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The Space Log
Space for Everyone - November 2003

Nov.30, 2003 Space News

News briefs... Still away from home but can post a few items I've managed to pickup...

... Jeff Foust says that the new space policy will look pretty much like the old one: Report: new space vision to offer little change - spacetoday.net - Nov.30.03 ...

... Moon dust offered at auction: For Right Price, a Bit of the Moon, Perhaps - NY Times - Nov.27.03 ...

... Space advocacy groups starting a new collaboration: Final Planning for New National Space and Satellite Alliance Almost Complete - SpaceRef - Nov.28.03 ...

... Here's a profile of the space artist Tom McCall: Painting the final frontier: Top space artist taps into technology, poetry of flight - TimesDispatch.com - Nov.30.03 (via spacetoday.net)

... Here's the kind of thing the ISS is good for - testing materials for radiation shielding:
New material may be shield for space trip: Local researchers develop composite that can shelter astronauts from radiation - Huntsville Times - Nov.30.03

Nov.25, 2003 Space News

More space tug news... By chance my item about space tugs yesterday preceded this announcement today:

Orbital Recovery Ltd. Teams With Holland's Dutch Space To Develop Space Tug for Telecommunications Satellite Servicing: The spacecraft rescue concept evolved by Orbital Recovery Ltd. becomes ConeXpress ORS in joint program with Dutch Space - Orbital Recovery Corp - Nov.25.03

Orbital Recovery is join with the Dutch Space, which has been working on converting "the Ariane 5 payload adapter unit into a self-propelled spacecraft [and] pursuing this conceptual work under a program supported by the European Space Agency."

The companies will combine the SLES robotic technology with the Dutch Space system for satellite recovery. Surely NASA will not ignore a commercial system for the Hubble if the tug is up and running by 2007.

Update: A HobbySpace reader notes that NASA wants to use a tug to send the Hubble into to sea while Orbital Recovery wants to maintain it in orbit. He sent me a link to this statement at the ORC website: Space Tug to The Hubble Rescue? - ORC.

I was so focused on the space tug concept and who should build it that I forgot to address the issue of where it would tug the Hubble. Obviously, this incredibly productive instrument should be kept in orbit, especially since a system like the ORC tug will easily be ready by the 2012 timeframe. ORC says:

Our initial calculations indicate that, with the appropriately size solar arrays and fuel load, that our solar electric propulsion system could either boost HST to a very long lived high earth orbit where it could be stored or even do a plane change to move it to the International Space Station (ISS) where it could be serviced repeatedly and reboosted by the SLES to a high orbit above ISS.

The fact that NASA is not jumping on the chance to take advantage of this system and accelerate its development illustrates once again that its "culture" problems extend beyond the shuttle program and into the entire agency.

News briefs... Check out the beautiful solar images: The Winners! Top 10 Sun Images from SOHO - Space.com - Nov.25.03 ...

... A plea for NASA to take public space travel seriously: Public space travel and a national space vision: An open letter to NASA Administrator Sean O'Keefe by Derek Webber - The Space Review - Nov.24.03

Nov.24, 2003 Space News

Re-inventing the space tug... This article in Space News: NASA Proposes $300 Million Tug To Deorbit Hubble - Space News - Nov.24.03 is rather surprising. It's well known that the company Orbital Recovery is already developing a space tug that would do this job. Why would NASA develop a separate system from scratch? Why did the reporter not bring up the issue?

The primary job for the Spacecraft Life Extension System (SLES)TM, developed with technology from the DLR German Aerospace Center (see press release), involves attaching a tug to an aging comsat in geostationary orbit with little stationkeeping fuel left and extending its working life for several years. However, as these artist images show, it's clear that the company has also examined whether a SLES can manuever the Hubble and believes that it can.

I'm sure that Orbital Recovery will apply for the contract but it seems that, as usual, NASA wants to develop new hardware under its own direction rather than simply contract with a commercial firm. If so, the agency will miss yet another opportunity to nurture the development of a new commercial space service.

Mars guide... Space scientist and space artist Bill Hartmann talks about Mars and his new guide book for the red planet: Guide to Mars: Interview with Bill Hartmann - Astrobiology Magazine - Nov.24.03

News briefs... This article gives a clear and piquant overview of the lunar property ownership question: Dennis Hope, The Masai, And The Moon Virgiliu Pop - SpaceDaily - Nov.20.03. (via spacetoday.net weblog)....

