The Huntsville Alabama L5 (HAL5) Society, the Huntsville Alabama chapter of the National Space Society (NSS) has made significant contributions toward developing cheap access to space technology, space education, and public outreach since it was formed in 1983. Members share the enthusiasm that space development can stimulate our world with immeasurable benefits in the areas of education, energy, environment, industry, resources, and ultimately room to grow for our society. HAL5 and NSS believe that by educating and working with the public, the government, and private industry, we can speed up the date when routine, safe, and affordable space travel is available to anyone who wants to go.
For almost 30 years, HAL5 has sponsored numerous educational projects
and activities in Huntsville. It has hosted a continuing series of
public lectures, forums, and events on space-related topics, at both the
U.S. Space & Rocket Center and the Huntsville Public Library. Hot topics
have included the Space Station, space science, and both public and
private attempts to provide cheap access to space, space sciences,
technologies and book lectures. HAL5 was presented an NSS Chapter
Excellence Award for the outstanding public lecture series in 1997;
Chapter Excellence Award for Public Outreach in 2008; and Excellence
Chapter of the Year Award in 2009.
Eighteen years ago, HAL5 hosted the 1993 International Space Development Conference (ISDC), the 12th annual conference of the NSS, and of one of its most successful. Over 700 space enthusiasts from Huntsville and around the nation and the world gathered at the Huntsville Hilton to hear over 120 speakers lecture and debate on the benefits of space and on what it will take to get there. The City of Huntsville honored HAL5 for making the 1993 ISDC one of its top ten conferences. HAL5 hosted Southeastern Space Development Conference (SSDC) in November of 2004. In 1987, HAL5 supported a Space Shuttle "Get-Away-Special Canister (GAS Can)" project for local high school students. In 1993, HAL5 hosted a highly successful 3-day "Junior Cadet Program", part of the 1993 ISDC. In 1995, HAL5 purchased and donated a reusable tethered balloon to the Huntsville elementary school system to support its HOPE program. HAL5 has sponsored "Space Week" activities on numerous occasions, including March of 1996. HAL5 has also designed a pilot program to take space and science education into the grade-school classroom in the same manner as the Junior Achievement (JA) does for business. In March of 1996, HAL5 unveiled its new educational program, called Project HALO Achievement.
In May 2011, HAL5 hosted the 30th ISDC (ISDC 2011), with over 850 participants, speakers, and exhibitors. We also received the 2010 NSS Chapter of the Year!
As a space advocacy group, HAL5 has hosted many activities to build non-partisan political support for space. Many HAL5 members participate in letter writing campaigns to alert our governmental representatives of our interest in space. HAL5 hosts lectures designed to call the public attention to space-related issues and to urge them to write, call, fax, or E-Mail their elected officials. HAL5 also distributes petitions and surveys on space exploration, development, and tourism.
In 1994, HAL5 began its biggest project ever, Project HALO (for "High-Altitude Lift-Off"). The goals of the project are no less than to provide cheap access to space for small clubs and student groups. HAL5 made significant contributions toward the development of nitrous-oxide hybrid rockets (over 300 static test firings) and their near-space launch from high altitude balloons. On May 11, 1997, HAL5 made amateur rocketry history when it successfully performed its first hybrid rockoon mission, dubbed Sky Launch 1. The rocket was launched from a high altitude balloon at approximately 20 miles and made the Guinness Book of World Records. We are currently designing Tube Launch 1 (TL-1) rocket and testing other hybrid propulsion concepts. Today those technologies are poised to find expression in Virgin Galactic's air launched nitrous-oxide hybrid rocket powered SpaceShip Two. This is proof positive that great things can start in small organizations.
Above all, HAL5 has pledged to keep Huntsville and its neighbors informed of the positive benefits of space research and development, whether by NASA, other governments, or private industry. HAL5 has also pledged to alert Huntsville and vicinity during the times for action, whenever letters, calls, and petitions can improve our chances for becoming a spacefaring civilization. And lastly, via Project HALO, HAL5 has pledged to lead the way in showing the public, the government, and private industry that cheap access to space can indeed be made a reality!
Both HAL5 and the NSS are not-for-profit 501(c)(3), grassroots, space educational / advocacy organizations. You can find out more information about HAL5 by stopping by our monthly program. I hope you come and join us at our monthly meetings and outings, and help us to reach for the star!
Ad Astra per Aruda! --- To the Stars by Our Own Hands