In Memoriam – Dr. David Fischer, NSS Blog Editor

It is with deep sadness that we announce the untimely death of our Blog Editor, Dr. David Fischer. NSS Director Veronica Ann Zabala-Aliberto has written the following in Dave Fischer’s memory:

The Renaissance Man
By Veronica Ann Zabala-Aliberto

The true definition of a “Renaissance Man” is that of an individual whose expertise spans a number of significant disciplines. For Dr. David Fischer of the National Space Society, this was indeed the case. He exemplified the meaning that of a “Gentleman and a Scholar.” On January 19, 2013, after holding an NSS Phoenix Chapter meeting, David taught his Tai Chi class and was on his way home. Only six blocks away from home, David was in a fatal car crash.

David was the principal blogger for the National Space Society as well as the acting Chapter President for the Phoenix Chapter of NSS. He was also their prized Webmaster. With over 1,000 website hits weekly, the Phoenix Chapter had a global presence promoting human space exploration and settlement. He was Senior Business Analyst for the Industry Relations group at Money Management International, a non-profit consumer debt management company. He was in the Consumer Credit Counseling world since 1996. Prior to that he was MIS Director for Alphagraphics. He earned his Ph.D. in Physical Organic Chemistry at The Ohio State University in 1974.

David had a serious passion for human space exploration and settlement and often gave talks within the Phoenix region. It is said that his special interests were his 3-year old granddaughter, science fiction, and travel with his wife Marty.

Here are a few statements from the Phoenix Chapter members of the National Space Society:

“Dave Fischer was instrumental in solidifying the NSS chapter in Phoenix in recent years. He secured a free, well-equipped meeting place for the chapter and did a wonderful job in establishing a great local blog and getting the word out on our local meetings and events. He and his wife Marti hosted several holiday parties for the club and his graciousness, organizational skills, and friendship will be missed.” – Michael Mackowski, Phoenix Chapter Member

“I have attended many conferences with David. He had such a passion for space exploration and science. I will miss our talks during these times. It gives me great pleasure to know that he is traveling thru the universe with Neil and Sally.” – Phoenix Chapter Member Stacy Sklar

“The first time I remember meeting Dave was at one of our NSS Phoenix Chapter meetings over at the ASU library. I don’t recall the topics we discussed but I do remember that when Dave spoke of Space exploration or rocketry you got the sense from his deep knowledge that he’d actually been to Space or helped to build rockets. Dave in a few words was, a very intelligent, loving, and passionate man! He will be dearly missed. While I don’t know where he is I do know it’s a place I’d like to end up. Godspeed Dave!” – Phoenix Chapter Treasurer Patrick Lonchar

“David Fischer was dynamic space activist, generous with his time and very informed about space development and exploration. He attended one of our meetings in Tucson about a year and a half ago and gave a terrific presentation on the status of both privately and publicly funded space developement. After the presentation he fielded numerous questions, and we were all impressed with his graciousness and high level of knowledge. He will be dearly missed.” – Al Anzaldua. Chapter President, Tucson L5 Space Society

“A friend of many, Dr. Dave will be missed by those inside the pro-space community and by others in Phoenix not just because of his good works but because of his warmth as a human being.” – Phoenix Chapter Member Greg Rucker

“I will miss you Dave. I know I still owe the Chapter a lecture so I will do that in your honor. You have done so much for the Chapter and for me. Are you somewhere between Mars and Jupiter? Only the Universe knows. God Speed, for your journey has just only begun.” – NSS At-Large Director / Phoenix Chapter Member Veronica Ann Zabala-Aliberto

A clip of David accepting the National Space Society Excellence in Public Outreach award for the Phoenix Chapter of NSS can be found at the 9 minute mark of the 2011 Awards Ceremony video. Special appreciation goes out to Alvin Remmers from, who filmed the NSS Awards Ceremony.

Space Coast NSS Chapter Changes Name to Florida Space Development Council

The Florida Space Coast Chapter of the National Space Society (NSS) has changed its name to the Florida Space Development Council (FSDC) to better reflect the group’s focus on assisting the development of a robust space-related economy in the state. FSDC will remain an active chapter of NSS, working with other Florida chapters to support the NSS mission to promote social, economic, technological, and political change in order to expand civilization beyond Earth.

