George Abbey, Neal Lane and John Muratore wrote Maximizing NASA’s Potential in Flight and on the Ground: Recommendations for the Next Administration for the James A. Baker III Institute for Public Policy at Rice University. The recommendations are basically to fly the shuttle until 2015, focus on Energy and environment, focus on robotic science, and focus on aeronautics. They favor international over national programs. They favor research enabling solar power satellites for the long term but discount its development until launch costs drop. They also favor use of private launch providers for access to space after the shuttle. Unfortunately they don’t address reducing launch costs or encouraging the development of a private space industry.
What the recommendations really lack is the answer to the question, WHY?
Why should we fly the space shuttle for 5 more years? Won’t that be very dangerous and expensive?
Why should we do space projects internationally rather than nationally. Don’t we want the US to lead in space?
If energy and environment are national priorities which NASA should concentrate on, then the development space solar power is the best place to put NASA’s expertise. If we really want space solar power on a large scale then NASA must develop technology to use lunar resources and focus on reducing launch cost.
NASA should avoid trying to duplicate the efforts of NOAA and the Department of Energy. NASA should concentrate on the development of space and space resources for the future of the United States of America. Energy and the environment are critical issue for the future of our country and the development of space solar power is the best way NASA can address the needs of the citizens who have faithfully funded them for 50 years now.
The National Space Society’s International Space Development Conference is looking for ideas. Suggestions can be either for the program or the conference as a whole.
To submit go to ISDC09 Program Ideas or ISDC 2009 Ideas & Suggestions.
Lunar Crater Observation and Sensing Satellite (LCROSS) is scheduled to launch from Cape Canaveral, Fla., in spring 2009. Th spacecraft will collide with the Moon in a permanently shadowed crater near one of the Moon’s poles in hopes of finding evidence of water ice.
Four teams haven been chosen to provide additional data and analysis about permanently shadowed craters to help researchers determine if water exists on the moon and in what form.
The selected proposals are:
— Accessing LCROSS Ejecta: Water Vapor and Particle Size and Composition from Keck, Gemini, and the IRFT Telescopes; principle investigator Eliot Young, Southwest Research Institute in Boulder, Colo.
— LCROSS Lunar Plume Observations with the Apache Point Observatory; principle investigator Nancy Chanover, New Mexico State University in Las Cruces.
— Multi-spectral Imaging of the LCROSS Impact; principle investigator Marc Buie, Southwest Research Institute.
— Searching for Polar Water Ice During the LCROSS Impact Using the MMT Observatory; principle investigator Faith Vilas, University of Arizona in Tucson.
Lunar Crater Observation and Sensing Satellite mission http://www.nasa.gov/lcross
LCROSS Observation Campaign http://lcross.arc.nasa.gov/observation.htm
NASA PRESS RELEASE : 09-013
At the Rationale and Goals of the U.S. Civil Space Program meeting Neil DeGrasse Tyson said NASA should get out of Low Earth Orbit (LEO). His main argument was that NASA should not be doing the routine; NASA should be doing space exploration. It is very tempting to agree with him since in my opinion the Space Shuttle and the Space Station were major steps backward, which will lead no where, which suck up all available funds and block actual space exploration and development. But if NASA gets out of LEO there is a problem.
The problem with NASA leaving LEO and concentrating only on space exploration is then who does the space development? Many will say private industry. But in truth, there is very little private space industry in human space flight. Most plans for future private human space flight anticipate demand from the government. That leaves a vacuum in space development.
If the government is footing the bill for space development which part of the government should be in charge of developing space? The one with the most experience. Which government agency has the most experience in space? NASA.
That begs the question, is there any space development to be done in Low Earth Orbit? I have to admit I have never bought into Werner Von Braun’s vision of lots of space infrastructure illustrated so beautifully in the Movie 2001. Shuttles, and space stations etc. are expensive to maintain and of limited utility. Sure it is said to be efficient in terms of energy. But in space with the right technology, energy is cheap. Hardware is expensive and probably always will be.
