National Space Society

People living and working in thriving communities beyond the Earth, and the use of the vast resources of space for the dramatic betterment of humanity

aka NSS   |   Washington, DC   |


The National Space Society (NSS) is an independent, educational, grassroots, non-profit organization dedicated to the creation of a spacefaring civilization. Founded as the National Space Institute (1974) and L5 Society (1975), which merged to form the NSS in 1987 (see merger proclamation), the NSS is widely acknowledged as the preeminent citizen's voice on space. The NSS has over 50 chapters in the United States and around the world. The society also publishes Ad Astra magazine, an award-winning periodical chronicling the most important developments in space, and conducts an annual conference, the International Space Development Conference.

Ruling year info



Ms. Anita Gale


Mr. Dale L. Skran

Main address

1300 I Street NW, Suite 400E

Washington, DC 20005 USA

Show more contact info



NTEE code info

Alliance/Advocacy Organizations (W01)

Alliance/Advocacy Organizations (W01)

IRS filing requirement

This organization is required to file an IRS Form 990 or 990-EZ.

Sign in or create an account to view Form(s) 990 for 2021, 2021 and 2020.
Register now



Programs and results

What we aim to solve

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

The Earth, with its precious biosphere and all of human civilization, is the only outpost of life as we know it in the universe. It is part of the Solar System, but so far, humanity has only had access to the resources of Earth, which is limited in many ways. In order to protect the existence of Life itself from natural and/or manmade catastrophes, life needs to be established on another planet or artificial biospheres. We also need humanity to be able to extend its use of natural resources to the other parts of the solar system, such as asteroids and moons, which are all sterile as far as we know and have no ecosystem to be disrupted by the use of natural resources. In addition, we want humans to be able to live and work on other planetary bodies and on artificial biospheres in space. This will greatly reduce the impact of humanity on the Earth.

Our programs

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

Ad Astra (magazine)

AD ASTRA ("to the stars") magazine is the primary membership benefit and the official publication of the NSS. This non-technical, bimonthly magazine reports to members and the general public on a broad range of space-related topics, including domestic and international space policy and programs, transportation, commercialization, planetary science, extraterrestrial resources, colonization, education and space advocacy. NSS CHAPTERS are sponsors of local and regional meetings and education symposia. These grassroots organizations are located in about 75 cities in the United States and around the world. They serve as local organizers in space education and political activism, and provide speakers and demonstrations for schools, civic groups, and the media and other forums on the merits of space exploration and development. Each year a local chapters serves as host to the International Space Development Conference (ISDC). The ISDC is the Society s annual meeting was activists convene to attend lectures, deliver papers and plan strategies for developing space.

Population(s) Served

The International Space Development Conference (ISDC) is the annual conference of the National Space Society bringing together NSS leaders and members with leading managers, engineers, scientists, educators, and businessmen from civilian, military, commercial, entrepreneurial, and grassroots advocacy space sectors. This is our annual convention which tends to be held each year in late May, We have speakers that cover all aspects of space exploration and development, as well as a major awards program and a space settlement design contest. We hold it in a different city each year. The NSS board also has its spring board meeting at the ISDC.

Population(s) Served

Where we work

Goals & Strategy

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn about the organization's key goals, strategies, capabilities, and progress.

Charting impact

Four powerful questions that require reflection about what really matters - results.

What is your organization aiming to accomplish?
The National Space Society is an educational, public interest, and advocacy group that is trying to serve all of humanity, even though it is based primarily in the United States. Our belief is that the Solar System which the Earth is part of must become part of our economic and cultural sphere of activity. Our top goals are planetary defense, space development and settlement. We also provide very strong support for space science that includes understanding Earth as a geologically active planet that supports the only known biosphere in the universe – so far. We have been pursuing these goals since the founding of our two parent organizations over 45 years ago. It is clear that extensive space development is needed before economical space settlement.
Space Development, which includes the ability of businesses to operate profitably in space, is probably one of the nearest term goals that will be realized. A major focus in this area is Space

The NSS’s main methods are though public advocacy and education. We make our members aware of the potential of space development, settlement and science, and also provide information to the General Public, the news media and the government. We also engage in citizen advocacy to members of Congress and the Senate. Private NSS members, often allied with other groups, contact Congressional offices and make trips to Washington at their own expense to brief Congressmen and their staff on space issues. Much of our advocacy work is done as a part of the Alliance for Space Development coalition of non-profits. We promote dialog between space experts at symposiums and conventions to further understanding of our goals.

The NSS has a system of chapters that began to be formed in 1975, at the time the L5 Society, one of our parent organizations, was created. There are chapters in many states and some in Europe, India and other countries. We normally hold an annual convention, the International Space Development Conference, which has been held every year since the first one in 1982 in Los Angeles, with presentations and panels by advocates and invited space experts from NASA, universities and private companies. The convention typically lasts 4 days, with normal attendance ranging from about 700 up to 1200. The ISDC has a number of focus tracks, award ceremonies, and student competitions. Hundreds of students from many countries come every year to participate in the various space settlement and SPS design contests. (No convention was held in 2020 due to the Covid virus, so we have held a number of virtual events in 2020.) The NSS publishes a quarterly magazine, “Ad Astra”, which covers progress in the space field as well as internal NSS activities.

