planes to honor Columbia... On July 4th paper airplanes
made by children from around the world will be released from a balloon
at 100,000 feet to fly to the ground. The announcement Children
From California To Berlin Honor Shuttle Columbia Astronauts With
Oklahoma's Global Space League And Omniplex - Press Release - June.30.03
says that students made and decorated the planes "to express
why they want to become scientific explorers...Each plane honors
the memory of the scientist-explorers onboard the last flight of
the Shuttle Columbia."
The planes include
a registration sticker that "instructs the finder to register
it at www.okspaceplanes.com"
so that the students can "track where and when the planes are
Space League , with the help of the Kirkpatrick Science and
Air Space Museum at the Omniplex
in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, the project is one in a series of events
meant to encourage student involvement with scientists and engineers.
This year the planes come not only from Oklahoma and other states
but also from Germany where the organization spacebenefit.org
hosted a booth at a fair In Berlin where participants could make
planes for the event.
astronaut... Richard Branson of the Virgin empire may
take a trip to space :
Multi-millionaire space cowboys queue up to take tourism to the
limit - Independent - June.29.03.
satellite tracker... The free and open source program
- A Satellite Tracking/Orbital Prediction Program, developed
by John A. Magliacane (KD2BD), is now available for Linux/Unix.
This powerful program was previously only available as a DOS program.
See the program details and screen saves on the program
lunar story ... This new novel looks interesting - Launch
Out by Philip
R. Harris (sample
text) - It's about "space enterprise, lunar industrialization,
and settlement....The story covers two decades of activities by
space entrepreneurs to prepare, place, and support sixteen technauts
or workers on the Moon."
notes... A new coating technology could indicate when
a spacecraft's exterior has been damaged: Feeling
the danger: Coatings made from a new class of nanomaterials can
detect when their underlying structures are about to fail and cause
an accident - Economist.com - June.19.03 ...
As if from a Star Trek episode, this new LCD screen from Philips
can function as a mirror and a display : Philips
Unveils Mirror: Pricey combo device lets you watch TV, data, or
yourself -TVPCWorld.com - June.11.03 * Philips
integrates TV into mirror - Optics.org - June 2003
from the space front... Find an archive of Ed Lu's letters
from space at Greetings
Earthlings - Ed Lu's Musings from Space - HSF - International Space
Arctic Updates... Follow the mission of the Mars Society
at its Flashline
Mars Arctic Station on Devon
Island this summer.
- Correction : Mars
on Earth at Mars.tv - SpaceRef reports
on NASA's Haughton-Mars Project,
which is separate from the Mars Society Devon Island projects.]
shortchange rocketry... According to the ARSA
Legislative Update - RocketForge - June.25.03, it appears that
Orin Hatch (R-Utah) and Herbert Kohl (D-Wisconsin) severely undercut
the bill to free hobby rocketry of ridiculous new regulations.
solar sail project update... The Cosmos
1 solar sail, funded by the Planetary
Society and Cosmos
Studios, assembly is proceeding
towards completion in July and launch in September. [Via Kaido Kert].
scientists meeting... The Society
for Amateur Scientists will hold its Citizen
in Pasadena, July 17-20, 2003, Pasadena, California on the CalTech
campus. They have a great lineup of speakers including John Powell
of JP Aerospace
who will talk about the organization's innovative PongSats
and Space... The growing Chinese space program has begun
gradually to get more attention. Here are some recent articles and
discussions about the significance of this development:
GPS ... This excellent article - The
Sky's the Limit - Fast Company - July.03 - reports on the rapidly
expanding range of applications of GPS. Eventually it will be a
part of just about any commercial system that moves: cargo containers,
trucks, taxis, company owned laptops, you name it. Expensive consumer
items such as cars and big screen TVs will also include an embedded
GPS/communication combo device so that if they are stolen they will
be quickly located.
in the article, tracking of industrial goods with GPS and satellite
communications systems is one of those industries that is growing
but still largely under the radar of the media and the general public.
Probably in a year or two it will become so pervasive that it will
be hailed as an over-the-night success. See the Tracking
/ Messaging / Data Monitoring with GEO & LEO
Satellites section for links to companies and
other resources in this area.
British space SciFi series comebacks... A couple of classic
British near future space scifi TV series seem to be getting
more attention. Moonbase
3 debuted in 1973 with 6 episodes. It is said to provide
a high quality, realistic style approach to events on a lunar base
in 2003! See the links
for detailed summaries of the episodes.
