Henry Vanderbilt was a space-struck kid watching a Mercury launch on TV when someone explained that the Atlas rocket cost ten million dollars and they threw it away each flight. It dawned on him that nobody was ever likely to pay for him to go to space. He kept on reading about it anyway. Twenty-four years later, an early computer conferencing system (BIX) lured him into writing about space. That soon led to a lateral move from industrial electronics to a job in space politics at the L-5 Society's HQ. He quickly discovered that grand space schemes were a dime a dozen, but everybody was waiting for someone else to figure out how to get there affordably. He met like-minded people, got involved in efforts to solve the transportation problem (among these the late-eighties Citizens' Advisory Council meetings that led to DC-X), saw that the ball kept being dropped because everyone had day jobs, and ended up founding Space Access Society in 1992 to focus exclusively on promoting radically cheaper space transportation. He semi-retired from running SAS in 2006, cutting his role back to organizing SAS's annual "Space Access" conferences (sometimes described as "Hackers" for rocket people) to take a day job doing logistics and project management for a leading startup rocket company. (Disclaimer: He now holds a modest amount of stock in XCOR Aerospace. He avoids letting it go to his head.) Currently he's back at SAS full-time, working to make the most of the new NASA exploration policies. See http://www.space-access.org for the latest Space Access Updates and SAS Political Alerts, and for details (once they're set) for the next Space Access conference, Space Access’12, tentatively set for mid-April 2012 in Phoenix Arizona.
Founder, Space Access Society