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Is the National Space Society Fading Away – or Bouncing Back?

By Keith Cowing
November 17, 2004

Editor’s note: Reliable sources reveal that the National Space Society (NSS) has worked out an arrangement where the publishing of its magazine “Ad Astra” will now be handled by That transition will happen over the next month or two. Discussions have also been held with various parties with regard to the possible merger of NSS and The Space Foundation.

NSS’ office is already co-located with the Space Foundation in Washington, DC – and NSS’ previous Executive Director is now a vice president at the Space Foundation.

Multiple, knowledgeable sources state that NSS’ membership has dropped from 23,000 a year or so ago down to around 8,000.

While there is value in consolidation, I fear that the slow-motion march toward the formation of one monolithic space organization will drive diversity out of the space advocacy movement instead of stimulate it.

Update: NSS Executive Director George Whitesides called to say that Ad Astra magazine has 19,000+ paid subscribers – and that NSS membership automatically goes with paid subscription.

Update: A Space Foundation representative called to say that there have been no formal, recent discussions between the NSS and the Space Foundation about a possible merger. However, the Foundation’s representative did admit that such a discussion was held a year or so ago. NASA Watch has also learned of yet another such merger discussion between the Space Foundation and NSS some 4-5 years ago.

NASA Watch founder, Explorers Club Fellow, ex-NASA, Away Teams, Journalist, Space & Astrobiology, Lapsed climber.