Who won the space race? There's
a certain irony that 35 years after Apollo 11, an American
must learn Russian to go to space: Language
is tough for space millionaire: Russian is the hardest aspect
of American's training - MSNBC/AP - Apr.30.04
Space prizes workshop...
2004 Centennial Challenges Workshop site is now online:
Schedules Centennial Challenges Workshop - SpaceRef - Apr.29.04.
Ideas for competitions for the Centennial
Challenges prize program will be discussed.
Hubble retriever... Dennis
Wingo argues that the Orbital
Recovery tug can bring the Hubble to the ISS for its upgrade:
to Comments by the Houston Chronicle and Robert Zubrin Regarding
NASA's Hubble Repair Options - SpaceRef - Apr.29.04.
The super high efficiency of solar electric propulsion allows
for such a big change in the observatory's orbit. I hope that
we can now stop hearing some space "experts" continuing
to proclaim that such a feat violates the laws of phyiscs.
The telescope would move to a higher orbit for its observations
and periodically return to the station for maintenance. This
would keep the Hubble in operation indefinitely.
Such a mission would seem ideal for NASA. It will save a very
valuable and popular scientific facility. Iit will prove that
the ISS does in fact provide a useful base for in-space service
and assembly. This will in turn, as Dennis argues, obviate the
need for development of an expensive heavy lift rocket for the
Furthermore, nothing could better prove the utility of both
unmanned and manned capabilities in space.
Sunday, May 2, 2004,12-1:30PM PST - Marianne
Dyson, "one of the first ten women to work in NASA
Mission Control. Ms. Dyson has her degree in physics and with
a lifelong interest in space, she fulfilled one of her many
space dreams with her NASA Mission Control position. After
working the first five space shuttle flights, she left NASA
to raise her children and began sharing her passion for space
through writing and speaking. She is the author of the award-wining,
Space Station Science, originally published by Scholastic,
that is now available in paperback from Windward. Home on
the Moon, published by National Geographic, is a must-read
for future lunar pioneers. The Space Explorer's Guide to Stars
and Galaxies is part of Scholastic's Space University book
series, and comes with a cool science kit..."
Unfortunately, I didn't post a notice in time for the program
last night with Ian Randal Strock, founder of the Artemis
Project. However, it should be available in the archive
soon. Note that recent interviews with Walt
Robert Zubrin are now archived.
Hear the SpaceShow programs live at KKNW, 1150 AM in Seattle,
and on line at www.live365.com/stations/dlivingston?site=dlivingston.
News briefs ... Frank
Sietzen reports on tough political treading for the President's
space initiative: Analysis:
No liftoff yet for space plan - UPI - Apr.28.04....
... .Ruth Lubka, author
The Story of Two Space Dogs, tells me that Professor
Oleg Gazenko, who ran the Russian space biomedical program
during the Sputnik days, was given a copy of the book and responded
very graciously. "...good-hearted books help children form
a healthy attitude towards the world we live in. Let me heartily
thank you for remembering these space pioneers and, also, note
that there is a memorial plaque at one of the buildings of the
Institute of Aviation and Space Medicine in Moscow that commemorates
the flight in August 1960 of these outstanding dogs."
Space tug progress... Dennis
Wingo of Orbital
Recovery Corporation reported last week at the Space
Access ' 04 meeting on the status of the company
and their plans to develop a space tug to save dying comsats.
They are lining up investors and ESA funding and also have arranged
for hardware contractors. He mentioned that there would soon
be coming out several announcements about these deals. Here
is one of the first: Dutch
Space Agrees to Major Investment in Orbital Recovery Ltd. for
the ConeXpress Orbital Life Extension Vehicle - Orbital Recovery
Smart manager ... Sven
Grahn is a famous space
radio enthusiast, a VP at the Swedish
Space Corp., and an acquaintance from the days I lived in
Sweden. Yesterday he spoke before a Senate panel yesterday about
project that he is managing: Testimony
of Sven Grahn: Senate Science, Technology, and Space Hearing:
International Space Exploration Program - SpaceRef - Apr.28.04.
The spacecraft is using ion propulsion to reach the Moon.
