Program Introduction

ENTERPRISE IN SPACE

National Space Society’s Enterprise In Space program will launch, orbit, and return an 8 foot / 2.5 meter orbiter based on a winning design submitted by the public during an international competition.

Enterprise In Space celebrates a vision of humanity’s future in space and serves as a tribute to the many great visionaries of science and science fiction — and to all Enterprise ships, real or imagined.  This program offers an opportunity for people of diverse cultural and geographic backgrounds who have similar interests in space, science, education, exploration, and space promotion to work together to accomplish a historic goal: the launch and later recovery of a science fiction-inspired orbiter.

Funding for the EIS program will be in the form social media campaigns and donations from the public, corporations, and live events.  Enterprise in Space crew member donations will help endow the science, space education, space exploration, and space promotional activities of this program of the National Space Society.  Crew members (donors) will have their names flown on board the orbiter; these names will also be displayed with the orbiter after the orbiter is retrieved from a controlled re-entry.

The Enterprise orbiter will be built and launched by established aerospace companies and recognized educational institutions.  NSS intends to engage SpaceWorks Enterprises, Inc. (SEI) to perform engineering analysis and preliminary design of the overall vehicle.  SEI is a major commercial aerospace subcontractor with involvement in educational outreach including high school, undergraduate, and graduate level internship/mentorship programs and has twelve years of experience supporting NASA, the US Air Force, and a variety of commercial customers.  SEI will complete the conceptual design of the orbiter and subsystems, define the reentry and recovery system concept, and develop conceptual engineering drawings based on the winning graphic design of the exterior of the ship.

The EIS mission itself will consist of a minimum one-week orbital flight of the NSS Enterprise followed by re-entry and retrieval.  While in orbit, mission science payloads and experiments will be activated, and educational projects will be conducted.  Cameras on board the orbiter will enable video of the interior and exterior to be streamed throughout the flight.  After a controlled re-entry, the orbiter will be retrieved and then sent on an international tour along with the results of student experiments.  Upon completion of the tour, the orbiter will be put on public display following an approval process for museum accession at the Smithsonian Air and Space (or other major) Museum.

Additionally, the EIS program will include a robust, multi-tiered education program designed to ignite student interest in space exploration and motivate the development of ideas by reshaping science fiction into science fact.  Components of the EIS education (EIS ED) program will prepare K-12 and college students for careers in science, technology, engineering, arts, and mathematics (STEAM).  Interaction with with scientists, engineers, entrepreneurs, and other professionals will allow students to experience unique real-world research and experiment investigations.  By immersing students in authentic science and engineering activities conducted by scientists, EIS ED outreach will improve students’ critical and analytical thinking skills, communication skills, and knowledge of the nature of science and the scientific process.

EIS ED will be multi-layered with components that encompass the whole of the EIS program from pre-launch through re-entry.  The main focus of EIS ED will consist of experiment design competitions wherein students will discover for themselves the talents and teamwork necessary to develop, research, and promote a winning proposal to build passive (without power) and active (powered) experiments that will be contained within or follow along outside the orbiter.  Experiments that win the multi-tiered contests will be funded by the EIS program and may be of various sizes, weights, and shapes.  The study of many diverse areas may include: medicine, physics, electro-magnetics, ham radio communication, and optical tracking.  A second layer of cross-curriculum (subject-based) categories may include: writing (technical and creative), art, music, and history.  Yet another layer may include: web-based technologies that tie into social networking, interactive learning, mobile device apps, and mentoring programs.  Capstone events will include presentations at conferences and other public venues.

The NSS Enterprise in Space program will tie together all aspects of such an immense and important scientific undertaking from conception to fundraising to education to implementation and conclusions to presentation of the findings for students and followers of all ages and persuasions.  It will inspire so that the future generations who look to the skies in wonder may realize their visions for space exploration and travel.

Space: the final frontier.  This is the voyage of the NSS Enterprise as it carries the hopes and dreams of today’s visionaries toward a brighter tomorrow.  We welcome you on board!

The Sky is Not the Limit! 

Beam Me Up!

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