... Let's save a Saturn V for old times sake: AT Rocket Bottom: Saturn V needs $5 million repair to avoid scrapheap - Atlanta Journal-Constitution - Nov.24.03.

Tech briefs... Intel Smart Dust Inside: Intel's Tiny Hope for the Future- The microprocessor giant is thinking even smaller: tiny sensor chips that network with each other - inside everything on earth. - Wired - Dec.03....

... Sombody will eventually create a practical supersonic transport: Firm considers 'son of Concorde' - BBC - Nov.23.03 (But I think it will come as a business jet first.)

The Rocket Company
The Rocket Company
Chapter 4 now on line.

Nov.21, 2003 Space News

Space tourism lectures... Robert A. Goehlich, whose graduate work in Germany led to a book on space tourism, is now doing his post-doc at Keio University, in Yokohama, Japan. (Long time space tourism proponent Patrick Collins also works in Japan but I don't know if they are collaborating.) He has posted on his web site several papers on various aspects of space tourism.

He is also posting his lectures from a course he's now giving on space tourism. Here is the press release for the series:

Novel SPACE TOURISM Lecture Series
Dr. Robert A. Goehlich

This lecture is the first worldwide official educational offered lecture about space tourism on a regular basis. Online registration and additional information can be found at www.robert-goehlich.de. This project is financed by Japanese government program "Japan Society for the Promotion of Science" in cooperation with Alexander von Humboldt Foundation.

Goehlich's motivation for this topic is to introduce aerospace and non-aerospace students into new approaches such as space tourism as a driver to overcome the stagnation of the space market. At the moment space tourism is a field where reality, hoaxes and science fiction are mixed up in such a way that it makes difficult for the general public to distinguish between reality and wishes. These circumstances have a negative effect on the realization of space tourism and should be eliminated explains Goehlich.

Robert A. Goehlich was born in Berlin, Germany, in 1975. He studied Aerospace Engineering at the Technical University Berlin from 1996 to 2000 and received his Ph.D. in 2003. His investigations are focused on cost engineering for reusable space transportation systems and strategies to realize space tourism. In 1999, he worked at the Israel Institute of Technology, Haifa, Israel, investigating pollutant emission models for computer-aided preliminary aircraft design. In 2000, he conducted his master's thesis addressing the feasibility of space tourism at the University of Washington, Seattle, USA. At the National Aerospace Laboratory, Tokyo, Japan, he examined the economical performance of a Reusable Launch Vehicle concept, in 2001. He stayed for 3 months in 2002 at Astrium/EADS, Kourou Spaceport, French Guiana to consider a program proposal for a tourist reusable launch fleet operated from Kourou Spaceport. Currently, he is doing post-doctoral research at Ohkami Laboratory, Department of System Design Engineering, Keio University in the fields of space tourism, cost engineering and mission program planning.

Students, sundials and Mars... This cool project gets students to build sundials and then compare their shadows to the display via the web to similar dials in other time zones and to dials on the Mars landers Spirit and Opportunity: Mars landers create opportunity for Web-linked sundials around the world - Univ.of Washington - Nov.20.03.

Ion propulsion progress ... The Ion Propulsion Program at NASA Glenn is making program on the HiPEP- High Power Electric Propulsion project according to this announcement: NASA Successfully Tests Ion Engine - NASA - Nov.20.03 . Such an ion engine that is both very efficient and high power (at least as far as ion engines go) is intended to work with a nuclear reactor like that under development in NASA's Project Prometheus.

Nov.20, 2003 Space News

Satellite innovations ... In this article - Space Mission on Auction Block - Wired News - Nov.20.03 - about SpacDev's placing a satellite mission for sale on eBay, Lakshmi Sandhana was kind enough to quote my views on what this event signifies. He had to compress my statements a bit about a price elasticity effect in which lower priced space missions will encourage more innovations and more applications of small satellites.

Rocket attacks... The effects of the ATF's stupid assualt on hobby rocketry begin to spread: Kettering University Terminates Rocket Club - ARSA - Nov.6.03

Nov.19, 2003 Space News

News briefs... Alan Boyle reports on how satellites can quickly provide extensive communications services to those working a distant, disconnected place: Phone lines on the front lines - Alan Boyle's Cosmic Log - Nov.18.03 ...

... Space.com continues its survey of the satellite industry: Satellite TV: Upstart Creates Crowd - Space.com - Nov.19.03 ...

