city councilman’s brother-in-law who was given a sinecure job polishing the brass cannon in front of the court house. One day he came home from work, saying that he’d had this job for years and was very good at it, but he wasn’t getting anywhere, so he had decided to quit. His wife was alarmed and asked what he would do. He told her he had thought about this a long time, saved up his money, and bought his own brass cannon, so now he was in business for himself.

The story about TANSTAFL was originally my father’s and wasn’t associated with the brass cannon. Dad was fond of telling about free lunch counters, and always added There Ain’t No Such Thing As a Free Lunch, TANSTAFL. A well known San Francisco news columnist told this, crediting Mr. Heinlein, who took the trouble to get the chap – I forget who he was, but apparently he was well known in San Francisco – to say in one of his Sunday columns that Robert had got it from me, and that my father, who was in radio in the 30’s and at one time the general manager of WHBQ in Memphis as well as Chief announcer and sales manager, was actually the originator. I grew up hearing it. If dad got it from anyone before him I never knew it.

Robert eventually acquired his own signal cannon. Now Jerry has one too.

What a privilege and honor it was to spend quality time with two of the giants of hard science fiction. I only wish I had a cannon to share with Larry Niven. I invited Jerry and Larry to be guests of honor at ISDC 2018 in Los Angeles. They gratefully accepted and appreciated the convenience. Thank you NSS Membership for supporting ISDC, the Awards Committee and the awards we bestow on the movers and shakers that are opening the frontiers of space.

Water-Propelled Spacecraft Prepares for Takeoff: The Cislunar Explorer Kickstarter

The National Space Society is part of the NASA CubeQuest Challenge’s Cislunar Explorers team, whose goal is to demonstrate the first-time use of electrolyzed water as propellant and demonstrate a new optical navigation capability. All designs, software, techniques, even the lessons we learn will be posted on the internet, open-source for anybody to use.

This project not only demonstrates technologies critical to opening space to everybody, it is providing the knowledge to do it too. For more information, see the NSS Cislunar Explorers Project webpage.

If you’d like to be a part of this exciting project by donating, see the Cislunar Explorer Kickstarter page. If our team wins an in-space prize ($1.5 million is slated for the teams attaining lunar orbit), NSS will get a share of the prize equal to the donations that come through NSS. In effect, your donation will get twice the bang for the buck! In order for this to happen, we need one additional step so we can track how much in donations come through NSS (the Kickstarter site won’t track that). Just send an email to dean.larson@nss.org stating the amount of your pledge. No other information is required.

Space 2.0

Rod PyleThe National Space Society (NSS) is pleased to announce the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding with space historian and author Rod Pyle (photo at right) to write a new book entitled Space 2.0. NSS plans to use the finished volume as a primary tool for outreach and STEM/STEAM educational efforts, as well as supporting the organization in the broader marketplace.

This new book will explore current efforts in space, and then, looking through the eyes of industry and government leaders, embark on a compelling narrative about the future development, exploration and settlement of the final frontier. Intended interviewees include Elon Musk, Jeff Bezos, Neil deGrasse Tyson, Buzz Aldrin, Andy Weir, Lori Garver, and Sir Richard Branson, among others.

Space 2.0 will be published in oversize format, lavishly illustrated with approximately 300 full-color images, and competitively priced to assure maximum accessibility. The book is currently scheduled to be published early next year by BenBella Books and distributed by IngramPerseus to an international audience.

For more information about how you can support this important new project, please contact Susan Holden Martin, MBA, J.D., at susan.martin@nss.org.

See also the NSS Review of Rod Pyle’s 2009 book Missions to the Moon.

NSS Space Ambassadors Program Update

The NSS Space Ambassadors Program is a venue to allow people worldwide to communicate the benefits of space exploration to our daily lives and to inspire and educate young people and the public to pursue careers in science, engineering, and mathematics. The goal is to inspire the next generation of leaders to embrace and pursue the vision of people living and working in space. Lots of people have participated, and NSS is now completing the first phase of the Space Ambassadors Program. The Top Ten Ambassadors will present examples of their work at the upcoming ISDC 2016 in Puerto Rico on May 19, 2016. Based on their work, the Top Ten will be rank-ordered, and they will select an NSS training assignment from the following sponsors:

  • Aurora Aerospace: Two zero-G training assignments in their Rockwell-700 aircraft (2 awardees)
  • Kepler Space Institute: A $5000 scholarship
  • ETC’s The NASTAR Center: One assignment to their Basic Suborbital Space Training program
  • Zero Gravity Corp: One ZERO-G experience in their Boeing-727 aircraft

For more information see www.spaceambassadors.com.

National Space Society Leaders Have Their Say

NSS Senior Vice President and Senior Operating Officer Bruce Pittman was featured on The Space Show on October 13, speaking for 90 minutes on the emerging commercial space industry and related topics. You can listen to the program here.

NSS Board of Directors member John Strickland had an article published in The Space Review, also on October 13: The Incredible, Expendable Mars Mission. Five years ago, NASA published its latest detailed architecture for human missions to Mars. Strickland’s article explores that architecture and discusses several ways it could be improved to make it more robust and less expensive.

