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Selected Articles from the
July 1998 Odyssey

Editor: Norm Cook

This is the first online issue of the Odyssey!

Castles in the Sky

By Robert Gounley

"What does all this talking have to do with space?"

It was a fair question. The OASIS 20th anniversary party was in full swing. All around, old, new, and future members were busy shaking hands, sipping wine, exchanging business cards, and talking. Mostly talking. My living room, balcony, dining room, and kitchen echoed with a boisterous jangle. Perhaps, the guest was quizzical that lofty goals could be underneath all the good cheer.

To be sure, there was talk about space, but, for once, it was not the all-consuming topic at a spacer gathering. People wanted to know about each other. Many acquaintances were renewed. Most of all, we had fun.

A volunteer organization like OASIS could not prosper into a third decade without forming into a sort of extended family. It doesn't matter if your finances are rich or poor, your academic achievements notable or modest, or your politics conservative or liberal. If you had an interest in space and were generally tolerant on other points of view, you fit right in.

Terry Savage, OASIS's founding president, presided from the balcony over the festivities within. Meanwhile, Karen Savage passed around photographs from events ten years or more ago. (Discretely, people looked up to compare a picture with someone standing in a far corner.) Elsewhere, some talked of flying while others spoke of the of the uncertain pleasures found while watching a stranger read a book you wrote. (Perhaps she likes it? Perhaps she doesn't?) Everywhere, gales of laughter followed arcane references that few outsiders could understand. ("He didn't say anything, but threw a dollar in the flame bucket.")

The banter paused briefly for short speeches by Terry and current OASIS President, Pam Hoffman. OASIS, Terry observed, was founded in a period of high expectations. True believers in the 70s spoke confidently about living in space colonies by 1995. The Space Shuttle program helped feed this youthful zeal. Too soon, the Challenger tragedy left us stunned as our heavenly ideals plummeted to Earth.

The next ten years would be spent questioning former precepts. Some members drifted away. Others continued to serve on the NSS Board of Directors. The dream would come, but when? And how?

Today, our confidence is renewed. Terry found it among the cheering crowds watching the first pictures from Mars in a generation; they will create the demand for space. Pam finds it with each new space enterprise; they will fill the demand. Today that means launching satellites. Tomorrow, it will be paying passengers.

All of us there could have written our own source of inspiration. The courses chosen may differ and priorities may contrast. It doesn't matter. The vision is still upward, to the stars.

With champagne glasses raised high, we toasted dreams for a brighter tomorrow.

No one was launched into orbit this evening. No new rocket engine was designed or space legislation passed. Instead, a generation of dreamers and doers celebrated shared ideals. We would all go back to our lives tomorrow and appear no different than before. Yet, it doesn't seem too much to believe that our moods will have been brightened just a bit by the validation we felt from others. Hearing where others succeeded gives us encouragement. Hearing where others failed, but kept going gives us resolve. Chance meetings and casual remarks shape history, but who can recognize it when it is happens?

What did an anniversary party really have to do with building a future in space? Perhaps nothing. At best, we may have only built a castle in the sky.

But tomorrow, we each will pour a little bit of foundation beneath it.

Ad astra!

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A Short History of OASIS

By Craig E. Ward

In May 1978, Terry Savage mailed a letter to all of the Los Angles area members of the L5 Society inviting them to an organizational meeting for a new chapter. Twenty-five people attended the June 25 meeting.

One of the first things this group of people decided was that LA-L5 was a boring name for a chapter. David Yoel came up with Organization for the Advancement of Space Industrialization and Settlement, OASIS. The officers for that first year were Terry Savage, President; Howard Gluckman, Vice President; Michael Thal, Treasurer; and Charles Carr, Secretary.

One of the primary functions of OASIS has been public education through lecture meetings open to the general public. The first of these meetings took place July 19 as part of Spaceweek. The speaker as Timothy Leary.

Over the years, OASIS has had lectures covering such diverse topics as relativity, space law, human aspects of space settlement, manned-powered flight, Soviet space activity, and the problems of commercial space development.

OASIS speakers have been universally knowledgeable in their respective fields. Both the membership and the general public have benefited greatly from their presentations. Some of the better known speakers include such people as Eric Burgess, Ray Bradbury, Robert Forward, Ben Bova, and Gene Roddenbery.

An early lecture by Tom Taylor on using Shuttle external tanks as space station building blocks sparked a year-long design study on the subject. This study was published privately by the design team and became a shinning example of what a small group of activists could do to bring about the technical possibilities to make their vision a reality. A presentation on the study was given to OASIS in August 1980.

The first newsletter, OASIS News, was published in July 1978. The editor was Charles Carr. The OASIS News informed members of OASIS activities and events of importance to the space movement. It showed continued improvement in both content and production quality until it reached its heyday in 1981 and 1982 when Howard Gluckman, Janelle Dykes, and Carol Amato were the editors. As often happens in all volunteer organizations, jobs and priorities change and the OASIS News came out less frequently.

The OASIS Update was created in 1984 to supplement the News and finally replaced it. The Update was itself replaced in 1985 when OASIS began a cooperative publication effort with the California Space Development Council (CSDC) to produce the Spacefaring Gazette.

In the generally bad year of 1986, OASIS membership began to decline. One reason for this was that members were not aware that things like the Gazette were benefits of OASIS membership. OASIS was loosing its identity. This identity crisis was the impetus for the creation of a new local newsletter: the OASIS Odyssey. Today, members receive both the Spacefaring Gazette and OASIS Odyssey.