... The elaborate space exhibit SPACE: A JOURNEY TO OUR FUTURE will travel to several museums around the US over the next four years, starting with the Pacific Science Center in Seattle, Washington.

Nov.18, 2003 Space News

Lunar outposts... Leonard David attends another space resources meeting, this one in Hawaii (tough life being a space reporter!) Organized by the International Lunar Exploration Working Group (ILEWG), the meeting looked at how to "convert the bleak Moon into a bustling, off-Earth continent for scientific research, technology testing, producing energy, even as practice ground for future expeditions to Mars". Moon Seen as Astronomical Outpost - Space.com - Nov.17.03

Nov.17, 2003 Space News

Space mining meeting... Leonard David writes about a recent Space Resources Roundtable V, held October 28-30 at the Colorado School of Mines: Extraterrestrial Resources: 'Living off the Land' - Space.com - Nov.11.03 (Link via Kert Kaido).

I hope to live to see the time when mining asteroids will seem no more (or less) amazing that the private development of the gargantuan floating platforms that drill for oil in deep ocean waters.

Cool rocketry site... The three Vatsass brothers created the Rocket Team Vatsaas website about their common rocketry hobby. It's very informative and also unusually stylish and offbeat. See, for example, their collection of rocket inspired consumer items - Rocket Team Vatsaas NotRocs. Their Construction Tips and Hints and the Lessons Learned pages will give rocketeers a big help. (Via Spacecraft Blog)

Nov.16, 2003 Space News

The Rocket Company
The Rocket Company
Chapter 3 now on line.

Apollo kids ... Fred Becker, long time space activist and musician, contacted me this past week about his project to collect links to home pages, essays, articles, books, and memoirs that deal with the impact that space exploration had on individuals in the Space Race days of the late 1950s and the 1960s.

He wondered if I could post his collection and I agree very happily. In fact, I already had a subsection of the Space History section along the same lines. I decided to split this off onto its own page called Personal Space Histories and will maintain it with Fred's help. He says he would like "to get tons of links, to make the point that Apollo and space had a great impact on kids in the sixties."

If you have posted a web page or other resource that tells how the 60's space exploration affected you, please contact me or Fred and we will add it to the list.

Space art coloring contest... Beyond-Earth Enterprises, a HobbySpace advertiser and startup rocket company, is sponsoring a coloring contest. "Fifty kids in grades K-6 can have their artwork flown on Beyond-Earth's first rocket flight." The goal is "to encourage children to think about space." See their press release: First Coloring Contest Announcement - Beyond Earth Enterprises - Nov.03. Contest deadline is Dec.1.

Spacecraft in the spotlight... Nice to see that Prof. Chris Hall (Virginia Tech) has now collected in one spot his series of interesting reviews of various spacecraft: Spacecraft of the Day Archives - Spacecraft blog

Nov.14, 2003 Space News

TV Rocketry boost ... I finally had a chance last night to watch the Rocket Challenge series of three one hour programs on the Discovery Channel (See previous item.) Wow, if these shows don't turn kids and adults on to rocketry, I don't know what could. I was very impressed at the fun and lighthearted yet authentic and enthusiastic representation of this exciting hobby. If you have not yet seen the shows, be sure to catch them during repeats tonight, Nov.15. or Nov.22nd. ...

... The shows must be getting fairly good viewership. The companion web site - FlyRockets.com, includes HobbySpace in their excellent (if it links to HS it must be) rocketry links web page and I've notice a significant bump up in traffic this week.

Flying young ... Speaking of inspiring the young, the Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA) recently reached one million kids who have flown on a private airplane by a qualified pilot under its EAA Aviation Young Eagles program. Started in 1992, the goal was to reach 1 million by December 17th, 2003, the anniversary of the Wright Brothers first flight.

There have been that fears that participation in private aviation was in an inevitable decline. I'm sure this program has gone a long way towards inspiring young people to pursue an interest in flight. [My thanks to Aleta Jackson of XCOR for the news about this progam.]

News briefs ... RocketmanBlog recounts the events that led to a bad day for a satellite company: NOAA-N Prime Accident Investigation - Rocket Man Blog - Nov.13.03 ...

