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The Space Log
Space for Everyone - November 2004

November.30.2004 Space News

Space tourism by any other name... Jeff Foust reports on the controversy over the term "space tourism" in Is it time to dump the t-word? - The Space Review - Nov. 20.04. Some space advocates, Rick Tumlinson in particular, hate that term because they think it demeans the effort, training, and commitment that goes into becoming a "citizen space explorer".

I think that while space tourist may not be perfect, it does a great job of humanizing space travel and making it into something that regular folks can see themselves experiencing. Most people cannot conceive of switching places with highly trained astronauts but they can certainly envision themselves sitting by the ISS window and enjoying the view of Earth just like Dennis Tito did so often during his trip.

The essential meaning of the term is that a person is making the decision to go and then making it happen with his or her own money. The fact that space tourism involves a lot more preparation and complexity than a trip to the Bahamas does not change those two crucial aspects of the activity.

So far, the suggested replacement terms smack of the same sort of clumsy, self-important, technocratic euphemisms that have long been a hallmark of annoying NASA-speak and they will never catch on.

Personally, I like astourists and astournauts. ;-)   

See the discussion at Floral Shirts And Cameras - Transterrestrial Musings - Nov.29.04

Spacecraft in a can... Student participants in this annual contest will see their soda-can sized payloads only go a mile high but they will learn many of the techniques and technologies required for building and flying orbital spacecraft.

The program is supported by American Astronautical Society (AAS), American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA), National Space Grant Consortia (NSGC), and Universities Space Research Association (USRA). The rocket launches will take place next June 2-4 in Plaster City, California. A top prize of $2500 will to to the winning school.

CSXT booster recovered... Last May the CSXT/GoFast project successfully launched an amateur rocket to space for the first time. The nose cone and avionics were recovered at the time but the booster was considered lost. Now comes news from the Stratofox tracking and recovery team team that the booster has been found and brought home: Mystery Solved: Stratofox Recovers CSXT Booster - Nov.2004

News briefs... Check out the other articles in the latest Space Review such as this one on the challenge of reducing space debris: Space debris: not just an American problem? by Taylor Dinerman - The Space Review - Nov.29.04 ...

... Robert Zubrin's Pioneer Astronautics company has developed a clever "hopper" design for a Mars explorer: Future Robots May "Hop" Across Mars - Universe Today - Nov.25.04 ...

... James Cameron interviews Buzz Aldrin in the December Wired: The Next Giant Leap - Wired - Dec.04 issue...

... Spectacular view from the Cassini spacecraft of Saturn, the moon Mimas and the rings: Nature's Canvas - Catalog Page for PIA06142 (via NASA Watch) ...

... Saving the Hubble may kill other programs: Expense may sink Hubble mission: NASA weighs benefits of trip - Florida Today - Nov.27.04.

SciTech brief: The popularity of helicopters is rising: Pilots and Makers of Copters Defy the Aviation Slump - The New York Times - Nov.30.04. Perhaps this will spur more interest and investment in other types of vertical takeoff and landing (VTOL) and short takeoff and landing (STOL) vehicles.

The SpaceShow this week:

The Tuesday November 30, 2004, 7-8:15PM Pacific Time- the Space Show features regular visitor Robert Zimmerman, author and space historian.

Sunday December 5, 2004, 12:00-1:30 PM Pacific Time - the Space Show features Frank White, author of "The Overview Effect" and the new book "Decision: Earth Book One: Alone or All One?"

November.29.2004 Space News

News briefs... Alan Boyle offers some gift suggestions for the space cadets on your Christmas list: Gifts for space geeks - Alan Boyle/MSNBC - Nov.24.04 ...

... Some recent space business news includes this artice about satellite TV service to autos and RVs: Satellite TV Made Available From the Back Seat - Space.com - Nov.24.04 and signs that the hard times will get less hard for at least one satellite builder: Cablevision to buy five Lockheed satellites - spacetoday.net - Nov.25.04 ...

... When you hear someone say that people can't live in space because of the detrimental effects of microgravity, remind them that artificial gravity produced by rotation is a well known obvious solution: Artificial Gravity: A New Spin on an Old Idea - Space.com - Nov.25.04 ...

... Here's an excellent article about an artist who is passionate about space: Finding her space: Whether in life or art, Cecil Herring has always defied the gravity of convention. - OrlandoSentinel - Nov.27.04. (See also her Spacescapes Art website.)

November.23.2004 Space News

NASA budget news... NASA and the President's Vision for Space Exploration (VSE) got a big boost last weekend when Congress allocated the full budget as requested.

The news hasn't really sunk in yet, however, with space advocacy groups according to Keith Cowing: NASA Wins Big - Yet Supporters Hardly Take Notice - NASA Watch - Nov.22.04.