This is slow but very efficient way to travel in space. It recently
reach a significant milestone: 2000
hours of electric propulsion operations - ESA - Apr.28.04
Updated SEDS... The Students
for the Exploration and Development of Space (SEDS) is showing
an updated web site and forums. Add your input to their SEDS
Solar sci-fi summer reading... This
Tales - Adventures in Sol System by T.K.F. Weisskopf - Baen
Books includes "All new stories of the conquest of
the solar system by: Charles Sheffield, Gregory Benford, John
Ringo, James P. Hogan, Wen Spencer, Margaret Ball, Jack McDevitt,
Fact & fiction by space scientist Travis Taylor, and more!"
News briefs ... Although
if you sum over a 20 year period you still get a mighty big
number, it's still much less than the trillion dollar figure
thrown around by space initiative critics: Moon-Mars
cost estimate is too high: NASA price tag at $229 billion, not
$1 trillion - Floridat Today - Apr.26.04 (Note that if the
NASA budget remained fixed at its current level, the cumulative
value over 20 years would be around $320 billion.)...
... Some relief for rocketeers:
Statement on BATF Litigation - NAR/Tripoli - Apr.24.04 (Note
that the PAD designation means that rockets would be treated
like common industrial systems that are exempt from explosives
... NASA looking further
at unmanned systems to rescue the Hubble telescope:
Says Robotic Options for Hubble More Promising than Thought
- Space News - Apr.26.04...
... Still lots of new discoveries
to made on our moon: Scientists
find new Moon mineral - BBC - Apr.27.04
Update Pause: I
will attend the Space
Access ' 04 Conference this week in Phoenix, Arizona. So
site updates will be infrequent at best until next Tuesday,
An apollo astronaut store
goes on line. Walter
Cunningham, who flew
on the Apollo 7 mission, now sells flown
artifacts in addition to his autograph.
"Apollo astronaut sells artifacts online" - collectSPACE
Space chute baggage...
Brighten up your travel with a city bag created from an "authentic
parachute from the 1990 Soyuz TM-8 mir Mission." See Soyuz
TM-8 Space Collection - everQuest Design and "everQuest
debuts Soyuz chute bags" - collectSPACE - Apr.19.04
News briefs ... NASA turns
down a Russian plan for longer ISS stays for the astronauts
that would free up seats for space tourists: NASA
turns down Russian proposal for year-long ISS stay - spacetoday.net
- Apr.20.04 ...
... How might battles actually
occur in space: Space
Navies 2 - USS Clueless - Apr.20.04
Tuesday, April 20, 2004, live 7-8:15PM PST - Robert Zubrin,
head of the Mars
Society and a famous advocate for Mars exploration and
settlement, will be on the show.
Sunday, April 25, 2004 Space Show features the pre-recorded
program with Walt
Anderson. He is the telecommunications magnate who has
funded several space projects and companies including FINDS,
Frontier Foundation, Orbital
Recovery, , MirCorp,
Rotary Rocket .
Hear the program live at KKNW, 1150 AM in Seattle, and on
line at www.live365.com/stations/dlivingston?site=dlivingston.
News briefs ... Even in
the age of small dish digital TV transmission, the big C-band
satellite dishes still offer some advantages: Channels
a la Carte: Big-Dish Customers, a Dying Breed, Choose What They
Pay For - Washington Post - Apr.15.04 ...
... Space offers plentiful
resources for a growing population: Utilizing
ET wealth: building a new world - The Space Review - Apr.19.04
... This project
was old even when I was in college back when dinosaurs roamed
the earth: Levity
and gravity: behind the story of Gravity Probe-B - The Space
Review - Apr.19.04 ...
... More about the recent
Committee hearing in San Francisco:
takes flight on wings of space visionaries / Solar-powered explorers,
asteroid-fighting robots among pitches for president's panel
-SF Gate - Apr.19.04
News briefs ... Bureaucrats
will come up with reasons to justify their regulations even
when their original motivations are proven bogus: ATFE
Completes Hobby Rocket Tests: ATFE "Not Dangerous To Planes
- Dangerous To Ground Targets" - American Rocket Society
- Apr.9.04 (via rocketforge)
... Bringing science to
a sci-fi convention: From
aerospace to science fiction - DenverPost.com - Apr.16.04
... AMSAT-UK recently marked
two decades of successful operation of their OSCAR-11 satellite:
UO-11 !! - AMSAT OSCAR-11 Celebrates 20 years in Space on 1
March 2004 - AMSAT-UK ...
