Named one of the world's top
"Visonaries" and one the top one hundred most influential people in the space field by Space News, Rick Tumlinson is the Co-Founder of the Space Frontier
Foundation, which has been called "pound for pound the most effective space organization on Earth." From an old Texas family whose pioneering credits include co-founding the Texas Rangers and fighting in the
Alamo, Rick has spent his life fighting to open the space frontier. The son of an Air Force Sergeant and his English
wife, he was educated primarily in England and Texas.
Mr. Tumlinson worked for noted scientist Gerard K. O'Neill at the Space Studies Institute, founded the New York L-5 Society, and was a key player in starting the Lunar Prospector project which discovered hints of water on the
Moon. He also helped pass the Space Settlement Act of 1988, testified before President Reagan's National Commission on Space, and was a founding trustee of the X-Prize. Over the years he has been a lead witness in six congressional hearings on the future of NASA, the US space program and space
tourism, most recently in early 2004, testifying before Senator John McCain and the Senate Space and Technology Committee on the
Moon, Mars and Beyond program.
Not satisfied to just talk, write about and help get funding for projects, Mr. Tumlinson has put his time and money where his mouth is. He co-founded the firm LunaCorp which produced the first ever TV commercial shot on the International Space Station for Radio Shack. He led the team which turned the Mir Space Station into the world's first commercial space facility, and was a co-founder of the space firm MirCorp. Along the way he personally signed up Dennis Tito, the world's first "citizen explorer," and has assisted in numerous other such projects.
Rick was also Executive Director and co-Founder of the Foundation for the International Non-Governmental Development of Space (FINDS), a foundation which funds breakthrough projects and activities such as Helium 3 research, laser launch studies, and asteroid processing projects. The organization provided the first $100k in seed money for the founding of the Mars Society, operated the Cheap Access to Space Prize and supported such projects as The WATCH asteroid search program. FINDS also underwrote and co-sponsored a very successful series of Senate Roundtables on space issues in conjunction with the Foundation and the lobby Pro-Space over the last few years. In the realm of education and inspiration, Rick Founded the "Permission to Dream" project, which has over the years placed dozens of telescopes in the hands of schools and educational groups around the world, from Sri Lanka to Iran and Russia. In 2005 Rick also Co-Founded The Institute for Space Law and Policy, a Washington based think-tank.
To support his activism in his early years, Tumlinson produced the animated videos used to gain funding for the Air Force's DC-X rocket project, the International Space University, the X-33 rocket program, the Air Force's Space Command and created the first ever paid political announcement for space, which was featured on NPR's All Things Considered. A regular contributor to the space industry paper Space News Tumlinson's writings and quotes have appeared in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Los Angeles Times, Miami Herald, Reader's Digest and dozens of other publications around the world. He has appeared on such television programs as ABC's World News Tonight, the CBS Morning Show, and Politically Incorrect. Internationally he has appeared on TV sets from Russia to China's CCTV and the BBC and been quoted in a wide range of journals, from The Economist to China's People's Daily. Recently, Rick has appeared on the front page of the New York Times, has been featured in two issues of Popular Science, and appeared as an expert guest on the "CBS Evening News with Dan Rather," CNBC's "Open Exchange" and was quoted in papers such as the Washington Post, and the Orlando Sentinel, regarding the Space Shuttle Columbia disaster. He also appears often as a space commentator on CNN.
In 2004 Rick was one of only 20 guests invited by the White House to hear President Bush announce his plans to return to the Moon and explore Mars. This year he joined NASA's prestigious Lunar Exploration Analysis Group, which will be laying out the framework for the first human outpost on the Moon and steps towards putting humans on Mars. He has also been a consultant to the Heinlein Prize Organization, and is starting his own space firm "XTreme Space." His book, "Return to the Moon" was just published.
Mr. Tumlinson is known as one of the best speakers in the field of space. His stirring and freewheeling talks range from critiques and discussions of current national space policy, to the presentation of a "Frontier" ideology for opening space, to the how and why of returning to the Moon, to a deeply spiritual discussion of our place in the universe, the search for other life and the reasons we are reaching for the stars.