Jeff Foust notes Tom DeLay's comments that the VSE was not uniformly supported within the administration: DeLay at JSC and other budget news - Space Politics - Nov.23.04.

Even with the budget increase, NASA still faces big challenges to fund all its projects: Budget ax falls on lunar probe: Shuttle workers breathing easier - Florida Today - Nov.22.04

News briefs... The site ESA Portal - Improving Daily Life highlights various direct and indirect benefits of space exploration and development, e.g. 'Spacelift' for Vendée Globe sailor - ESA - Nov.22.04 ...

... Here's a neat university satellite project: Washington University CubeSat readied for NASA/Air force competition: Satellite as small as a cantaloupe docks with mothership size of a medicine ball - Washington Univ. in St. Louis - Nov.11.04 . See also the paper: The Bandit: An Automated Vision-Navigated Inspector Spacecraft by Swartwout et al - Aug.2004 (pdf)

... The mystery of the Martian methane is drawing more and more attention: Methane in Martian Air Suggests Life Beneath the Surface - NY Times - Nov.23.04 ...

... If a sample of Martian bacteria were returned to the earth, some believe the Space Station would be a good, safe place to study it: A meaningful role for the space station - The Space Review - Nov.22.04 ...

... Fred Becker sends links to another space music site. Check out Vostok 6 by Kurt Swinghammer. Here's a review. Hear some samples at Hear samples at Amazon (affililate link.)

The SpaceShow this week:

The Tuesday November 21, 2004, 7-8:15PM Pacific Time- the Space Show features "Lucinda Weisbach, Director of Public Relations for the Mars Society and a member of the Space Exploration Alliance, advocate in Washington D.C. for FY 2005 funding and support for the Moon, Mars, and Beyond initiative."

Sunday November 28, 2004, 12:00-1:30 PM Pacific Time - the Space Show features " Brad Blair, space mining specialist. Refueling in space, enabling a new paradigm for transportation beyond LEO. "

The archive now includes a recent interview with musician and space advocate Elaine Walker.

Sci-tech brief... I doubt pure electric vehicles will catch on anytime soon due to the lack of a practical, reasonably priced battery than can provide sufficient range to compete with gasoline power. So, hybrids look to be a good near term approach until fuel cells take over.

However, I think it is a mistake for the auto companies to promote hybrids on the basis of fuel efficiency. Instead they should market them on the basis of performance.

Despite their golf-cart reputation, electric vehicles can provide excellent acceleration since electric motors give full torque from low to high RPMs. No energy or time is lost in changing gears.

The Eliica, for example, is a high performance electric sports car that outperforms many conventional sports cars. Electric shock: it's faster than a Porsche 911 - Drive.com.au - Nov.12.04. I've seen videos of other high performance electrics easily beating gas fueled sports cars in 1/8th mile drag races.

On the other hand, at cruising speeds gas engines provide good efficiency and acceleration. Hybrids thus provide the best of both worlds, assuming the total cost of two propulsion systems can be brought down to a modest premium over a single gas engine.

Some of the car companies, in fact, have exhibited high peformance hybrid concept cars but they have yet to market any.

November.22.2004 Space News

News briefs... I like this musical tribute - Valentina.mp3 - to cosmonaut Valentina Tereshkova from the UK group Komputer (item via Fred Becker) ...

... Here's a brief report on the recent space activist meetings in Huntsville and MIT: Space Resources Beckon - SciScoop - Nov.19.04 ...

... Satellite radio is getting serious attention in the media business: Sirius Satellite: Making Waves: The No. 2 company in digital radio has reeled in Howard Stern with a $500 million payday. Is this a breakthrough for the young industry? - MSNBC/Newsweek - Nov.29th issue ...

... The Zero-G flight business seem to be doing well: No In-Flight Peanuts! - MSNBC - Nov.21.04 ...

... Read about the challenges of programming the Mars rovers: A Conversation with Mike Deliman - And you think your operating system needs to be reliable. - ACM Queue - Oct.04

November.20.2004 Space News

Musical journey to Titan... Here's the latest on the Music2Titan project that placed four musical compositions aboard the Huygens probe that will dive into the atmosphere of Titan in January: It's only rock 'n' roll, but we launched it - AFP/SpaceDaily - Nov.19.04.

Here is a video about the project. Also, the site provides a nice animation of the orbit of the Cassini spacecraft around Saturn.

News briefs... SETI@Home participants and others can use the SETI range calculator program by Eric Johnston at Scotland's Seti. It estimates the range of radio signals that might be sent by extraterrestrials based on the size of their transmission dish, power, frequency, and bandwidth....

.... More about the study of radiation shielding with magnetic fields: Repelling cosmic rays with magnetic bubbles - New Scientist - Nov.19.04 ...