... Substantial deposits of water ice at the Moon's poles now look less likely: New study raises doubts about lunar ice - spacetoday.net - Nov.13.03. But evidence for liquid flows of water on Mars in the distant past now look more likely: Distributary Fan: "Smoking Gun" Evidence for Persistent Water Flow - Mars Global Surveyor - Nov.13.03
Delta-Like Fan on Mars Suggests Ancient Rivers Were Persistent - JPL News - Nov.13.03 ...

... A popular amateur satellite goes silent after a long and productive life: UO-14 Satellite Declared Dead - ARRLWeb - Nov.13.03

Nov.13, 2003 Space News

Space redirections... Keith Cowing offers an interesting review of the facts and the rumours concerning the administration's possible plans for a major policy announcement with regard to the future direction of NASA and the US space program: Bush Space Policy: Will America (Finally) Go Somewhere Once Again? - SpaceRef - Nov.12.03 ...

... Meanwhile Rand Simberg looks at past mistakes made with regard to space and wonders if one big mistake, putting the ISS on a high inclination orbit, could be corrected by redirecting Station towards a more equatorial plane: From Russia, Without Love by Rand Simberg - FOXNews.com - Nov.12.03.

Comsat briefs... Space.com continues its series on satellite business. This week's topic concerns satellite radio: Satellite Radio: How it Works - Space.com - Nov.12.03 *
Satellite Radio: Business is Booming - Space.com - Nov.12.03 * Satellite Showdown: Dueling Radio Services Reviewed - Space.com - Nov.13.03 ...

... Looks like efforts continue to get satellite broadband to home and business off the ground. I just heard about the company Miraxis that has Loral building two Ka-band satellites to provide 40Mbps downlinks and 2Mbps uplinks. Wildblue will start services in 2004. Starband offers service now. (StarBand Prepares to Exit Bankruptcy - Washington Post - Nov.13.03)

Nov.12, 2003 Space News

Spacecraft dealers ... Yesterday SpaceDev announced that it is offering a complete satellite mission - including hardware, launch, control and command plus the users payload - for $9.5M on eBay: SpaceDev Auctioning Microsatellite Mission On Ebay - Spacedev - Nov.11.03.

This is mostly for PR purposes I'm sure, but buying off-the-shelf spacecraft and operations will eventually become routine. It was somewhat timely that ESA just announced that it was buying two Russian orbital capsule flights to use for science experiments: European, Russian space agencies sign up for flights - Spaceflight Now /ESA - Nov.10.03. The flights of the two unmanned Foton capsule flights will help to make up for lost flight time with the shuttles grounded.

Previously, we noted that NOAA has given funding to Team Encounter, which plans to launch a commercial solar sail mission, to study the use of solar sails to hoover over the polar regions and NASA is paying them $6.5M to carry an Inertial Stellar Compass experiment.

If these government agencies can buy space missions from a private companies, it doesn't seem like such a big leap for these agencies to start buying rides on private launch vehicles instead of building their own. [Update Nov.13.03 : I should have mentioned that SpaceX, a privately funded project, is already getting some government payloads for its unmanned Falcon.]

Space burial... The Canadian company Columbiad is developing several gun launch systems to launch payloads initially for suborbital missions and eventually for orbital (See the history of Gun-launched projects at Astronautix.)

The company is currently marketing a service to place "cremains (up to 3kg) into space where they will scatter and drift back down to Earth" for $12,500 with its Starburst Memorials Services. A lower altitude Wayfarer Memorial will send ashes to 100km for $500. The company joins Celestis and other companies in offering various space burial services.

Looking at the big space picture seems to be a common theme this week. Jeff Foust reviews the quest for a goal for the US space program: The vision thing by Jeff Foust - The Space Review - Nov.10.03. Taylor Dinerman wonders whether NASA is capable of accomplishing big programs such as returing to the Moon : Can NASA go back to the Moon, or anywhere else? by Taylor Dinerman - The Space Review - Nov.10.03. And this NY Times article posits that humans will someday go to Mars but the questions of when and for what price wait to be answered: Will Humans Ever Visit Mars? - NY Times - Nov.11.03

News brief ... Satellite TV now reaching the RV and even the car: Satellite TV in the car, on the move / New technology makes dish receivers small enough to fit atop an SUV - SFGate - Nov.11.03

Nov.11, 2003 Space News

Recognition of space memorabilia collecting continues to grow as shown by this article: Collecting space mementos becoming popular hobby - LJWorld.com - Nov.10.03. Robert Pearlman and his collectSPACE site deserve a lot of credit for helping to promote this hobby.

