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The Space Gazette

Space for Everyone      -     April 16, 2002     -         Vol. 2 No.8

The Spacefaring Web 2.6:
Living In Analogies

John Carter McKnight

We have time now to stop and ask ourselves some questions, before we venture out into space. Thankfully, this time around we have one answer we lacked before: this time, we go to build, to stay. But what will we build, and what will we build from? Ours is not an age that wishes to address questions afresh, with a blank slate.

That sort of revolutionary modernism is a century behind us now, left among the other ruins of Industrial Age failed mega-conceptions. We're more given to synthesis, putting our globalism to creative use by drawing on the best of past and present from around the world, adding innovation to pull the synthesis together and adapt it to our current circumstances.

As with any technique, it can be done well or poorly. But it's to synthetic design that we should turn for a sense of what our built environment on the high frontier may look like. As in politics and economics, architecture and urban design will likely take very different forms in orbital colonies and on Mars.


Astronomy, Education, Rocketry

High School Students
Aim for Space

Fredericksburg High School Rocket Launch
Students of Fredericksburg High School in Texas launched the Redbird 9-H, shown above, at White Sands Missile Range, N.M. in August 2000. Designed and built by the students, the 185kg, 7m solid fueled rocket reached over 10km in altitude and significantly exceeded the altitude of the previous Redbird 8-H launch.

While most high schools across the US struggle even to raise science and math education achievement to rudimentary levels, some high school programs and students manage to reach stratospheric heights in science and engineering accomplishment.

Rocket Powered Learning

For example, the Fredericksburg High School AeroScience Program has gained fame for its use of advanced high power rockets that are designed, built and launched by students. (See the above photo). A Redbird 10-H, scheduled to launch this Spring, may reach 30km in altitude and provide up to 30secs of microgravity.

The excitement of rocketry motivates the students and the hands-on training provides tremendous benefits in making abstract concepts concrete.

These very low cost sounding rockets can in turn provide launches for microgravity experiments developed by other students not involved in the rocket project.

The success of this progam inspired a group at the Marshall Spaceflight Center to begin its Student Launch Initiative. This program brings high powered rocketry projects to local high schools and colleges in the Huntsville Alabama area.

Stellar Access for High Schoolers

Most US students grow up in heavily light-polluted urban or suburban areas and have never seen the vast canopy of brilliant stars and planets above them, much less examined any of them with a powerful telescope.

To attack this impoverishment, a group of high school students developed the Student Telescope Network. This project, supported by the Youth Activities Committee (YouthInAstronomy.org) of the Astronomical League, was developed to

"...enable high school students interested in astronomical observing, to access a telescope with digital camera in a remote dark location via the internet, and to pursue basic observational research."

The article Student behind global telescope network - CNN.com - Apr.13.02 describes how Ryan Hannahoe and other high school students developed this system to provide high school students around the world access to a high powered telescope in an area with little light pollution (see the New Mexico Skies observatories).

(See the Robotic Telescope section for more about these facilities that are accessible to both students and amateur astronomers.)

We can hope that these rocketry, astronomy and other exciting student projects will entice more students into science and engineering. (See the Space Education section for more

Space Music

Preview the Space CD

The National Space Society sponsored a space song contest in 1998. A CD called Ad Astra with the top placing songs and other space inspired music will be released later this year by Prometheus Music.

You can now listen to some of the songs on the CD at MP3.com - National Space Society CD. Also, some works-in-progress versions can be streamed from the NSS CD page at Prometheus.

A sampler CD of the disk was sent to people throwing Yuri's Night parties and this editor was also lucky enough to get one. (Many thanks goes to Eli Goldberg of Prometheus Music.)

I'm very impressed by the songs. Some of them could be chart toppers if they ever reached a wide enough audience. Ranging from rock to Celtic in style, the collection celebrates space exploration with thoughtful as well as darn danceable tunes.

