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News in HobbySpace
Archive January - June 2000


Note: These articles provide a sampling of what was happening in Space activities with particular interest to the public. These could be hobbies or developments that might lead to more public access to Space. Unfortunately, many of the links attached to the items will expire over time.

When the the links go dead, an attempt to "relink" them will be made if the pages can be found at a new location. Otherwise, the text will be disconnected but still shown in italics.

If you want to follow up on an interesting but disconnected item, there are a few possiblities:

  • Most of the Yahoo news items are based on press releases from companies, NASA or other agency. If you go to the website of the particular company
  • or institution involved, it may have the PR in its archive. Look for the News or Press Release page.

  • Many online newspapers break their links after a period of time but keep the articles in an archive. However, they often will charge for a search.

  • If all else fails, try Google
  • or other search engine using the title or keywords from the title.

June 25, 2000

Mars Station in the Arctic going online. The Mars Society now has Discovery.com as a sponsor for its research station in the Haughton Crater on Devon Island, Canada. The location is considered one of the closest analogues on earth to the Mars environment. Discovery.com will begin broadcasting weekly TV reports starting in July about the Flashline Arctic Station , named for the first project sponsor - Flashline.com , and daily webcasts during the summer period when the research station is occupied.

The station will act as "a laboratory for learning how to live and work on Mars, offering researchers the opportunity to conduct systematic studies of the strategies, technologies, human factors and hardware designs necessary to prepare for the human exploration of Mars. " - Mars Society announcement.

Discovery Channel To Sponsor Flashline Mars Arctic Research Station - Press release - June.21.00

[--Error [--Time Out--]--]Tour the site with a simulation program developed by students at the Univ. of Colorado.

June 20, 2000

Russian commercial spysat opens for business. Sovinformsputnik now competes with Space Imaging in offering for sale 1 meter resolution images of just about any place on earth. Samples of the 1m imagery include sharp views of Los Angeles and New York City .

Rocket Guy to blast off next year on a hydrogen peroxide rocket . Brian Walker is a successful toy inventor who is now building his own rocket that he hopes to ride to an altitude of 30miles. Assuming it passes FAA inspections, his launch is scheduled for April 2001. Oregon's rocket man - OregonLive - June.18.00. [Seattle Times: Inventor building rocket in back yard - Seattle Times - June.24.00 ]

News briefs...Follow the daily experiences of a Discovery.com journalist as he undergoes Russian Space Camp cosmonaut training... Sailors in the Newport-to-Bermuda race now rely on satellite maps to find the fastest route. Jenifer Clark's Gulfstream provides detailed weather and water temperature plots from satellite date that help the ships avoid eddies and find the fast currents to speed their travels. Satellites Guide Sailors to Bermuda - Space.com - June.20.00 .

June 16, 2000

Space tourist to visit Mir. The Wall Street Journal revealed today plans by a rich investment manager to visit Mir. Dennis Tito, head of the Wilshire Associates money-management firm, is expected soon to annnounce he is "willing to pay a fee of around $20 million to become the station's first tourist."

Tito, who also comes with a background in the space program (he worked on the Mariner projects that send vehicles to Mars and Venus) said he used techniques similar to the ones he uses in his financial analysis to come to the conclusion that the chances of getting killed during the mission were no higher than "chances of a man his age dying suddenly, from whatever cause ..."

The article gave an interesting background history of MirCorp , which has paid to revive Mir and will oversee Tito's trip. Space Frontier Foundations's Rick N. Tumlinson was the central player who convinced billionaire Walt Anderson that commercializing Mir was feasible. They strengthened their efforts by getting the Indian telecom billionaire Chirinjeev Kathuria to join them. Negotiations with the Russians were tough, they had been burned by the fiasco with Peter Llewllyn, but eventually got an agreement that created MirCorp - owned 60% by Energia.

There was also a discussion of the financial viability of the company, which is quite serious about becoming a publicly traded enterprise. Separate analyses carried out by the accounting firms KPMG and McKinsey & Co. indicate possible revenues in the hundreds of millions per year from tourism, entertainment, media and scientific markets.