OASIS has had varying degrees of success in dealing with other space groups. In 1981, OASIS merged with Citizens for Space. From 1982 until 1985, OASIS had a special agreement with the L5 Society concerning common memberships. The agreement was not renewed.

On a happier note, 1985 saw harvesting of nearly two years of work on the part of Terry Savage when most of the California L5 chapters agreed to form the California Space Development Council. The council has held an annual space development conference for the western region each year since.

Realizing that all work and no play makes for a dull space cadet, OASIS has held a party, pot luck or other social event each month of its ten year history. These have been some of our most popular events (to some they have been the most popular).

In its short ten year history, OASIS has done a lot to "...increase public awareness of the possibilities..." of space development. It should be able to do more in the next ten years. With the merger of the L5 Society and National Space Institute into the new National Space Society, OASIS has become part of a revitalized space movement.

The best is yet to come.

--- Note on the sources. Most of the material for this article came from telephone conversations with Terry Savage and Howard Gluckman and the article An Informal History of OASIS by Alan Katz. Any mistakes are those of the author and he apologizes for them.

This article is reprinted from the OASIS 10th Anniversary Program.

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OASIS Memories

Some memories of current and past members.

Anita E Gale

It's funny how things work. Twenty years ago, OASIS and the L5 Society started up in the midst of public awareness about possibilities for people living in space. By 1984, the idea was largely forgotten--seemingly starved out by the malaise of the Carter administration--yet that's when we ran our first Space Settlement Design Competition for high school kids. We have been running the Competitions ever since, and even expanding them in recent years, and now the idea of living in space is starting to come back into public awareness. I don't know if our Competitions had anything to do with this trend, but I do know there are over a thousand twenty-somethings out there who first thought seriously about living in space because of us.

I do have some news on one early OASIS "groupie" (I don't know if he was actually a member). Tom Heppenheimer was involved with the original Stanford studies of Space Settlements, and literally wrote the book on the subject (Colonies in Space, which many of us considered technically superior to O'Neill's High Frontier). Tom is still writing, on a variety of subjects and for both magazines and book publishers. After some years of writing criticism about manned space programs, he published a technical history of the space program (I believe the name is "Countdown!"), and is working on a history of the Space Shuttle for NASA. He just got married this month, to a woman he admired as a girl at their high school in Panama. He expects to move in September from Fountain Valley to West Palm Beach, Florida, to be with his new bride.

Scott Pace

I'm still at Rand doing space policy for OSTP, mostly in GPS, remote sensing, and space launch trade, e.g., export controls, operating licenses, trade agreements, intellectual property rules, etc. The Rand web site at can be searched for my publications.

As for OASIS stories, I'd suggest prompting others to recall them in detail, but I'd pick three:

  1. the first OASIS lecture with Timothy Leary
  2. the debate between Tom Heppenheimer and Brian O'Leary where Brian answered Tom's arguments by playing the piano and showing color paintings of space colonies
  3. Rep. George Brown, coming to an OASIS meeting and noting that this is the first time he's paid to speak (we hit him up for OASIS membership dues)

There is also a more obscure story of Don Vail and me presenting the first Spacepac check to Rep. Jerry Lewis in a meeting with the Greek archbishop.

Wayne White

Congratulations on the 20th anniversary of OASIS! I have been very busy this week, with Mission Home activities. Charlie Walker and the Mission Home crew were here in Denver this Thursday and Friday, and we put up a booth for an activity in downtown Denver yesterday.

I was at the first meeting of OASIS (1978?) and was also at the meeting when we named the chapter. At that time I was in an MBA program at UC Riverside, and I had quite a long drive to get to Terry Savage's apartment in Redondo Beach, where the meetings were usually held.

I was active in OASIS until 1994, when I was laid off from my job as a campus attorney at UCLA. I have been living in Denver since March of 1994.

I was the chairman of a committee that bid on ISDC 2001 (Albuquerque won that bid), and we will be bidding again for 2002.

I do remember the wild OASIS party where we all went skinny dipping in the pool.

I hope you all have a wonderful time at the party, and thanks for inviting me.

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Space-Plex Museum -- Kid Tested and Approved!

By Tina Beychok

Editors Note: Sadly, the Space-Plex Musuem lost its lease and is currently between homes.

I took my eight-year-old nephew to the Space-Plex Museum, and he proclaimed it "ULTRA-COOL." He got to sit inside a mock-up of the Apollo capsule, pretend to steer the Space Shuttle and figure out how the grav-toilet works. The volunteers are high-school students, but are quite knowledgable for questions from the kids. And what better endorsement than "ULTRA-COOL" could you possibly ask for? If you want to go visit the Space-Plex Museum, it is located at 6633 Fallbrook, Suite 313, in the Fallbrook Mall in Canoga Park. Take the 101 Freeway North/West, exit at Fallbrook Avenue and head north. You may wish to call ahead, as volunteers are limited: 818-347-3114.

Stop on by and help support Space Awareness in our community!

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Help Support Mike Hodel'S HOUR 25!

Editors Note: Hour 25 is no longer available at KPFK, but is now a web cast at

For those of you who were unaware, Mike Hodel's Hour 25 radio show is still on the air. It can be found on KPFK 90.7 FM from 11 pm to midnight. Hour 25, hosted by Warren James, covers the world of science fact and fiction with interviews, news, radio dramas, writers, stories, artists, reviews and much more, including Terry Hodel's space calendar of events. Still going strong after 25 years, this show really is a wonderful resource for science and SF from all over the world. Please, help support this show by tuning in and keeping it on the air. Check out their Website at

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