Chapter Projects...

Be part of making the dream of public spaceflight a reality: get involved with a project of the Clear Lake Area NSS. Volunteers and contributions of materials and services are always appreciated. (As a chapter of the National Space Society, a 501-3c educational organization, all donations to chapter projects qualify for tax deductions.) We will also consider new ideas for projects, but be warned: the person who suggests a new project is automatically in charge of it

Getting Space Into Libraries. This is the perfect project for armchair activists. Help our chapter buy more gift subscriptions to NSS's award-winning Ad Astra magazine for Houston-area libraries. All you have to do is find a Houston-area library that does not carry the National Space Society magazine, and donate $45 to cover a gift subscription. Your contribution will be tax deductible, the library will gain a new resource, and more people will learn about space as a result of your generosity. Mail checks made out to CLA-NSS and mail to 15443 Runswick Dr. Houston, TX 77062-3310.

Space Literacy. This is a new project chaired by Marianne Dyson. The goal is to get more people reading about the history, science, and exciting future of space exploration. Marianne is chairing a Space Books Review Committee whose members will read new books and write reviews for posting on the NSS Space Books page. If you have experience writing book reviews, and are interested in joining the committee, please send a note to Marianne.

Zero-G Teachers. This is a new project to fly teachers on commercial parabolic "zero-g" flights. The first teacher to fly through our chapter's sponsorship was Jason Hillman in 2004, an eighth-grade teacher at Hildebrant Intermediate School (Hildebrandt logo). The flight offers periods of 25 seconds of freefall when everything is weightless, followed by "uphill" times of about 2 g's as it follows a roller coaster path through the sky. During these times, Jason performed experiments suggested by his students. Videos of his experience were shared with his class, fellow teachers and at NSS events. If you are a teacher who would like to fly, or want to help sponsor a favorite teacher, please send e-mail to the chapter. The chapter must raise $5,000 for another teacher to fly, so your suggestions of sponsors are welcome. Donations are tax deductible to the fullest extent allowed by law. If you want to buy a ticket for yourself, look for the sign-up sheet on the NSS homepage at Jason was originally the teacher in charge of a previous CLA-NSS student project to design a washing machine experiment to fly on the space shuttle. The chapter had paid a deposit for a Get Away Special on a future flight, but the check was never cashed because it was caught in a batch of anthrax-contaminated mail! We had started the process to resubmit the paperwork, but lost a key volunteer and with him, our corporate sponsor contact. Then after the Columbia disaster, with the shuttles grounded, it was obvious that the students would all graduate before the project could be rescheduled. Here are photos of the participating students (pictured here are David Roberts, Grant Janak, Corbin Grovers (has moved to California), Jason Redford, and Ricky Stone during a press conference at the World Space Congress, October 19, 2002.), and teachers and the GAS logo the kids designed. Here's a photo of the students with Houston Chronicle Reporter Mark Carreau. Here they are with "Failure is Not an Option" Flight Director, Gene Kranz. For Press Use: Hi Res (300 dpi) photo of students Jason Redford, David Roberts, Ricky Stone, Corbin Grovers, Grant Janak, and teacher Jason Hillman at the NSS World Space Congress booth at the Houston George R. Brown Convention Center October 19, 2002. The chapter is very pleased to be able to sponsor Jason on the Zero-G flight.

NASA Flight Opportunities Program. NASA offers opportunities for college (and some high schools in Texas) to fly experiments in freefall on their “Weightless Wonder” aircraft, also known as the “Vomit Comet.” The aircraft is based at Ellington Field in the Clear Lake area. Chapter members can provide speaking opportunities at our conferences (Mark Wallace at NSS conference) and prepare articles for Houston and NSS publications. Proposals are due each November, teams are selected in December, and 4 of the students fly during a two-week period during spring break in March. The amount of money required to sponsor a team depends on how much support the college provides, the complexity of the experiment, and the travel requirements of the team members. If you know of some Texas college students who are interested in participating in this program and need a sponsor, please send us e-mail. More information about the Flight Opportunities Program is available at:

Conferences. The CLA-NSS sponsored the 1999 International Space Development Conference (ISDC). This highly successful conference included a technical symposium by the AIAA, tours of Johnson Space Center, a banquet honoring the Apollo 10 crew, a topnotch list of expert speakers, science fiction authors predicting the future of the real space program, a space band named Zia, and a celebration of NSS’s 25th anniversary with TV star and NSS Governor Bruce Boxleitner. Hosting a conference takes a team of volunteers. Is there an anniversary event or a space issue that you think deserves some special attention via a conference? If you’d be willing to coordinate or know a group that would want us to co-sponsor such an event, we have an experienced team to help make it happen.

Speakers Bureau. Want to speak about space or need a speaker for your event or club? The Clear Lake Area NSS chapter provides a friendly audience for new speakers and offers experienced speakers for local events. NSS Board member, Marianne Dyson, is a former NASA flight controller and award-winning author. She offers talks about her experience with the Student Flight Opportunities program (her flight on the "vomit comet"), interactive space science demonstrations for kids, and various topics in astronomy, science fiction, and women in aerospace. For more information on becoming or inviting an NSS speaker, send e-mail to: Chapter President Murray Clark and Vice President Doug Hall and teacher Jason Hillman are available to speak about their flights on the Zero-G aircraft.

Fly a Local Member. Not a teacher or a student, but want to fly in zero-g? NSS offers group discounts and special celebrity flights on the Zero-G commercial parabolic flights. Meet and talk with our members who have flown to find out what it's like.