News briefs ... Planetary Society is sponsoring a campaign to convince the White House to support a manned mission to Mars: Campaign for a Human Mars Mission - Planetary Society - Nov.10.03 ...

... In the spirit of a rock tour, a group of space scientists and engineers will visit science museums and planetariums in five cities with exhibits and demonstrations to raise awareness of the Mars Exploration Rovers missions, which will reach Mars in January: Not Your Typical "Rock" Tour: Mars Rocks With Marsapalooza! - NASA - Nov.10.03...

... AMSAT-UK has donated 10,000 to AMSAT-NA Project Echo, which expects to launch its satellite on Mar 31, 2004 on a Russian rocket, and to the AMSAT-DL Phase 3 E Express satellite project, which should launch in the 2005/2006 timeframe.

Nov.10, 2003 Space News

Space hobbyists outpost... The amateur space radio community has really made the ISS into the first outpost in orbit for at least one subgroup of space hobbyists. While even many space activists do not pay much attention to what is happening on the ISS, amateur space radio enthusiasts maintain a very lively interaction with Station. The ISS ham radio capabilities continue to expand and it is used regularly by the astronauts to communicate with hams and student groups on earth. All of the previous Expedition 7 and current Expedition 8 crews are hams.

Several clubs and websites are devoted to the ISS ham radio projects. The ISS Fan Club, for example, has lots of info and resources about ISS ham radio communications and reports on contacts with the ISS by members. It provides a nice set of news boxes and tickers you can install on your site. If you contact the ISS, you can win one of their Achievement Awards.

Checkout also, the site of Claudio Ariotti, IK1SLD for lots more info about the latest on the ISS and amateur space radio events.

Spinning student spacecraft... The The Mars Gravity Biosatellite Project website has recently gotten a big overhaul. The goal of the project is to "send a small population of mice to low Earth orbit aboard a spinning spacecraft creating 'artificial gravity' identical to that on the Martian surface." NASA has focused exclusively on microgravity and ignored this technique that could be used by astronauts in space to avoid the detrimental health effects of long term exposure to weightlessness.

The project team includes members from an impressive set of top universities. They welcome new participants who want to get involved in this exciting project.

Tax dollars at work... The Alcohol, Tobacoo, and Firearms Enforcement agency steadfastly refuses to admit it is wrong to target hobby rocketry as a potential source of terrorist weapons, despite overwhelming evidence that it is very wrong. Now it is producing a propaganda film to push its mission to protect America from rocketry enthusiasts: ATFE to produce anti-rocketry video - RocketForge - Nov.6.03

Nov.8, 2003 Space News

The Rocket Company
The Rocket Company
Chapter 2 now on line.

Space album soon to be released. The CD To Touch the Stars began with a song contest run by the National Space Society in 1998 and grew into a major project involving several artists and the Mars Society. (See the history below.) The heroic efforts of Eli Goldberg at Prometheus Music and his collaborators have finally gotten the project onto the launch pad and sales will soon blast off. Here is the most recent news release on the album:

"As someone who has actually set foot on the threshold of space and experienced firsthand its majesty and the incredible potential it holds for the human race, I am thrilled by this new collection of original songs celebrating the beginnings of our great endeavor to reach for the stars."

-- Buzz Aldrin
(Apollo 11 astronaut)

"I am confident that music and songs -- perhaps from this very album -- will make an impact on a future explorer and inspire him or her to reach for the stars."

-- Brian Chase
(Executive Director, National Space Society)

"If we are to win the hearts and souls of humanity to the vision of a spacefaring future, the space exploration movement must also develop
its songs...it is my hope that this album will begin a tradition whereby our most powerful language -- music -- will help rally the souls of the present to the cause of the future."

-- Dr. Robert Zubrin
(President, Mars Society;
Best-selling author of "The Case for Mars")

Song and artist listing at Prometheus Music

Pre-ordering To Touch the Stars


When the space shuttle Columbia broke up over Texas in February of 2003, NBC turned to legendary astronaut Buzz Aldrin, the second man to walk on the moon, for perspective on the tragedy. As part of his comments, Buzz began to read a poem, until, overcome with emotion, he could not continue.

What Buzz was reading from was actually the lyrics to a song from the new CD from Prometheus Music, "To Touch The Stars -- A Musical Celebration of Space Exploration". The song was "Fire In The Sky" (by Dr. Jordin Kare), which includes the line: "As they passed from us to glory, riding fire in the sky". Buzz subsequently downloaded album tracks off the Internet, and was moved enough to offer his endorsement for the album.

