2010: A Year of Accomplishments

2010: A Year of Accomplishments

November 18, 2010 Opinion

A plea for support from our Chairman of the Board

Things sure have changed during the last 12 months and we plan to make sure they change even more… if only we can find the money and volunteers to make it happen.

For over 20 years, the criticism of the Space Frontier Foundation that had the most sting for me was the idea that we were like Don Quixote tilting at windmills, undeniably entertaining but ultimately pointless. Many cynics complained that no amount of “changing the conversation about space” was ever going to translate into real policy changes. They believed that no matter how many op-eds we published, no matter how many times we were quoted in the press, no matter how much we influenced the minds of young people – the iron triangle of Congress, the bureaucracy and government contractors would forever prevent us from making any progress. Our critics would admit that we inspired the creation of numerous NewSpace companies; they just didn’t think that any of them would ever succeed in competing against powerful vested interests.

This year we proved the cynics wrong!

While DC-based space groups were struggling for internal consensus and seeking compromise the clear voice of the Space Frontier Foundation was being heard across the country. I was personally published or quoted in The New York Times, The Cleveland Plain Dealer, The Orlando Sentinel, The Florida Sun Sentinel, Sky and Telescope magazine, Space News and all over the internet. Best of all, I was only one of many Advocates who had a similar level of success. By shaping the debate all over America, we had an enormous impact on the policy that was ultimately adopted.

I don’t want to suggest that we won the war, or even this battle. Without even considering the gigantic gap between authorization and appropriation, I figure that we lost on points because the authorized NASA budget still contains a lot more old style pork than NewSpace program. However, after years of losing by ratios greater than 100:1, this feels like victory.  (Others will calculate the ratio differently, but I believe I’m first to coin the phrase pork to program ratio”? :-))

Our success in the media was synergistically paralleled in many other areas.  Teachers in Space won its first big grant, we are attracting young people in larger and larger numbers, and the NewSpace conference was bigger and better than ever before.  Success breeds success.  Unfortunately, as we grow, the opportunities to advance our goals grow even faster forcing us to make hard choices and let many promising opportunities pass us by.

The Space Frontier Foundation was created to open the space frontier to human settlement. The commitment of many volunteers, donors, entrepreneurs, and investors has finally made that dream undeniably realistic.  As Winston Churchill said:

“Now this is not the end. It is not even the beginning of the end.
But it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning.”

We are pleased to announce that two of our largest donors have agreed to match up to $14,000 in donations made between now and December 1st.

This is the first of a series of messages you will be receiving over the next few weeks.  Please don’t wait until the end and miss this matching opportunity.  Contribute now by visiting our donation page.

Thank you in advance,

Bob Werb

4 Comments

  • Bored says:

    Your name was in the newspaper. Big deal.

  • spacefrontier says:

    Thank you for your inquiry.

    Help Space Frontier Foundation Page: http://spacefrontier.org/help-sff/

    And please contact our Conference Volunteer Manager at nastia.soukhareva@spacefrontier.org

  • Hill Guy says:

    I work on the Hill. Your organization has no effect on anything here. Several of your members visited us. The moment they left our boss and the staff all engaged in an eye rolling session and the secretaries were told to never schedule time with Spacey Frontier people again. Some other guy with an earring who is a stripmall developer once came buy. What a loon. You guys need to get some normal people to carry your message next time.