... The public, or at least
the segment talking to the Aldridge
Committee, shows great enthusiasm for the new space initiative:
Comments Running 7 to 1 in Support of President's Vision for
Space Exploration - SpaceRef - Apr.16.04 ...
... More about the recent
Advise Moon-to-Mars Commission on How to Get to 'Beyond' - Space.com
- Apr.16.04 ...
... As was the case with
satellite versus cellular, the space industry has waited too
long to provide broadband internet connections: Rural
Folk May Yet Get Broadband - Wired - Apr.17.04 ...
collecting has become a popular hobby even on Mars:
'Bounce' rock's cosmic portent - UPI - Apr.16.04
A flock of space phoenix...
announced that it has emerged successfully from bankruptcy:
Financial Restructuring Completed - Globalstar - Apr.15.04.
It is talking about new investments and even launching 8 more
satellites (already constructed.)
The company joins several other space companies that endured
near-death experiences in the post 2000 downturn and survived.
and StarBand Communication
are now privately held businesses pursuing niche markets.
heavy debt from its investment in Globalstar drove it into Chapter
11, remains one of the big exceptions. However, it has now paid
off much of its debt with proceeds of a sale
of its North American satellites to Intelsat
and might get out of bankruptcy this year.
Commission continues its hearings in San Francisco
today. Yesterdays meeting heard from Ray Bradbury and others
in the arts and media: Bradbury
Praises Plan for Space Exploration - FOXNews.com - Apr.15.04
can promote space goals, experts say - Florida Today - Apr.15.04
Rocketry contest finals...
The second year of the Team
America Rocketry Challenge sponsored by the NAR
& AIA will culminate in the finals
competition on May 22, 2004, at Great Meadow, The Plains, Virginia,
near Washington, D.C.
Out of an initial 600 teams, 100 qualified to participate in
the final big blast off. "The winning teams will share
$60,000 in prizes! Finals open to public and press at 8:30am."
Finalists for World's Largest Model Rocket Contest - AIA - Apr.15.04
News briefs... Christine
Lavin pondered If We Had No Moon on the To
Touch the Stars album. Looks like Sedna reacted oddly to
its lack of a companion: Lack
of moon orbiting Sedna puzzles astronomers - spacetoday.net
- Apr.14.04 ...
... People keep coming
up with new ways to look for planets
around other stars: Distant
planet revealed by microlensing - New Scientist - Apr.15.04
Recovery's space tug could move
the Hubble to the ISS (this is not impossible, as you so
often hear, because the tug will use highly efficient electrical
propulsion) for refurbishment by the crews there. NASA, however,
is looking at robots to repair the observatory: Robotic
Hubble Servicing Mission Plans Under Review - Space.com - Apr.15.04
Mars hams... The Elser-Mathes
Cup is a trophy that will be awarded for the first two-way
Amateur Radio contact between Earth and Mars. Just as the ISS
astronaut routinely use their ham
station, the Mars explorers will probably exchange
messages with hams. (See AMSAT
P5-A: Amateur Mars Satellite for discussions of the
challenges of communications with Mars spacecraft by amateur
radio enthusiasts). Read more about amatuer radio and deep space
communications in ARISS
to Mull Ham Radio's Role in Distant Space Travel - ARRLWeb -
Apr.14.04 (via spacetoday.net).
Alan Shepard bio... I heard
yesteday from Neal
Thompson: author of Light This Candle: The Life & Times
of Alan Shepard, America's First Spaceman . The book came
out on March 23 (by Crown Books). According to Neal, "Homer
Hickam (author of Rocket Boys) calls it 'one of the finest
books ever written about the space program.'" You can find
further info about the book and author on his website.
