with Composer Blair Joscelyne
Blair also put
together a special sound
clip consisting of three pieces out of twelve from the score and
posted it at mp3.com.au.
A full orchestra consisting of students from the the University of
Western Sydney and the Sydney Conservatorium of Music performed the
Joscelyne, the Australian composer of the soundtrack for the
Man Conquers Space alternate space history
documentary, kindly agreed to do an interview
provides interesting background to the unusual film project
and reveals fascinating details of the creative and technical
aspects of making a soundtrack.
creator and director of the film, has also agreed to carry out an
intereview with me in the near future.
begin what I hope will be a long series of interviews of participants
in the HobbySpace world of ever
expanding public involvement with space exploration and development.
proceed to the Joscelyne
Giant Hop for Armadillo - RLV News
Space Sneaks Up On Us
the following scene could easily happen today:
pulls into his driveway but doesn't get out of the car for several
minutes. He wants to finish listening to a favorite blues song
coming out of his brand new satellite
digital radio. It's impossible to find great music
like that on any of his local FM stations. It's also great that
he can listen to a station all the way to the lake and back without
needing to scan the dial continually as stations go in and out
of range. Finally, he reluctantly shuts off the car and grabs
the detachable radio to take into the house.
in, though, he unhooks his boat trailer from the car. The trip
to the lake today was a big success. He snagged a couple of huge
catfish at one of his favorite fishing spots. With his GPS
navigator he can locate the spots quickly and accurately.
into the house he ponders a friend's recommendation to get a satellite
phone. The prices have come way down and it's annoying
that he can't reach the family or his office on his cell phone
while out on the lake or when he rides up in the hills on his
mountain bike. The dual mode phones also use cheaper cell rates
when a signal appears. Besides, as a volunteer on the rescue squad
he likes the added insurance of a phone that's always guaranteed
to work even during a blackout or disaster like the tornado that
hit the area last year.
down in front of his digital
satellite direct-to-home TV, he first checks out the
weather channel and notes that the satellite
maps indicate clear weather for another trip to the
He would like
to check the really detailed weather maps and other info on the
Internet but the dialup rate is so terribly slow. He's thinking
of adding satellite
broadband internet since it will be decades, if ever,
before cable or DSL ever reaches his house out here.
he comes across a call-in discussion on C-SPAN (Cable Satellite
Public Affairs Network) concerning the space program. After listening
for a bit he grabs the phone to put in his two cents and for one
of the first times is actually put on the air. He boldly proclaims,
"Why in the world are we wasting money in space when we got
all these problems down here...."
Such a scenario
is clearly not farfetched. A wide array of space services that deal
directly with the consumer have arisen with relatively little fanfare.
Despite the current gloom over a drop in commercial satellite launches,
which is due mostly to the general recession in all areas of telecommunication,
space businesses continue to grow steadily in size and in importance
to the world's economy.
many people, even those who take the most advantage of them, don't
make the connection between these services and space and the need
to keep investing and developing our space infrastructure.
While we may
never build starships that can travel faster than the speed of light,
that limit has certainly been broken by the speed at which we take
new space technologies and services completely for granted.
Activism News Briefs...
Here are some
recent miscellaneous items related to pushing society forward in
* Be sure to
find a space discussion forum that deals with the issues that you
are most interested in. Besides offering a place to debate and rant,
they are great places to find out about space news and upcoming
There are many
forums available such as, for example, SpaceADG
- Space Exploration Advocacy Group in the Yahoo
Space Groups. More space related forums are listed in the Activism
section and the Space
*A couple of
interesting essays can be found at
*You could win
a trip to the National
Space Society's yearly meeting in San Jose, California next
May if you can come up with the best knock-em, sock-em letter in
support of space that is accepted by a newspaper. See NSS
Letters-to-the-Editors Campaign. This is in support of World
Space Week Oct. 4-11.
sure to sign the The
Planetary Society's on line PETITION in support of space exploration
and specifically of missions to Pluto and Europa.
* Looks like
Sean O'Keefe plans major changes in NASA's long term goals:
Does Rockets & Fuel Pumps-RLV News
Beltway Pessimist+SLI Contractors in Limbo-RLV News
: Space Volunteers
that Lockheed-Martin put out a notice announcing that the company
would accept part time volunteers to work on its reusable rocket projects.