Songs range from the scientific ("If We Had No Moon") to the historic ("Fire in the Sky") to the whimsical ("Dance on the Ceiling", "Dog On the Moon"). "These are exciting, well-crafted, professionally-written songs in a variety of styles," says multi-instrumentalist Mark Ungar, who lent his expertise on electric guitar and sitar, vocals and guitar synthesizer to several of the tracks. "Everyone who was involved turned in great performances. It'll appeal to anyone who enjoys music and is inspired by the exploration of space."

The project grew out of a partnership between Prometheus and the National Space Society (NSS), which sponsored a "pro-space" songwriting competition, inviting "spacebards" to submit entries.

"If we are to win the hearts and souls of humanity to the vision of a spacefaring future, the space exploration movement must also develop its songs," says Dr. Robert Zubrin, then-chairman of the NSS and influential author of the international best-seller The Case For Mars. "A few people have realized this, and so a subculture has emerged of space folk songs. But outside of performances at space and science fiction conventions, few people have heard this wonderful music". Zubrin was so convinced of the importance of this endeavor that he held a similar contest a couple of years later when he founded the Mars Society.

Co-producer Eli Goldberg, owner of Prometheus, adds: "People in the sci-fi community have been writing and singing songs about space for years, but this project really raises the bar -- we wanted to put out a really high-quality album, not just in terms of the recording and musicianship but the writing as well. We wanted it to be as good as anything you'd hear on the radio or in movies or on TV, and I think we've succeeded in that."

The 17 album tracks include winning entries from the NSS and Mars Society contests, along with new works from selected singer/songwriters. Elementary school teacher Michael Penkava's "Now's The Time To Touch A Star" was the NSS contest's 1st place winner. "Space isn't just vocabulary words and data: it comes alive as we explore and discover, as we analyze and synthesize, as we discuss and debate."

Penkava was encouraged to enter the contest by a student, and harbored no hopes of winning. "I recorded it in the classroom on a cheap karaoke machine - the sound quality was terrible. The child who wanted me to enter said, 'If your song is good enough, it doesn't matter how bad it sounds.' Out of the mouths of babes...!"

A majority of the tracks were recorded in Oakland, California at Flowinglass Studio, home of progressive Celtic/Medieval rockers Avalon Rising. Owner Kristoph Klover engineered and co-produced, as well as contributed guitar, vocals and a song ("Others Standing By"), containing the refrain:

"Why would you go there?" they say.
"There's nothing up there anyway,
We could use the money here.
Don't you know that life's too dear?"

Dreamers never ask why.
Spend their money in the sky.
We'll send the best from Earth,
To find out what it's worth.

At a time when, more than ever, science without a clearly defined political or commercial agenda is decried as a waste of taxpayers' money, Zubrin says: "It's an anthem that the country could use right now".

Tracks were penned and performed by a variety of musical luminaries. The soaring ballad "Beyond the Sky" was written by renowned singer/songwriter Judy Collins to honor astronaut Eileen Collins, first woman to command a space shuttle (here sung by Margaret Davis).

Prolific composer/writer/singer Christine Lavin makes an appearance with her Nova-episode-in-8-minutes number "If We Had No Moon", inspired by the documentary film of the same name by Martin Ives. Gunnar Madsen, a co-founder of the popular a cappella group The Bobs, rips through stunning performances of Surprise! (a "Russian folk-song" about Sputnik) and the ska rave-up Dance On The Ceiling.

The album was mastered by veteran engineer George Horn at world-famous Fantasy Studios in Berkeley, California, with an expected release date during the 2003 holiday season.

Nov.7, 2003 Space News

TV Rocketry ... The Discovery Channel will present this Sunday evening (and repeat them in the following week) a set of shows about rocketry:

News briefs ... A presidential candidate takes a Mars mission seriously: Dean Calls for Humans to Mars - Martian Soil - Nov.6.03...

... Rand Simberg (not yet running for president) talks about non-governmental paths to space: Getting There from Here: Speaking of the Future with Rand Simberg - The Speculist - Nov.6.03 ...