NSS links up with the International Space Elevator Consortium

The National Space Society and the International Space Elevator Consortium signed a Memorandum of Understanding on 15 August 2013.  This understanding between these 501(c)(3) organizations illustrates the strength of ideas and committed volunteers.  Recently NSS released “Milestones to Space Settlement: An NSS Roadmap” presenting the following vision:

The National Space Society (“NSS”) is a nonprofit educational organization whose Vision is: “People living and working in thriving communities beyond the Earth and the use of the vast resources of space for the dramatic betterment of humanity.”

This Vision embraces both space as a future second home for humanity and the resources of space (such as the Sun’s energy for space-based solar power, extra-terrestrial minerals for raw materials, and low-gravity for manufacturing) being used for the benefit of all of us on the Earth. These two elements of the Vision are intertwined: development of space products and services for the people of Earth will both require human presence in space and will enable and motivate expansion of our species away from the home planet.

The partnership of two visionary organizations should strengthen each other’s activities.  As the ISEC has a similar mission, the two organizations should have many common projects and ideas.

“… ISEC promotes the development, construction and operation of a space elevator as a revolutionary and efficient way to space for all humanity …”

Due to their shared interest, as shown by their mission statements and vision, the two organizations, working together, should be able to contribute even more to the widespread economic development of space and the betterment of mankind.

The International Space Elevator Consortium is the result of a coming-together of many leading figures and organizations who have worked long and hard over many years to promote the concept of a Space Elevator.  With organizational members in the United States, Europe and Japan and individual members from around the world, ISEC’s goal is nothing less than to get a Space Elevator built.

NSS Featured on The Space Show

The Space Show featured two speakers from the National Space Society on May 14 and the archived presentation is now online.  The speakers were Dr. Stan Rosen, NSS Vice Chairman of the Board of Directors, and Dave Dressler, Chairman of the 2013 International Space Development Conference (ISDC), the NSS annual conference. Topics: The upcoming NSS ISDC 2013 conference, space education, commerce, human exploration, science, & more.

The program is archived here.  Click on “Listen to the Show” or download it for later listening.

National Space Society Kickstarter Campaign – Thanks to you, we did it!

NSS is proud to announce that nearly 700 backers from over 20 nations have considerably exceeded our funding milestone of $35,000 in our first-ever Kickstarter campaign — the campaign reached $57,571!

The campaign is to fund the creation of a professional video, “Our Future in Space,” showing an inspiring and informative look at the near-future of space development, and to bring this vision to a new generation in the US and throughout the world. Specifically because we reached our stretch goals, we will tell our story to the Congress, and Governors of every state, along with the President and his Cabinet. We could not have achieved this success without your help!

NSS is especially grateful to the following for their generous support of our Kickstarter campaign:

Rachel Austin
Ernesto Avina
Gary Barnhard
Gary Bickford
Paul Blomdahl
Michael Blum
James Bohnsack
Jonathan Brandenburg
David Brandt-Erichsen
Laura Burns
James Callens
Andrew Canon
Peggy Carpenter
Bert Carson
James Chandler
Kyle Clifton
Debbie Cohen
Lammot Copeland
Stephen Covey
Hannah Craswell
Lloyd Crosby
Paul Damphousse
Gerald W. Driggers, author of
The Earth-Mars Chronicles
Mike Dudley
Ole-Morten Duesund
Scott Early
John Edwards
Dale Etheridge
Don Flournoy
Midnight Flyer
Lucas Fonseca
Chantale Gagnon
Anita Gale
Doug Griffith
Jim Haislip
Raymond Hardcastle
Spencer Hart
Tarek Hijaz
J. J. Hillard
Aftab Hussain
Kirby Ikin
Donald Jackson
Chuck James
Warren Jew
Dan Johnson
Dominic & Jeana Jones
Steven Jorgenson
Rich Kacik
Violeta Kalveliene
Charles Kersey
Scott Kimmle
P. J. King
Martin Koistinen
Ronnie Lajoie
Raymond LeVesque
Lloyd
Alla Malko
Thomas Malone
Marc
Jeffrey Mark
Morris Middleton
Richard Moak
Pat Montoure
Peter Mueller
Frederick Ordway
Christine Peterson
David Pierce
Roberto Pineda
Bruce Pittman
Bert Plummer
Glenn Pohs
Josh Powers
Andrew Rakowski
Rasmus
Joe Redfield
Stan Rosen
Hadley Rouse
Lanny Rudner
Ken Ruffin
Katherine Rupley
Bennett Rutledge
Edwin Sahakian
Peter Schubert
John Schulz
Wayne Short
Michael Simpson
David Smith
John Strickland
Joe Strout
Buford Taylor
Edward Thomas
Javan Thompson
Ken Tinkler
Dan Tran
Betty Tribble
Brian Usher
Phillippe Valdois
Tom Veal
Bryan Versteeg
Sigrid von Hurst
Barbara Wheatley
Jay Wittner
Marilyn Wittner
Gordon Woodcock
Alex Wright
Brent Ziarnick
Lynne Zielinski