Space Buffs Attempt to Make Their Mir Tourist Venture Fly - Wall Street Journal - June.16.2000 - (paid subscription required). See also

RadioShack sponsors lunar rover . LunaCorp has announced that RadioShack will be a corporate sponsor for its Lunar rover project. The mission will be launched in 2003.

The mission to one of the lunar polar regions (the PR doesn't say which one) will explore for signs of water ice. The rover is designed by Dr. Red Whittaker, from the well known Robotics Institute of Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh.

Interestingly, it will continually move along a "polar circle" so that it will always remain in sunlight during the lunar day. This simplifies both the solar power requirements and the thermal management.

The Radio Shack funding, however, will not be sufficient. They will hope to raise funding from additional corporate sponsors plus "..exclusive television contracts, fees from an Internet portal, ticket sales at science centers offering motion-platform 'telepresence chambers'' linked to the robot, and contracts with government space agencies.

Note that this may include opportunities for members of the public, for a fee, to drive the rover.

For more info see the press release: [--Link Dead--]LunaCorp Launches Plan for Multimedia Moon Robot - Yahoo press release- June.15.00 and articles at

Also, for info on lunar ice, see The Lunar Prospector's crash landing on the moon uncovered evidence of hydrogen and possible water on the satellite's surface - Space.com - June.14.00 .

SkyCorp to fly an Apple Macintosh G4 computer in an experimental satellite next year. It will be deployed from the space shuttle. The computer will act as a web server that can be accessed as the sat passes in range via wireless networking protocols, including a variant of Apple's existing AirPort wireless networking technology.

The project, announced at the recent Silicon Valley Space Enterprise Symposium , is mainly intended as a test for SkyCorp's plans to assemble and deploy satellites at the Space Station. Such a technique may allow for a much cheaper Teledesic type of broadband internet constellation.

See article at Company to Fly First Web Server in Space - SpaceViews - June.11.00 .

Also, read more about SkyCorp's plans at Internet Satellites Going Cheap - Wired - June.14.00 .

Note: As reported below , the [--Error--]OMNI Web Server ran internet packets through the UoSat-12 microsat back in the Spring and has recently run an ftp server on the satellite that provided images from the satellite's camera. So the SkyCorp sat will not be the first Web Server in space. However, it will probably be the first to take an off-the-shelf "server" computer and put into space.

These systems will become the first building blocks of the proposed
Interplanetary Internet .

June 11, 2000

Dreamtime to Open Space Station Media Center. In an agreement with NASA , the startup company Dreamtime will provide high definition TV from space shuttles and the International Space Station.(NASA, DREAMTIME PARTNERSHIP PROPELS SPACE INFORMATION AGE TO NEW HEIGHTS - NASA Press Release - June.2.00 )

Dreamtime will also be given access to NASA's vast image, audio, and video files, as well as documents and blueprints, so that it can digitize 10-20% of them. It will then create a portal site to provide public access to this digital archive - Marshall to digitize film archives - Huntsville Times - June.6.00 .

However, other companies will also be competing in the space media arena. SpaceHab announced last December that it would collaborate with a Russian company to build its own commercial module "Enterprise " for the ISS. It's spinoff company called SpaceMedia would run a webcasting site on the module to provide space imagery, news, infor, etc.

Meanwhile, MirCorp has similar plans for the Mir space station (see below ). If it can raise funding for additional missions, it wants to develop Mir also for TV broadcasting, movie making, etc.

Dreamtime May Face Stiff Competition - SpaceViews - June.3.00

News briefs...Listen in to Astronomy Rock Radio at MP3.com for the latest rocking sounds from the Cosmos...Check out Rand Simberg 's report on the potential of space tourism - Near-Term Prospects For Space Tourism . Covers near term possibilities such as parabolic (weightless) aircraft flights , high altitude flights , and sub-orbital trips .