Or Boeing offered to let students work on the design of a commercial
space station module.
you jump at the opportunity? Many space enthusiasts certainly would.
They would love to work on a "real" space project if there
was some way they could contribute part-time and not risk the loss
of their "day job".
is trying to offer something like this with JP
Aerospace. The organization of volunteers in Rancho Cordova,
California has for the past 23 years pursued a number space related
projects including the development and launching of sounding rockets
and high-altitude balloons, and the innovative Pongsat
program for students.
won an Air Force grant for high-altitude sounding rocket launches.
To obtain bigger facilities and a wider area in which to operate,
the program will use a new spaceport site in Fort Stockton, Texas:
John says that
although parts of the organization will now involve full time employees,
it has so many projects to handle it will continue to welcome volunteers
to help carry them out.
Note that AMSAT
projects have operated in a similar way with mostly students
and volunteers building the satellites, while some projects involved
paid university staff. Several of the X
Prize projects also welcome volunteer efforts.
We might see
more of this kind of professional/amateur/student collaboration
in space startup companies. The sophistication of the highly successful
AMSAT spacecraft show that highly motivated volunteer workers can
provide excellent results. The startups would do well to "leverage"
such volunteer resources to boost their projects.
: A Hard Sci-Fi Contest
Have you been
mulling that perfect sci-fi plot in your head for years? Now's the
time to finally put it on paper. Enter the The
Clarke-Bradbury Science Fiction International Competition for 2003.
with a 2500 word short story that uses science fiction technologies
related to "space travel, exploration and settlement."
must be seen to be both the inspiration for the story and the focus
of its realization." Contest deadline is Feb.28.2003. Open
to those between 15 and 30 years of age.
(If you can't
think up a great plot, try Themes/Genres
in Science Fiction by Kay Fowler)
is organized by the project at European Space Agency called ITSF
- Innovative Technologies From Science Fiction For Space Applications.
This unusual program seeks to gather farsighted new ideas from the
minds of science fiction writers.
[My thanks go
Berinstein for the contest link. She has been selected as one
of the judges.]
: Getting to Mars On a Budget
Russian space company RSC Energia has developed a comprehensive
scheme for a human mission to Mars :
(Thanks to Spacetoday.net
for these links.) They claim the plan would allow 6 people to go
to Mars by 2015 for $14 billion. Another proposal earlier this year
by a different Russian design team said it would take $20 billion.
Of course, Russia
doesn't have the money to do even the cheaper plan now or for two
or three decades at the earliest.
however, still provide a good basis on which discussions of Mars
mission costs should build. The infamous NASA report in 1989 that
said it would take $250 billion to go to Mars has long been refuted.
Instead, as Robert Zubrin has maintained, it looks increasingly
clear that we (by "we" I mean an international
team with substantial Russian involvement) could in fact go to Mars
in 10 or 15 years if NASA received a 2 to 3 billion dollar increase
in its yearly budget for a Mars program. That's of the same scale
as the ISS.
There have been
that O'Keefe wants to change the emphasis of the agency away for
microgravity experiments in LEO and towards developing technologies
for deep space exploration. Without an explicit mandate for a Mars
mission, the agency could carry out a large range of preparatory
work that would allow for a low budget crewed Mars mission later
when conditions are more suitable.
aspect of the RSC proposal, for example, is the use of electric
propulsion for the crew vehicle. In this plan the 300N ion engine
would require a huge 15MW solar array. For comparison, the ISS solar
array when completed will provide a mere 110KW.
In the US the
plasma engine has been proposed for a Mars vehicle but these plans
assume the availability of a nuclear reactor for electrical power.
O'Keefe has already proposed a renewed space reactor program to
provide power for unmanned science missions such as a probe to Pluto.
He should combined this with accelerated developing of high thrust
electrical engines such as VASIMR that could broaden the capabilities
to include heavy payloads and manned vehicles.
Those Ol'Expendable Rocket Blues
- RLV News
: ISS Hams Get Some PR
Today gives a nice overview of ham
radio on the ISS in the article : Ham
radio connects astronauts with Earth - Florida Today - Sept.23.02.