What kind of space development needs to be done in LEO? The answer is the construction of working technology demonstrations of Solar Power Satellites. The government needs to do the initial technological demonstration of Space Solar Power otherwise there may never be a business case for solar power from space. Either the Department of Energy or NASA should demonstrate Space Solar Power. So if NASA is doing anything in Low Earth Orbit it ought to be to develop Space Solar Power. If NASA is not interested in Space Solar Power or Space Development, then Neil DeGrasse Tyson is right NASA should get out of Low Earth Orbit.
Remembering Apollo 1, Columbia, and Challenger at Arlington– NASA Acting Administrator Christopher Scolese and other NASA senior leaders participated in a wreath laying ceremony as part of NASA’s Day of Remembrance, Thursday, Jan. 29, 2009, at Arlington National Cemetery.
President Barack Obama on NASA’s Day of Remembrance
The arrival of a new year reminds us that life is a journey, one that takes us on many unexpected paths. NASA’s role is to pioneer journeys into the unknown for the benefit of humanity. Along the way, we sometimes experience tragedy instead of triumph.
Today, we pause to reflect on those moments in exploration when things did not go as expected and we lost brave pioneers. But what sets us apart as Americans is our willingness to get up again and push the frontiers even further with an even stronger commitment and sense of purpose.
On this Day of Remembrance, we remember the sacrifices of those who dared to dream and gave everything for the cause of exploration. We honor them with our ongoing commitment to excellence and an unwavering determination to continue the journey on the path to the future.
President Barack Obama
The National Space Society and the Conrad Foundation are now partners to support the upcoming Pete Conrad Spirit of Innovation Awards, the Foundation’s annual educational competition. This is a competition for high school students to create innovative products for use in space or for renewable energy.
NSS will guide student teams and provide jugdes. Team Finalist will present their concepts at NSS’s ISDC in Orlando May 28-31, 2009. – Press Release
Semi-Finalist Team Announcement on Monday—tune in for the LIVE announcement
Tune in on Monday, Feb. 2, at 4:00 p.m. EST / 1:00 p.m. PST for a live video announcement by Major General Charles Frank “Charlie” Bolden, USMC (retired). He will announce the finalist teams in the Pete Conrad “Spirit of Innovation” Awards.
The teams have been tasked with developing innovative products in the fields of personal spaceflight, lunar exploration and renewable energy; these teams now proceed to the Innovation Generation Summit at NASA Ames Research Center where they will present their products to leaders in industry and academia. Public votes are also incorporated into the final judging process to select the overall.
The Conrad Foundation’s – Innovation Summit – the most innovative high schoolers unveiled
In Partnership with NASA Ames and the bay area Yuri’s Night celebration, the Conrad Awards final program will be a three day event unveiling the most innovative high school student products in science and technology. More information will be announced in the coming months.
Conrad Foundation on Facebook
2nd Annual Lunar Science Forum July 21–23, 2009 at the NASA Ames Conference Center, at NASA Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, California.
Space Settlement and Space Tourism: an Ideological Marriage by Mark Hopkins a new column on another aspect of the space movement.
Space settlement proponents and space tourism proponents make up two substantial groups that have significant overlap. The goals of both are mutually reinforcing. The members of the two groups are forward looking, dynamic, energetic, enthusiastic, motivated, and strongly pro-space. Part of the longterm NSS strategy is to broker an ideological marriage between the two. This is a major reason why Ad Astra places substantial emphasis on the issues of both. Such a marriage would not only be beneficial to space settlement and space tourism, but also to humanity’s future in space.
A week after I launched the Facebook Space Movement Group, in order to popularize the term the Space Movement, the group has over 200 members.
We have also gone from having 2 of the top 10 Google returns being about outer space to 8 out of 10. Great progress.
So remember use the term Space Movement at every appropriate opportunity.