The series was
feared lost but copies were found in the early 1990s in the US.
is now available on DVD
in the UK [commission link]. US users will need to use
PC DVD software or a DVD player that ignores the region coding.
1987 the 9 episodes of Star
Cops followed the struggles of a detective to solve crimes
committed on the harsh space frontier of the early 21st century.
It also only lasted one season but the number of fans has continued
to grow from reruns and tapes (see, for example, this review).
provide detailed summaries of the episodes. (StarCops.com
is an excellent site.) It
will also be released on DVD in the UK at the end of the year.
[Thanks go to
a HobbySpace visitor who asked a question about British space scifi
and while investigating it I came across these series.]
Station on the Moon and Sun... Checkout the great pictures
taken by John
Locker of the ISS transiting the Moon
and the Sun: Space
snapper catches unusual views - BBC - June.19.03 . (Item via
in orbit... Astronaut Ed Lu talks about playing an electronic
piano on the Space Station in this recent article
BTW: His independently
web site is quite impressive.
the Senator... The letter Dear
Senator Hatch by John
Wickman to Senator Orrin Hatch lays out very clearly the case
against the BATFE's
(Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives) ridiculous
justifications for its heavyhanded rules on hobby rocketry fuels.
on the campaign against these rules at Homeland
Security/Safe Explosives Act News at the America
Rocketry Society of America.
has done a show on hobby rocketry and the fuel controversy : Tech
Boosts Rocketry: Watch amateur rocketeers blast miniature missiles
to the edge of space - TechTV - June.16.03. Broadcast
scheduled for June 22.
tourism - alive and well ... The failure of Lance
Bass to raise sufficient funds to go to the ISS and then
the suspension by the Russians after the Columbia accident of the
whole tourist program, led some to claim that space tourism had
come and gone.
Adventures and the Russian Aviation and Space Agency announced
that they have agreed to send two tourists to the ISS in early 2005:
Available: Explorers Wanted - Space Adventures Announces First Commercial
Mission to the International Space Station - Space Adventures -
Those Who Can Afford It, 2 New Chances to Fly to Space - NY Times
Also, the article
Soyuz Seats Open for International Space Station Trip - Space.com
- June.18.03 - reveals that Space Adventures has more than 10
candidates in "various stages of being ready for orbital flight."
that even at the $20M or so per flight, the space tourism market
is alive and well. This could have big implications for companies
trying to raise money to build low cost reusable launch vehicles
for both suborbital and orbital tourist trips. They can now point
to these flights as proof of a viable and potentially huge market
as ticket prices come down.
Arctic Mars crew... The Mars
Society announced its new
crew for this summer's session at the Flashline
Mars Arctic Station on Devon Island. This eighth crew will carry
out a 4-week mission, the longest so far.
Rocketry battles... A couple of senators, particularly
Herbert Kohl (D-Wisc), on the Judiciary committee are standing in
the way of freeing hobby rocketry from onerous and unwarranted
regulations. Letters & faxes are needed to move them
out of the way. See Senate
Bill S724 Progress Report at the Amateur Rocket Society of America
congressional action page for information on how you can help and
this entry at Rocketforge.
a point of light... The International
Peace Star Project seeks to launch a "large, inflatable,
earth-orbiting, reflective sphere", similar to the early Echo
satellite. The object would be visible to the naked eye and would
provide a "constant reminder of the beauty that surrounds us
and the importance of peace to our future" according to the
projects founders : Father
And Daughter Propose Launching 'Peace Star' Satellite - Peace Star
A study by
the University of Michigan's Department of Aerospace Engineering
indicates the satellite would cost about $17 million dollars. The
project is seeking out sponsorships.
Note: Many astronomers
may not express peaceful thoughts when they consider dealing with
yet another bright satellite passing through their telescope views.
the kids to Mars... The Planetary
Society and the LEGO company provided mini-DVDs that were bolted
to the sides of the Spirit and Opportunity Mars
landers. They include the names of 4 million people collected
by NASA. The images of Astrobots "robotic minifigures suited
up for space" which "appear as part of the structure that
mounts the mini-DVD onto each spacecraft."
The two robotic
explorers - Biff Starling and Sandy Moondust - will maintain a "blog"
from space at Astrobots
Diary so that kids can follow their Mars adventures.
Seeing-eye... A European program seeks to provide better
guidance for the blind via GPS technology: GPS
to Help the Blind Navigate - Wired - June.14.03.
satellite radio ... If you are trying to decide which
satellite radio system to use, this article might help : XM
or Sirius? - Fortune.com - June.11.03 .
news ... The freeware OrbiterSim
space simulator recently got "slashdotted" : Orbiter
Sim Gets You Spaced - Slashdot - June.10.03.