May 24, 2000

Moon business rising. LunarCorp is expected to announce funding from a major corporate sponsor for its lunar rover project. Space.com reports (LunaCorp Gets Corporate Backing for Moon Mission-May.23.00) that a press conference on June 15 will reveal the Fortune 500 company that is making a substantial investment in the project.

However, additional funding will be needed to launch the rover in 2003. The robotic explorer will allow earthbound controllers to direct its movements around a region at the Moon's south lunar pole. In particular, it's hoped that more evidence for water ice will be found.

Another company, TransOrbital , hopes to send a craft to orbit the Moon in 2001. The $15 million dollar craft will orbit the moon for 3 months while returning video of the surface. It will then crash into the surface. Take Your Business to the Moon - Space.com - May.23.00 .

On board will be partial cremated human remains intended for a lunar burial. (Firm offers Moon burial - BBC News - May.9.00 ). Further business will be done by selling rides for small items like notes or rings. An [--Error--]auction at eBay for a business card ride is currently bid at $1100. [Final bid was $2600. - May.27.00]

Perhaps amateur satellite builders will go lunar as well. Following in the tradition of the Amsats , Martin Reeves proposes - [--Link Dead--]ARTeMiS Reaches for the Moon! - that an amateur radio satellite be placed on the moon. The "ARTeMiS" (AMATEUR RADIO TRANSPONDER MOON SYSTEM) solar powered lander could use a radio system similar to that used on the current OSCAR amsats to send slow scan video of the lunar surface during the two week daylight periods.

Help Name the Craters on Eros! - the NEAR spacecraft is currently orbiting the asteroid Eros and returning the first detailed pictures of the surface. The Planetary Society is organizing this contest to name the craters. Submit your suggestions.

Space Tourism starts in a Mig. A recent article in the LA Times reports that the company Space Adventures hopes to offer suborbital flights in a few years but is doing well in the meantime with its jet fighter rides. The company offers

"...jaunts inside the cockpit of a Russian MiG-25 military jet. More than 4,500 people have paid $11,900 for the trip, which tops out at 85,000 feet. An additional 1,200 are on a waiting list for an eventual trip to the moon." - [--Link Dead--]Space-- Tourism's Hot Ticket - LA Times - May.22.00

There is clearly a market for commercial space rides, though a pricey one. See also the Space Tourism section.

News briefs...A Danish TV game show will offer a trip to space as the grand prize. A reservation with Space Adventures will guarantee a seat on their sub-orbital vehicle as soon as it is up and running. See Game Show Aims to Make Space the Final Answer - Space.com - May.22.00 ...

May 18, 2000

High school students remotely control rover in desert trial of Mars prototype. Several students groups in the US as well Denmark will control a JPL rover from their schools as it explores a site in Nevada.

FIDO the robot weighs 70kg and is about twice the size of the Mars Pathfinder rover. It's movements can be programmed remotely but it also has onboard intelligence such as the ability to avoid obstacles.

For more info see Students take the leash as FIDO heads back to the desert - JPL Press Release - May.16.00 * Students control a prototype Mars rover - Space Science News - May.17.00 * Lapis in Future - Rovers Section .

News briefs....The Mars Song Contest results are in. See finalists list: [--Error--]Rouget de Lisle Contest Results - Mars Society bulletin - May.1.00.

May 5, 2000

ISADORA Module would provide a "multi-purpose studio for the Arts where artists will be able to experiment and create in Earth's orbit."

Visitors would include "choreographers, poets, filmmakers, writers, sculptors, installation artists, musicians etc?" who would experience the Space environment and communicate their impressions to the world through their creative work on the station.

If you have suggestions or proposals for artistic activities on the Isadora Module, fill out the questionaire - Wanna Create Art in Space? .

See also the Space Art page, some suggestions in the Future section, and the article - Can Art Break Science's Monopoly Grip on Space?- Space.com-Apr.23.00

May 3, 2000

Class S*T*A*R*S participate in shuttle experiments. Spacehab created the STARS (Space Technology and Research Students) program to provide students around the world with the opportunity to interact with experiments happening in real-time in Space. Grades 4, 7 and 10 are targeted but other levels can participate as well. [--Link Dead--]Spacehab press release - April.6.00.

