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Privately Funded Space Efforts Kick-Off 28th Annual International Space Development Conference

Press Release From: National Space Society
Posted: Thursday, May 14, 2009

The National Space Society (NSS) announced today that Day One of the 28th annual International Space Development Conference (ISDC) will dedicate itself to an in-depth look into the emerging privately funded sector of the space industry.

The nation currently finds itself in the midst of a crippled economy, a planet in peril, and in alarmingly low regard in the minds and hearts of the rest of the world. These ominous issues have brought forth a new mandate for American government and business that has become a call to action for those who believe that they can solve some of the grandest challenges of our time.

The space industry is undergoing an unprecedented transformation. The Space Shuttle will be retired in less than two years, resulting in the loss of thousands of jobs. Although hiring by the emerging privately funded sector of aerospace may ameliorate some of this job loss, the suspension of manned spaceflight by our civil space program for at least five (5) years will nevertheless create unprecedented losses in experienced personnel who can not be replaced. This gap in both time and employment will also have a profoundly negative rippling effect, not just in the space industry, but also in peripheral and complimentary industries such as energy, life sciences, travel, education and telecommunications.

The cost of accomplishing humanity's goal of exploring and understanding life beyond our atmosphere cannot be realized unless the space industry diversifies itself. The private sector has a unique ability to innovate, as it is not subject to many of the bureaucratic pitfalls that can sometimes hamper government. It can create economies of scale that make products and activities cheaper and better. By utilizing procedures and by taking paths that either do not work or do not apply in a government setting, these business-minded pathfinders can take the average citizen or company to places that heretofore were unrealistic.

Featured speakers on Thursday May 28, 2009 to include:

9:00 AM - Dr. George Nield, FAA Associate Administrator, Office of Commercial Space Transportation.

11:00 AM - Will Whitehorn, President of Virgin Galactic.

Noon (lunch) - Elon Musk, Founder of SpaceX.

2:00 PM - Robert T. Richards, Vice President and COTS/CRS Program Director Advanced Programs Group, Orbital Sciences Corporation.

3:00 PM - Bob Richards, Director of Space Technology at Optech, Inc. and CEO of Odyssey Moon Ltd, a competitor for the Google Lunar X PRIZE.

3:00 PM - William Pomerantz, Director of Space Projects at the X PRIZE Foundation.

4:00 PM - Tim Pickens, Founder and President of Orion Propulsion.

7:00 PM (dinner) - Richard Garriott, 6th private citizen to travel to the International Space Station.

These bold entrepreneurs and private spaceflight advocates are shifting the paradigm previously thought to be the exclusive domain of governments, to open up a frontier previously unattainable to the general public, flying virtually anyone that wants to go into space.

ISDC 2009 will take place from Wednesday May 27th to Sunday May 31st at the Omni Resort at ChampionsGate in Orlando, FL.

The conference provides a unique opportunity for students, space enthusiasts, and the general public to engage aerospace entrepreneurs and executives, NASA officials, academics and key decision and policy makers in an open and positive discussion about space exploration, research, and development.

The National Space Society's 2009 International Space Development Conference will engage the public and decision-makers in an open and positive discussion about how space exploration, research and development will help solve our problems and usher in a new era of hope.

Seats to lunches and dinners are very limited and are available on a first come first serve basis. Registration details are available at http://www.isdc2009.org/secondary_registration as well as on-site (if still available) at the registration desk.

To register for the 28th Annual International Space Development Conference please visit http://www.isdc2009.org or call (202) 429-1600.

All media interested in attending the conference can do so by emailing Ian Murphy at ian.murphy@nss.org or calling (310) 689-6397.

Specific Details of the entire conference are included below:

On Wednesday May 27, 2009 the conference will kick off with an exclusive pre-event, the 6th Space Investment Summit (SIS), bringing together the emerging privately funded space industry with the established world of finance in order to exchange goals, ideas and advice. Investors and established aerospace firms will be presented with business plans from some of the most exciting new companies in space-related business, while expert panels will discuss important issues like exit strategies for aerospace startups, as well as early and mid-stage financing.

On Thursday May 28, 2009 entrepreneurial and commercial space enterprises will discuss the current state of efforts to decrease the cost of access to space. The recent successes of privately funded space companies like Elon Musk's SpaceX and Richard Branson's Virgin Galactic have signaled the emergence of a new privately funded sector of aerospace. The featured speakers will be SpaceX Founder Elon Musk, Space Adventures CEO Eric Anderson, Virgin Galactic President Will Whitehorn, and NASA Manager of Commercial Crew & Cargo Program Alan Lindenmoyer.

On Friday May 29, 2009, ISDC will focus on NASA's plans to explore the Moon, Mars and beyond. At the core of NASA's future space exploration is a return to the moon, where we will build a sustainable long-term human presence. As the space shuttle approaches retirement and the International Space Station nears completion, NASA is building the next fleet of vehicles to bring astronauts back to the moon, and possibly to Mars and beyond. This new generation of space vehicles under Project Constellation includes the Ares launch vehicle family, the Orion crew exploration vehicle, and the Altair lunar lander. Featured content will be a NASA Space Policy panel, and an in-depth look at the status of Orion and Ares I by senior managers from Lockheed, Boeing ATK and Aerojet. The featured event will be the annual NSS awards Gala on Friday evening.

Saturday May 31, 2009 will include numerous speakers, panels and discussions on aerospace sciences and education. The United States currently ranks 17th in science amongst the world's 30 richest countries and U.S. students are even further behind in math, ranking 24th. If this gap is not closed we run a serious risk of not providing our next generation with the skills necessary to maintain the United States as a spacefaring nation. Space is widely considered one of the most exciting activities we can share with students to inspire them to pursue an education in math and science. Another critical problem our country faces is dwindling supplies of energy and resources. Some of the answers to these critical problems await us just beyond the atmosphere of our planet. Harnessing the virtually unlimited power of the sun, through the development of an infrastructure of space-based solar power satellites (SSP), for example, would create energy independence for our country.

Sunday May 31, 2009 will feature visionaries, scientists and entrepreneurs looking to the future of space settlements, ways to use and inhabit Mars and the methods to protect our planet from near Earth objects such as asteroids. Sunday is the final day of the conference and will also host sessions and meetings focused on space advocacy and space outreach.

To register for the 28th Annual International Space Development Conference please visit http://www.isdc2009.org or call (202) 429-1600.

All media interested in attending the conference can do so by emailing Ian Murphy at ian.murphy@nss.org or calling (310) 689-6397.

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