Progress for Space Tourism

New Mexico Governor Signs Spaceport Liability Legislation Into Law

Spaceport America

The AP (4/3, Clausing) reports, “Gov. Susana Martinez on Tuesday signed into law liability-waiving legislation aimed at saving the state’s nearly quarter-billion-dollar investment in a futuristic spaceport and retaining its anchor tenant, British billionaire Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic.”

Martinez said the new law shows the state is “not only reaffirming the major commitment New Mexicans have made to Spaceport America but we now have an even stronger opportunity to grow the number of commercial space jobs at the spaceport and across our state. This legislation will prevent lawsuit abuse and make it easier for businesses related to the space travel industry to thrive and succeed right here in New Mexico.”  The article notes that previously Virgin Galactic had protested its rent payments and had threatened to leave if the law was not passed.  In a statement yesterday, Virgin Galactic said it was always committed to the project but now more needs to be done to bring other customers to the spaceport.

Tomorrow’s News – NSS Phoenix Space News

28 September 2009

  • Stephen Hawking called for a massive investment in establishing colonies on the Moon and Mars in a lecture in honour of NASA’s 50th anniversary. He argued that the world should devote about 10 times as much as NASA’s current budget – or 0.25% of the world’s financial resources – to space.
  • The Ares I processing continues toward a 27 October 2009 launch. Descriptions of progress and problems can be seen here.
  • For a very detailed view of the lunar surface from the LRO mission, check out this image.

For folks looking for tidbits on space exploration, add NSS Phoenix Space News page to your RSS feed.

Space Tourism – Taking Off?

Two magazines arrived in my mailbox last week. Both had “Space Tourism” as their cover story. one was Ad Astra (Summer 2009), the quarterly magazine of the National Space Society. The other was Aviation Week (September 7, 2009). On their cover, both magazines had photographs of Virgin Galactic’s White Knight Two, built by Scaled Composites in Mojave, California.

While the Virgin Galactic / Scaled Composite venture (at $200,00 per flight) is the best known, there are a lot of other private spacecraft in development.

  • XCOR – Augustine Commission member, Jeff Greason is CEO of XCOR. Their Lynx vehicle will carry one pilot and one passenger to an altitude of 38 miles (61 km). Total flight time is around 30 mijnutes from takeoff to landing. Propulsion is a liquid oxygen / kerosene rocket engine (Lynx 5K18). The Lynx Mark 2 is designed for 68 miles (110 km). Cost is $95,000 per flight.
  • Rocketplane Global – Having spent in excess of $24 million on their XP suborbital space plane, the financial mess has made it difficult to raise capital. Chuck Lauer, CEO, said that more than $100 million of additional costs would be needed to get to first flight.
  • Blue Origin – Jeff Bezos’ company has been conducting test flights of its New Shepard suborbital vehicle since 2006. “Flight opportunities in 2011 may be availablefor autonomous or remotely-controlled experiments on an un-crewed flight test”, according to the website.
  • Talis Enterprise – Testing of the BlackSky prototype is scheduled for 2010. Maximum altitude is 28 miles (46 km). A larger six passenger craft, Enterprise, is scheduled to begin flying passengers in 2013. Cost is estimated to be between $30,000 and $50,000 per flight.
  • EADS Astrium – The winged space plane for suborbital tourism has been put on hold, pending the current economic situation.
  • Space Adventures – Having announced plans in 2006 to build a suborbital vehicle, the company is focusing instead on trips to the ISS aboard Russian Soyuz space craft.
  • Armadillo Aerospace – Having already won the Level 1 $350,000 prize in the Northrop Grumman Lunar Lander Challenge, John Carmack (DOOM and Quake) and his company are in the lead to capture the Level 2 prize of $1,000,000. However, they have announced that a deal to build a suborbital tourism vehicle will not happen.

Image: Dave Fischer used by permission

NSS Chapters Committee

NSS Chapters Committee

About the Chapters Committee

  • This committee is charged with the responsibility of fostering productive relations between chapters and between chapters and the National Space Society at large. The committee monitors programs for and of chapters and makes recommendations on projects and programs to serve the mutual interests of NSS and its chapters.
  • The Chapters’ Assembly will report to the NSS Board through the Chapters Committee.
  • This committee shall be comprised of board members who volunteer their services to the committee, regional board members, and appointed members from the chapters’ community who are willing to serve in established committee posts established to conduct the business of the committee. Appointments are subject to the approval of the NSS Executive Committee.
  • The Chair of this committee is the NSS Vice President of Chapters.

We are currently operating under the 2001 Chapters Committee Bylaws.Committee Members

As of November 16, 2006 the NSS Vice President of Chapters is Candace Pankanin and the following committee officers have been appointed:

The general membership of the committee also includes the following individuals:

Jim Spellman, Bryce Walden, Claire McMurray, George Howard, Harry Reed, Elaine Walker, Craig Ward, John Strickland, Bill Higgins, Mike Fulda, Don Doughty, Mark Hopkins, Greg Allison and Bruce Mackenzie,  Fred Becker, Peter Kokh

For additional information about the Chapters Committee, please contact Candace Pankanin 

NSS 2008 Space Settlement Calendar

Buy the 2008 Space Settlement Calendar Now

The National Space Society is proud to present the Space Settlement 2008 Calendar. This amazing, 14×11-inch, full-color wall calendar features twelve original works of art illustrating humanity’s future in space.