Initially the experiments will run during Space Shuttle flights. Later they will be located on the International Space Station in the commercial module Enterprise that Spacehab is developing.

The experiments will be selected from student proposals and launched for a discount price in the Spacehab storage modules. Schools can purchase [--Link Dead--]packages for $300 that include workbooks, an in-class version of the experiment, and other resources. Students will observe the experiments live over the internet.

Shuttle flight STS-107 in the Spring of 2001 will include a US [--Link Dead--]biosphere experiment, an Israeli chemical garden experiment, a Chinese silkworm experiment and an Australian spider web experiment. The schools with the winning experiments must raise money from sponsors to help pay the launch costs.

Genesis-Gram will be engraved on a microchip that will ride on the NASA's Genesis spacecraft. This probe will fly through the Solar Wind and pick up samples for return to earth. You must compress your profundity to 100 characters or less.

See the Tourism section for more opportunities for Token Space travel.

Graduating class poses for spysat. This year's Air Force Academy graduating class hopes that Space Imaging 's Ikonos commercial spysat will spot them for a spectacular class photo. The 1m precision of the imager should easily find them if it is not a cloudy day. [--Error--]Ikonos, U.S. Air Force Academy Team Up For Special Photo - AviationNow - May.1.00 .

Clinton boosts your GPS receiver accuracy. The signals from the Global Positioning Satellites have been encrypted such that only the US military can obtain the best location precision. However, ground based broadcast of correction signals has allowed civilian systems, particularly those on commercial aircraft, to obtain even sub-meter precision (This is called differential GPS.)

Because of this and because the military say they now know how to jam the signals to an opponent during a conflict, the President has ordered that the signals no longer be smeared as of this week.

This means that the 2 million or so basic GPS receivers now in consumer hands have improved from 100m or so location accuracy to 10s of meters.

[--Error--]U.S. To Stop Degrading GPS Signal- AviationNow - May.1.00

SETI@home approaches 2 million participants. The organizers originally expected that a maximum of two hundred thousand or so people would allow their PC's to run the SETI data analysis program. The program takes advantage of free processing cycles by running as a screen saver when the PC is not otherwise occupied.

The amazing popularity indicates the great interest in SETI. Also, the possibility that THE SIGNAL would be found on one's own machine has been a great motivator.

The combined processing power easily represents the most powerful multi-processing computer ever created. The success of the project is inspiring scientists in other fields with large processing challenges, e.g. genetics, to develop similar programs.

The first Internet router in Space was demonstrated in April on the low earth orbiting UoSat-12 microsat. Since it is in LEO, there are no time delay problems as with GEO sats and "standard end-to-end IP connectivity has been established all the way to the spacecraft". For more info see [--Error--]OMNI Web Server at Goddard Spaceflight Center and the article ScienceDaily Magazine -- NASA Engineers Use Standard Internet Protocols To "Talk" With A Satellite . [Ed. The title here originally said "..Internet server.." but it's actually a router. June.11.00]

[Space Surfing - Beyond 2000 - May.12.00 ]

Note: this has implications for MirCorp and Spacehab's commercial Enterprise module, both of which plan to include onboard Internet servers for webcasting and other online activities.

News briefs....USA Today had an article this week about amateurs contributing to science. In particular, they discussed the amateur astronomers helping to locate in the visible light range the gamma-ray bursters that were detected by satellites. - [--Link Dead--]Backyard scientists adding a wealth of data - USA Today - May.2.00 ...

...Enter the Hubble Image contest to decide where to point the Hubble in August. The Hubble Heritage Project , which maintains archives of Hubble images, is sponsoring this contest. Send in your vote by June 6th. Point the Hubble: Group Announces Image Contest-Space.com-May.2.00

April 22, 2000

Area 51 revealed by public spysats. The Air Force base, known to X-Files viewers and UFO buffs as the site of super-secret aircraft development, can now be seen in photos taken by a Russian satellite for Aerial Images of Raleigh, North Carolina and available at TerraServer . See [--Error--]Satellite Images Of Secret Area 51 Published - AviationNow - Apr.18.00 .

