September 17 Meeting

The 50th Anniversary of Project Gemini: Paving the Way to the Moon

A presentation by Mike Mackowski

2016 is the 50th anniversary of the manned Gemini missions, NASA’s two-man spacecraft that led to Apollo. Gemini paved the way to the Moon, proving out rendezvous techniques, extra-vehicular activities, and extended duration manned space missions. After a summer break, we will start up monthly meetings this month on September 17, when Mike will give a talk on the history of this program as well as several concepts for follow-on Gemini adaptations that never got off the drawing board.

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Additionally, it’s time to get serious about the future direction of the Phoenix chapter of the National Space Society. It is becoming clear to me that the old model of chapters having meetings with speakers is dead and we should just acknowledge it. Social media and the Internet are changing the way people network and learn about special interest topics, like space exploration and development. This is a problem not just for NSS, but many other hobby-type clubs and fraternal organizations. These groups are getting smaller and older, but I still see a need for person-to-person interaction regarding focused areas like space. We may have to wait a while for the younger folks to figure out how they want to fill that void, besides via on-line social media. We will also select new officers at the end of this year, and I have yet to hear from anyone volunteering to pick up the reigns.

So I’d like to reserve some time to talk about how we, as a local chapter of NSS, want to move forward. Maybe we have fewer meetings and take advantage of the many space-oriented lectures offered by ASU and add a few social functions and call that a plan. Some chapters have projects (STEM outreach, conferences, contests, rocketry, etc.) to bring people together. I am open to new ideas and a new model for this group.

The meeting will start at 11 am at our usual location at the Humanist Center in Mesa (627 W. Rio Salado Parkway). As always, everyone’s welcome.

Mike Mackowski, NSS Phoenix Chapter President

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