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News in HobbySpace
Archive Sept-Dec 1999

December 19, 1999

Space broadcasts and webcams expand. Seems that every launch can now be seen over the web if you know where to find the connection. Beside the NASA-TV streams, private commercial launches such as Sea Launch from the Pacific, are also commonly available.

Several new sites that often provide links to lived streamed videos of launches include Space.com , SpaceRef , Arianespace , and SpaceflightNow .

Space conferences, Congressional space committees , and other space events are also often available live or by archived files.

Slowscan spacecams showing various activities such as the construction of the [--Error [--Time Out--]--]X-33 are becoming more common. Recently, Perceptual Robotics opened links to a webcam located at the press box at Cape Kennedy and to one at the Hubble service mission control at Goddard. These webcams are unusual in that you can pan, change the zoom, etc.

For more info, see the SpaceCasts section.

Build your own gravity detector to detect the pull of the Moon and Sun. The January issue of Scientific American describes a $100 device built by Roger Baker of Austin, Texas that can do just that. His [--Link Dead--]Hi-Q Seismograph senses the minute forces on a floating magnet. The variations over weeks will show the same forces that move the ocean tides.

December 10, 1999

If robots can't do the job, send the astronauts. Sign the Mars Petition to support a crewed mission to Mars. Sponsored by the MIT ThinkMars student group. Over 9000 signatures as of Dec. 2, 1999.

News briefs.... Spaceday.com sponsors program to send student signatures on a Shuttle flight. These now include Braille signatures - ...Charles Chafer is starting Space4Real.com to offer space activities for the public. Over 40000 have signed up for his Millennial Voyage to send messages, photos and DNA on a small spacecraft in 2001....

November 25, 1999

The European LunarSat project reaches out to students and the public. The LunarSat spacecraft is intended as a lowcost microsat that will carry several instruments to study the moon, especially to verify the presence of water ice at the polar regions.

The project is also making a special effort to involve students and the public. This includes a MoonCity & MoonCivilization programs in which students design moon colonies. Over 300 students at the University of Innsbruck , for example, have been working on the design of a lunarbase for over 2000 people.

See their page on [--Link Dead--]educational outreach. Download their neat [--Link Dead--]Space Pinball game

News briefs...Cinefex , the movie special effects journal, plans several articles in the upcoming year about space movies. See the outline in the movies page ...

The Japanese duo Aquamarine wrote a song to celebrate the recent Leonids meteor shower. Jewel in the Sky was chosen as the Leonids'99 theme song. See the Music page ...

The trailer to Brian DePalma's Mission to Mars , which comes to theaters in March, is now online.


November 23, 1999

Artemis Magazine now available. The Artemis Project , which seeks to establish a permanent lunar base, is sponsoring the new publication that will offer "Science and Fiction for a Spacefaring Age".

The first issued has "a cover by Apollo 12 astronaut Alan Bean, and content by Grand Master Jack Williamson and 20-time Hugo nominee Stanley Schmidt, among others." See the table of contents .

You can subscribe by mail or online.

November 22, 1999

SpaceFlori offers a space ride for your tokens such as "business cards, light items". The Florian Noller's space memoribilia site is currently having one of his periodic sales of autographs, photos, covers, etc. A new SpaceFlori offering is the opportunity to [--Link Dead--]fly your items to Mir on the last flight, which launches Dec.12, before it is deorbited.

"All items will be postmarked and signed onboard and delivered with a certificate of authenticity." A similar offer is for sending items to the International Space Station to which regular flights will resume next year.

See also Token Travel in the Space Tourism section.

[SpaceViews Article: Dealer Offers to Fly Memorabilia on Mir - Nov.24.99 ]

November 15, 1999

Join the party at Planetfest'99! The Planetary Society is holding a 3 day event to celebrate the landing on Mars of the Mars Polar Lander scheduled for Dec. 3. The event will happen Dec. 3-5 at the Convention Center in Pasadena, California and on the Web as well. It is also sponsored by Touchstone Pictures' Mission to Mars .

A large screen monitor will present pictures from the lander. Also, it will be include " hands-on activities in A Child's Universe, speakers, space exhibits, a film festival, and holiday shopping at the Space Emporium." See Press Release .

When the Mars microphone, a project sponsored by the Planetary Society, will be activated the sounds will be broadcast to the gathering.

Listen with the Marsinator how the thin Mars atmosphere would alter the sound of voices of several famous space celebraties .