Note that MSNBC keeps an archive
of ham radio sessions between astronauts and classrooms.
: A Starman Sails Away
to hear that the brilliant scientist, sci-fi author, and futurist
Forward has died - Obituary:
Dr. Robert L. Forward | SpaceRef . A colorful character, he
loved to illustrate how science and engineering could be marvelously
exciting when you mix in some uninhibited imagination. He recently
worked in the area of Space
Tethers but he contributed to many other advanced concepts such
as several starship designs. See, for example, the microwave
driven Starwisp sail, and the Fission
: Microgravity for Artists and Scientists
- Microgravity Interdisciplinary Research
program invites European artists and scientists to submit proposals
for projects to be carried out during parabolic flights. Also, other
facilities are available such as neutral bouyancy tanks used for
Call for proposals - deadline 21 October 2002 - "Opportunity
for Art or Science projects in variable gravity (including zero
gravity) ...and other Artistic projects at the Gagarin Cosmonaut
: Natural Space Art
of space art,
NASA Goddard just issued this item- 'The
Sun as Art' Brings New Light to SOHO Images - NASA - Sept.23.02
- about the artistic use of images of the sun taken with the SOHO
orbiting observatory. See the The
Sun as Art gallery.
check out the Our
Earth as Art site that displays beautiful
images obtained by remote sensing satellites.
Tries to Get an Old Elephant to Dance- RLV News
: MARS Deimos
Odyssey Rocket Launch a Success!
MARS rocketry group reports
that the launch of their Demos Odyssey rocket was successful this
afternoon, including full recovery of both the booster and payload
sections. They are examining the telemetry for altitude determination
but the hybrid rocket motor fired for the full 20 seconds as planned
and followed a straight trajectory.
to the MARS team! I hope they broke the UK & European amateur
rocketry altitude record as they hoped. Now we can look forward
to their next project, which is to launch the two-stage hybrid motor
3 to above 100km (62miles).
record for UK rocket - BBC - Sept.24.02]
: All Go for MARS Space
yesterday from the Black Rock Desert, Nevada launch site for the
MARS Deimos Odyssey Rocket launch are on schedule for this weekend.
Next Japanese RVT (Reusable Vehicle Test) - RLV News
: CSXT Rocket Failure?
There are reports
on the rec.models.rockets newsgroup that the CSXT rocket failed
at around 5000ft. There's no news on the CSXT
web site since Tuesday. Hope the failure is a false rumor. Will
report here when more news available.
: The CSXT
site now confirms that the launch last Thursday failed soon after
launch. This posting
at rec.models.rockets gives more info on the failure.
rocket fizzles in record attempt - CNN.com - Sept.27.02
Rocketeers Regroup After Booster Explodes - Space.com - Sept.25.02
: Amateur Rocketeers Go for Space
Space Experimental Team (CSXT) aims to exceed the
50 nautical mile space
amateur rocket groups are going for high altitude rocket records
reported in the RLV
News section, the Civilian
Space Experimental Team (CSXT) aims to exceed 50 nautical miles
Primera rocket vehicle. This would set a new world record for
amateur rocketry and would cross into space according to an unofficial
US altitude boundary (see the entry on the space
first launch window at the test site in Black Rock Desert in Nevada
was set for September 17th but there is no report yet on the CSXT
web site about whether a launch attempt occurred. [According to
the latest report (as of evening on Sept.19th) on the CSXT web site,
bad weather forced postponment of the Tuesday launch.]