Also, Robert Pearlman recently interviewed the author: "'Candle'
author melts 'icy' astronaut" - collectSPACE - Mar.26.04
Moon-Mars committee hearing...
The next Aldrige
Committee hearing will take place this week on April 15-16th
at the Galileo Academy of Science and Technology in San Francisco,
meeting will focus on "fields of education, entertainment,
and robotics." Ray Bradbury will be the lead off spearker.
Jim Benson of Spacedev
will talk in the session on "Prospects for Space Prosperity":
Benson to Testify Before President Bush's Commission on Moon, Mars
and Beyond - USATODAY.com - Apr.13.04 (link via a HS
Wednesday, April 14, 2004 at 12-1:30pm PDT: Special pre-record
program featuring Walt
Anderson. He is the telecommunications magnate who has
funded several space projects and companies including FINDS,
Tuesday, April 13, 2004, live 7-8:15PM PST - Rabbi Yehuda Grundman,
professor at The Kabbalah Center. "...his education goes
way beyond the spirito-religious as Yehuda Grundman possesses
extensive knowledge in construction engineering, mathematics,
and physics. Thus, Yehuda Grundman can span the knowledge from
the spiritual science of Kabbalah to the physical sciences. This
has made him especially qualified to further discuss with Space
Show listeners our intricate relationship between spirituality
and modern science, specifically our relationship with space --
not as two divergent or conflicting disciplines -- but two views
of the one same Mystery of Creation..."
Sunday, April 18, 2004,12-1:30PM PST - Rick Citron, "entrepreneur,
business lawyer, and specialist in space commercialization. Mr.
Citron is an attorney and entrepreneur specializing in business
law, space commerce, and more....Rick built his first micrograin
rockets in the late 1950's and assisted his brother, Bob Citron,
in the formation and capitalization of Spacehab, Inc. and Kistler
Hear the program live at KKNW, 1150 AM in Seattle, and on line
News briefs... Robert
Goehlich is starting another lecture series at Keio University.
The previous series dealt with space tourism (lecture
files on line) while this one will focus on Cost Engineering
for Space Transportation Systems (course
... Check out these amazing
Express snaps stunning view of Louros Valles - Spaceflight Now -
New space song contest sponsored
by the Mars Society:
Space Pioneer Song
Contest to be Held
April 9, 2004
Society is proud to announce that it will hold its Second
Rouget de Lisle Award contest for songs celebrating the cause
of the human exploration and settlement of space.
We are asking for a tape or CD of songs, to be submitted together
with a hardcopy of the lyrics by no later than April 30, 2004
to Mars Society, Box 273, Indian Hills, CO 80454. Songs can
be any style; classical, folk, country, pop, jazz, rock and
roll, etc. A committee of judges will then down select to ten
finalists, who will be invited to play at the 7th
International Mars Society Convention, Palmer House Hilton,
Chicago, IL, Aug 19-22 2004. The audience will then vote for
the winning songs. All finalists, however, will submitted to
Records for consideration for its next CD, and will also
be forwarded to NASA for possible use as wakeup songs for crews
of the International Space Station, the Mars Rovers, and the
Cassini spacecraft which is now approaching Saturn!
The winner of our first contest "The Pioneers of Mars" was recently
used as wakeup music for the Mars rover Opportunity. Written
by partners in life and song Karen Linsley and Lloyd Landa,
"The Pioneers of Mars" was honored with the Mars Society's first
Rouget de Lisle award in 2000.
Co-author Landa died unexpected of a heart attack days before
the song's debut at the Mars Society's August 2000 Toronto conference,
after which Karen exclaimed in tears, "Get to Mars. And when
the notes of this song are heard on Martian soil, he will live
You may hear "The Pioneers of Mars" and other songs from the
Mars Society's recent collaboration album with Prometheus Music,
"To Touch the Stars", at www.prometheus-music.com/buy/thestars-ms.html.
So tune up your harps, space bards, turn in your songs and prepare
to turn out for Chicago. Let your voices ring out into the solar
system. Mars needs music, and the Chicago conference is going
to be the Woodstock of Mars!
Moving heaven if not earth...