“Florida is a major ‘space state’ and deserves an active and influential NSS chapter to provide grassroots advocacy,” said NSS Executive Director Paul E. Damphousse. “The Florida Space Development Council can provide support to reinforce the already-substantial efforts of Space Florida and other organizations in the state.”

The newly renamed chapter will continue to sponsor bi-monthly membership meetings, featuring ‘Space Locals’ discussions with featured aerospace professionals and project managers. FSDC members will also develop and provide advocacy for a slate of policy priorities intended to promote the growth of space-related business, academic, and government programs at the state and federal level.

“With an annual membership rate of only five dollars, we want to broaden participation in FSDC beyond our existing NSS chapter members,” said FSDC President Laura Seward. “FSDC will offer new networking opportunities and provide a grassroots voice to more Floridians on space-related policies and programs.”

As part of the chapter’s re-branding effort, FSDC has also unveiled a new website that features a statewide calendar of space-related events and a library of documents relevant to the state’s development of space policy and programs.

NSS Executive Director Paul Damphousse appears on The Space Show

Paul Damphousse, Executive Director of the National Space Society, was interviewed on The Space Show on January 6, 2013. The program is archived here — click on “Listen to the Show” or download it for later listening.

Lt. Col. Damphouse will also give a presentation for the Florida Space Institute Distinguished Lecture Series on February 12. More information.

Help NSS with your holiday shopping — at no cost to you!

Here is a simple way you can help support the National Space Society during your holiday shopping — and throughout the year — simply by using our Amazon link (bookmark it!) any time you shop at Amazon. NSS receives a small portion of your purchase, at no cost to you!

Please use our Amazon link! ANY purchase (books, electronics, etc.) earns a credit for NSS at no cost to you. Bookmark the link on the left for all your Amazon shopping.

NSS Applauds Success of Red Bull/Stratos High-Altitude Jump

The National Space Society congratulates Felix Baumgartner and the entire Red Bull Stratos team on the Mission to the Edge of Space, in which Baumgartner successfully completed a record-breaking, high-altitude parachute jump on Sunday afternoon.

Unofficially, Baumgartner’s jump from approximately 128,100 feet (24.2 miles) enabled him to break the sound barrier and achieve the supersonic speed of 833 mph for several seconds, thus breaking three of four previously set records that he was hoping to shatter: highest manned balloon flight, highest parachute jump, and fastest free fall.

Two of those records (highest jump and fastest free fall) were set by former Air Force pilot Joe Kittinger in 1960, who served as chief of capsule communications for Baumgartner’s trip to the stratosphere. Baumgartner missed breaking the longest free fall record – also held by Kittinger – by mere seconds.

Aside from being the latest in a series of very extreme sports challenges sponsored by Red Bull energy drinks, Baumgartner’s jump is very relevant to the aerospace and space tourism industries, as it provides new and critically important medical and scientific research about the effect of this type of parachute jump on the human body.

This research will result in improved safety features for our astronauts, as well as for the large numbers of space tourists who will soon be flying, and ultimately will help make high-altitude emergency bailouts not only feasible, but safe. Baumgartner’s jump is yet another stepping stone toward the feasibility of human beings regularly living, working, and traveling in space.

Space Ambassadors Update Announcement

This advisory announcement is to update everyone that the selection and assignments of the top 10 ambassadors from the Space Ambassadors Program will not be announced at the National Space Society’s 2012 International Space Development Conference.  The selection announcement is being deferred to a future ISDC. We hope at that time to have additional opportunities for participating Ambassadors.

The National Space Society would like to thank everyone for the ongoing efforts at the grassroots level to inspire, educate, and communicate the daily life benefits of space exploration and research, and for all who are participating in this outreach program. We hope the experience is as fulfilling to you as it is important to your communities and all of our futures.

Ad Astra Magazine Wins Two Major Awards

The National Space Society congratulates Silver Marketing, Inc. for the exemplary work it has done to publish the Society’s Ad Astra magazine. Multiple awards were recently bestowed on Silver Marketing by the Service Industry Advertising Awards (SIAA) and MarCom Awards committees.