Members of the British MARS
rocketry club handle the
high altitude, hybrid powered rocket.
the British MARS
rocketry club will attempt to break the UK and European amateur
rocket altitude record with the launch of their Deimos-Odyssey
high altitude, hybrid powered rocket from a desert location (not
The Mars group
set that record when it successfully launched the Phobos
EAV amateur rocket in June of 2000 to almost 10 1/2 km (35,0000ft
)also from Black Rock Desert in Nevada. See more about the MARS
attempt in the RLV
Says Space is Expensive - RLV News
: Lance is Back
Pepsi space promotion campaign mentioned below will include a sponsorship
of Lance Bass's flight to the ISS:
things proceed quickly, he may squeeze in enough training to make
the October Soyuz launch. Otherwise, he will go in April.
another article about the Pepsi promotion: Pepsi
counts down to astronomical giveaway - Guardian - Sept.18.02
: German Space Films and a Space Age Kid
Wade writes an essay - Space
Cadet - about growing up with space in mind during the 1950's
and 1960's. He includes an interesting factoid about how clips from
a couple of German space films, begun under the Nazi's but never
finished, ended up in short films promoting space to post-Sputnik
kids in the US: The
Space Explorers .
: Pepsi Next Generation
Looks like Pepsi
is planning a big space promotion. The company will purchase a seat
on a Soyuz flight to the ISS and run a contest in which the winner
gets the ride:
Marketing Looks to Outer Space: Negotiations Under Way for Seat
on Russian Space Shuttle - AdAge - Sept.16.02
(Thanks to Spacetoday.net
for first noticing this link.)
a contest winner would need "several months of training"
Deal on Space Tourism Sounds Sweet but Lacks Fizz - Space.com -
Sept.17.02. Dennis Tito, however, has said that most of the
training he got was unnecessary, e.g. learning deep technical details
of the Soyuz vehicle. He thought the tourist training period could
easily be reduced to a few weeks, e.g. mostly learning not to touch
is jumping on the space wagon: Ferrari
paints space red - BBC - Sept.17.02]
Advertising and Sponsorships,
: European Students Go Weightless
Space Agency runs a program in which students can propose microgravity
experiments and then perform them on an Airbus
flying parabolic trajectories:
students at work - ESA - Sept.16.02.
If the experiments
are especially interesting, they can graduate to flights on the
Russian FOTON spacecraft: Outreach
experiments on FOTON
compete for the chance to experience weightlessness on a parabolic
flight in this program at the European Space Agency. Groups of 4
students design and propose an experiment to run during the flight
on an Airbus 300.
Tourism - Microgravity Flights , Space
Education and Space
Instead of the
previous bi-weekly updates, this HobbySpace
News section will now take on more of a web log approach
with frequent addition of new items. This will be similar to my
section except that entries will involve the whole range of HobbySpace
related interests rather than just reusable launchers.
The name is
changed from Space Gazette to the The Space Logger to reflect
this new approach. Note that longer articles will still be posted
here but they may continue onto separate pages.
: Amateur Planet Hunters
make significant contributions to science in a number of areas including
asteroid and comet finding and supernova detection - see Amateur
Astronomy Projects. Now they can even participate in
the hunt for planets around other stars.
(Exosolar Planet Hunting) Program seeks to organize amateur
astronomers to begin systematic long term monitoring of nearby (a
relative term!) stars for the slight diminution in brightness that
occurs when a star's planet crosses between the star and our line
So far over
90 exosolar planets
have been found by professional astronomers who monitor thousands
of light bands for slight shifts in frequency due to the Doppler
effect when the planet pulls on the star. (See the Doppler
Shift Due to Stellar Wobble at Exoplanet.org.)
This technique requires expensive equipment to carry out. Also,
it does not provide the angle of inclination of the planet to the
today can obtain "highly affordable small
telescopes equipped with sensitive and stable CCD (charge coupled
device) detectors, and controlled by laptop computers." These
are capable of detecting the slight change in brightness when a
gas giant (e.g. Jupiter or Saturn) sized planet comes between us
and the star.
has begun coordinating the search for planet transits of 5
Invited to Join Planet Search - Space.com - Sept.25.02 ]
Planets Links, Realistic
Planetary & Steller System Modeling & Textures in Simulations
: Amateur Discovers Moon (Rocket)
amateur rocket discoveries, there was considerable attention given
recently to the announcement by Bill
Yeung, an advanced amateur astronomer who concentrates on asteroid
observations, that he had seen a previously unknown object orbiting
the earth: New
moon found around Earth - BBC - Sept.11.02.
