DALLAS, Texas -- Leaders from NASA, the budding private space industry, and the ever-growing roster of international space programs are gathering here at the National Space Society?s 2007 International Space Development Conference (ISDC).

It has been nearly five decades since the beeping sounds of Sputnik 1?launched by the former Soviet Union on October 4, 1957?broadcast that the dawn of the ?Space Age? had arrived.

And this year?s ISDC theme says it all: From Old Frontiers to New: Celebrating 50 Years of Space Flight.

?For four days this week, Dallas will be center of the world of space. From Apollo astronauts to space entrepreneurs, from the designer of the next mission to Mars to a bevy of aspiring space tourists?ISDC is the best place on Earth to be,? said George Whitesides, the Executive Director of the National Space Society. The group labels itself as the largest space advocacy group dedicated to the creation of a spacefaring civilization. NASA is a presenting sponsor of the ISDC.

Earth orbit: a learning environment

Space activists are gathering here May 25-28 at the InterContinental Hotel to hear the latest news and get a preview of tomorrow?s space technologies in person. In addition, two pre-conference events are scheduled in the days leading up to ISDC.

A Space Venture Finance symposium is bringing together leaders in the investment and space communities to discuss recent innovations in finance within the commercial space, spaceports, and space-related information technology industries.

Also, there?s the bi-annual meeting of the Aerospace Technology Working Group dedicated to exploring Earth orbit as a learning environment for Earth and outbound exploration.

At ISDC, Whitesides noted that there are three main program tracks:

  • Frontier Transport (Space Transportation)
  • The Lunar Frontier (Moon & Cislunar Space Development)
  • The Martian Frontier

Long-awaited revolution

The conference will highlight the dynamic connection between space and new media, including an unprecedented summit of Space Bloggers, a presentation by the head of major NASA center inside the Second Life virtual world, and a talk by John Carmack, the creator of Doom and Quake, about his Quad lunar lander vehicle. 

?From Carmack to Jeff Bezos to Elon Musk, new space ventures are being driven by internet dollars,? Whitesides told SPACE.com. ?It could very well be that, indirectly, the internet revolution is what brings about the long-awaited revolution in space transportation,? he said.

Moreover, the Dallas, Texas area is both the home of recent space station visitor Anousheh Ansari of Plano as well as ?astropreneur? Carmack from nearby Mesquite. ?Dallas represents a nexus in the new ?Rocket Belt? as an intersection between new space ventures and the government vision to explore the solar system,? Whitesides concluded.

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