National Space Society Conference Kicks Off in Dallas

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

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

And thisyear?s ISDC theme says it all: From Old Frontiers to New: Celebrating 50 Yearsof Space Flight.

?For fourdays this week, Dallas will be center of the world ofspace. From Apollo astronauts to space entrepreneurs, from the designer ofthe next mission to Mars to a bevy of aspiring space tourists?ISDC is the bestplace 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 thecreation of a spacefaring civilization. NASA is a presenting sponsor of theISDC.

Earth orbit: a learning environment

Spaceactivists are gathering here May 25-28 at the InterContinental Hotel to hearthe latest news and get a preview of tomorrow?s space technologies inperson. In addition, two pre-conference events are scheduled in the daysleading up to ISDC.

A SpaceVenture Finance symposium is bringing together leaders in the investment andspace communities to discuss recent innovations in finance within thecommercial space, spaceports, and space-related information technologyindustries.

Also,there?s the bi-annual meeting of the Aerospace Technology Working Groupdedicated to exploring Earth orbit as a learning environment for Earth andoutbound 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


Theconference will highlight the dynamic connection between space and new media,including an unprecedented summit of Space Bloggers, a presentation by the headof major NASA center inside the Second Life virtual world, and a talk by JohnCarmack, the creator of Doom and Quake, about his Quad lunar landervehicle. 

?From Carmack to Jeff Bezos to Elon Musk, new space ventures are being drivenby internet dollars,? Whitesides told ?It could verywell be that, indirectly, the internet revolution is what brings about the long-awaitedrevolution in space transportation,? he said.

Moreover,the Dallas, Texas area is both the home of recent space station visitorAnousheh Ansari of Plano as well as ?astropreneur? Carmackfrom nearby Mesquite. ?Dallas represents a nexus in the new ?Rocket Belt? as anintersection between new space ventures and the government vision to explorethe solar system,? Whitesides concluded.

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Leonard David
Space Insider Columnist

Leonard David is an award-winning space journalist who has been reporting on space activities for more than 50 years. Currently writing as's Space Insider Columnist among his other projects, Leonard has authored numerous books on space exploration, Mars missions and more, with his latest being "Moon Rush: The New Space Race" published in 2019 by National Geographic. He also wrote "Mars: Our Future on the Red Planet" released in 2016 by National Geographic. Leonard  has served as a correspondent for SpaceNews, Scientific American and Aerospace America for the AIAA. He has received many awards, including the first Ordway Award for Sustained Excellence in Spaceflight History in 2015 at the AAS Wernher von Braun Memorial Symposium. You can find out Leonard's latest project at his website and on Twitter.