The images are taken at 2m resolution. There is no indication that the 1m capable Ikonos commercial satellite at Space Imaging will be providing better views. However, several new commericial spysats will be going to orbit in the next couple of years. So one can expect that there will be no site on earth that can hide from their view.

When this news was revealed the service was soon overwhelmed by hits. Later a hacker damaged the site and it was down for a couple of days.

[April 23, 2000 - Higher resolutions images from Space Imaging's Ikonos satellite are now on display at Space.com - Most Detailed Images Ever of Top-Secret U.S. Air Base Show Major Expansion ]

News briefs...Microsoft is creating an astronomy image server with a huge database similar to its Terraserver , which provides access to satellite images of earth. The SkyServer will access terabytes of data from sources such as the Sloan Digital Survey -see The Cosmos Is Coming - Wired - April 17.00 ....

A hardcopy version of Space.com will be published next year on a bi-monthly basis - [--Link Dead--]SPACE.com Announces the Launch of SPACE.com Illustrated ...

May 4th will be Space Day and around the US there will be events to mark the importance of Space exploration. An online 3 hour celebration at the Smithsonian Air & Space Museum will be [--Link Dead--]broadcast over the web - [--Link Dead--]Cyber Space Day Webcast announcement ...

Effort to organize protection for the Apollo landing sites has begun. Remote controlled rovers and eventually human visitors could disturb the sites. See Don't Tread on Me: Group Wants to Protect Apollo Site - Space.com - April 18,2000 ....

April 14, 2000

Amateur astronomers become high-energized. There are few areas in astronomy, it seems, in which amateurs cannot participate. Even in the exotic areas of x-ray and gamma ray astronomy, amateur astronomers help spot flares in the visible light to alert astronomers to look at those areas for signs of outbursts in the high energy light scales. Amateurs and pros met this week in Huntsville Alabama to discuss how that can better cooperate - The High Energy Astrophysics Workshop for Amateurs - Space Science News - Apr.12.00 [Amateurs Reach for the Stars - Space Science News - Apr.21.00 ] - See also the Space Science page.

News briefs...Some Penn State students are doing their part to support the ISS program with logo designs: Penn State students work with NASA to promote international space station - Excite News - Apr.5.00 .

April 9, 2000

Mir re-activated by Space activist. Rick Tumlinson of the Space Frontier Foundation has been one of the driving forces behind the effort to save and commercialize the Mir space station. He led the negotiations with the Russian space officials and convinced the telcom mogul Walt Anderson to help fund MirCorp (www.mirstation.com ), which now also includes the Russian company Energia and several other investors. For more about Tumlinson and the story of Mir's resurrection, see The Men Behind Mir's Financial Rescue - Space.com - Apr.7.00

MirCorp has signed a lease for the station and hopes to use the station for various commercial ventures. The initial funding paid for the current mission of two cosmonauts who docked with the station on April 6 . They will try to get the station back in working shape and, in particular, seal a slow leak that is draining the air from the ship.

This week it was also announced that funding is sufficient to send a second mission this fall. MirCorp Miracle Continues: Announces September Mission To Station- Space.com - Apr.6.00 .

For more information see:

British Mars mission will rely on public involvement. The British Beagle 2 micro-lander will be carried to Mars by ESA's Mars Express spacecraft. The two part system of an orbiter and lander will be launched in the summmer of 2003 and will arrive at Mars in December of that year. The Beagle 2 will separate and land on the surface and begin a set of tests for signs of microbial life.

To help fund the construction and ground support for the project, the public relations company M&C Saatchi Sponsorship has been hired to help raise 10 million from a "a mix of sponsorship, merchandising, and public participation." Based partly on the huge interest in the Mars Pathfinder landing (its website recieved millions of hits), they expect to obtain lots of positive response from the public. M&C Saatchi / Beagle 2 press release .