Though Congress may occasionally listen
to warnings about the genuine possibility of a devastating strike
by a large asteroid, most likely nothing will come of it. So instead
of waiting for politicians to take action, astronauts Ed
Lu and Rusty
Schweickart and space scientists Piet
Hut and Clark
Chapman decided to try to do something about it themselves.
They founded the B612
Foundation to purse the goal of significantly altering the orbit
of an asteroid in a controlled manner by 2015. They plan to use
private funds for this demonstration experiment. Here is their plan
for moving an asteroid.
Supporting space commerce...
Ed Lu and Rusty Schweickart are also urging NASA to support commercial
projects such as space tourism:Hyping
the space business: Astronauts say commercial interests can succeed
- The Daily Camera - Apr.11.04 (via spacetoday.net.)
Meanwhile, the agency thinks about whether it should help the Russian
space tourism business: NASA
Mulls Customers on Space Station Request - Space.com - Apr.9.04
Frontier by Robert
Stockman is now available on line. According to the author, the
novel deals with "the first landing on Mars, exploration of
the planet, and its eventual settlement. The novel attempts to make
reasonable assumptions about the technology available to send humans
to Mars in the 2020s, but speeds up the pace of settlement somewhat.
It also sets the exploration and settlement of Mars in the context
of exploration of the moon, Venus, asteroids, Mercury, and the outer
News briefs ...
Ear is an unusual public science demonstration. The May 4th
above Greenwich, London will involve "a glowing 'cloud' of
mobile phones and helium balloons [...[ released into the air so
that people can dial into the cloud and listen to the sounds of
... Olliver Boisard's
web site looks a lot spiffier and resource-full than the last time
I looked. ...
... New biographies of Alan
Shepard and Neil Armstrong are reviewed: Greatness
written in the stars: New biographies of the first Americans in
space, first man on the moon - Houston Chronicles - Apr.11.04
... Sven Grahn has posted an
extensive history of the Soviet The
US-A program (Radar Ocean Reconnaissance Satelites) spysat program....
... I came across these beautiful
This World eCards by TSGC. Check out the other space
A Special Sunday Space
Show this evening at 6-7pm PST features "Loretta
Hidalgo and George Whitesides, founder of Yuri’s
Night. Loretta and George return to The Space Show to talk not
only about Yuri’s Night, but other important space issues and policies
that are happening at this time... George recently became the Executive
Director of the National Space Society."
Hear the program live at www.live365.com/stations/dlivingston?site=dlivingston.
Note also the regular Sunday show at 12:00-1:30pm PST, which this
week, as previously mentioned, features Mike Gaffey, Professor of
Space Studies at the University of North Dakota (UND).
CubeSats multiplying... Developed
design for a compact, low cost satellite is growing in popularity
with university groups and others: 1st
Annual CubeSat Developers' Workshop, Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo,
CA - California Space Authority - Apr.9.04. You can even buy
More about CubeSat
in the Satellite
With companies like SpaceX
promising to offer significantly lower
launch costs, I hope we will see a great increase in the number
of nanosat projects.
Night gets a write up
at Wired: Space
Celebration Circles Globe - Wired News - Apr.10.04 ...
... Bring some Hip-Hop
space music to the party: KRS
Taps NASA For Hip-Hop Conference - SOHH.com - Apr.4.04
News briefs... GPS
starting to make real money: After
years of struggle, GPS is taking off: Finding yourself, or someone
else, is starting to pay off - CNET - Apr.9.04 ...
... Email to Mars:
Spaced Out on the Interplanetary Internet - TheFeature - Apr.9.04
... CNN reports on Gregory
Nemitz's lunar project concept: Personalized
moon crash for sale on eBay - CNN.com -Apr.9.04
NEO hearing... Senate hearing
discusses the NEO threat and search programs: Experts
Call on Senate for Support for Near-Earth Object Search - Space.com
- Apr.8.04. Witness testimonies are available at Spaceref:
impact simulator lets you choose the size, speed,
and other parameters for an asteroid or comet hitting the earth
and it returns the effects at a given distance from the impact center.
Part competitive, part not....