To answer this requires taking the long view. We have been fighting to try to get the very high cost of access to space reduced since our organizations were founded. Multiple ways to do this were suggested, such as mass production of rockets, huge rockets, cheap dumb boosters, etc. By 1980 it was becoming clear that reusable rockets were a probable answer. NASA’s Space Shuttle attempted to address this vision, but failed for complex reasons. The seeds of a better approach came from the pioneering DC-X or Delta Clipper program. This program was a resounding success, but it was not followed up on. Instead, the government, (the only entity with the financial muscle to run such a program at that time), sponsored a new generation of expendable rockets.
However, the DC-X had succeeded in planting seeds of the idea in the minds of many people. Elon Musk and SpaceX have to significant degree made real the dream of a reusable rocket. More recently, the US government has finally begun some funding of Space Solar Power. The significance of Asteroid Defense is now well understood by the news, the entertainment media and even Congress, where support has been growing, exemplified by programs like NEOSM and DART. The idea of mining the lunar surface is about to be funded by NASA. Elon Musk seems on track to be sending the first StarShip vehicles to Mars by 2024, and may also participate in the NASA Artemis program.
All of these are goals that the NSS has supported for many decades. The NSS is now shifting its main advocacy effort away from just transport to Earth Orbit to a multitude of complex future space issues, many focused on supporting space development. Over the last four years we have achieved a high level of success in getting NASA, the Administration, and Congress to adopt our ideas about LEO commercialization and a gapless transition to future LEO space stations.
In addition, the NSS proudly points to its “Alumni”, many of our members who have risen to positions of importance in NASA and private industry. Lori Garver, once our executive Director, became NASA associate Administrator. George Whitesides, another of our Executive Directors, held the position of CEO of Virgin Galactic for over a decade. Dr. Greg Autry, one of our board members and our VP for Space Development, has been nominated by the President and Confirmed by a Senate Committee to be the chief financial officer for NASA. There are probably at least a dozen or more NSS members in the leadership of space companies. All of these people hold the same general views that our members do.


National Space Society

Unlock financial insights by subscribing to our monthly plan.


Unlock nonprofit financial insights that will help you make more informed decisions. Try our monthly plan today.

  • Analyze a variety of pre-calculated financial metrics
  • Access beautifully interactive analysis and comparison tools
  • Compare nonprofit financials to similar organizations

Want to see how you can enhance your nonprofit research and unlock more insights?
Learn more about GuideStar Pro.


The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.


Connect with nonprofit leaders


Build relationships with key people who manage and lead nonprofit organizations with GuideStar Pro. Try a low commitment monthly plan today.

  • Analyze a variety of pre-calculated financial metrics
  • Access beautifully interactive analysis and comparison tools
  • Compare nonprofit financials to similar organizations

Want to see how you can enhance your nonprofit research and unlock more insights? Learn More about GuideStar Pro.


Connect with nonprofit leaders


Build relationships with key people who manage and lead nonprofit organizations with GuideStar Pro. Try a low commitment monthly plan today.

  • Analyze a variety of pre-calculated financial metrics
  • Access beautifully interactive analysis and comparison tools
  • Compare nonprofit financials to similar organizations

Want to see how you can enhance your nonprofit research and unlock more insights? Learn More about GuideStar Pro.

National Space Society

Board of directors
as of 03/23/2023
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board chair

Mr. Kirby Ikin

Kirby Ikin

Jeffrey Liss

Mark Hopkins

Dale Amon

David Brandt-Erichsen

Anita Gale

Bruce Pittman

Al Globus

John Mankins

Dale Skran

John Strickland, Jr.

Lynne Zielinski

Buckner Hightower

Michael Snyder

Gary Barnhard

Laurence Ahearn

Alfred B Anzaldua

Chantelle Baier

Frances Dellutri

Gabriella Lindberg

Joe Redfield

Michelle Hanlon

Fredrick Jenet

Madhu Thangavelu

Jim Keravala

Ravi Deepak

Robert Aillon

Sherry Bell

Bailey Cunningham

Karen Mermel

Gerald McLaughlin

Stevan Akerley

Board leadership practices

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

GuideStar worked with BoardSource, the national leader in nonprofit board leadership and governance, to create this section.

  • Board orientation and education
    Does the board conduct a formal orientation for new board members and require all board members to sign a written agreement regarding their roles, responsibilities, and expectations? No
  • CEO oversight
    Has the board conducted a formal, written assessment of the chief executive within the past year ? No
  • Ethics and transparency
    Have the board and senior staff reviewed the conflict-of-interest policy and completed and signed disclosure statements in the past year? No
  • Board composition
    Does the board ensure an inclusive board member recruitment process that results in diversity of thought and leadership? Yes
  • Board performance
    Has the board conducted a formal, written self-assessment of its performance within the past three years? Yes