|| Tech || Culture || Activities || Resources || Links || Weblogs || Features ||
Site Info



The Space Gazette

Space for Everyone      -       August 29 2001     -         Vol. 1 No. 5

History * JFK & Space

Kennedy's Moon Race Left an Empty Space

The John F. Kennedy Library recently released an audio recording from November 21, 1962 made in the White House Cabinet Room where a spirited discussion took place among Kennedy, the NASA administrator James Webb and several other participants.

Kennedy wanted Webb to understand fully that the Moon landing was the top,and really only, priority. Webb argued for a broad program of science and technology development which would set the stage for the Moon landing but also build a lasting space infrastructure.

Kennedy, however, emphasized that he was "not that interested in space" and the competition with the Soviets was the only justification for the space program and its enormous budget.

Space enthusiasts have long lamented the fact that after the huge expenditure for Apollo there was, in fact, little real space infrastructure left. No low cost access to space, no permanent Moon base or space station, and no human Mars exploration program.

The tight schedule for landing on the Moon within a decade forced the quick and dirty capsule on a missile approach rather than an X-15 spaceplane derivative like the Dynasoar.

While getting to the Moon was a huge and proud accomplishment, more foresight by the leadership might have created a true spacefaring nation.

Rocketry * RLV Countdown * RLV NewsCalPoly Starbooster 2001-C

Cal Poly Space Systems Starbooster 2001-C successfully
took off and landed safely on May 20, 2001.

Student Rocket Teams
Launch Reusables

Student rocketeers aim for increasingly ambitious goals these days as illustrated by two separate projects. The projects involve not only powerful engines and sizable airframes but also intend the rockets to possess full reusability.

The student engineering club Cal Poly Space Systems consists primarily of students at California Polytechnic State University in San Luis Obispo. It has made progress on a technology demonstrator project sponsored by NASA Langley and the California Space Authority and in cooperation with Starcraft Boosters, Inc.

They are developing sub-scale models of Buzz Aldrin's StarBooster design. Recently they launched a 10ft, 80lb (~36kg) model of the winged vehicle. After reaching 3500 ft. the vehicle began a dive downward to gain airspeed and then, under radio ground control, pulled up into a horizontal glide.

After another dive and pull up into level flight, the craft was brought down to 1500 ft where it popped out a parachute for a safe landing:

The video at [--Time Out--]StarBooster 2001-C Launch (MPEG Format) shows the vehicle initially diving vertically and then pulling up, to the cheers of onlookers, to level flight.

The other project involves a collaboration of students at the AIAA CSULB Student Chapter of California State University of Long Beach with the company Garvey Spacecraft Corporation, and the amateur rocket club Reaction Rocket Society. The students received a $110k grant from the California Space Authority.

The collaboration recently launched the Kimbo VI / Prospector 1 for its first successful flight. The vehicle rode to 8000ft on a 1000 lbf-thrust engine developed by CSULB. All components of the rocket were recovered undamaged.

The Kimbo series of rockets aims to develop low cost reusable technologies. The series begun when John Garvey of Garvey Spacecraft Corporation sought to continue the progress made by the DC-X project but on an even lower budget.

Note that these rockets are not intended to break altitude records. The emphasis is on robust reusability and gradually increasing the size and sophistication of the vehicles.

Satellite Building * Space Radio

Students Given Cheap Access to Edge of Space

Launch costs to orbit remain very high - order of $10000/kg - and launch arrangements require complicated negotiations and long lead times. For student projects, especially in high schools and undergraduate colleges, this means the payloads often reach space long after many students who contributed to the project graduate. Seeing a project through from beginning to end, the ideal learning situation, becomes difficult in a 1-2 year time frame.

Edge of Space Sciences gets around this problem by launching student payloads on high altitude balloons. They don't travel nearly as high as satellites but they get above a good deal of the atomosphere and provide many of the same technical challenges. Balloons, of course, also offer much lower costs and simpler operations.

ESS is a a non-profit organization in Denver, Colorado that promotes science and education. Using amateur radio projects riding on high altitude balloon, the group has launched and recovered over 40 student payloads since 1990. The balloons typically reach 100,000 ft (~33km), well into the stratosphere.

See their website and these links for more information about their innovative projects:

The Living Space

Planet Wide Dust Storms:
Catch the Latest Mars Weather Reports

Despite thin air and very cold, dry conditions, the Mars atmosphere is nevertheless remarkably dynamic. From planetwide dust storms to wide temperature variations, Mars weather will offer residents a plentiful topic for small talk just like on earth.

The Mars Global Surveyor Mission Status monitors the planet with visible light cameras and other sensors. You can find animations of recent dust storms, temperature variations and other weather information at these MGS sites:

(See also the earlier report on bizzare features seen in Martian images and typically caused by temperature variations on a seasonal basis.)


First Geocaching, Now Geodashing

Discussed here in a report back in January, the GPS treasuring hunting game Geocaching continues to grow in popularity. Many websites now provide lots of info and cache locations for your treasure hunting fun.

The newsgroup sci.geo.satellite-nav now gets hundreds of messages a day on subjects such as geocaching, hardware tips, maps, etc.

New GPS activities also have appeared. Geodashing, for example, involves competing with others to reach all of a set of dashpoints (i.e. waypoints or landmarks identified by their longitude/latitude coordinates) in the shortest amount of time. The dashpoints could be confined in an area reachable in a day or to locations scattered around the whole world.

A less frantic activity is the GPS Adventure Game in which you attempt to complete a cross-word puzzle. Each waypoint comes with a clue. You will need combine the clue with what you see at the landmark to figure out the word or phrase. For example, a clue of "bird or fowl" is not very meaningful until you go to the waypoint in front of the NBC building in New York City. The NBC logo is the peacock.

Perhaps the simplest GPS recreation is simply to exchange waypoint lists with fellow explorers. These lists provide locations for interesting, or just hard to find, landmarks that you reach sequentially on hikes in the wilderness or just a drive in the country.

Previous space news:

Articles Index


See also  
Space Headlines
RLV News
News Links


Amateur Astronomer
Discovers Comet
During Star Party

While automated systems now dominate the search for comets, occasionally an amateur spots one first.

The article New Comet from Science@NASA reports on Vance Petriew's discovery of Comet Petriew. The native of Regina, Saskatchewan is a computer consultant and an amateur astronomer . At the Saskatchewan Summer Star Party on August 18th he turned his 20" telescope to see the Crab Nebula but noticed an unexpected smudge.

After checking that it was not a distant galaxy or nebula, he realized that he had stumbled on a comet.

Petriew exclaimed "It's like winning the lottery!"

Eyes in the Sky

See the Action
from Above

If you hear news about forest fires, hurricanes, flooding, or other large scale events, check out the NOAA's Daily Operational Significant Events Support Report for how they look from space. Imagery of major events are collected here from several remote sensing satellites.

The OSEI site maintains current imagery of dust storms, icebergs, volcanoes and several other categories of significant events.

Home  |  Directory  |  Advertising  |  About  |  Contact  |  Disclaimer
1999-2018 HobbySpace, All Rights Reserved.
HobbySpace is a part of Space-H Services.