HS reader Kaido Kert notes that NASA says on its Lunar
Reconaissance Orbiter web page that it will "solicit and competitively
select the measurement investigations for the payload that best
meet the objectives of this mission. The Goddard Space Flight
Center (GSFC) has been designated by NASA to lead this mission
and will provide both the Spacecraft and the Launch Services for
the mission (these will not be competed)."
Kaido notes that "In other words, NASA will be competitively
buying science instruments and experiments, but not spacecraft
and launch services. I find it very odd, shouldnt it be exactly
the other way around?"
Seems to me that they could put all aspects of the project out
to bid. Certainly some of the bigger companies could build the
spacecraft (LockMart did a good job with the modestly budgeted
but also small innovative companies like TransOrbital
(HS advertiser) or SpaceDev
should have a chance at it. If it is within the payload range
of the Falcon V, then let SpaceX
bid for the launch.
Milestone in public space travel... The
of the SpaceShipOne
is a big step forward in the creation of an industry that will provide
opportunities to the public for travel into space; suborbital at
first, orbital later.
News for latest updates on the developments in this area.
News brief ... They aren't
exactly rare (hundreds of millions per state will be minted), these
coins will still be nice collectibles: Crowd
likes change in quarters: Hundreds pack KSC to collect new state
coin - Florida Today - Apr.7.04
Space initiative movement...
As indicated by Frank
Sietzen's article yesterday, the Presidents new
space policy seems, so far at least, to be making more
progress than previous
initiatives. Perhaps it's because this time there seems to be
more support by both advocacy and industry groups. For example,
see the Coalition
for Space Exploration that consists mostly of aerospace
businesses and unions. Several advocacy groups are working together
as the National
Space & Satellite Alliance.
NASA itself is taking the initiative more seriously this time and
has already set in place a number of changes that will be difficult
to reverse even if Kerry wins. To free up money for the program,
some major projects have been canceled such as the Orbital Space
Plane, the X-43C, and RS-84 engine. The agency now seems to take
for granted that the shuttle really will stop flying by 2010 or
so. New approaches to hardware development include a fly-off for
the Crew Exploration Vehicle design and the Centennial
Challenges prizes program. (See A
few notes from the STA breakfast - Space Politics - Apr.6.04.)
For updates on developments with regard to the new space policies,
see the NASA
Exploration & Discovery site, James Burk's Project
Constellation weblog, and the Space
Initiative resource section here.
News briefs... Armchair comet
hunters continued to spot their brilliant prey: SOHO
sees its 750th comet - ESA - Apr.7.04. More about this sport
Sungrazers and the SOHO
Comet section ...
... The public enjoys at least
one type of space-like experience: Disney
celebrates Mars rovers, ride - Florida Today - Apr.7.04
... ESA starts a TV show: EuroNews
launches TV space magazine with ESA - ESA - Apr.2.04
Tuesday, April 6, 2004, live 7-8:15PM PST - "Joe Latrell
is the founder, president and CEO of Beyond-Earth
Enterprises. Mr. Latrell is an avid space enthusiast and for
most of his life he has designed and built his own rockets and
launch systems. Beyond-Earth is leading the way to the commercialization
of space by providing small payload launch capabilities at affordable
rates. Beyond-Earth's officers are committed to revitalizing the
American public's interest in space by conducting educational
demos and lectures at area schools..."
Sunday, April 11, 2004,12-1:30PM PST - "Mike Gaffey, Professor
of Space Studies at the University of North Dakota (UND). Dr.
Gaffey has been at UND since 2001. His research is into the nature
and origin of asteroids, space resources, impact hazards, and
the origin and evolution of life on Earth. Dr. Gaffey has strong
interests in history, cultural anthropology, paleontology (esp.
dinosaurs), and human prospects, with special interests in topics
such as Near-Earth object impact hazard, space resources, human
and unmanned space program, the origin and evolution of life on
Earth, and extra-terrestrial life.... "
Live in Seattle via KKNW 1150AM and on the web at Live365.
Money for the Moon-Mars program may
be allocated afterall according to Frank Sietzen: Analysis:
Congress warms to new space plan by Frank Sietzen - UPI - Apr.6.04.
