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The Space Gazette

Space for Everyone      -      February 16, 2002     -         Vol. 2 No.4

The Spacefaring Web 2.2:
The Critical Response

John Carter McKnight

In the first issue of this column I looked at the spacefaring future we once expected and concluded that “we can’t get there from here.” A foray into literary utopian studies has returned me to that same vista from a different perspective. While I focus here on the American instance, my analysis holds true for other spacefaring nations as well. The Russian case is complicated by the peculiarities of the role of ideology in the Soviet state, but the same dynamic oppositional forces have shaped their space efforts as well. Bluntly put, the history of human efforts in space is the product of the interplay between utopian and anti-utopian forces. The players in this ongoing dialectic, this yin and yang (if not God and Devil) have names: they are the space movement and NASA.


Eyes in the Sky

Watching the Olympics
from Space

Ikonos view of Olympics
Photo courtesy Space Imaging
The Ikonos satellite images the Park City Mountain Resort area where the luge, giant slalom and other Olympic competitions will take place. (Full image 3.2Mb shows 1m resolution.)

The Olympics may look great on TV but they're pretty neat from space too. Both NASA and the private company Space Imaging have released lots of fascinating imagery of the Salt Lake City area.

Space Imaging's Ikonos satellite orbits at 681km (423milies) yet can resolve objects of 1 meter width. The company has released hi-res images (3.2mb) of the 2002 Olympic Village, Park City Mountain Resort, and Deer Valley Resort. See the links on their press release page: IKONOS Satellite Takes Images of Venues of the 2002 Olympic Winter Games - Space Imagein PR - Feb.1.02

NASA Goddard Spaceflight Center has opened a site dedicated to Olympics imagery: Olympics Tour - Salt Lake City 2002. This includes a dramatic Zoom-in (1Mb) from outer space to the Olympic stadium that has been used on the TV. Other great products includes fly-bys of the Salt Lake City area (Birds-eye View of Olympic Sites - An animation generated by NASA) and a view of how the area has changed since 1972.

Recent Link Highlights

Here are some items of interest that have been added to HobbySpace recently:

Simulators - test you orbital mechanics skills with these "cool" space programs:

  • Outer Planet Mission by Pete Huges - a fun Flash simulator to control the orbit of a spacecraft.

  • Space Pinball - off-line educational package of two orbital simulations created by an ESA Outreach project.

Space Science - MSNBC is posting regular reports from Robert Zubrin who is part of the first crew of the Mars Society Desert Research Station in the Utah desert:

Space Services & Business - The satellite phone disasters - Iridium & Globalstar - cast a pall over the whole space industry. Satellite radio could lift the gloom if it does well.

XM Radio exceeded expectations for subscribers in the last quarter, although behind the predictions of a year ago, and Sirius is finally coming on line.

However, they both need several million subscribers to break even. It will be interesting to watch these companies as they fight for success:


Vicarious Space Tourism & New Space Businesses - the ambitious young company Transorbital (a welcomed advertising sponsor of HobbySpace) is said to have completed most of the hardware for its TrailBlazer Moon orbiter. Private moonshot 'may be just months away' - Ananova - Feb.13.02 .

The launch will apparently take place from Baikonur Cosmodrome later this year. So don't procrastinate! Get your message, business card or other memoribilia on board before its too late!

Find previous space news in
Articles Index 1999-2002


See also  
Space Headlines
RLV News
News Links

The Art of C. Sergent Lindsey
NewSpace Watch at NSG

Astronomy - Robotic Telescopes

Amateur Space Telescope Prototype Going On Line

The International Space Station Amateur Telescope group announced that the Alpha Telescope would soon be on line from its base at Winer Observatory, located near Sonoita, Arizona: Amateurs Look Forward to their Own Space Telescope - Astronomy - Feb.11.02

The system will test the procedures that amateur astronomers will use later to make observations when a telescope is placed on the space station in 2006.

As previously mentioned here, these kinds of internet accessible telescope facilities are multiplying quickly. To keep up, check the new Astronomy sub-section on Robotic Telescopes.


Planetary Society Poll Gets Big Response

Over 50,000 people participated in an on line survey carried out by the Planetary Society :

The public was asked to rank various research activities - e.g. exploration of Mars, Europa, Pluto, etc.

With the tight budget at NASA, the agency needs input on where limited resources should go. It asked the National Research Council to assess planetary science priorities and the NRC in turn asked the Society to poll the public.

Within just two weeks, more than 50k people visited the Society's web page to place their rankings. The results included:

"'More than 90% of survey respondents ranked exploration of Mars among the top five mission priorities for NASA, thus outpacing all other Solar System mission categories' said Bruce Betts, Director of Projects at The Planetary Society."

"The rest of the top five favorite exploration destinations and the percentage of respondents who ranked them in the top five were: our own moon (65%), Jupiter's moon Europa (62%), Pluto and the Kuiper Belt (37%), and Io (34%)."

See the press release for more poll results.

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