Non-profit Space for Humanity welcomes humanitarian Rebecca Schaeffer to lead the organization, as it prepares to receive thousands of applications for its first all-expenses paid trip to the edge of space targeted for the end of 2018.
As a global leader with diverse experience across business, non-profit, and government sectors, Schaeffer has given voice to the world’s most vulnerable populations. She has successfully reunited hundreds of displaced refugee families and administered U.S. government funding for millions of displaced persons around the world. Most importantly, Schaeffer is passionate about space and its ability to unify humanity toward a brighter future.
“Space represents not only the frontier of human potential,” says Schaeffer, “but also a viable investment opportunity – to improve global Internet connectivity, gain access to significant natural resources, and manufacture complex products with fewer impurities, which a zero-gravity environment makes possible. Our mission is to ensure that the resources and benefits of space remain open and available to the world at large.”
A mission as bold as Space for Humanity’s isn’t simply a technological challenge; it is a multi-disciplinary opportunity. “The type of technologies required to develop and sustain space travel have significant implications for our life here on earth,” notes Schaeffer, “Implications for global manufacturing, energy conservation, and emerging technologies that will further the course of human development in significant ways.”
Schaeffer’s leadership signals Space for Humanity’s commitment to its stated mission to send 10,000 diverse humans to space within the next ten years. “Our longer-term vision is to send selected groups into Low Earth Orbit by 2022, the Moon by 2027, and deep space by 2030,” explains founder Dylan Taylor.
Through its voyages, the organization intends to not only make space accessible to the general public, but also increase global funding for space-related ventures. The diverse teams selected for these life-changing missions will become Space for Humanity ambassadors, sharing their experiences and excitement for space travel with the world.
“Seeing the earth from space is life changing,” explains Schaeffer. “Space philosopher and writer Frank White coined a term – the overview effect – to describe this phenomenon. Astronauts orbiting our planet report feeling simultaneously overwhelmed and awed by the fragility and unity of life on earth. But there really is no better way to understand it than to experience it.” Space for Humanity wants to take you to space to experience this shift.
Albert Einstein’s familiar maxim suggests that our planet’s most intractable problems cannot be solved by using the same kind of thinking that was used to create them. Space for Humanity is not just in the business of granting voyages to the edge of space. Ultimately, the non-profit will be granting the gift of perspective, providing an opportunity for individuals to literally see the world – along with the opportunities and challenges currently facing humanity – in new ways.
Schaeffer holds a B.S. from Beloit College and an MBA from Duke University. She replaces Interim Executive Director Matthew Kuta who will remain on the Space for Humanity Board.