... Paul Spudis explains why
going back to the moon is a good idea: Q&A:
Going back to the Moon - BBC - Apr.5.04 ...
... SciAm can only see a zero-sum
for space science: Fly
Me to the Moon: Going to the Moon means winners and losers in science
- Scientific American - Apr.6.04
Rocketry resources... NASA
Glenn provides this big site - Beginner's
Guide to Model Rockets - with lots of tutorial pages - Model
Rocket Slides Index - and simulators including:
(John Carmack used the nozzle simulator to estimate thrust produced
during a recent engine
Rocketeers hang separately...
Wickham reviews the background and discord that prevented the
passage of legislation to protect rocketry from regulatory abuse
by ATFE: What
Really Happened With S724? by John Wickman - Apr.4.04.
Space music ... Jeff Foust
finds that a space music compilation means everyone will find some
songs to like and some not to like: Review:
To Touch the Stars - The Space Review - Apr.5.04
News briefs... Moon buggy racers
race on earth: North
Dakota State triumphs in college division of NASA's 11th Annual
'Great Moonbuggy Race' Saturday - Marshall Center Space - Apr.3.03
... Maybe NASA will do the
sensible thing: NASA
Studies Robot Servicing of Hubble - Space.com - Apr.5.04 ...
... Space Station news and
plans at NASA
(Internal) International Space Station Newsletter March 2004 - Spaceref
- Apr.5.04 * NASA
Space Station Program Manager's Forum March 2004 - SpaceRef - Apr.5.04
... The California Space Authority
looks at how satellite phones can assist law enforcement: Real
Time Demonstration of Mobile Satellite Communications Applied to
Accessing Law Enforcement Data - CSA - Apr.5.04
... A magazine sends each subscribers
a custom issue with a cover showing a satellite photo of their home
40,000 Readers, One by One, on a Cover - NY Times - Apr.5.04
News briefs... Spaceref opens
news page: Saturn
Today - Your Daily Source of Saturn News. The spacecraft arrives
at Saturn on July 1. See also the JPL gallery of most
... Navigate the whole surface
of Mars via the GeoPlayer
Mars Demo. More virtual Mars programs in simulators
... Probably not practical
and certainly not enviro-esthetically correct, but I wonder if most
of the mountain lions, grizzlies, and wolves (for the sake of cows/sheep
not people) in the lower 48 could be monitored with GPS tags to
keep them out of trouble: GPs
reveals secret lives of mountain lions - CNN.com - Apr 4, 2004.
Lunar resources and how to
extract them were discussed Thursday at the House Subcommittee on
Space and Aeronautics. In particular, the question of the day was
whether "more data are needed to determine if the moon has
enough water and minerals to support significant, ongoing human
activity there." Spaceref has posted the testimonies of the
witnesses and also a couple of summaries of the meeting:
Note that the Lunar Prospector
measured, with very high confidence levels, substantial deposits
of hydrogen at the poles. The logical assumption was then made that
the hydrogen was probably in water ice. However, subsequent radar
measurements from earth did not detect ice, at least if it was in
a surface layer of a meter or so thick. The radar telescopes cannot
see into the deepest craters at the poles whose interiors are in
permanent darkness. So there is still the chance that ice will be
Nonetheless, even if the hydrogen is not in water, that does not
mean it is inaccessible or of no use. Quite the contrary, the water
bond is quite strong so it may actually be easier to obtain the
hydrogen if it is weakly held in minerals. The lunar surface is
40% oxygen and its extraction will be a high priority regardless.
So water can then be made for consumption by settlers and the hydrogen
and oxygen used for fuel. (Though, as Jonathan Goff says in this
at Transterrestrial, using the hydrogen for fuel might actually
be a waste.)
Of course, this is all handwaving until there is serious research
done on the practicalities of resource extraction and there are
orbiters and rovers sent to the Moon to make a detailed inventory
of what is there.
Apollo launch tower could not
be saved despite the efforts of space history enthusiasts: Tower
Used by NASA Is Scrapped - NY Times - Mar.30.04. Shame that
neither NASA or the state of Florida, which has made billions over
the decades from KSC tourists, could not find a way to save it.