[Ed. The Planetfest links have disappeared - just like the spacecraft did!]

News briefs...Space.com has added a new site called SpaceKids.com with educational, interactive activities and [--Link Dead--]games related to Space ...

A commercial module is proposed for the International Space Station that could possibly be used for tourist lodging - Potential step toward a space hotel - MSNBC - Nov.14.99 ...

Space Adventures has purchased Zegrahms space tourism division. See SpaceViews Article: Space Adventures to Acquire Zegrahm Space Voyages - Nov.13.99 * [--Link Dead--]Space Adventures Acquires Zegrahm Space Division - Space.com - Nov.13.99

The ESA X-Ray Multi-mirror (XMM) Telescope orbiting observatory will be launched in December and will be seen by students who won several competitions sponsored by ESA. Students 8-12 submitted their drawings of telescopes and ages 13-15 submitted essays on the benefits of space and astronomy.

November 11, 1999

Mars Needs Songs! The Mars Society's music contest is looking for songs to inspire the heart and soul for the great planetary challenges ahead. Music in all styles is welcome and Prometheus Records has indicated that winning songs may be included on a special Space CD. The deadline is March 1, 2000.
[--Error--]Mars Song Contest Begins in Earnest - Mars Society - Nov. 9.1999 *
HobbySpace Music .

November 6, 1999

Dole sponsors space tourist contest. The company more famous for its pinapples than its space activities, is sponsoring a contest to win a ride on the Zegrahm/Vela Technologies suborbital space vehicle win it launches in 2002. Get your entry info at Dole's Win a Trip to Outer Space Contest .

Also, checkout the report at [--Link Dead--]Yahoo - Men are Braver Than Women When It Comes to Exploring Outer Space - Nov. 4.99 - about a survey of the public about whether they would like among the first to travel in space as tourists.

Hams to particpate in Space activities. Amateur radio enthusiasts have some upcoming opportunities to do interesting space related investigations:

November 3, 1999

Watch the Leonids strike Earth and the Moon. The Leonid meteor shower will reach its maximum on Nov.18. You can watch the Leonids from your backyard as well from the stratosphere. NASA will launch a balloon with a camera that will broadcast over the web. - NASA Meteor Balloon Rises Again . See also [--Link Dead--]Balloon Astronomers Prepare for Leonids - Space.com - Nov.3.99 .

See the www.leonidstorm.com site for more info about Leonids.

[*NASA wants you! (to help observe the Leonids) - NASA Space Science - Nov.11.99
Nov.5 A surprise November meteor shower -- the Linearids - NASA Space Science News
* Heads up! NASA to help satellite operators watch ups and downs of Leonids - NASA Space Science - Nov.9.99 ]

Upload your photos of the Leonids to the NearLive Leonid Watching System .

It will also carry an INSPIRE VLF radio receiver in hopes of picking up sounds from the Leonids ionization trails. (See the HobbySpace section on Natural Radio .)

Also, amateur astronomers can look for flashes on the Moon when a Leonid hits the lunar surface in the un-sunlit area. See Leonids on the Moon - NASA Space Science .

Scientists will also be investigating "glowworms in the sky" - longlasting trails that have been reported during previous showers - [--Link Dead--]ABQjournal: Mystery Follows Meteors- Oct.26.99

October 30, 1999

MyHome and Space Island develop space hotel living quarters. The interior design company MyHome and the Space Island Group, which is developing plans for a space hotel, have partnered to design the interior living quarters of such a space lodge.

They assume a rotating station that provides partial gravity. However, there can periodic disturbances due to orbit changes. These and other considerations are taken into account in the plans.

See their website, which includes some [--Error--]blueprints and images.

[Ed. most of the MyHome links about this project are gone. -April.19.00]

More information on space hotel developments in the HobbySpace Space Tourism section.

Planetary society sponsors Mars microphone naming contest. The Mars Polar Lander, due to land on the south pole of Mars in December, carries a microphone developed by the Planetary Society. It will provide the first true audio signals from another planet.

The microphone project logo includes a green penguin and now the Society wants someone to think up a great name for their mascot. Entries must be in by Dec. 15, 1999.

October 23, 1999

Amateur astronomers spot Moon mystery. Observations of flashes of light on the Moon have long been claimed but not confirmed. Now there is some hard evidence.