... A future Mars probe my rove by flying rather than rolling: Multiple Mars UAV Proposals Likely In Next Scout Competition - Aviation Week - Nov.17.04 (More Mars flyer links.) ...

.... Sigourney Weaver wants to go suborbital: Is she pining for Alien? - The Sun Newspaper Online - Nov.19.04.

November.19.2004 Space News

Space magazine collaboration... Not sure what to make of this: Is the National Space Society Fading Away - or Bouncing Back? - NASA Watch - Nov.17.04. If Space.com can bring more resources to the NSS Ad Astra magazine, that could be a good thing, especially if it can become a monthly rather than quarterly.

However, it also looks like a sign that the NSS is struggling to increase its membership and can't support the magazine.

My original primary motivation for creating HobbySpace was my disappointment with the general interest space magazines, especially their failure to make public participation the primary focus of their publications. I certainly hope that a revived Ad Astra would move its focus in that direction.

More space burials .. The company Space Services Inc. - Memorial Spaceflights (previously called Celestis) will send human remains on the first Falcon 1 flight: Falcon 1's "Loved Ones" Flight - Space.com/Astronotes - Nov.18.04

News briefs... Nice to see that someone is investigating the use of magnetic fields for radiation shielding: Magnetic Bubble Could Protect Astronauts on Long Trips - Universe Today - Nov.17.04 ...

... The Moon might be the best place to build a space elevator the first time: Space Elevator? Build it on the Moon First - Universe Today - Nov.18.04 ...

... Here are slides from a recent NASA conference with other space agencies on the exploration initiative: NASA International Workshop on Exploration Day 3 Report Outs, Summaries - SpaceRef - Nov.18.04 ...

... Lots of projects are now using software based on the SETI@home project. See, for example, the World Community Grid. More projects listed at Scientists from Different Fields Line Up to Join the BOINC Family - Planetary Society - Aug.24.04 ...

... Check out the next issue of Wired for a lot of great space stuff: Director James Cameron Guest Edits WIRED Magazine, Unveils the New Age of Space & Deep Sea Exploration in December Issue | SpaceRef - Your Space Reference.

November.17.2004 Space News

Satellite phones comeback... An article in today's Wall Street Journal - The Return of the Satellite Phone - reports that Iridium and Globalstar are succeeding in their comeback after bankruptcy. Iridium now has more than 100,000 subscribers and Globalstar has 120,000.

The phones are sold to " to heavy travelers and workers in fields such as mining, drilling, forestry and engineering who do business far from the reach of cellphones or landlines." Also, there are vacationers to out-of-the-way destinations who rent the phones. Globalstar says that "typical customers as geologists, field scientists, long-haul commercial-vehicle operators, fishing-boat operators and "extreme sport" enthusiasts."

The phones have gotten smaller than the "bricks" that were originally offered, though still bigger than cellphones. Also, usage prices have come way down....

... The company MSV (Moble Satellite Ventures) is offering "customers a wide choice of wireless data, voice, fax and dispatch radio services via its two MSAT satellites.": MSV Closes $230 Million Financing To Make ATC A Reality - MSV (Mobile Satellite Ventures) - Nov.17.04...

... In other space business news, it looks like the satellite radio stocks may continue to defy financial gravity: Sirius Highs [Motley Fool Take] - Fool.com - Nov.16.04 .

November.16.2004 Space News

The SpaceShow this week:

The Tuesday November 16, 2004, 7-8:15PM Pacific Time- the Space Show features "Dr. Thomas Matula, Assistant Professor, School of Business at the University of Houston -Victoria Campus who will discus how to use market based approaches for stimulating space commerce (visit www.spacemarkets.org )."

Sunday November 21, 2004, 12:00-1:30 PM Pacific Time - the Space Show features " Elaine Walker, musician, singer, Mars and space advocate, will be with us discussing Devon Island, Mars exploration, and much more." [See the Elaine Walker entry in the Space Music section.]

Recent shows added to the archive include interviews with Dr. Harvey Willenberg, who discussed space nuclear power and its applicable uses for space commerce, and with Mark Wolverton, the author of the new best selling book, "The Depths of Space: The Story of the Pioneer Planetary Probes".

News briefs... Tom Hanks is producing the IMAX film Magnificent Desolation about the Moon landings. It will be released in the fall of 2005: Magnificent Desolation coming to IMAX - collectSPACE - Nov.15.04...

... Europe makes it to the Moon: SMART-1 enters lunar orbit - spacetoday.net - Nov.15.04...

... Heath Allison contacted me about his GPS information called 1st-at-gps-tracking.com and a set of tutorial articles that he commissioned:

November.15.2004 Space News

Sustaining the Exploration Initiative... Looks like NASA will get a boost in funding rather than a cut in its budget for next year:

This will help with the agency's implementation of the new space initiative announced by the President last January.

