Following is the text of the letter NSS Executive Director LtCol Paul Damphousse sent to the members of the NSS on Feb 18, 2013 regarding his resignation as NSS Executive Director.
Dear Members of the National Space Society,
Friday, February 15, marked my last day as the Executive Director of the National Space Society (NSS). When I accepted this position just over a year ago, I told you of the challenges ahead, but that I also viewed those challenges as opportunities. Over the last year, we’ve met those challenges head-on and charted a new course to prosperity for the Society.
In the spring of 2012, we conducted our annual Legislative Blitz on Capitol Hill and met with over 110 members of Congress and their staffs to advocate the vision of the NSS. Several weeks later, we personally presented awards to Dr. Stephen Hawking and then to comedian Stephen Colbert to recognize their individual efforts to educate the public on the benefits of space exploration.
We followed those events with one of the best ISDCs in NSS history, complete with the first-ever berthing of SpaceX’s Dragon spacecraft at the ISS, which was broadcast live as NASA Administrator Bolden addressed the conference. At the ISDC we conducted the NSS’ first technology workshop and partnered with industry and NASA to produce a position paper in support of NASA’s cryogenic propellant storage and transfer (CPST) program.The night of the Gala and Governors’ dinner was truly one to remember, as we honored Mercury astronauts John Glenn and Scott Carpenter at the National Air and Space Museum in Washington, DC.
We shifted our focus in the second half of the year from conference planning to reinforcing our existing relationships, establishing new ones, and initiating or revitalizing several Society projects. In August, we partnered with our friends at The Planetary Society (TPS) and Explore Mars to celebrate the arrival of NASA’s Curiosity rover on Mars. NSS was featured prominently during an address to over 2,000 people at TPS’s Planetfest conference less than an hour before the landing.
As the summer closed, we put the finishing touches on an agreement to make NSS a co-executive producer of an IMAX film depicting a future manned mission to the moons of Saturn. By the end of the year, we had also restarted the much-neglected NSS Corporate Council and Space Ambassador Program.
We began last year by focusing on putting our financial house in order. Today, we can report that our Society, while still not out of the woods, is in a much more stable position.
As an example of the promising future ahead for the Society, on Saturday morning, February 16, the NSS concluded its latest, and most novel, fundraising effort to date. As an interim step to our upcoming IMAX film, we decided to produce a smaller – yet no less exciting – film to advocate for the benefits of space settlement and space resource utilization.
To get this project off the ground, the NSS turned to “crowdsourcing” and launched our very first Kickstarter campaign. I’m happy to report that when the Kickstarter campaign came to a close, we not only met our fundraising goal of $35,000, but we blew right past it. In the end, 687 individual backers contributed $57,571 for the project, a funding level of 164% of our initial goal.
This latest project demonstrates that NSS can do great things when we pull together to meet our common goals. However, there’s still work to be done as we move into this new year, with significant challenges including an uncertain national economic outlook and heightened pressures on our plans for space exploration. But again, the opportunities we find far outweigh the challenges – NSS is now in a much better position to take advantage of these opportunities.
Let me close by saying that it has been my distinct pleasure to serve as your Executive Director. I hope you’ll agree that we are at least one step closer to the day when we are a truly spacefaring civilization. As for me, I am on to pursue other opportunities, but rest assured, you will see me again in the space community.
Thanks for your continued membership and support.
Lt Col Paul E. Damphousse USMC (Ret)