At the Space Frontier Foundation’s NewSpace 2008 conference in Crystal City, Virginia on Thursday, a group of over a dozen organizations announced the formation of a National Coalition for Cheap and reliable Access To Space (CATS). The purpose of the coalition is to “put cheap access to space back on the national agenda,” in the words of coalition coordinator Charles Miller. The coalition will develop a “declaration” for CATS over the next four to six weeks, including during a meeting at the DC-X reunion conference next month in New Mexico. That will be followed by a National Summit on CATS that will be held on the campus of Ohio State University on October 7-8 that will delve into how to achieve CATS. Why there? “Ohio is a battleground state” in the upcoming presidential election, Miller said; the Ohio Aerospace Institute is one of the member organizations in the coalition as well. The coalition will ask CEOs of major corporations and non-profits to sign the declaration, which will then be presented to the next president after the November election.
Although the location of the summit is based in part on the state’s role in the election, Miller said that the coalition does not have specific plans to engage with the campaigns prior to the election. “We don’t think that the campaigns will be able to hear this” because of all of the other issues during the campaign. Miller said that they are building inroads into both the McCain and Obama campaigns so that they’re prepared to discuss this with the winning campaign after the election, but not earlier.