Note that the lander already plans to include a [--Link Dead--]song from the rock group Blur for broadcast from the lander and [--Error--]artwork from Damien Hirst .

News briefs...A recent effort by an amateur rocket group to set the high altitude record suffered various problems. See reports at JP Aerospace and at [--Link Dead--]Glitches Mar Amateur Space Shot - Space.com - Mar.28.00 .

March 14, 2000

Bentspace currently is sending messages of up to 1000 words for free to a star randomly selected by their radio antenna. More about Token Space Travel on Tourism page.....

Students can enter the Mars Youth Society's Hakluyt Contest 2000 to win a free trip to their convention in Toronto. The best letter to a political letter in support of Mars exploration will win. See more space competitions on the Contests page.

February 26, 2000

News briefs....Watch the Liberty Bell 7 restoration at [--Link Dead--]Kansas Cosmosphere and Space Center via [--Link Dead--]Discovery Online -- Space Cams: Liberty Bell 7 Cam ....

MIT students propose a low budget airplane for Mars - SpaceViews Article: Can Students Resurrect the Mars Airplane?-Feb.25.00 ...

Give a name to the new set of 4 satellites that will measure space weather - The Cluster II competition - "Name the Cluster quartet"

February 18, 2000

The Mir Hotel & Industrial Park opens for business...MirCorp , a collaboration of RSC Energia - a Russian state-owned space company - and western investment firms, signed a lease this week for the Mir space station.

Their first priority is to find companies who want to do microgravity R&D in such areas as protein crystal growth. Also being discussed is the filming of a movie on board the station.

But they will also gladly provide lodging to tourists who can afford the $20M or so for a room with a view....

News briefs...If you thought rocket scientists were just boring nerds, read the Salon.com article "Sex and Rockets ". It discusses the amazing life of JPL co-founder and occultist Jack Parsons....

..the student satellite Starshine will be falling to earth today or tomorrow. The project successfully involved thousands of young students in tracking the satellite.

February 14, 2000

Students Photograph the Earth during STS-99. The EarthKam project involves students from the U.S., France, Germany and Japan who use the World Wide Web to direct a digital camera flown on the Space Shuttle. These photographs are used to enhance their "learning in Earth and space science, social studies, geography, mathematics, and more."

*[--Time Out--]EarthKam STS-99 control center webcast
* [--Link Dead--] Yahoo - Space Shuttle Images of Earth to Reside On 3Com e-Network for Internet Age Education-Feb.11.00
*[--Link Dead--] Students to Use Shuttle Camera to Spy On Earth - Space.com - Feb.11.00

News briefs...The current Scientific American has a special report called Mars or Bust discussing Manned missions to Mars. Includes many interesting articles by Robert Zubrin. Buzz Aldrin and others about the challenges and possibilities of such projects...Read about the latest X-33 developments in RLV News ...If you have your 3-D stereo glasses handy, take a peek at the 3D view of a Mars canyon provided by Malin Space Science Systems ..

February 3, 2000

StenSat was built by Ham radio enthusiasts in the Washington D.C area.

It is riding inside mothership satellite called Opal , designed and built by graduate students at Stanford University. This satellite will soon release 6 small satellites in a test of formation flying in space.
[--Link Dead--]Super-small Satellite Mission Succeeding - Space.com - Feb.1.00.

Rove the Antarctic with Nomad in search of meteorites. Nomad is an autonomous robot that will use its own onboard intelligence to locate meteorites lying on the surface of an ice field. It was built by a team at Carnegie-Mellon University and sponsored by NASA. Experience with Nomad will help with building rovers for Mars exploration.

The BigSignal site provides introductory info on the project. There is a section there that explains why the Antarctic is a great place to find meteorites .

There is also an elaborate interface program that allows you to see the latest images from the robot and examine the meteorites found so far.

Robotic Antarctic Meteorite Search site provides more technical information and recent data from the rover.