Common criticisms of the initiative include claims that there will not be sufficient money for it, e.g. Back to Iraq, but what about the Moon? by Greg Zsidisin - The Space Review - Nov.15.04, and that such a long term program cannot be sustained over many presidential administrations.

However, I don't think either of these challenges are initiative killers. Although NASA's budget is much smaller (in current dollars) than what it got at the height of the Moon Race, the roughly $16 Billion that it currenly gets is still a very significant amount of money. If the money is spent more efficiently, e.g. replacing the shuttle with lower cost space access services, NASA can accomplish much of what was laid out by the President even if it doesn't get a big increase in its budget.

If NASA funding is actually supplemented by modest increases then that should speed up its exploration projects but they will proceed even if funding is flat. There is the impression that unless the agency receives the giant boosts in funding similar to what it got in the 1960's for the Apollo program, then it cannot reach its ambitious deep space exploration goals. I don't think that is true.

Human missions to the Moon and Mars can happen over the coming decades within feasible funding levels if the agency follows an incremental, step-by-step approach that takes advantage of advancements in technology and advancements in space services offered by private commercial space developers. (In fact, it's quite possible that the commercial space companies may reach the Moon with people before NASA does.)

As far as the need to sustain the program over many decades, it should be noted that the Space Shuttle program has lasted over thirty years. It went on and on despite very high costs and the election of Presidents, such as Carter and Clinton, with little interest in space. Similarly, the ISS has lasted about 20 years despite serious attempts to kill it in Congress.

Big organizations such as NASA are like giant oil tankers that don't turn very quickly and tend to keep going in the direction they aim for. Once NASA's vast establishment of centers, contractors, and subcontractors becomes totally focused on the deep space exploration programs, it will take an enormous effort to reorient them in another direction.

Since January the agency has in fact been making significant steps in reorganizing itself to implement the new policy. I think even if Kerry had been elected, much of what Bush had proposed would still have happened, though there would be some superficial changes so that it could be relabeled a Kerry program.

With the Shuttle and ISS, the agency got set on a disappointing if not disastrous path. I certainly hope that its new direction will be a more productive one for space exploration and development. This early stage would be an excellent time for space activists to get involved in helping to set the new course since we are likely to see NASA on it for a long, long time.

More review articles... The latest Space Review includes more articles on politics and policy. Jeff Foust looks at the pitfalls of developing a space policy during the tumult of an election campaign: The making of a space policy - The Space Review - Nov.15.04....

...Douglas Jobes of The Space Settlement Institute reviews the possibilities of various types of incentive programs the government can offer to encourage space development: Will government-sponsored space prizes fly? by Douglas Jobes - The Space Review - Nov.15.04.

News briefs... If you are in New York, check out the sci-fi art show From Imagination to Reality: The Art of Science Fiction - Nov 5, 2004 - Jan 28, 2005 - New York Academy of Sciences * Sci-Fi Paints a Pretty Picture - Wired - Nov.15.04 ...

... Is the methane on Mars from living creatures or not? Scientists face the fact of Mars methane - New Scientist - Nov.15.04

Space science publishing... Pure science doesn't justify the costs of human spaceflight (other more serious reasons do) but that doesn't mean that good science isn't being done by astronauts.

For example, the Evaluation of Shoulder Integrity in Space: First Report of Musculoskeletal US on the International Space Station -- Fincke et al... Radiology was submitted by astronauts on the ISS and was accepted for publication: Scientific paper submitted from space - Spaceflight Now - Nov.14.04.

SciTech brief: Make holograms at home with these hologram kits from Liti holo.

November.13.2004 Space News

Fully funded commercial space tug... Orbital Recovery has completed the second round of fund raising for its space tug project: Orbital Recovery Completes the Funding for its CX OLEV Space Tug With a Team of European Space Industry Leaders - Orbital Recovery - Nov.11.04.

Begun by American space financier Walt Anderson and engineer/entrepreneur Dennis Wingo, the project has become a European company. ESA gave them funding for the early definition phase and now several top European aerospace firms are participating in the manufacture and operation of the vehicles

The tug is called the ConeXpress and it's main job will be to attach to geostationary communications satellites that are running out of station-keeping fuel and keep them operational for several more years. See the Orbital Recovery Fact Sheet (pdf) for an overview....

... Orbital Recovery has also offered to move the Hubble Telescope: They say the tug "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."

However NASA apparently will go with a robot system that will try to repair the spacecraft itself: Robot Helps NASA Refocus on Hubble: Written-Off Mission to Extend Telescope's Life Is Revived Because of 'Dextre' - Washington Post - Nov.12.04

Man tries to conquer space film... Someone yesterday asked me about the status of David Sander's Man Conquers Space (MCS) film and I realized I had not checked up on the project for a long time.

