National Space Society
|Type||Space advocacy, 501(c)3 Education|
The National Space Society (NSS) is an American international nonprofit 501(c)(3) educational and scientific organization specializing in space advocacy. It is a member of the Independent Charities of America and an annual participant in the Combined Federal Campaign. The society's vision is: "People living and working in thriving communities beyond the Earth, and the use of the vast resources of space for the dramatic betterment of humanity."  >
The society supports manned space missions as well as unmanned space missions, by both the public (e.g., NASA, Russian Federal Space Agency and Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency) and private sector (e.g., Ansari X Prize, Transformational Space, Scaled Composites, etc.) organizations.
The society was established in the United States on March 28, 1987, by the merger of the National Space Institute, founded by Dr. Wernher von Braun, and the L5 Society, based on the concepts of Dr. Gerard K. O'Neill.
The society has an elected volunteer Board of Directors  and a Board of Governors. The chairman of the Board of Governors is former ABC-TV 20/20 host and news anchor Hugh Downs. The chairman of the Board of Directors is Kirby Ikin.
International Space Development Conference
The society hosts an annual International Space Development Conference (ISDC) held in major cities throughout the United States, often during or close to the Memorial Day weekend. The Society's magazine Ad Astra is published quarterly.
NSS Chapters network
A large number of NSS chapters exist around the world t. The chapters may serve a local area such as a school, city or town, or have a topical or special interest focus, such as a rocketry or astronomy club, or educational/community outreach program. Chapters are the peripheral organs of the society by organizing events, communicating with the public on the merits and benefits of space exploration, and working to educate political leaders.
National Space Society of Australia
A strong contingent of chapters is located in Australia. Prior to the NSI-L5 merger, the L5 Society had been developing chapters around the world, and in Australia, three chapters had been established. The 'Southern Cross L5 Society' was formed in 1979, with groups in Sydney, Adelaide (in 1984) and Brisbane (in 1986).It was decided in late 1989 to create the National Space Society of Australia (NSSA) which could act as an umbrella organization
Similar efforts have taken hold in Brazil, Canada and Mexico, as well as European countries that have a strong aerospace presence. including France, Germany, and the Netherlands.
The National Space Society was awarded the "Five-Star Best in America" award by the Independent Charities of America organization in 2005:
The society administers a number of awards. These are typically presented during the annual International Space Development Conference that NSS hosts. These awards are in recognition of individual volunteer effort, awards for NSS chapter work, the "Space Pioneer" award, and two significant awards which are presented in alternate years:
- The Robert A. Heinlein Memorial Award, given in even-numbered years (2004, 2006, etc.). The 2006 recipient was retired Air Force Brigadier General Charles E. "Chuck" Yeager for his pioneering efforts in aeronautics with the Bell X-1 rocket-powered flights of the late 1940s and early 1950s.
- The NSS Von Braun Award, given in odd-numbered years (2003, 2005, etc.). The 2005 recipient was Burt Rutan in recognition for his achievements in the development of SpaceShipOne, winner of the $10 million Ansari X Prize.
Other scholarships and award activities NSS provides or assists with include the following awards:
- The NSS-ISU scholarship, worth $12,000, to the International Space University. Application deadline is December 31 of each year, for study during the following year. The 2005 recipient was Robert Guinness of St. Louis;
- EURISY international youth science fiction writing competition (NSS provided US support in 2005), and;
- Permission to Dream space adventure for students, teachers and parents from the Space Frontier Foundation which is partly sponsored by NSS.
- "National Space Society 'blitzes' Congress on NASA budget" Space.com - Mar. 5, 2007
- "National Space Society to Host 26th Annual Conference in Dallas, Convening Pioneers from Government and Private Space Programs" SpaceRef.com - Feb. 21, 2007
- GuideStar - National Space Society Information on NSS listed in GuideStar, a national database of nonprofit organizations