Silver Marketing won a Gold MarCom award for Ad Astra Magazine, Spring 2011 edition. MarCom is one of the oldest, largest, and most respected creative industry competitions and provides award recognition to individuals and companies involved in print, visual, audio, and web materials.

Silver Marketing also won a Silver Award from the Service Industry Advertising Awards (SIAA) in the external publications category for the same issue of Ad Astra. SIAA awards are given to top-tier organizations within the service industry. Three other SIAA awards were also given to Silver Marketing this year, including a Gold Award for a Washington Post newspaper series, a Gold Award for the Washington Wizards in the direct mail category, and a Silver Award for an Aircraft Owners & Pilots Association poster.

A full copy of the cover article “Steps for Planetary Defense” can be found on the NSS website by clicking on the image above.  An electronic copy of the entire  award winning magazine is also available, but only for members (you will need to login using your NSS membership ID to access the magazine).

Silver Marketing has been engaged by NSS to do marketing and digital and direct response advertising for a number of years. Silver offers a range of services – from email campaigns and internet marketing, to direct mail programs, print advertising campaigns, and marketing materials. Founded in 1984, Silver Marketing has been recognized many times for their work for clients such as the Washington Post, the National Space Society, AARP, AOPA, and CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield…among others.

Stephen Hawking Accepts Prestigious NSS Award on Society's 25th Anniversary

The National Space Society (NSS) is pleased to announce Dr. Stephen Hawking as the 14th recipient of NSS’s Robert A. Heinlein Memorial Award. The award was presented to Dr. Hawking at a special ceremony at the Cooks Branch Conservancy in Montgomery, Texas on Wednesday, March 28 and is given in recognition of his outstanding and continuing public efforts in support of human space development and settlement.

NSS Executive Director Paul Damphousse (carrying Heinlein Award) and Dr. Stephen Hawking. Photo: Lee Ray.

See also Dr. Hawking’s 25-minute video Why We Should Go into Space (with transcript).

In the last decade, Dr. Hawking has repeatedly and publicly advocated the need to move part of humanity off the Earth in order to avoid the destruction of the human race, either through self-destructive actions such as nuclear war, or natural phenomena such as asteroid collision or, eventually, the death of our nearest star, the Sun. “I believe that the long-term future of the human race must be in space,” says Hawking. “It will be difficult enough to avoid disaster on planet Earth in the next hundred years, let alone the next thousand, or million. The human race shouldn’t have all its eggs in one basket, or on one planet. Let’s hope we can avoid dropping the basket until we have spread the load.”

“Dr. Hawking’s public statements are very important, not only because of the respect his fellow scientists and many others have for him and his work, but also because they give more credence to these issues among scientists, the media, politicians, and the public,” said NSS Executive Director, Paul E. Damphousse, who will present the award to Hawking in Texas, along with Board of Governors member and Heinlein literary executor, Arthur M. Dula, CEO of Excalibur Almaz, a private spaceflight company.

Damphousse added, “Speaking for all our members, chapters, and partners who actively participated in the selection process, it is a distinct honor and privilege to bestow this honor upon Dr. Hawking – one of the greatest minds of our time.”

The Robert A. Heinlein Memorial Award, named after the author widely recognized as the “dean of science fiction writers,” honors those individuals who have made significant, lifetime contributions to the creation of a free, spacefaring civilization. Those individuals whose actions have involved personal, social, or financial risk are particularly meritorious. It is one of the highest honors bestowed upon an individual by the National Space Society because the award winner is chosen by vote of all of the Society’s members and chapters.

The date on which Dr. Hawking will receive the award exactly coincides with the 25th Anniversary of the founding of the National Space Society through a merger between the National Space Institute and the L5 Society. More formal celebratory events will occur at NSS’s 31st International Space Development Conference to be held in Washington, D.C., May 24-28, 2012. A video of the award presentation to Dr. Hawking will be shown at the 25th Anniversary Governors Dinner and Gala.

NSS Executive Director Gives "State Of The National Space Society" Address

The Executive Director of the National Space Society, Paul Damphousse, addresses the media during the Next Generation Suborbital Researchers Conference in Palo Alto, California, on February 27. He talks about the 25th anniversary of NSS this month, the organization’s two-fold mission, strategic partnerships with other space advocacy groups, and current NSS projects. 15-minute video courtesy of