The View From Missive Control

Space Frontier News
Space Frontier Society
A Chapter of the National Space Society
May 1994
Vol. 5, No. 3
Page 2

The View From Missive Control
by Dan Perlman, Editor

Well, my first issue is behind me, or so I thought. Imagine my surprise at the controversy stirred up by our page 6 article by Jim Melloan. I cant say that I have a representative sampling of the membership’s response, but I did hear from four of you on your views. Linda DeLaurentis, our president, who givers her response in her President’s Message following, found the article intriguing, though felt that Jim could have delved a bit deeper into what SFS has already done in the business world. Two members who wish to remain anonymous congratulated Jim for proposing something they thing would make an interesting project for the organization – now whenever the two of you wish to stop remaining anonymous, perhaps you’d like to, dare I say it, volunteer, to work on the idea? The most extensive response came from Greg Zsidisin, who felt that Jim needs to do some far broader research into the area of private enterprise and space exploration, as well as SFS’s involvement in the area, in order to understand just what it would take to really do what he proposes. He further comments:

“NSS and SFS are grassroots advocacy groups, in which members from all walks of life promote their cause, just like PETA or Sierra Club or NRA members do. It’s a niche we’ve choen, and something we’ve done damn well with – the Blueprint for Space seminar and our nationally covered pro-space rallies are just a few of our more recent successes….

Melloan urges us to abandon America’s $30 billion public space effort for such blazing new space ventures as LunaCorp – which, for all its novelty, is hardly guaranteed the $120 million it needs to set a rover down on the moon for the entertainment industry….

I’m sorry, but a fully private space enterprise is still a ways off. One SFS member who attended a recent space financing conference said the audience’s eyes glazed over during the American Rocket Company’s pitch on hybrid rockets. Next to Delta Clippers and SSTOs, hybrid rocketry is tremendously conservative stuff. The funding Amroc needs to finish its modest research work is in the tens of millions of dollars – hundreds of times less investment than even the lowest Clipper estimates. Yet they’ve been at it for years now – and it’s reusable Clipperships, not expendable hybrids, that everyone now looks to for opening the frontier.

For all the current turmoil, the space technology that will get you and me into space on vacation is far more likely to come out of the government than private industry. That fact alone leaves a big role for grassroots activists and groups like SFS and NSS.”

Greg himself takes another look at LunaCorp and International Space Enterprises ventures in this issue of SFN, along with our cover piece on ISDC ’94, and his usual valued contributions of space news. Linda DeLaurentis discusses the upcoming board elections and Carolyn Josephs catches up on the doings of the Education Committee. Sam Liebowitz proposes an interesting project for a couple of, here we go again, volunteers. Personally, I felt compelled to pen a review of Michio Kaku’s new book, Hyperspace.

Again, your contributions and input are not only welcome, but requested. I’d like to see the author base of this newsletter expand rapidly, not only for the variation in talent, but also to make sure we include a wide range of interests for all members.


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