The film relies on sophisticated computer generated graphics and special effects techniques to present an alternative space history. It's a history based on the vision of Wernher Von Braun and Chesley Bonestell who depicted a very exciting future for space exploration in their famous series of articles in Collier's Magazine in 1952.

The film presents this alt history as if it were a documentary in 1969 that is looking back on the accomplishments of the space program in the past decade. These accomplishments include the first landing on the Moon in 1963 and on Mars in 1968.

In October of 2002 I did an interview with Blair Joscelyne, the composer of the soundtrack for the film, and also communicated a few times with David. It seemed at the time that the film would probably be released in 2003.

However, apparently dissatisfied with a short 30 minute version, David decided to pursue a longer, more elaborate film. This involved a lot more development and a lot more money. The website's What's New postings indicates that progress has been made. See the latest film stills and a 4 minute film clip shown at a sci-fi meeting in July 2003.

However, there were also lots of problems in the past couple of years, including a disk crash that destroyed a considerable amount of development materials.

Here is an interview with Sander at mike.whybark.com - January 2003 Archives - Jan.5-10 (scroll to botton and start with Jan 5th entry and work up.)

Doesn't appear that the film will be out soon. From the clip, though, it looks like it will be worth the wait when it finally debuts.

Double space service... Terrestrial radio companies have given up trying to block satellite radio systems from broadcasting local weather and news: SkyFILES: A Satellite Radio Victory - SkyREPORT.com - Nov.12.04. I was not aware of the following capability of the satellite radio receivers:

XM has GPS capabilities in place with its XM NavTraffic service, and earlier this month Pioneer introduced an aftermarket navigation system that integrates XM NavTraffic.

Space impacts ... The IAA (International Academy of Astronautics) has opened a web site dedicated to the study of The Impact of Space Activities on Society. They are asking leaders of "societies and communities around the world as seen" to complete the statement: "I believe that space activities are impacting society through......" They plan to publish the replies in a book.

News briefs... A large scale survey of public attitudes towards space exploration is mostly positive: Dittmar Associates Releases The Market Study for Space Exploration - Dittmar Associates/SpaceRef -Nov.11.04...

... Smart-I is nearly in lunar orbit: European spacecraft prepares to orbit Moon - New Scientist - Nov.11.04

SciTech brief: This looks promising: Sandia, Stirling To Build Solar Dish Engine Power Plant - Sandia/Spacedaily - Nov.12.04 :

The cost for each prototype unit is about $150,000. Once in production SES estimates that the cost could be reduced to less than $50,000 each, which would make the cost of electricity competitive with conventional fuel technologies.

November.11.2004 Space News

Alt.space conference report... Jonathan Goff of Masten Space System generously agreed to do a writeup on presentations at the recent Space Frontier Foundation Conference. See Notes From Space Frontier Conference 13.

He focuses on talks by space transport developers but also includes some talks by other space entrepreneurs such as those at AstroVision. This company plans to market high-resolution, continuous video from a geostationary satellite.

Music from Saturn and elsewhere ... The Cassini spacecraft finds music at Saturn: Cassini discovers music of the rings - New Scientist - Nov.9.04. There's more space audio available online from Prof. Don Gurnett at the University of Iowa.

Natural space sounds inspired the Sun Rings music composed by Terry Riley and performed by the Kronos Quartet. Prof. Gurnett has posted an online lecture about the work: Sounds of Space and the Kronos Quartet 'Sun Rings' - Iowa City, Iowa, October 2002 (currently a 48-minute MPEG)

News briefs ... Satellite radio continues to grow: Turn On, Tune In, Pay Up: How XM and Sirius persuaded millions that paying to listen to a cool technology beats listening to a boring one for free. - Technology Review - Nov.10.04...

... And satellite TV is doing very well also: EchoStar 's Q3 earnings triple on subscriber growth - CBS Marketwatch - Nov.9.04...

... I hope to live to see business on the Moon: Mining the Moon, the Gateway to Mars by Leonard David - Space.com - Nov.10.04...

... The President hasn't forgotten his space policy initiative: Space and the press secretary - Space Politics - Nov.10.04 ...

... Satellites are essential for migratory animal studies: Satellites track albatross flight - BBC - Nov.10.04....

... More about the new BBC space series: 'We choose to go to the planets' - BBC - Nov.10.04 ...

... Another article about Laurie Anderson and her space music: Inviting the Cosmos Onto the Stage - NY Times - Nov.10.04 (ignore her nonsense about Apollo 11 being a military mission.)

