Washington, D.C., May 7, 2004 – The Space Frontier Foundation is one of 13 space advocacy organizations who recently formed a Space Exploration Alliance to secure passage of the first year’s funding required to get NASA out of Earth orbit and on a path to the Moon, Mars and Beyond. This is the first of many steps that will be required to get NASA to refocus their efforts and specify how they will expand humanity’s reach into the solar system. We support this important alliance as a means of developing a conversation between the government and the people.
The Foundation believes that if this initiative is to really be the first step on the path to human settlement of space, it can only succeed if it is based on an enlightened partnership between the public and private sectors. We have been calling for NASA to develop a plan from the beginning that includes outsourcing inappropriate tasks and initiating real and competitive private sector involvement at all levels, so as not to repeat the mistakes of past programs. NASA should focus on exploration while the private sector manages operations. We believe the only way to assure permanence is by building toward the goal of having the program eventually pay for itself, first on the Moon and then Mars.
To help in this process and promote appropriate efforts, the Foundation will be holding its 5th Return to the Moon Conference in Las Vegas in July. The conference will be held July 16-18 and will include leading officials from NASA and the private sector.
The following joint statement was released by the participating organizations on Friday, May 7, 2004 at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C.
Leading Space Groups Agree: It’s Time For The Moon, Mars And Beyond
In an unprecedented show of unity, thirteen of the nation’s premier space advocacy groups, industry associations and space policy organizations have teamed up to support the effort to refocus NASA’s human space activities toward exploration, including a return to the Moon and moving on to Mars and beyond.
The organizations involved include: Aerospace Industries Association, Aerospace States Association, American Astronautical Society, American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, California Space Authority, Florida Space Authority, The Mars Society, National Coalition of Spaceport States, National Space Society, The Planetary Society, ProSpace, Space Access Society and Space Frontier Foundation.
Collectively these groups can count almost one million Americans as members or as employees of member companies. Their first goal as a group is to work for broad Congressional support of the new national vision for space exploration outside of low earth orbit, which they refer to as Moon, Mars and Beyond. To begin they will work to secure first year funding for the initiative, which they view as a necessary first step for in-depth planning of the exploration program to commence in earnest.
In addition they intend to aggressively refute the false impression that Moon, Mars and Beyond is too expensive for this country to take on. They will demonstrate how modest but steady growth in our national expenditures on space can move the nation toward these important goals, and the benefits those expenditures will provide.
As space activity becomes increasingly integrated with every aspect of life here on Earth, this new focus on exploration will provide myriad advances in science and technology, untold economic opportunity and serve as an inspiration to our nation’s youth. Given those benefits and the many more that lie in store, this new program of human space exploration beyond low Earth orbit is a vital link to the future of the United States and the world.
For further information about this effort, please contact:
Tim Huddleston, Aerospace States Association
(256) 782-5972 (thuddleston at aerospacestates.us)
Bruce Mahone, Aerospace Industries Association
(703) 358-1095 (bruce at aia-aerospace.org)
Marc Schlather, ProSpace
(703) 753-6887 (mschlather at prospace.org)