though it could be our third moon (for info on our second moon,
Earths "second moon" - Bob Jenkins ) but over the
next few days it became apparent that the object was more likely
to be a spent rocket stage from Apollo 12. Newly
Discovered Object Could be a Leftover Apollo Rocket Stage Paul Chodas
- Sept.11.02 . [Proposal:
Removing Earth's Radiation Belts - Space.com - Sept.16.02 ]
: Space and Rocketry Competitions
and Space Contests
sections lists a number of space related competitions in which students
can participate. Here are a couple of recent ones I found especially
America Rocketry Challenge - National
Association of Rocketry & AIA
are sponsoring a "national model rocket competition for U.S.
high school and junior high school students." The organizations
"challenge you to design, build, and fly a multi-stage model
rocket carrying two raw eggs and an electronic altimeter to exactly
1500 feet, returning both eggs intact. The top five teams will
share in a total prize pool of approximately $50,000 in savings
bonds, and approximately $9,000 in cash awards will be divided
among the sponsoring teachers' departments." Application
deadline - November 15, 2002
2003: Dropping In a Microgravity Environment -NASA
Glenn Research Center sponsors this annual student competition
for proposing, designing, building and operating a microgravity
drop tower science experiment. Check out the video
webcasts (Realmedia) of previous student drop tower experiments.
win a trip to NASA Glenn to operate their experiment. Proposals
are due in early November each year and teams from the fifty
United States, Washington DC, and Puerto Rico are eligible to
participate. See the DIME web site for contest rules and other
information. Request a CD-ROM with contest rules and other educator
resources by sending e-mail request to: email@example.com
(Thanks to NASA's Richard DeLombard for telling me about this
: Lance Grounded but Not Space Sponsorships
it looks like singer Lance Bass will not get his flight to the ISS
this October. He would have attracted enormous interest to his flight
from young people, most of whom otherwise show no interest in space.
Tito and Mark
Shuttleworth, Bass could not afford to pay his own way
and instead relied on a promoter to organize a group of corporate
sponsors. Over several weeks there were back and forth clams and
counter-claims between the Russian Space Agency and Bass's rep (who
more than once said the check was in the mail) over the failure
to deliver the space fare until the deal finally fell apart and
Bass was officially removed from the flight. (He is still in Moscow,
though, trying to arrange a ride on the next Soyuz flight next April.)
Since few people
are wealthy enough to pay the full $10 to $20 million (the exact
price has never been revealed but probably is considerably less
than the $20 million usually claimed), sponsorship arrangements
will be necessary to expand the range of people who can go to orbit.
Lance's failure will be taken by many as a sign that this approach
is not viable but I think that is a mistake.
Almost any deal
in show business is messy. Producers and directors will tell many
horror stories of deals that got made for a movie or TV show but
then collapsed at the last minute. Many successful movies, e.g.
The Lord of the Rings, have tortured financial histories and came
very close to never reaching the screen.
in James Oberg's nice review of Soviet and Russian attempts at space
tourism - Can
Lance Bass Sing His Way Into Space by James Oberg -SpaceDaily -
Aug.28.02 - the Russian Space Agency just isn't designed for
these sorts of show biz arrangements.
intermediary group would simply buy a set of rides with its own
money and do the wheeling and dealing itself to fill the seats.
This would insulate the Russian Agency while providing the flexibility
and assurance that corporate sponsors need when they are asked to
provide big bucks.
the current set of middle players - Mir Corp & Space Adventures
- don't have the capital required to purchase seats on their own.
But we can expect that such a space tourist business structure will
: Space Tourism => Public Space Travel
my friend Jeff Foust, a space analyst at Futron
and publisher of Spacetoday.net,
the official name for space tourism is now Public Space Travel.
This is not just to sound less frivolous, but to indicate that those
who pay for space flights could include not only those going just
for the sheer fun of it but also journalists, artists, students
going to carry out experiments, and others who don't really fit
under the tourist category but are not professional astronauts either.
: Cool NASA Astrobiology Site
Institute is using a web log type format (but its not a personal
log) for the Astrobiology
Magazine. The site offers frequently updated news and articles
over a wide range of areas related to life in space - e.g. SETI,
exosolar planets, Mars water, etc.
Check out the
big set of Flash
panorama displays including Mars Pathfinder and Viking photos,
Jupiter's aurora, etc.