Kids are into
space sims : Virtual
shuttle flight like real thing - KnoxNews - June.13.03.
Space Activists Helping Rocketeers
One of my original
motivations for HobbySpace was to encourage
more interaction between space advocates and hobbyists in space
related fields such as rocketry, amateur satellites and radio. Historically
these groups operated in completely different universes that seldom
the past few years there seemed to gradually be more interaction
among these groups. Advanced
rocketeers, for example, are launching sophisticated
vehicles that are approaching the boundary of space and a few are
even building X PRIZE manned
vehicles. Space advocate groups have begun to support some of these
projects as they start to get involved in more hands-on, near-term
letter from Brian
Chase, executive director of the National
Space Society, shows how space advocates can be of great help
to rocketry at a time when it is under great threat from oppressive
regulations and needs as much help as it can get.
Brian on taking the NSS in this direction and helping out the rocketeers.
U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms & Explosives
P.O. Box 50221
Washington, D.C. 20091-0221
SUBJECT: Response to Notice of Proposed Rulemaking No. 968, Commerce
in Explosives (2000R-9P), 68 Fed. Reg. 4406 (Jan. 29, 2003)
Dear Mr. Ficaretta:
I am writing on behalf of the 22,000 members of the National Space
Society to express our concern about proposed ATFE rule no. 968
that would irreparably impact model rocketry.
While I fully understand the need to review and reform existing
regulations regarding explosive materials in light of critical
homeland security matters, this proposed rule could substantially
harm, if not outright eliminate, hobby and model rocket activities.
While I am certain that you have received numerous letters and
other correspondence outlining the challenges in enforcing such
a rule, as well as the technical rationale for providing an exemption
for model rocketry, I want to highlight another vital reason for
modifying the exemption for this activity.
As you may be aware, our nation is facing a critical shortage
of U.S. citizens with technical and scientific training, which
impacts critical industries such as the aerospace sector. In the
November 2002 report issued by the Commission on the Future of
the U.S. Aerospace Industry – a group commissioned by the President
and the U.S. Congress – the Commission points out that “it is
imperative that the U.S. aerospace industry remains healthy to
preserve the balance of our leadership today and to ensure our
continued leadership tomorrow.”
They place a tremendous emphasis on this continued leadership
– which has implications for our future economic and national
security – and focus on the “graying of the workforce,” writing
that “compounding the [aerospace] workforce crisis is the failure
of the U.S. K-12 education system to properly equip U.S. students
with the math, science, and technological skills needed to advance
the U.S. aerospace industry.”
The field of model rocketry provides a fun, enjoyable pastime
that simultaneously encourages students to consider technical
fields for academic study, and the adults who participate in model
rocketry often use their activities to support educational outreach
in their local communities. To move forward with regulations that
would substantially limit their activities could do grave harm
to a recruiting mechanism that helps the United States maintain
its long-term aerospace leadership.
I know that the model rocketry community is committed to cooperating
with the federal government to help ensure domestic security,
and I encourage you to work constructively with them as all parties
seek a resolution to this matter. Additionally, the National Space
Society recommends the following change to (a) (7) in § 55.141
Exemptions to reflect the concerns mentioned above:
rocket motors consisting of ammonium perchlorate composite propellant,
black powder, or non-detonable rocket propellant and designed
as single use motors or as reload kits;
(vi) Commercially manufactured black powder in quantities not
to exceed two pounds, safety and pyrotechnic fuses, quick and
slow matches, electric matches and igniters when used in model
your consideration of this very serious matter, and hope that
ATFE will consider modifying the exemptions to ensure we do not
unintentionally harm our future leadership in aerospace. This
is not just a matter that concerns us in the present, but one
that reaches decades into our future, and I want to ensure the
best and brightest young minds today choose to enter fields that
will help the U.S. maintain its economic and military leadership
around the globe in the years ahead.
If you would like additional information on the Commission report
I referenced above, it is available online at www.aerospacecommission.gov.
Please do not hesitate to contact me if I can provide additional
Brian E. Chase
All space advocates,
even with no personal involvement in rocketry, should pitch in and
help them as well. See the Space-Rockets.com
site for the latest on Congressional action to repeal these regulations.