A group of amateur astronomers were organized to continuously observe the Moon during the mission of the Clementine lunar orbitor, which was mapping the surface.

The ground observers spotted on April 23, 1994 a "possible obscuration over the region" near the Cobrahead feature on the Aristarchus plateau. JPL researchers have now looked at the Clementine images before and after this date and they, in fact, see a change in the color of the area.

Speculations for the source of the colors include escaping gas trapped in pockets of ancient lava tubes.

[--Link Dead--]Moon Mystery Emerges From The X-files - SpaceDaily - Oct. 21 .99
BBC News | Sci/Tech | Moon not quite dead - Oct.21.99
SpaceViews Article: Clementine Data Provides New Evidence for Unusual Lunar Phenomena - Oct. 26.99

October 15, 1999

Students build picosatellites for November launch. The all-female seven member team of seniors, in a blow against the male nerd engineer stereotype, from Santa Clara University built three sub-kilogram satellites. They will be part of a test of satellite formation flying. Stanford University's 15kg Opal satellite will serve as the mother ship, which releases and communicates with the picosats.

Two of the picosats are quipped with sensors to pick up the electromagnetic spikes from lightning. By flying at a given distance from each other, the system will have the resolution of a much larger, and much more expensive, single satellite.

The third picosat has a transmitter that simply broadcasts in Morse code the web site for the Artemis project. Amateur radio enthusiasts who come across the signal would therefore go to the site and see that they've picked up the satellite.

Artemis web site * Team awaits launch of student-designed satellites - EE Times Oct.11.99 * Students Make Mini Satellites - ABC News Dec.16.98

October 11, 1999

An Ariane 5 will carry the Phase 3D amateur satellite into space next year. After many years of delays, the most advanced AMSAT spacecraft ever built should finally get into space in the year 2000 as a piggyback payload.

The spacecraft will be put into a highly eliptical orbit (apogee of 47714km and perigee of 4000km) and will be the first AMSAT outside of low earth orbit.

The project, led by the German AMSAT-DL , involved AMSAT groups from around the world.

The 400kg payload is large for an AMSAT and its 60 watts of continuous solar power will drive the advanced digital communications system. A high resolution camera will also be included.

October 1, 1999

Experience Mars colonization via ActiveWorld 's virtual universe. The online ActiveWorld phenomena has grown to hundreds of thousands of participants and 1000's of sites and sub-worlds in its artificial universe. Begun as a NASA project, there is now a thriving Mars virtual world with spaceports and colonies spread over its surface. Download your ActiveWorld [--Link Dead--]browser and begin your Mars experience.
See also MultiMedia , Simulators .

Art will travel to the surface of Mars in 2003 aboard the European Beagle 2 lander vehicle, which will be ejected from the Mars Express orbiter. To calibrate it's camera, a painting from the controversial artist Damien Hirst has been commissioned. The use of carefully chosen colors and materials in his dotted styled painting will provide a standard to which the camera can be adjusted, thus providing the true colors of the Mars surface. See Space Art - Art in Space section .

September 19, 1999

Christie's sells moon dusty nametag for $310,500 in an auction that sold nearly 300 space memoribila artifacts. Other high priced items included a spacesuit worn by Neil Armstrong ($178,500) and a pair of Gemini gloves ($14,000). ABCNEWS.com : Christie's Auctions Space Memorabilia Sep.18.99 * BBC News | Americas | Cosmic collection under the hammer Sep.18.99 * [--Link Dead--]CNN - NASA tag coated with moon dust sells for $310,500 - September 19, 1999 * [Sep.21: [--Link Dead--]Yahoo - Moondust: High-Ticket Auction Prize Today, Household Item Tomorrow - Sep.21.99 * SpaceViews Article: Memorabilia Auction Fetches Sky-High Prices - Sep.21.99 ]

Space memoribilia collecting is becoming more and more popular. Check out the Collecting Space section for more info.

News briefs...There will be a 1.5 day symposium called 15th Day of Space Flight in Neubrandenburg Mecklenbourg - Western Pommerania, Germany 30- 31 October 1999. Speakers will discuss the history of spaceflight and its future. Side events will include a space collectibles sale and a model rockets workshop.

September 17, 1999

Space controversies , such as humans vs robots, the Space Station, Cassini, etc, always swirl around any discussion of Space and how to go about its exploration and development. As part of the Activism section, there is now a list of such issues, with overviews and links to relevant sites.

