Nyack, NY, March 5, 2003 – On March 1st and 2nd space advocates and leaders attended the Space Settlement Summit in Los Angeles.
In the wake of the Columbia tragedy America has been engaged in a discussion as to the need for such activities and the real goals of our space program. To answer these questions, a group of space leaders, opinion makers, entrepreneurs and financiers met in Los Angeles this month to seek common agreement on guiding principles for the U.S. human space flight effort and begin coordinating strategies to provide a direction for a currently rudderless U.S. space program. The result was the formation of a strong consensus that the nation’s human space agenda needs a unifying central goal, that the current climate is hindering the opening of space, and that top level space policies must be changed if we are to ever open space to the people.
To address these concerns, the group developed an overarching declaration of purpose for the U.S. human space flight agenda, developed the first of a set of principles they will work to incorporate into national space policy, and began planning for a set of follow on meetings and actions, designed to expand their circle and develop momentum .
The historic private meeting, held at the Riviera Country Club in Los Angeles, was quickly organized in the few weeks following the shuttle disaster. Its central purpose was to bring together several citizen space organizations that had often been at odds in the past. Those attending included members and leaders of the Mars Society, the National Space Society, the X-Prize Foundation, The Space Access Society, the Space Frontier Foundation, the Space Studies Institute, the Mars Institute, Space Tourism Society, Space Generation Council, Yuri’s Night, California Space Authority and others. Each group and the individuals attending agreed to drop personal or organizational agendas such as planetary destinations, or technological fixes and work together to create a space exploration and settlement agenda for the nation that could be carried to the White House and Congress.
The event was Chaired by Apollo astronaut Buzz Aldrin, citizen space explorer Dennis Tito and Rick Tumlinson of the Space Frontier Foundation, with Dr. John Lewis of the University of Arizona as Moderator. Notable participants included shuttle astronaut Rick Searfoss, authors Gregory Benford, and Jerry Pournelle and the CEOs and founders of several entrepreneurial space firms. In addition, the event drew an unprecedented and historic gathering of the top financiers of “alternative” space efforts, who between them have and are currently funding hundreds of millions of dollars of work in this area, including the private construction of new rockets and space hotels.
Based on the enthusiastic response of all those attending, and the new spirit of cooperation it has created, the coalition is looking to repeat and expand this initiative to include more organizations, policymakers, the broader space industry and media. The next meeting will occur in the next months in Washington D.C.
A FIRST STEP
The Summit was the first step of a drive to change our civil space policy, and create a legacy that is worthy of the lives of those who have sacrificed so much to open the frontier of space. Making our space agenda reflect our free enterprise system and pioneering heritage, and reflecting the partnership between the government and private sectors that has produced such great rewards for our citizens is the coalition’s core goal. The coalition believes this will not only change the decisions to be made in such areas as the space station, new destinations for human exploration and how that exploration is conducted, and space transportation policy, but by accelerating the opening of space, will also transform our nation and the world in years to come.
The following is the first (top level) statement produced by the coalition. More specific recommendations will flow during the coming months.
WHY SPACE SETTLEMENT
The human settlement of space is a noble cause that deserves the attention and support of people throughout the world for the following reasons:
- To enhance prosperity for all people and make use of the abundant resources of outer space;
- To fulfill the drive for discovery and exploration, which is an innate human quality at the core of progress and thriving civilizations;
- To ensure the survival of human civilization and the biosphere, and protect them from natural and man-made disasters.
Expanding boundaries to this new frontier is a pursuit of freedom, a fundamental element of progress essential to the fulfillment of human potential.