NSS Announces Themes, Featured Speakers from 2008 ISDC


The National Space Society (NSS) announced today the themes and featured speakers for the 27th Annual International Space Development Conference (ISDC) taking place at the Capital Hilton Hotel in Washington D.C. from May 29, 2008 to June 1, 2008.

The primary theme for ISDC 2008 is The New Pace of Space.

“The purpose of ISDC is to provide a global forum for anyone with an interest in space to learn, interact and discuss the future with the leaders of space exploration, business and science,” said NSS Executive Director, George T. Whitesides.

With the shuttle retirement looming on the horizon and the rapid advances of commercial space entrepreneurs like Elon Musk’s SpaceX and Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic, a paradigm shift is occurring within the space industry. This shift is having a profound effect on not only the traditional civil and military sectors of the space industry but peripheral industries such as life sciences and energy, as well. ISDC will bring the major players from all corners of the space world to the nation’s capital for a symposium that will provide invaluable insight into the future of spaceflight and exploration.

The National Space Society is also pleased to announce that Space News will act as the exclusive media sponsor for ISDC 2008. “ISDC is an ideal venue for the public to engage space leaders about the future of the industry,” said Bill Klanke, Publisher of Space News. “Space News is delighted to be a sponsor of this important and valuable event.”

On Wednesday May 28, 2008 the conference will kick off with an exclusive pre-event, the 4th Space Investment Summit (SIS), bringing together the emerging commercial space industry with the established world of finance to exchange their goals, ideas and advice. Investors and established aerospace firms will hear business plans from some of the most exciting new companies in space-related business sectors, while expert panels discuss important issues like exit strategies for aerospace startups, as well as early and mid-stage financing.

On Thursday May 29, up-and-coming commercial launch providers will be on hand to show how they are working with NASA and the military to decrease the cost of access to space. In addition, the growing commercial sector is finding new customers in the life science and energy industries that are in need of a microgravity environment for experiments and payload transport to orbit respectively. Members from these communities will share their thoughts for the future of space-related industry. Featured speakers include Virgin Galactic President Will Whitehorn and SpaceX Founder Elon Musk. A special luncheon will feature the Director of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), Dr. Anthony Tether.

On Friday May 30, ISDC will focus the discussion on NASA and its future. NASA has announced it will return to the Moon and then begin to look towards Mars and beyond. The Shuttle retires in two years and the civil sector has been busier than ever, preparing for the next generation of space vehicles represented by Project Constellation and the Orion space exploration vehicle. Featured speakers include Hon. Nick Lampson (D-22nd District-TX), United States House of Representatives; Director of NASA Ames Research Center, Dr. Simon “Pete” Worden;Associate Administrator of the Science Mission Directorate of NASA, Dr. Alan Stern; and Doug Cooke, Deputy Associate Administrator of NASA’s exploration programs

Saturday May 31 will be focused primarily on personal spaceflight. We have reached a time when anyone can purchase a ticket to ride on a spaceship and a handful of people have taken advantage of that opportunity. In a few years, smaller vehicles developed in the private sector will take someone to sub-orbit for around $200,000. Space Tourism is now a major part of commercial space and ISDC will bring together organizations, companies and individuals who will inform the public about how to get there and what it’s like to be a private space explorer. Featured speakers include X PRIZE Foundation Founder and Chairman Dr. Peter Diamandis, Private Space Explorers Dr. Anousheh Ansari and Gregory Olsen and Space Adventures CEO Eric Anderson.

The final day of the conference will concentrate on the visionaries, scientists and entrepreneurs who look far in to the future at deep space settlements, ways to use and inhabit mars and the methods used to protect our planet from near earth objects such as asteroids.