... While Congress hears about renewed lunar expeditions from David R. CriswellRoger Angel, Harrison H. Schmitt, and Paul D. Spudis

Nov.5, 2003 Space News

Satellite impact ... Space.com has begun a series of articles about the satellites and their benefits to society and the economy: Space Age Communication and You - Space.com - series. The first article looks at the GPS system and how it has enabled a $22 billion industry: Satellite Navigation: GPS Grows Up, Market Booms - Space.com - Nov.5.03

Request for space entrepreneur sci-fi... The Space Entrepreneurship Network website is looking for sci-fi short stories "featuring space entrepreneurship themes" in the spirit of the Rocket Company now in serialization here. Kirsten Tynan, who runs the website, will accept submissions through the end of November.

Check out the other sections of this interesting site such as the list of Commercial Ventures and links to Interviews with space entrepreneurs. There is also the Space Entrepreneurship Network Discussion Forum

The Sound of Music Presolicitation... I wonder if Lockheed-Martin and Boeing will compete for this contract on a cost-plus basis: NASA Presolicitation Notice: Music Production Services - SpaceRef - Nov.4.03.

International Space Art exhibit to open this weekend in England:

MIR: Art in Variable Gravity
Saturday, November 08, 2003 - Sunday, December 14, 2003
An Arts Catalyst Exhibition CORNERHOUSE, Manchester,
Tue-Sat 11am-6pm, Late nights Thu until 9.00pm, Sun 2-6pm

MIR presents new video and installation works commissioned by science-art agency The Arts Catalyst and the MIR partnership, by Stefan Gec (UK), Vadim Fishkin (Rus/Slo), Yuri Leiderman (Rus), Otolith Group: Kodwo Eshun, Anjalika Sagar and Richard Couzins (UK), and filmmaker Andrew Kötting (UK), with photographs by Evgeni Nesterov (Rus).

MIR is a unique project that has facilitated artists  work in conditions of zero gravity (weightlessness) and in high G-forces, with the collaboration of the Russian space programme. In such extreme and unstable circumstances, risk and the unknown have large parts to play.

Such artistic experiments have become possible with the end of the Cold War and coincide with the search for a new rationale for space activities. As international political support for space programmes has weakened, so utopian cultural arguments for space exploration have begun to re-emerge, such as Russian cosmism, the artistic and philosophical idealism that Earth is the cradle for humankind and that sooner or later we will inevitably move into space. These utopian ideas dominated much earlier thinking about space, both in science-fiction literature and artistic expression, before the space age started and the Cold War context superseded these ideas with the Space Race  and Star Wars . At the dawn of a new millennium, it is timely that artists and independent cultural activists are reclaiming these territories, in a contemporary and very direct sense.

The works in this exhibition emerge from recent MIR (Microgravity Interdisciplinary Research) campaigns which have enabled artists and scientists to undertake projects using the facilities  including zero gravity  flights and the giant centrifuge  at the Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Centre in Star City, the heart of the Russian space programme and one of the former 'closed cities' of the Soviet Union.

The MIR partnership is a collaboration between a group of international art organisations: the UK-based Arts Catalyst and Projekt Atol in Slovenia, with V2 in the Netherlands, Leonardo/OLATS in France and the US, and the Multimedia Complex for Actual Art in Russia. The MIR Initiative aims to open up space facilities by matching artistic processes and scientific research to give new impetus to space research and space art.

Aviation push mower wonder... I've talked about it before but I still want to encourage readers to see the FanWing site, especially those who aren't familiar with its remarkable lift technique. Check out the videos of the latest 2.2 m. wingspan version (a prototype for a UAV).

Tech: Amateur railguns provide somewhat more dramatic aviation scenarios.

Nov.4,2003 Space News

Space lottery ... Lotteries are often suggested as means to support private space development. Tony Webb has been pursuing this idea for several years now and has his eSpaceLotto nearly ready to fly. He will be on The Space Show this Sunday to talk about the project:

The Sunday, November 9, 2003: 12:00-1:30 PM Pacific Time: Space Show will feature Tony Webb, founder of eSpaceLotto for international space tourism. Mr. Webb became the youngest agency owner in the nation for Exxon Office Systems Company, a subsidiary of Exxon Enterprises. He competed against IBM, Wang, DEC, & Lanier for dedicated word processing and FAX industry. His experience also includes expertise in database informational services and software development used by the U.S. Senate. Mr. Webb is known for the innovative usage of technology for small business development and has presented his work at the Association of Small Business Development Centers National Conference. In 2002, Mr. Webb spoke at the International Space Development Conference and presented his concept for the international space tourism lottery. His space tourism lottery is well along in the development phase and will most likely take place first in Europe. This is an exciting space tourism program with incredible potential to be a significant contributor to building a space tourism industry.

