From Frank Slazer, President:
On behalf of the leadership of the American Astronautical Society, I regret to announce that we are canceling the 2012 AAS National Conference, scheduled for November 28-29, 2012, in Pasadena, California, for reasons beyond our control.
As a professional non-profit society that supports a strong space program, AAS holds conferences to educate and inform both our membership and the broader space community and to facilitate better dialogue within the space community. So far this year, we have had three very successful and well attended conferences which were praised by attendees for the quality of the program and the caliber of our speakers. We were hoping to replicate this success in Pasadena and we had innovatively partnered with JPL, The Planetary Society and Caltech to broaden our potential audience.
Unfortunately, outside events have conspired to undermine these plans. Integral to our planned program in November was the presence of key government speakers from NASA and other agencies that would provide the high level of program and policy information expected by attendees. Due to the unexpected increase in government budget restrictions on travel and support for conferences, none of these NASA speakers who originally intended to participate will attend. In this regard, AAS is hardly unique - a recent American Meteorological Society conference lost 100 out of 130 NOAA attendees at very short notice and this past summer, a large number of NASA attendees had to cancel attendance at the first annual ISS Research and Development Conference due to restrictive travel policies implemented by the Office of Management and Budget after an egregious misuse of taxpayer funds in Las Vegas by the General Services Administration.
Without key NASA and other government speakers and participants, our leadership made the painful decision to cancel this conference rather than risk the quality of event that we have consistently worked to provide our membership and attendees. While we can appreciate the need to prudently manage government resources in these challenging times, better dialogue among stakeholders helps to make better decisions and helps to educate the public about the benefits of our nation's space activities. Hopefully this cancellation will be an unfortunate but unique event; we look forward to future meetings that will continue to increase the benefits to our members and the space community.
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