Venture-ing into Space

The Ventures: Telstar & Ventures in Space
The Ventures Play Telstar
+ Ventures in Space
Amazon : US UK (HobbySpace commission links)

The rock instrumental group The Ventures were hugely successful during the 1960's and continues playing today. (They've sold over 90 million albums.) The band's unique multiple-guitar sound took the California surf rock style around the world.

One of the bands earliest successes was their cover of Telstar just as the version by the Tornados reached the top of the charts.

The Ventures Play Telstar album became one of their biggest sellers; so much so that many Americans came to assume that the song was originated by the Ventures. (Note that Leon Russell, who attained solo fame in the 1970's, played the keyboards on Telstar.)

The Ventures in Space album was not quite as successful but is considered their most influential work. They created exotic "spacy" sounds on their guitars that rivaled those from synthesizers. Many musicians of the psychedelic and classic 60's rock era claimed the album as an inspiration. Keith Moon, for example, the drummer for the Who, called it his favorite album.

See the review Ventures in Space posted recently at SurfRockMusic.com.

Sign the Planetary Society Petition
in Support of Space Exploration

The Planetary Society is the largest of the space activist organizations with over 100,000 members. It focuses particularly on space science projects.

The Society is currently fighting to save the missions to Pluto and Europa from funding cuts by NASA, which is looking for ways to save money due to big Space Station overruns.

Let Congress know that you support space exploration by adding your name to the Planetary Society's petition.

If you are not a member, join the Planetary Society to support not only its political efforts but also its many projects like the Space Sail (due for launch later this year) and the Red Rover educatonal program.

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

Space Tourism

Lottery Offers Everybody a Chance for Space

For those of you not lucky enough to possess twenty million dollars for a space tourist excursion, there may be a chance for you to go anyway.

eSpaceLotto.com offers a lottery with prizes that include cosmonaut training in Russia and eventually the chance to take a ride to space.

Founded by space activist Tony Webb, the contest proceeds will support the development of a consumer space infrastructure.

20% of each ticket proceeds will go to MirCorp or to one of two reusable launch vehicle startup companies: TGV Rockets and Interorbital Systems. (The selection is according to the choice of the ticket buyer.)

Ten lottery winners will undergo the Cosmonaut training and the top performing candidate will earn the right to go to orbit on a Russan Soyuz.

The other nine winners will be offered the opportuntity to take a ride on a sub-orbital rocket. (When such a vehicle becomes available.)

Legal questions always arise with regard to private lotteries. Webb has tried to make this lottery as open and transparent as possible.

For example, the lottery numbers will be identical to those drawn in the California State lottery, which are easily accessible to the public.

Up to 250,000 entries will be needed before a winner is selected. The money will be refunded if the program is canceled.

A number of other rules & regulations are available on the site, (e.g. only adults can buy raffle tickets) as well as a FAQ.

See more background info in The Odds for Space Tourism - Shorter than Ever? - Universe Today - Apr.10.02

Space Education

Teacher in Space Program Relaunched

While still refusing to promote space tourism, NASA nevertheless wants to find ways to involve "regular folk" in space exploration.

Recent surveys in the US show falling interest in space exploration. Clearly NASA needs to do more to inspire the public and young people in particular.

In this direction, the new NASA leader Sean O'Keefe recently announced the revival of the Teacher-In-Space program. It was suspended after the Challenger disaster when teacher Christa McAuliffe died along with 6 astronauts.

Barbara Morgan, McAuliffe's backup, will take a shuttle to the ISS, probably in 2004. She was a teacher in Idaho but has actually been training as an astronaut since 1998.

Find more info in these articles:

NASA to send teacher into space in 2004 - CNN.com - Apr.12.02

NASA Boss to Highlight Teacher-in-Space, Morgan Will Fly but No Date Set - Space.com - Apr.12.02

Monitor her preparations and flight in the Teachers-in-Space section of Space Education

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