Listeners can talk to either the guest or the host, or send e-mail or chat during the program by calling toll free 1 (866) 687-7223, using dmlivings@yahoo.com or drspace@thespaceshow.com, or chatting on AOL IM using the screen name spaceshowchat.  Streamed shows can be heard via www.live365.com/stations/dlivingston?site=dlivingston

Other guests who will appear on the show in the coming weeks include:

  • Tuesday, November 11, 2003: Mike Dinn, retired Director of the Canberra Deep Space Communications Complex, and John Saxon, retired Australian Tracking Station Director.

  • Sunday, November 16, 2003: Rich Pournelle, Business Development and Investor Relations, XCOR Aerospace.

  • Tuesday, November 18, 2003: Roger Launius, Space Historian, Smithsonian Air and Space Museum.

  • Tuesday, November 25, 2003: Dr. John Brandenburg Tuesday, December 2, 2003: Rick Searfoss, former astronaut.

  • Sunday, December 7, 2003: Jim P. Schulz, Founder, Space Resources, Inc.

  • Tuesday, December 9: Gregg Nemitz, President of Orbital Development and Founder of the Eros Project.

  • Tuesday, December 16, 2003: Watts Wacker, futurist discussing the future for space development & commerce.

  • Wednesday, December 17, 2003: SPECIAL PROGRAM WITH RICK TUMLINSON, Co-Founder of Space Frontier Foundation. This special Space Show Program honors the 100th Anniversary of the Wright Brothers famous flight and we look ahead to what we can do in Space! 7-8:15PM Pacific Time, live365.com.

  • Sunday, December 21, 2003: Repeat of special December 17, 2003 program with Rick Tumlinson.

  • Tuesday, December 23, 2003: Sam Burbank, National Geographic filmmaker, space exploration activist and leader.

Nov.3,2003 Space News

New Apollo or old SEI... There are rumours that the President may soon offer a long term space policy plan that includes a return to the Moon: Bush May Announce Return To Moon At Kitty Hawk - Spacedaily - Oct.29.03. Some though, think it will take longer and more money this time than before. Is new lunar mission pie in sky?: Expert says it's on the table, but others think time's not ripe - The Huntsville Times - Nov.1.03.

In recent testimony to the Senate, Robert Zubrin of the Mars Society pointed out that the average annual NASA budget during the 1960's Moon Race period was around $17B (in today's dollars), which is only about 10% more than the current budget. Yet the Mercury, Gemini, and Apollo programs plus a vibrant planetary exploration program were developed successfully during that time. This compares to the past decade when NASA struggled to launch 3 or 4 shuttles a year, fell way behind and over budget on the ISS, loss two Mars probes, and failed miserably at new vehicle development. Clearly, without meaningful reform of NASA, the agency won't get to the Moon or even out of LEO.

Update: The US Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, & Transportation will hold a hearing this week on Lunar Exploration, Thursday, November 6 2003 - 2:30 PM. Check that page for web streaming info as the hearing approaches. (Via Kaido Kert posting on a newsgroup.)

Japanese student satellite send photos of the earth. Two CubeSats were launched on June 30, 2003: Cubesat 'XI-IV' from Tokyo University and 'CUTE-I' from Tokyo of Institute of Technology University. You can now find images of earth from XI-IV on line. (Via AMSAT News.)

Hubble beauties... Checkout this marvelous presentation (with Flash) by news.com.au of some of the Hubble Telescope's best shots. (via Dave Ketchledge)

Nov.1,2003 Space News

The Rocket Company

The story of a rocket company and its struggles to develop a low cost reusable launch vehicle began here today. Be sure to drop by every week to read the latest installment of The Rocket Company by Patrick J. G. Stiennon and Dave M. Hoerr and with illustrations by Doug Birkholz.

Both Stiennon and Hoerr are engineers with real-life experience with rocket startup companies. Their fictional group of billionaire space financiers will try to build a vehicle that will cause the cost of space transportation to spiral rapidly downward as the market for launch services expands. In this context, the authors will explore the marketing, regulatory, and technical problems facing any serious attempt to reduce the cost of space transportation.

Continue to October 2003 articles in archive

HobbySpace News Articles Index 1999-2003


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