SciTech brief: Here's an interesting article about the FanWing, a whole new way to fly: Revolution in the Air - Aerospace International - Nov.04

November.9.2004 Space News

Space music news... Here are some items about the To Touch the Stars space music CD from Eli Goldberg's latest Prometheus Music update to those who contributed to the album:

With the help of Dr. Roger Launius (Chair, Division of Space History; formerly NASA's Chief Historian), the National Air & Space Museum gift shop has placed an order for the album, and will be testing it at their music sampling stations.

- BIS/Spaceflight Magazine

The June issue of the British Interplanetary Society's monthly magazine Spaceflight features a review of To Touch the Stars.

- National Space Society's Ad Astra

The most recent issue of the National Space Society's magazine featured a follow-up article [written by this HS editor] highlighting post-release album news.

- Electric Current

Twila Oxley Price also wrote a comprehensive piece about "filk" mentioning To Touch the Stars, for the Ann Arbor entertainment monthly Electric Current. It's also on the net at:


- American Astronautical Society's Space Times

Roger Launius us to send a copy of the CD to Jon Malay, who is the President of the American Astronomical Society, and also Lockheed Martin's director of Civil Space Programs.

I'm honored to share Jon he enjoyed it so much that he chose to feature the album to lead in his "President's Message" for their bi-monthly Space Times newsletter (July/August).

- Alabama Aerospace Celebration Liftoff

On November 18, there'll be around 4000 kids participating in an aerospace education program which will include presentations from two astronauts and also some musical presentations from personnel at the Marshall Spaceflight Center in Huntsville, AL.

One of the events planned by event organizer Sandy Armstrong is an elementary school choir singing Michael Penkava's "Now's the Time to Touch a Star" (with the To Touch the Stars instrumentals), and 3800 kids joining along.

Stan Clardy ("Big Blue Sky") will also be performing at this conference, highlighting songs and stories about spaceflight.

This is all big thanks to Jim Kirkpatrick of the American Astronautical Society, who sent Sandy the CD (after receiving a copy via Dr. Launius).

- "Out to Launch" fan fiction

Stargate:SG-1 fan fiction written around Leslie Fish's "Witnesses' Waltz", as recorded on the CD. You can find it at:


... Space.com sponsored an online poll of favorite space songs: The 10 best Spacepod songs as voted by our users: - SPACE.com/ SPACEBOX - Nov.8.04 ...

... You can download hour long real-audio files of space rock broadcast by Aural Innovations. See their playlist of recent programs. Check out also the latest News from the Space Rock, Psychedelic and Indie World...

... Yet another article on Laurie Anderson's lunar music: Laurie Anderson draws from NASA: Her experience stems from being its first artist-in-residence - Seattle PI - Nov.9.04

A scientist who supported human spaceflight... This week's Space Review includes Michael Huang's article about the late Carl Sagan's support for human spaceflight. Sagan's rationale for human spaceflight - The Space Review - Nov.8.04. Sagan had long adhered to the dogma in the science community that the manned program should be dropped in favor of a robots-only, pure science program.

However, he gradually came to believe that a human spaceflight program was essential because it offered access to a safe haven (or heaven!) for humanity and civilization in case a global disaster of some kind occurred.

I've noted here several times that Sagan also often mentioned a more practical benefit to space science from the human spaceflight program. He pointed out that the space science budget went up when the manned program budget went up and similarly went down when the manned program was cut. Most scientists still have not learned this important lesson.

Other articles include a discussion of the implications of the election on the space program: A mandate for exploration? by Taylor Dinerman - The Space Review - Nov.8.04 and Sam Dinkin proposes a space referendum: Vote yes on Prop 2001 by Sam Dinkin - The Space Review - Nov.8.04...

... Dwayne Day suggests that government secrecy habits kept a spy satellite out of the new Smithsonian Space Hangar: .The invisible Big Bird: why there is no KH-9 spy satellite in the Smithsonian by Dwayne Day - The Space Review - Nov.7.04 ...

... Tom Hill reports on how NASA chose to use lunar orbit rendezvous as the basis of the Apollo project:Decision point by Tom Hill - The Space Review - Nov.8.04

News briefs ... The BBC will soon broadcast Space Odyssey, a "programme revealing the dangers and spectacles of exploring other planets in the Solar System." Pushing frontiers in TV space - BBC - Nov.8.04 ...

... Cable TV viewers in FairFax Virginia, near Washington, D.C., can see broadcasts of the space news program Around Space, produced by DC-L5, a chapter of the National Space Society ...

... Space tourism proponent John Spencer is a co-founder of Red Planet Ventures, which is developing a resort in California whose theme will be that of a "Mars Expedition Base". Visitors will experience the life of an explorer on the red planet ...

... China continues development of its human spaceflight program: China Ramps Up Human Spaceflight Efforts - Space.com - Nov.8.04 ...

... More cat zero-g antics: NASA's flying feline floating around Internet - Florida Today - Nov.8.04...

