Thought Leadership

NSS engages in thought leadership in a variety of ways, including:

The NSS Policy Committee periodically issues papers ranging from long policy briefs to short private letters to policy leaders.

Roughly every five years NSS updates the Space Settlement Roadmap which describes at a high level the milestones we can expect to see as we build an expansive human future in space.

The NSS Space Settlement Journal brings together scholarly and popular articles on space development and settlement.

DFJ Headquarters

Space Policy Workshops

NSS organized a workshop aimed at influencing space policy for the incoming administration, and which produced a report signed by the participants. The workshop was sponsored by Draper-Fischer Jervetson, a leading venture capital firm, and held at their Sand Hill headquarters.   Among other things, this workshop called for the establishment of a revitalized National Space Council, which was later established by the Trump administration, and a return to the Moon, which was established as a space policy goal by Space Policy Directive 1 on December 12, 2017.

NASA Transition Team Briefing


NSS works to brief Senators and Representatives, key House and Senate Committees, and the Administration. This is done sometimes as part of ASD activities, and sometimes directly by NSS.  The picture shows key NSS leaders briefing the Trump NASA Transition Team.

Interior of a Stanford Torus

NSS organizes an annual invitation-only Space Settlement Summit to bring together a select group of space leaders to discuss the next steps toward making space development and settlement a reality.

2014 elon musk 650

NSS organizes and hosts the long-running International Space Development Conference where a wide variety of space leaders address NSS members and the general public on topics related to space exploration, development, and settlement. The ISDC is a laboratory where new ideas sometimes get their first tryout.  In the picture Elon Musk addresses the ISDC.

Evolvable Lunar Architecture PR

Press Conferences

NSS has sponsored a variety of press conferences calling attention to space related issues.  On the left Mark Hopkins, former NSS CEO (deceased) speaks at a press conference at the National Press Club on the Evolvable Lunar Architecture, July 20, 2015.

Dale Skran speaks at 9-16-14 talk organized by the Atlantic Council

Speaking at Public Events

NSS leaders periodically support various public events that seek to education the public and opinion leaders about space issues. in the image to the right at an Atlantic Council event September 16, 2014, participants included Left to Right  Jeff Feige (Space Frontier Foundation and CEO Orbital Outfitter, Dale Skran (NSS), William Pomerantz (VP Special Projects, Virgin Galactic)s),  and John M. Olson (VP Space Systems, Sierra Nevada Corporation).

NSS Bridenstine PR

The NSS Policy Committee issues regular press releases calling attention to space related events and actions that advance space development and settlement. Generally these press releases relate the event in question to the NSS Space Settlement Roadmap. See NSS Press Releases for a list of the most recent news releases.

Alliance for Space Development

Participation in agenda-setting alliances

NSS founded with the Space Frontier Foundation (SFF) the Alliance for Space Development. ASD establishes an annual campaign and creates draft legislation to embody the advancement of space development and settlement.

Leadership incubation:

NSS has an outstanding record of developing leaders who go on to key roles on the national stage. Examples include:

Lori Garver Airline Pilots Association

Lori Garver

Former NSS Executive Director, became NASA Deputy Administrator, and later the Executive Director of the National Airline Pilots Association.

George Whitesides Virgin Galactic CEO

George Whitesides

Former NSS Executive Director, became NASA Chief of Staff and later the CEO of Virgin Galactic.


Scott Pace

Former NSS Executive Vice President, became Deputy Chief of Staff for the NASA Administrator (2002-2003), Executive Secretary of the National Space Council (2017-2020), and currently serves as the Director of the Space Policy Institute at GW University.