Galaxy Explorer Summer Camps... The Galaxy
Explorers program will sponsor five summer camps this summer
in Colorado, Maryland, Virginia, and Pennsylvania. See the announcement
The Galaxy Explorers
program is for grades 3 -11. It "seeks to inspire and educate
kids in space related science and engineering. Galaxy Explorers
was created to prepare children for the future; a future that advances
a space faring civilization. Kids will learn with fun educational
materials at monthly 'Mission Team' meetings and on occasional field
If you are an
adult who would like to get involved in this growing program, you
can find info
on their website.
oddity... Some find it odd that people like to participate
in space exploration more than they like paying for a small elite
to enjoy it: Oddity:
Space exhibits more popular than space itself - Denver Post.com
Mars Now or miss out... The ExploreMarsNow
site uses state of the art web techniques to present a marvelous
window on Mars exploration and settlement in the not so distant
future. The site just won a "Webby"
award in the science category.
and Spirit going to Mars... Sofi Collis, a 9 year
old 3rd grade student from Arizona, won the The
Planetary Society' & LEGO's contest
to name the rovers that will soon be launched for a landing on Mars
LEGO, which helped
to sponsor the rover naming contest mentioned above, is showing
space related projects pays off for everyone. The projects
get very much needed funding and the company gets great exposure:
Rover Naming Day... The winner of NASA's contest to name
the Mars rovers will
be announced this weekend : NASA
To Announce Mars Robotic Rover Names on Sunday - SpaceRef - June.5.03.
Watch the webcast
of the announcement from JPL : Launch
of NASA's Mars Exploration Rovers Webcast - JPL. Then stay tuned
on that channel to watch the launch of Mer-A at 2:44 EST.
space auction... Congratulations to collectSpace
and its collaborators in the big success of its recent "silent
auction to raise scholarships for college students who exhibit motivation,
imagination, and exceptional performance in the science or engineering
field of their major. All items auctioned were consigned by the
astronauts and their families. Full proceeds benefited the ASF [Astronaut
Scholarship Fund]". More info at Silent
Auction - Over $58,000 raised! - CollectSpace - May.24.03
Mars TV... Looks like Kim Stanley Robinson's Red Mars
book will become an eight part mini-series - Hurd
Goes To Mars - Sci Fi Wire - June.6.03 .(Found via spacetoday.net.)
This short news item only mentions Red Mars, the first book
of Robinson's trilogy. Perhaps like the Dune series, they will wait
to see how successful it is before deciding to do the other two
had shown interest in doing a mini-series of the trilogy but he
said recently that he had too many projects going on at the moment
to do any space related ones for awhile.
Interview with Larry Young
- in my latest interview I talk with creator and writer of the
Astronauts in Trouble
comic book series (or graphic novel if you're an adult and don't
want people to know that you read comic books). The series makes
near-future space sci-fi seem hip and fun again for young and old.
back ... They always appear whenever there is a space
event that makes the front page section. Whether its a good event,
such as the launching of a probe to Mars, or a bad one, such as
the Columbia disaster, they spring up like a particularly ugly variety
of mushrooms that may not be poisonous but is certainly devoid of
all nutritional value.
about essays on the editorial pages by people who have not thought
about space for years, if ever, but now from reading an article,
or at least looking at the headline of one, they feel quite knowledgeable
enough to expound witlessly about the waste and error of space exploration.
And of course, they always write about the originality and rebelliousness
of their brave dissent, which in fact consists entirely of trite
cliches fully in synch with the opinions of their peers.
Usually a letter
to the editor in response doesn't make it into the newspaper, especially
if it gives a detailed rebuttal. However, the power of the internet,
now allows some to hit back forcefully and probably reach more people
than the sum of all those reading the letters to the editor sections
in all the world.
become an internet phenomena and are starting to challenge editorial
pages for the eye of the reading public. The most popular ones get
hit rates approaching those of the most popular news sites. And
there are many good space weblogs (see a short
example that inspired this item is by T.L. James at the Lousiana
Mars Society weblog where he skewers an especially unsightly
Op-Ed Moonbattery - Louisiana Mars Society - June.4.03. Links
to good blog entries like this get passed around (I first saw it
via Rand Simberg's weblog)
so even when they are on a less well known blogger, they can end
up being read by a lot of people.
Rocketry campaign needs you ... The efforts in the Senate
to bar over-regulation of hobby rocketry has generally been successful.
Now the campaign needs your help in the House of Representatives.
See the Congressional
Action Page for advice on who you should send a letter to.
& Art Riding to Mars ...
Music from the group Blur
and art from Daimen
Hirst are on their way to Mars via the Beagle II lander
this week. A swatch of red Ferrari paint is going as well:
to May 2003 articles in archive