... Here are some cool satellite photos of Disneyland: Hi-Res Aerial Photo of Disneyland - Zan's Stuff - Nov.04

The SpaceShow this week:

The Tuesday November 9, 2004, 7-8:15PM Pacific Time- the Space Show features "Mark Wolverton, author of 'The Depths of Space: The Story of the Pioneer Planetary Probes' .Mr. Wolverton has thoroughly studied the Pioneer project. His articles have appeared in numerous magazines and journals, he has published short stores and scripts which have been produced by NPR and he has completed a fellowship at NASA Ames Research Center."

Sunday November 14, 2004, 12:00-1:30 PM Pacific Time - the Space Show features "Dr. Harvey Willenberg, retired Boeing Space Manager, one of [Dr. Livingston's] doctoral dissertation advisors, and consultant to NASA and the space industry, in addition to being an expert on space nuclear power."

Now available in the archive is the recent interview with Chip Proser, writer, director, cinematographer, and film producer, returns to the program to talk about his new DVD documentary, "Gaia Selene: Saving the Earth by Colonizing the Moon.

November.8.2004 Space News

Smithsonian Space Hangar opened recently at the Udvar-Hazy Center near the Washington DC Dulles Airport: National Air and Space Museum Launches Space Hangar at Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center - NASM - Oct.20.04.

The Space Shuttle Enterprise is perhaps the main attraction but the collection includes many other space age artifacts, large and small, ranging from spacesuits to amateur satellites: Smithsonian Displays Amateur Satellites - AMSAT - Nov.3.04.

Here are some other articles about the Space Hangar:

News briefs ... The MEPAG (Mars Exploration Program Analysis Group) reports on how lunar exploration can benefit both space science in general and the exploration of Mars: Findings of the Moon-Mars Science Linkage Science Steering Group - MEPAG / SpaceRef - Nov.5.04 ...

... More about the implications of the election on NASA: Bush re-election likely to boost NASA: Marshall focusing on shuttle return, space station work - Huntsville Times - Nov.7.04 ...

... Sean O'Keefe certainly seems enthused by the results: Constellation shines brightly as NASA reaches for stars - US Navel Academy - Nov.5.04

... More on Laurie Anderson's space experience: TO THE MOON, LAURIE - SF Chronicle - Nov.7.04 ...

... Never know where you will find people controlling robots on Mars: Martian Robots, Taking Orders From a Manhattan Walk-Up - The New York Times - Nov.7.04 ...

... Here's an ambitious project to create an elaborate resort and real estate development in the Bahamas with a space/scifi theme: MOON Bahamas.

November.6.2004 Space News

Mars briefs ... The Mars orbiters and rovers continue their amazing explorations:

Check the weblog Martian Soil for regular updates on Mars news....

... Druantia, Vritual trip to Mars project is an open source project that seeks "to create a full resolution, realtime and client-server based 3D virtual trip to Mars". It uses Mars topography data from the altimeter on the Mars Global Surveyor spacecraft: MOLA Science Investigation. (More planetary modelling projects in Space Simulators section.)

News briefs ... Film and TV screenwriter Charles Proser has produced the DVD Gaia Selene Documentary, which presents the case for the argument htat lunar exploration and settlement can benefit everyone on Earth ...

... Here's a well made time-lapse photo of the recent lunar eclipse: A Time Lapse Lunar Eclipse - APOD - Nov.3.04 ...

... Space art maker David Hardy talks to Universe Today: Interview with David A. Hardy - Universe Today - Nov.4.04 ...

... Zero Gravity press: Space flight takes off at down-to-earth prices - baltimoresun.com - Nov.7.04 ...

... Harvard debuts a higher power telescope for public viewing of the cosmos: Observatory opens deep space to all: New 25-inch telescope provides views of nebulas, galaxies - Harvard Gazette - Nov.4.04.

November.4.2004 Space News

Space and the election ... At SpacePolitics.com Jeff Foust reports on various aspects of the election results and their possible effects on space policies. Florida Today believes the President's space initiative will now takeoff: Victory will jump-start space plans - Florida Today - Nov.3.04.

Space ham radio anniversary... When the first crew came aboard the ISS four years ago, they soon began to install and use the first permanent amateur radio station in space. Since then, all of the crews, and also space tourists Dennis Tito and Mark Shuttleworth, have used the stations to talk with friends, families, hams, and school groups back on earth.

Here is a review of the history of the ARRIS station: Permanent ISS Amateur Radio Station, Human Crews Share Fourth Anniversary - ARRL Web - Nov.4.04

The SpaceShow this week:

Sunday November 7, 2004, 12:00-1:30 PM Pacific Time - the Space Show features "Chip Proser, well-known writer, director, cinematographer and film producer [who will ] discuss his new documentary, Gaia Selene, regarding opportunities and solving terrestrial problems by returning to the Moon and using lunar resources."