As of Februrary 5 Nomad had correctly identified 5 meteorites on its own.

News briefs...If you live in or will be visiting a country in the northern latitudes, you should try to see the beautiful Aurora (or Northern Lights). To find out if they will be visible, check the current Aurora forecast at Intellicast.

...Intellicast also provides viewing forecasts for astronomers in a project in cooperation with the [--Error--]Earth & Sky astronomy radio program.

January 29, 2000

Spacehab to build web-base on the Space Station. A $100M commercial module to built by Spacehab and its Russian partners will be used for a number of applications such as microgravity research. One of its primary functions will also be as a space based website and television broadcasting station:

" 'Among our new businesses will be the first independent commercial television and Internet Web-site broadcasts from space,' said Dr. Shelley Harrison, SPACEHAB's Chairman. 'We will also expand our highly successful S*T*A*R*S space and science education program from the Space Shuttle to Enterprise, targeting millions of youngsters around the world' "

News brief...A spectacular meteor flash over Alaska was seen by many in the state on Jan. 18. NASA later sent a plane to take samples of extraterrestrial material that remained floating in the air. Ewald Lemke, a 63-year-old realtor, was alert enough to take several striking pictures of the large trail left by the explosion. See Yukon Meteor Flash Caught on Film - Space.com - Jan.28.00 and also the pictures at Lemke's own site .

January 27, 2000

Radio astronomy in your high school. The Radio Jove project at NASA & the University of Florida offers low priced (~$100) radio telescope kits that can be assembled by students. Students use the telescopes to collect planetary and solar radio astronomy data, obtaining hands-on experience in gathering and working with space science data. The initial project involves observing radio emissions from Jupiter.

See the HobbySpace Amateur Radio Astronomy section , and
Students construct radio telescope - Penn State Collegian-Jan.25.00

January 14, 2000

Mir recieves private funds. An investment venture, pursuing tourism and other commercial space business such as satellite launch and repair, has sent money to the Russia space program to help fund a mission to keep Mir from falling back to earth. Part of the project involves attaching a solar powered space tether to provide a permanent system for attitude control.

For more info see:

FAS uses commercial spysat to examine North Korean launch site. Space Imaging 's new Ikonos satellite now provides 1-m resolution images of many parts of the world for as low as $10 a shot. The Federation of American Scientists (FAS) has recently used Iknonos images of a North Korean missile test site. These are the first high resolution images of the site available to the public. The FAS has posted their analysis of the site using these images. (Note that others looking at the same images come to far different conclusions about North Korean missile capabilities.)

This is the first example of how private citizens and groups can take advantage of these private spysats to find out independently of the government what is happening in previously inaccessible trouble spots. See Eyes in the Sky section for more info on obtaining satellite images.

[[--Link Dead--]Commercial Images Detail North Korean Missile Site - Aviation Week - Jan.17.00]

Mars and Beyond series webcast on new Sci-Fi network. Majel Barrett, wife of the late Gene Roddenberry and participant in both the original Star Trek and the Next Generation series, will play a supporting role. The show's premise seems to mix space exploration with an X-Files type conspiracy.

The Cyber Sci-Fi Network will use web streaming technology to broadcast shows over the web.

Popular NASA Space Science News site canceled. Despite a Webby Award and other accolades, NASA Marshall Spaceflight Center announced on Jan. 7 that support for the site would be terminated.

The site presented NASA science in a manner that was both understandable and fun to a wide audience. Also, it encouraged amateur involvement in such areas as observation of meteor showers and lunar occultations. A mailing list of over 150,000 notified subscribers of the latest progress in space science and in upcoming events.

Protests from many sources, including Lou Dobbs of Space.com , has apparently convinced MSFC to postpone the termination while it looks for funds to continue it.

Currently, web pages are still online (thankfully since HobbySpace has many links to their site). Also, SpaceRef.com has created an archive of the site.

[Wherefore art thou, Science@NASA? - Jan.15.00 - current status]

Previous space news:

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The Art of C. Sergent Lindsey
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