You can still help the Smithsonian restore the Saturn V in Houston:
Opportunities - Saturn V Restoration - Smithsonian.
Mars poster contest is being
sponsored by the Mars Society for its 7th
International Mars Society Conference in Chicago during August
Contest for 7th Annual Mars Society Conference - Mars Society -
Mar.28.04. There are two categories for entry: youth
to age 15 and adult. Deadline is May 31st.
Space model store... Rick
Sternbach just opened his Space
Model Systems on line store. Rick has been doing space and science
fiction artwork since the early 1970s and has worked on films and
programs such as Star Trek: The Motion Picture, The Last
Starfighter, Future Flight, and Cosmos.
In addition to spacecraft models, the store offers some beautiful
Terrain Models, space
decals, and Rick's
Big contract for Spacedev was
announced yesterday: SpaceDev
Awarded $43 Million for Six MDA Satellites: Contract Includes Up
to Two Clusters of Three Microsats, One Cluster with On-orbit Networked
Laser Communications - SpaceDev - Apr.1.04. The company that
started out with plans for an asteroid
prospecting mission is now establishing itself as a leading
manufacturer of microsats.
Mars Gravity wins grant...
The Mars Gravity
student led project aims to test centrifugally produced artificial
gravity in a spinning microsat that will include a group of mice.
They just won a $100K grant from NASA that will go to pay for their
"Preliminary Design Review (PDR), slated for later this year,
as well as payload and science laboratory prototyping and testing
News brief ... Space activist
Gregory Nemitz is attempting to auction a Lunar
Spacecraft Project on eBay. It would be built by his Orbital
... Meanwhile, Congress hears
about the possibilities of resource extraction from the lunar surface:
tells Congress about lunar water challenges -Spaceflight Now - Apr.1.04
What if Elon Musk's SpaceX
company does succeed in lowering the cost of reaching low earth
orbit to $1000 per pound ($2200 per kg) as described in this article?
That's 3 to 5 times lower than current
costs of non-Russian launchers and cheaper even than the Russian
This would mean a big drop in the cost for all sorts of prospective
projects, both public and private. Many of the Moon and Mars missions
scenarios, for example, will fall significantly in price, especially
if in-space assembly is used. (It should be required, in fact, that
those who are making estimates of the cost of the new space initiative
programs assume a launch price of $1000/lb as an upper limit.) It
would be interesting to revisit schemes like solar power stations
to see if they start to approach economic feasibility at $1000-$2000/lb.
The Falcon V is intended eventually to become man-rated and some
components will be so from the beginning. Even if the costs are
5-10 times higher for a manned version plus the spacecraft for people
to ride in, that still means a 200 pound person will reach orbit
for a price in the $1M-$2M range. Quite a bit cheaper than the current
$20M price. Price elasticity would indicate that the number of customers
would increase even faster than the factor of 10 to 20 in the drop
in ticket price. So space hotels start to look a lot more viable
since their launch costs are falling significantly while the market
is looking bigger.
SpaceX still hasn't launched its first rocket so we should not
count our space costs before they are realized. However, the fact
that a first rate team such as the one that Elon has assembled can
make a realistic try at $1000/lb means that such a price point is
not breaking any economic or physical laws as some have suggested.
If the launch rate goes up significantly from the 5 or so launches
per year that the SpaceX model assumes, then prices will drop even
lower with economies of scale. When getting to LEO goes for a few
hundred dollars per pound, then space starts to get really, really
News briefs... We can't directly
see earth-sized planets yet in the 100 "nearby" star systems
where Jupiter-sized planets have been found.
A study of these systems indicates that up to half might contain
earth-like planets: Calculating
odds of other habitable 'Earths' - Spaceflight Now - Mar.31.04
... Not inconceivable that
Europe will expand its manned spaceflight programs in the coming
Targets Human Exploration Of The Moon And Mars - SpaceDaily - Apr.1.04
new space race? To put a man on Mars, US, Europe, and China face
a stark choice: cooperate or go solo.- Christian Science Monitor
to March 2004 articles in archive