The Tuesday November 2nd evening show with Dr. Eligar Sadeh, a professor in the Space Studies Department at the University of North Dakota, with whom David discussed the ramifications of the election on space policy, is now available online.

Other recent guests include economist and space commentator Dr. Sam Dinkin and long time space tourism proponent John Spencer.

November.3.2004 Space News

Role players in space... Sargious Denallo, the founder of Space-Ops RPG , tells me that the "online, forum-based, role-playing game" centers around "space exploration, science, technology and adventure" and

"is basically a simulation of a small scientific outpost on Mars, where players are involved in conducting experiments, exploration missions, developing technology, and interacting as explorers and settlers of Mars.

The spirit of the game is to encourage and develop interest in space exploration, with an initial focus on human exploration of Mars. We hope to expand the game into all areas of space exploration, such as Moon settlement, asteroid mining, space tourism, etc."

Other space related role playing games are listed in the Solar Sci-Fi section.

Satellite tracking... Sebastian Stoff wrote me about Orbitron, his "satellite tracking system for radio amateur and observing purposes." It is free and "it's probably one of the easiest and most powerful satellite trackers, according to opinions of thousands of users from all over the world."

See the list of other satellite tracking programs.

News briefs ... Alan Boyle announces the winner of the Cosmic Log sci-fi short story contest: The clear sci-fi winner - AlanBoyle/Cosmic Log - Nov.1.04...

... Russia, "at the initiative of the Heinlein Society", is sponsoring a contest for students and young researchers to develop proposals fro "peaceful space projects with a significant economic effect.": Innovative Aerospace Contest Begins in Russia - Space.com Astronotes - Nov.2.04 (this link will eventually move into archives)...

... The US space program will maintain its current level of support in Congress: Most major space backers in Congress win reelection - spacetoday.net - Nov.3.04...

... Many US scientists argue that if the the US gave up its manned spaceflight program, there would be more money for unmanned missions. The empirical evidence from Britain, which has long refused to fund any human spaceflight projects of any kind, does not support this theory: 'Money woes' foiled Beagle 2 shot - BBC - Nov.2.04...

... Meanwhile the Chinese continue to grow there programs: China reveals Shenzhou plans - spacetoday.net - Nov.1.04....

... What will future archeologist learn from human ruins in space: Space: The Final [Archaeological] Frontier by P.J. Capelotti...

... Like the oceans and the air, space has become essential to the military: The future of war is up in the air, commander says - Washington Technology - Nov.1.04 (via a HS reader) + U.S. deploys satellite jamming system - Reuters/CNN - Nov.1.04.

November.1.2004 Space News

HobbySpace milestone... October was a good month for HS. The number of visitors exceeded 90,000; the most ever for a single month. The 137,000 pageviews also broke the monthly record. And the total pageviews delivered since January 1999 crossed the 3 million mark.

Traffic got a boost with the SpaceShipOne X PRIZE launches on Sept. 29th and Oct. 4th, and the rate has remained above the level prior to the flights. I hope to continue to attract visitors with new features and improvements on the web site.

The next few years promise to be among the most exciting ever for space enthusiasts. Projects like SpaceShipOne are turning spaceflight from a far off sci-fi fantasy to a near term reality. I want HobbySpace to help communicate this reality to a public that still can't quite believe it.

News briefs ... Some interesting essays on manned spaceflight are included in the latest issue of The American Enterprise: The Sober Realities of Manned Space Flight - The American Enterprise - Dec.2004 issue ...

... Here are some final thoughts on space and the election:

... Jeff Foust examines the proposed robotic mission to the Hubble telescope: Robots and Hubble: a bad idea? by Jeff Foust - The Space Review - Nov.1.04...

... The rovers continue to expand what we know about Mars and what we don't yet understand: Spirit and Opportunity Pushing the Bounds of Exploration - Aviation Week - Nov.1.04...

... The orbiters are doing their part as well: Pit chains hint at recent marsquakes on red planet - Spaceflight Now - Oct.29.04...

... More about the TV that called a satellite for rescue from reality shows: The TV That Sent Out a Cry for Help, via Satellite - NY Times - Nov.1.04...

... More about the new portable satellite radio: XM introduces portable satellite radio - CNET News.com - Oct.27.04.

SciTech brief... Even biotechnology offers opportunities for exciting projects for the amateur scientist: Biotech Hobbyist Magazine...

... Flat TVs may be the first major consumer appliance based on nanotechnology: Nanotech on Display: South Korea's Samsung leads the race to perfect flat-panel TVs built with carbon nanotubes. Will they be nanotech's first commercial hit? - Technology Review - Nov.1.04

Continue to October 2004 articles in archive

HobbySpace News Articles Index 1999-2003


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