Commercial SpaceAt 3:30pm EST today, SEDS-USA Chairman Rick Hanton sent our a letter to many congressional staffers, the white house, and a variety of media outlets from over 250 students stating their belief in the promise of commercial spaceflight in the United States.

This letter was started as an initiative by a few SEDS students with some help from some of our distinguished alumni to present an actual “student view” on this aspect of the future of space travel to politicians in Washington D.C.  The letter was organized and sent out by students from SEDS, but represented the views of students at both universities with SEDS chapters and universities without chapters that wanted to make their voice heard in the conversation about commercial spaceflight on capitol hill.

If you are a student who did not already sign this letter, we invite you to take a look at what we have written and sign to show your support if you agree with the points we have made.

(Scroll to the bottom of the page for the signature form)

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6 comments

  1. Charles C. Powell April 1, 2011 at 8:50 am

    Reply

    I commend all of these bright minds in taking the initiative to inform Washington of their ideas, work, and beliefs. I hope it doesn’t shadow Congress’ ability to understand it, and assimilate the message. I sometimes wonder whether anyone in Congress can understand anything anymore.

    We as a country have taken a back seat to the space programs worldwide with the retirement of the Shuttle Fleet. Whereas plans were in place long ago to replace them with newer vehicles and programs, there is unfortunately no such animal anymore. We as a nation have taken second and third place in this area as we now are paying some 30 million dollars per seat to ride on the Russian built Soyuz platform to gain access to and from the ISS. And only to the ISS. Nowhere else. No exploration, no traveling to other planets, asteroids, or sectors in space for research and education.

    I pulled a list off the listserver at NASA on a document sometime ago on the the various spinoff technologies since NASA was known as NACA in the early early years. To date the document is hugely impressive. And large. While I didn’t count them, I sat for at least two hours reading it. And still wasn’t done. I am not sure if those in positions in Congress really know what they are doing, what they are accomplishing or creating as a result of their actions. I do know it is not the right course or action. We are now right back at the front of the late fifties, prior to JFK and his direction. It is sad.

    While commercialization of the Space Program seems to be the current buzz, one cannot keep from thinking about one critical component. Success. Commercially, companies have to be successful at conclusion of their research, development, and be able to profitably market it. Resources and funding while present now, may not be able to withstand the uncertainties of lasting in the financial arena. Granted you have the grants, and submissions of angel funding, but all these areas eventually will dry up. Because where NASA had the edge was we as a country funded this research without the overhead pressure to profit from it. We designed, built, and developed alongside technology to allow it to be applied to a problem for a project. That technology resulted in spinoff, that was THEN commercially refined, and marketed. But the groundwork was not done on a profit overhead. I am worried that these companies will go like gangbusters out of the gate. But as time progresses, if the return on investment is not where it should be, projects have a tendency to die, or be abandoned because it no longer is profitable to continue.

    I realize government is the so called pork barrel container of funds. I realize that there is a large area of these types in government that can be eliminated and probably should. But I don’t think NASA is one of them. I do think that Commercial Spaceflight is feasible, but should as these bright minds in the letter above suggest, be concurrent to NASA. Side by side, working together. In this manner I believe it is a win-win for everyone in the country as well as our important next generation.

    I am 52 years old. My generation has failed in this country. We tried to fix it, we tried to dig it out of the proverbial ditch. But we failed. Now it is up to this new generation to try their hands out at fixing and repairing it. It is their turn. I sincerely hope they can pull it off where we failed at doing it. But if we deny them the primal resources to begin with, are we not basically creating and setting them all up for failure? I think we are.

    Therefore, Congress needs to wake up. They need to get their heads straight. And most importantly fund NASA like it should be funded. It should continue for our new generation to have the tools and the drive to fix and repair their world.

    And Congress needs to do it before it is too late.

  2. Pingback: SEDS Letter on Future of Human Spaceflight | SpaceScouter

  3. Pingback: Students Know Commercial Spaceflight Is Their Future

  4. Daniel Cole May 6, 2011 at 1:53 pm

    Reply

    This is a poor and factless attempt by the commercial stock holders to misguide and lie to the youth via their anti-NASA rhetoric.

    Thankfully, no one will take any notice this blatant attempt to help rich stock holders in these commercial start ups any richer from tax funds.

  5. Bruce Behrhorst October 5, 2011 at 9:10 pm

    Reply

    This is not aerospace vision type students most of what is proposed here is limited LEO space ops for wealthy elite amusement park ride to space. No mention of nuclear space both Armstrong and Cernan VIP astronauts are space nuclear advocates.

    Why not open access to space?
    Lets make space more democratic for international cooperation.

    I’m surprised at SEDS.

    • SEDS Chair October 5, 2011 at 9:18 pm

      Reply

      We are not writing in support of LEO operations necessarily, we are writing in support of commercial space operators and the revolution they can bring to the industry. Who is going to build nuclear space vehicles? Will it be commercial companies or cumbersome government enterprises? Obviously the vision of students extends far beyond the confines of this letter, but it’s a good starting point and provides an idea of how we can open space to the masses.

      Thanks for your comments!

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