Read about these and then go to one of the space newsgroups or forums , where there is almost always at least one or two ongoing arguments about these controversies, and jump into the debate.

Note, you will find that many, if not most participants, skip the reading part and go straight to arguing without the bother of knowing anything about the issues.

Send your name to Mars! Add your name to the CD that will land on the surface of Mars in 2002. The Mars 2001 Surveyor lander will launch in April 2001 and land on Mars in Jan. 2002. You can use the easy online signup service to include your name on a CD that will be included in the landers payload. - Signup ! See Token Space Tourism for more opportunities to spacetravel vicariously.

Internet broadcasts...Enjoy Judy Collins' performance of Beyond the Sky , her song in honor of Eileen Collins flight as first woman commander of a shuttle, provided in RealVideo by the Space Chronicle ...

Also watch Eileen Collins' speech to the Washington Press Club via ConnectLive ...

Space Imaging 's Ikonos satellite launch will be broadcast live on the Internet. The launch is scheduled for Sept. 24 on a Lockheed-Martin Athena rocket. An earlier attempt failed when the rocket shroud failed to separate properly and the payload failed to reach orbit. Watch the launch at ConnectLive . Afterwards, the video will be on file . [--Link Dead--]Yahoo - Sept. 24, 1999 IKONOS Satellite Launch to be Broadcast On Internet

September 9 , 1999

News briefs...Support for Space is still strong according to a new survey - Space.com Survey Finds Broad Support for Current Spending Levels on Space Program . - 69% say that the current level of spending by US government is the right amount or too little.

September 7 , 1999

Final Frontier magazine has been the space publication closest in spirit to HobbySpace. It often presented articles about space related hobbies such as amateur satellites, space art and music and it had a strong catalog of space collectibles.

Unfortunately, it suffered from financial problems and several turnovers in ownership through the years. Subscribers stopped receiving issues several months ago.

According to a letter published from Tom Ivicevic, a Final Frontier representative, on a space newsgroup, a new owner called Spacefrontiers.com plans to relaunch the publication soon. It will extend subscriptions to make up for lost issues. A new website is planned. There has been some delay due to negotiations with others interested in purchasing the magazine and its space collectibles business.

September 5 , 1999

A Blur heard on Mars. The rock group Blur is writing a song to be broadcast from the European Mars probe Beagle 2 after it lands on Mars in 2003. See [--Link Dead--]ITN article - Out of this world: Blur play on Mars .

News briefs...The New York Times Sunday Magazine (Sept. 5-1999) has a article on the vast geo-political effects of commercial high resolution imaging satellites: Private Eyes . Will they prevent wars or start them?

Check out the Martian weather at Scientific American: Exhibit: Martian Weather Report: August 30, 1999 . Mars not be lively but its certainly not a static place either.

Mars Week at MIT's [--Error--]ThinkMars will explore ways that exploration of Mars can be commericialized to help pay for it. Director James Cameron and Buzz Aldrin are among the speakers. CNN - Mars: the next generation's Apollo - September 3, 1999

The Space Frontier Foundation continues to be one of the most active of the activist organizations as shown by its recent announcement of two grants to "astronomers involved in the search for Earth-orbit-crossing asteroids." This comes from their Watch project to look out for possible earth threatening asteroids. See also the article at [--Link Dead--]Space.com - Keeping Track of All Those Asteroids.

September 2 , 1999

News briefs...The Christies space collectibles auction on Sept. 18 (see the collection at [--Link Dead--]Christies | Events (Space Exploration) gets more attention. See

[--Link Dead--]Christie's To Hold $1.1M Space Sale - Space.com - Sept.2.99
CNN - Space memorabilia: One giant sale for Christie's - August 31, 1999
[--Link Dead--]Glenn's trip makes space items hot at auction -Aug.29-99
Need a Used Spacesuit? Here's Your Chance - NY Times Aug.24-99

....Mars makes it big in Hollywood. Two movies in production, an Imax film and a mini-series. Read all about it in [--Link Dead--]FoxNews: Hollywood Forms Wagon Train to Red Planet September 2, 1999.

September 1 , 1999

News briefs...A group of cadets at the Air Force Academy are building a sounding rocket as their senior project. They have offered the Mars Society to fly a 5.5kg (11lb) payload and the Society has responded with ideas of several possible payloads. Space.com - [--Link Dead--]Cadets Offer to Launch Mars Society's Payload - Aug. 31.99.

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