FAQ

Penny4NASA questions

  • Where does my donation go?
    • Your donation goes to the Penny4NASA campaign, which is owned and operated by the Space Advocates nonprofit. Your generous donation goes towards making sure that we are able to tackle our missions with everything we’ve got!
  • Is my donation tax deductible?
    • Not yet. Space Advocates has applied for 501(c)(3) status with the IRS, and assuming that the determination from the IRS is yes, then all donations become retroactively tax deductible. We will make sure to let all of our donors know when this happens.
  • Do you accept Bitcoins?
    • Yes we do! In addition to accepting payments via PayPal, we now accept various cryptocurrencies including Bitcoin, Dogecoin, and Litecoin. You can make a donation in your currency of choice by visiting our Donation page.
  • Can I donate directly to NASA?
    • Yes, you can! NASA accepts contributions in the form of “monetary gifts, donations, or bequests given as cash, check, or money order, provided they are unsolicited and offered without conditions on their use.” All you need to do is print out this form and mail it along with your donation to NASA Headquarters or any NASA Center.
  • What is Space Advocates?
    • Space Advocates is a nonprofit organization which runs the Penny4NASA campaign. It was legally incorporated in the spring of 2012. Space Advocates has also applied for 501(c)(3) nonprofit status and is expected a determination letter this year!
  • I don’t live in the United States. How can I support this cause?
    • Anyone, from anywhere in the world can support Space Advocates and the Penny4NASA campaign, and we encourage you to do so! Please go to Get Involved to learn more about how you can support the cause.
  • Is Penny4NASA, or Space Advocates, affiliated with NASA or the US Government in any way?
    • No. Space Advocates is a legally registered nonprofit organization and the Penny4NASA campaign is our primary mission. Neither is affiliated with NASA in any way, and we do not speak for them. However, we do advocate for them and all other space exploration and research!
  • Is the Penny4NASA campaign affiliated with Neil deGrasse Tyson?
      No. The Penny4NASA campaign was inspired by the testimony Neil deGrasse Tyson delivered before the U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation on March 7, 2012. In his testimony, Dr. Tyson advocated for an increase in NASA’s budget saying, “NASA’s annual budget is half a penny on your tax dollar. For twice that—a penny on a dollar—we can transform the country.”
  • Do you support current space policy?
    • We support the policy priorities established in 2010ʼs National Space Policy, which supports increased investment in space education and workforce development, fosters commercial space development, and encourages greater partnership between public and private space organizations.
  • Do you endorse a political party or candidate?
    • While Space Advocates, and Penny4NASA, is political in nature, we do not seek to endorse any individual parties or candidates.
  • I want to volunteer for Penny4NASA. How do I join?
    • Great! Visit our Volunteer page for more information.
  • I want to write for Penny4NASA’s blog. Who should I contact?
    • Great! If you would like to do a guest blog, send an email to our editor-in-chief including the story you’d like to cover, a brief description of what your story will be about, at least one past writing sample, and a short bio, no more than 75 words. If you’d like to write for Penny4NASA.org on a more regular basis, send an email to curtissthompson@spaceadvocates.com including your resume, writing samples and any relevant expertise you have.