Also featured throughout the calendar are dates for major 2008 space conferences and events. Also included are key dates in space history and U.S. and major international holidays.

The National Space Society undertook this project as a means of promoting awareness of the benefits to humanity of a spacefaring civilization and to make people aware that they can play a role in creating this future.

Show your support for human space exploration and the National Space Society by ordering your copies of the Space Settlement 2008 Calendar today for only $14.95 each! The National Space Society receives a portion of the proceeds from the sale of this calendar.

Buy the 2008 Space Settlement Calendar Now

Help with promotion. You can further help the National Space Society promote the 2008 Space Settlement Calendar by adding the following graphic to your web site or blog:

To do so, just add the HTML code in this box to your web page (the graphic is included in the code):

<a href="
calendar/buy.htm"> <img src="
calendar/calendarad.jpg" width="165" height="125" 
alt="2008 Space Settlement Calendar" /></a>

A future with space settlement is vastly better than one without it!

NSS Applauds “In the Shadow of the Moon” Documentary, Open Nationwide

“In the Shadow of the Moon,” a film presented by Ron Howard, brings together surviving crew members from every single Apollo mission that flew to the Moon for the first, and possibly the last time.  NSS proudly supports “In the Shadow of the Moon” for bringing the message of Apollo to the public in an inspiring and educational way. Participating astronauts include Jim Lovell, Dave Scott, John Young, Gene Cernan, Mike Collins, Buzz Aldrin, Alan Bean, Edgar Mitchell, Charlie Duke and Harrison Schmitt.  The film is open in limited release.  Click here to find a theater near you.For more information on the film, click here


07 OCTOBER 2007







X PRIZE Announcement: Pete Conrad Spirit of Innovation Award registration open

Pete Conrad Spirit of Innovation Award Registration OpenThis is an announcement to all those who know high school aged students. The Pete Conrad Spirit of Innovation Award registration is now open. This award is for students age 13 to 18. Within the next two months, student teams must develop their own innovative concept to benefit the personal spaceflight industry in 50 year’s timeframe. Teams will compile their concept into three documents: a technical document, a business/marketing document, and a graphical representation. Finalists will be brought to the Wirefly X PRIZE Cup to display their concept to the public. Awards include $9000 in prize money, travel grants to attend the Wirefly X PRIZE Cup, inclusion on a national traveling museum exhibit, rocket trophies, and the unique opportunity to connect students directly with commercial companies in the personal spaceflight industry.

Please pass on this information to anyone who may know interested students. Further details are listed on our website under the “conrad award” section. You can also see the attached press release for more information.

CopperCon 27 is Coming !!!

CopperCon 27 is coming up fast – September 7-9 at the Embassy Suites North, I17 and Greenway, in Phoenix.

 The Phoenix Chapter of the National Space Society is currently looking for Volunteers to watch over the NNSS table for this event.  If you can share your time and talents for this event, please contact the Chapter President at:

Ad Astra!



Scaled has announced information on a fund for those who wish to support the
families of the deceased as well as the injured and their families.

The National Space Society urges all of its members and the broader space
community to give generously to support these heroes.


Please send contributions to:
Scaled Family Support Fund
c/o Scaled Composites
1624 Flight Line
Mojave, CA. 93501

Acct # 04157-66832

Wire transfer ABA Routing #1220-0066-1

Please make checks payable to the account
number or to the name of the fund.


NSS Statement on Accident at Scaled Composites:

America was built on the courage of those who dared to explore new
frontiers.  From Lewis and Clark to the Apollo astronauts, great men and
women have tested themselves against the frontiers of their age.

In the course of their efforts, these heroes may pay the ultimate cost, as
they did yesterday in Mojave.  When that happens, it
is the highest duty of all of us to care for the injured, to mourn the
departed, and to care for the families.  An honest investigation must be
conducted to learn what went wrong, and to fix the cause so that it does not
happen again.

But when the investigation finished, our duty is to carry on the work of
those heroes, to redouble our efforts to scale the peaks that they were
climbing.  That is what we learned from Apollo 1.  That is what they would

The frontier of space is far from tamed.  The men and women of Scaled
Composites are engaged in one of the great efforts of our
time: opening space for all humanity.  That is a noble pursuit, perhaps the
most noble of all, and we must all be thankful for their work, and for their

Let us not shirk from what happened yesterday.  Professionals will find the
cause.  The program will continue.  The effort to open space cannot be
stopped.  Now is the time to honor those men by honoring the cause that they
were engaged in.  Those of us who are part of this great endeavor, whether
as participants or as supporters, let us carry forward this message of
perseverance to our own communities, to our elected leaders and to the
media.  Now more than ever, the nation needs to hear your voices.