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Requesting Input on Forming New Space Advocacy Organization

Posted by: Troubadour - Tue Apr 17, 2012 6:36 pm
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Requesting Input on Forming New Space Advocacy Organization 
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Post Requesting Input on Forming New Space Advocacy Organization   Posted on: Tue Apr 17, 2012 6:36 pm
I've been a lifelong believer in expanding human civilization out into the solar system and beyond, but I've been disappointed by the performance of government, business, and existing advocacy organizations in pursuit of this goal. I'm encouraged by what SpaceX is doing, but am wary of depending on the solvency of a single company and the health of a single visionary business leader to build humanity's future - and for all the good one company can do, it is just one company that will be hampered by lack of progress in the rest of the industry.

My sense of the problem is that these sectors each have critical weaknesses and have proven unable to cooperate sufficiently to benefit from each other's strengths. So for a while I've been wondering - why can't business, academia, and individual supporters / citizen groups come together and forge common goals? I don't mean vague statements of purpose as a trade association might put out, but actually collaborate and pool resources on specific projects and programs as part of an umbrella organization?

I realize that's a tall order, so I've been thinking about ways I could make a humble beginning toward that objective, and what I've come up with is that I could start an organization where anyone can come and contribute any amount to a common fund, and this contribution gives them a vote (partly weighted by the contribution amount) in dividing the final fund into a budget for the support of advancing the stated goal. Once you get a few people involved, the perceived power they would wield would be a lot bigger than their individual contributions, because even though they may have contributed only say $10, they could be voting on what to do with $200 - kind of like an amateur legislature voting on space appropriations. The more people you have, the bigger the ratio of perceived power to individual contribution, and the greater the attraction of participating.

Granted, the uses to which the initial small budgets could be put would be very humble - a small prize for a logo design competition, an essay competition to sponsor a school kid's Pong Sat, paying for some trivial component on a spacecraft as a symbolic gesture of sponsorship, etc. But once people realized the attraction of such direct participation, you might begin to see somewhat larger budgets capable of more interesting applications - ones that might bring some attention, and get businesses interested in participating on a tentative basis. Once that happens, things could get interesting, because - at least in theoretical terms - I think the value proposition is clear for all three sectors (advocacy, business, and academia).

So I would like some input on this idea from other space advocates. I intend to move forward on it in relatively short order, but I'm well aware of the fact that I'm an amateur with minimal organizational experience and a generalist without expertise in anything particular. So I'd like your input on this, since you folks have a diverse set of skills and experience with all three of the sectors I'd ultimately be interested in courting - although for the most part it's the beginning that I'm focused on. With one exception: Anyone whose opinion boils down to telling me not to bother, shouldn't bother. Thanks, folks.

PS, I can put in at least $100 per month myself, so there would be a guaranteed minimum budget.

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Post Re: Requesting Input on Forming New Space Advocacy Organization   Posted on: Fri Apr 20, 2012 10:44 pm
Well, what I'd like to see is an elaboration on the N-prize idea: small prizes, around £10,000, for competitions which move us forward in a meaningful way. I've suggested one before for Nearspace tourism; maybe prizes could be offered for the development of life support systems that improve on the current ones, or something else entirely, such as a high altitude test bed for space equipment.

So, you might want to speak to Paul Dear about setting up an N-prize foundation as the low-budget complement to the X-prize. Please do so, I'd quite like to see something like it. Get individuals or businesses to sponsor the prizes.

I guess we'll have to wait until after the 19th of September though - http://spacefellowship.com/Forum/viewtopic.php?f=52&t=9213

If another N-prize comes up, though, I might be able to get together Cererean Labs :)


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Post Re: Requesting Input on Forming New Space Advocacy Organization   Posted on: Sat Apr 21, 2012 5:41 am
Terraformer wrote:
Well, what I'd like to see is an elaboration on the N-prize idea: small prizes, around £10,000, for competitions which move us forward in a meaningful way.


You know, that gives me an interesting idea: A prize whose amount grows with time until someone claims it. This would allow people to progressively contribute to it as they're able, and obviate the need for a big up-front insurance policy.

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