NASA questions

  • What are the benefits of investing in the space program?
    • America’s investment in the national space program during the 1950s an 1960s ushered in an era of technological an economic advancement beyond anything the world had ever seen. Many innovators were inspired by the Mercury, Gemini, and Apollo missions. And many of their advancements – cellular phones, MRIs, and fuel cells to name a few – could not have been possible had it not been for NASA research and development. NASA research and development consistently comes back into the economy as new technologies, called NASA Spinoffs. More information on Spinoffs: spinoff.nasa.gov
  • What is the current state of the NASA’s budget?
    • Currently, the national space program has entered a critical stage where falling public budgets and a lack of strategic leadership are taking their toll on NASA’s programs in spaceflight and aeronautics. As commercial spaceflight firms like SpaceX take on NASA’s historical role in accessing low-Earth orbit, full and consistent funding of our national space program is key to realizing NASAʼs mission to advance the frontiers of spaceflight and aeronautics as established in the 1958 National Aeronautics and Space Act.
  • Does NASA sell technology for profit?
    • No because NASA is a government run administration and not a company. All of their funding comes directly from the federal budget, but as you likely know if you follow us, they don’t get as much as they often need and are forced to compromise on the things they can do. It is true that a lot of the technology seen in all areas of modern life today can be traced back to something developed at NASA for use in the space program. This technology while first developed for use by NASA was often made at their request by many private and public companies contracted by the government organization to make it for space use. As such the technology later filtered back into the public through those companies that made it for a variety of other uses. Examples of such technologies are numerous from fabrics you use everyday to lasers in CD and DVD players or the screen protector on your phone or tablet. The spacesuits used for the moon missions were designed by a company that primarily made underwear products at the time. While it would be nice if NASA could make a profit, due to being a government agency it cannot do this for various reasons. So the best way for them to get more money is if the people of America convince their elected representatives to allow them a bigger budget. They get half a penny per every dollar spent now, imagine what they could do with a full penny? If you want to contact your representative, you can use the tool on our mission site, Penny4NASA
  • When was NASA formed?
    • The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) was established on July 29, 1958 when President Dwight D. Eisenhower signed the National Aeronautics and Space Act into law. NASA’s predecessor, the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (NACA) was absorbed and the new agency became operational on October 1, 1958.
  • Why not just let commercial space take over instead of funding NASA?
    • NASA has always had a cooperative relationship with the commercial space industry, in fact so much so that most of the people working on NASA projects are actually affiliated with the commercial space industry instead of simply being a NASA employee. So to say that one could do better than the other isn’t the right way to look at things. However, NASA has reached a point where they’ve improved technology and procedure to such an incredibly advanced degree, that they have now made it possible for the commercial space industry to take over some of the more ‘remedial’ aspect of space exploration. Namely, low earth orbit launch and transportation services is a great place to start taking the reigns. But, this does not mean that commercial space can do all that NASA does. Throughout history, it has always been governments that funding the more courageous expeditions, or the most difficult research. It’s not that businesses don’t want too, but at the end of the day they must make a profit and if they cannot calculate a reasonable return on their investment, then the project never happens. That is what amazing agencies like NASA are here to do! To push the boundaries of what is known or thought possible. And moreover, to document what they discover so that the rest of humankind can take advantage of this newfound information and go forth to create and provide something that only business can. Given all of this, NASA and commercial space are a symbiotic relationship that is only growing stronger with the awarding of grants such as COTS to help the commercial industry develop our next generation of space transportation. A future with both NASA and commercial space is the correct choice, one where NASA is leading the way and commercial space is right behind picking up the discoveries and making them an efficient business venture.
  • I thought NASA got shut down. Didn’t the president cut all their money?
    • NASA did not get shut down, and no the president did not cut all of their money. In 2007, then President George W. Bush announced the end of the Space Shuttle Program after 30 years of service. And in 2009, President Barrack Obama announced the canceling of the Constellation program, during a period of sharp economic downturn. However, since then the President has launched new program like the Commercial Orbital Transportation Services (COTS) program which grants several US companies billions of dollars to develop the successor the Space Shuttle.
  • How much does NASA currently allocate to its programs? (Planetary Science, R&D, Human Spaceflight, etc..)
  • What is NASA’s current budget in U.S. dollars? How large of a chunk of our overall budget is it?
    • As of August 2013, NASA’s FY2013 budget was $17.9 billion, which is approximately 0.48% of the total US federal budget for FY2013.
  • Who was the first NASA astronaut in space?
    • On May 5, 1961, astronaut Alan Shepard became the first NASA astronaut in space aboard Freedom 7, launched by a Redstone booster on a 15-minute ballistic (suborbital) flight.
  • Who was the first NASA astronaut to orbit the Earth?
    • On February 20, 1962, astronaut John Glenn became the first NASA astronaut to be launched into orbit aboard Friendship 7 by an Atlas launch vehicle.
  • Who was the first female NASA astronaut in space?
    • On June 18, 1983, Sally Ride became the first female NASA astronaut in space as a crew member on Space Shuttle Challenger for STS-7.
  • Is NASA a part of the US military?
    • NASA is a civilian space agency and is not a part of the U.S. military, but various branches of the U.S. military are heavily invested in NASA. Also, many NASA astronauts are current or former members of the U.S. military, and they come from every branch.
  • Is NASA working with SpaceX or Virgin Galactic?
    • In fact, NASA has granted SpaceX at least $396 million to date to develop the successor to the Space Shuttle which will be capable of delivering both cargo and passengers into Earth orbit. Currently, NASA does not have any official ties to Virgin Galactic, which is bankrolled in large part of Sir Richard Branson of the Virgin Empire.
  • Will NASA launch its own spacecraft to the International Space Station now that the Space Shuttle fleet is retired?
    • See above