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The Space Log
Space for Everyone - June 2005


12:55 pm: Space radio ... In responding to a question about building a space radio receiving station, I came across some links that might be of interest.

In the educational area, the site NOAASIS - Satellites and Remote Sensing - Getting Started with Tutorials, Classes and Web Resources offers a lot of material on remote sensing. It also pointed me to this guide that looks quite useful for those wanting to build a sat station: User's Guide for Building and Operating Environmental Satellite Receiving Stations (July 1997) - NTIS, by Jeff Wallach, National Environmental Satellite, Data, and Information Service, Washington, DC.

The Dallas Remote Imaging Group says that it provides "consulting services on weather satellite imagery, satellite tracking, and the use of image acquisition and processing in education."

These sites offer lots of links

See the space radio and remote sensing sections for more information about home satellite reception.

12:55 pm: News briefs ... The Deep Impact module that will smack into Comet Tempel 1 on Monday will be carrying the names of many earthlings: 625,000 Names to be Vaporized in Deep Impact - SPACE.com - June.30.05. Note the list of other Vicarious Space Travel programs. ...

... Privately funded SETI projects are becoming very sophisticated. For example, the Allen Telescope Array will be a world class radio telescope facility that uses a very innovative system of many small dish antennas. Here's an informative description of the reasoning behind the layout of the dishes: Spreading Antennas Around - SPACE.com - June.30.05


11:30 am: Googling Earth ... Wow, Google Earth is really fun. The basic version of the program, which Google obtained when it bought the Keyhole company last year, is now available free for downloading.

It opens with a view of the earth and then via your mouse you can zoom in on any area for which there is satellite imagery available; often with resolutions of a couple of meters. I zoomed down onto a beach on Rio de Janeiro and could see "figures" (well, dark marks) on the beach (sorry, guys, no thong bikini views.)

A cool feature is the "Fly to" option in which you enter the name of a city and watch the earth rotate and automatically zoom in on the center of the town.

There are many other options that I'm still learning to play with. You can, for example, put placemarks on points of interest, request directions between different points, tilt the point of view, look for particular places of interests such as hotels and restaurants, etc.

Note that you need a fast computer and a fast Internet link to appreciate the full power of the program.

11:30 am: News briefs ... July 4th will bring fireworks to Comet Tempel 1:On the 4th of July, a NASA spacecraft will blast a hole in Comet Tempel 1 - Science@NASA - June.28.05. The comet appears to be snorting as it awaits the oncoming collision: Comet Tempel 1 has another 'sneeze' outburst - Spaceflight Now - June.28.05 ...

... Cassini spots what may be a liquid methane lake on Titan: NASA's Cassini reveals lake-like feature on Titan - Spaceflight Now - June.28.05
Potential lake seen on Titan - Spacetoday.net - June.29.05 ...

... Notice how we (i.e. earthlings) currently have spacecraft near a comet, orbiting Saturn, (several) orbiting and roving Mars, orbiting the Moon, and hitting the heliosheath. There are many scientific spacecraft doing all sorts of missions and of course, hundreds of satellites around the earth and two guys on the ISS. Space is becoming a busy place. ...

... The Adler Planetarium unveils a statue of astronaut James Lovell: A successful launch for Lovell: Sculpture captures famous spacewalk - Chicago Tribune - June.29.05 ...

... An entertaining review of Mars films: Mars in Pop Culture: Film - Astrobiology Magazine- June.29.05 ...

... Here's an article about the Sun Rings composition from Terry Riley and the Kronos Quartet, which creates space music from the natural space sounds recorded by Prof. Don Gurnett of the University of Iowa: Outer space is noisier than you might think - Chicago SunTimes - June.29.05 ...

... Someday, Martians will be able to waste huge amounts of time surfing the interplanetary web: Vint Cerf: Next Stop, Mars: The Internet pioneer is working on interplanetary communication - Business Week - July.4.05 issue

11:30 am: SciTech briefs ... The Global Observer from AeroVironment is a liquid hydrogen fuel cell powered UAV that has now flown several flight tests successfully: AeroVironment Flies World's First Liquid Hydrogen Powered UAV: Enables Persistent Communications Relay and Remote Sensing Breakthrough Systems - AeroVironment - June.28.05


1:20 pm: Outer Space setback ... The latest Space Review offers the concluding article from Alan Wasser on the effects of the Outer Space Treaty on space development. LBJ's Space Race: what we didn't know then (part 2) - The Space Review - June.27.05.

I lived through that period and I think he gets it a somewhat backwards. The treaty did not undercut interest and support for space. Rather the collapse of public interest and support for space (and science and engineering in general) by the second half of the 1960s made it possible for such policies to be instituted with little or no resistance.

The launch of Sputnik set off a brief Renaissance in the US in all areas of science and engineering but with a special focus on Space. By the late 1960's, though, attitudes had completely reversed. The Viet Nam War and social unrest distracted people from progress in space and the counterculture's anti-science, anti-tech outlook gradually became dominant. Furthermore, the vast expense of the Apollo program convinced nearly everyone that space ventures of any kind were inherently too expensive to be practical.

I don't think the Antarctica case applies to the Outer Space Treaty. People know that mining in remote areas on earth like Antarctica is difficult but not impossible. The extravagant costs of the Space Race made schemes such as mining on the Moon seem like nothing but distant Star Trek fantasies. So it took no convincing at all to sell the treaty's restrictions on space property rights.

Of course, it's perfectly plausible that LBJ wanted to reduce space competition with the USSR to shift money to the War effort. However, even if he had been wildly enthusiastic about the possibilities of space development, he would have had an extremely difficult time convincing Congress to maintain Space Race funding levels.

1:20 pm: News briefs ... Other articles in Space Review include:

... I wonder if the astronauts will be able to play chess with Clarissa: NASA, Xerox to demonstrate 'virtual crew assistant' - Spaceflight Now - June.25.05 ...

... Words of wisdom from a sci-fi master: The Greatest Robert A. Heinlein Quotes - John Petrie.

1:20 pm: The SpaceShow this week:

Monday, June 27, 2005, 7:00-8:30 pm (Pacific Time ) - CEO of American Antigravity will be discussing the latest in antigravity research & its application to space access (www.americanantigravity.com). [David explores the outer limits sometimes. Don't assume any endorsement of the viability of antigravity by HS. Note that American Antigravity includes interviews with several alt.space notables such as Rick Tumlinson of the Space Frontier Foundation, Mike Gold of Bigelow Aerospace, and Michael Lane of Liftport. ]

Tuesday, June 28, 2005, 7:00-8:30 pm (Pacific Time ) - Brian Enke of the Southwest Research Institute discusses human spaceflight & his new book, "Shadows of Medusa."

Sunday, July 3, 2005, 12-1:30 PM (Pacific Time) - Daniel Bateman of the Kansas Cosmosphere and Space Center will be discussing this exciting center, its work, and more.

The interviews are discussed on the Spaceshow Forum at Space Investor.

1:20 pm: This week's AMSAT news: One Year Anniversary of Echo * Symposium Registration Now Online * SSETI Express to Leave Cleanroom * 2006 Slate of BOD Candidates * AMSAT Awards
ARISS Status:
Canadian School Contact Successful * Upcoming School Contacts * Article on Australian School Contact * SuitSat Educational Project Status * ARISS Software News of SuitSat Spreads * Astronaut Training * ARRL Article on ISS Participation in Field Day * ARRL Article on John Phillips

1:20 pm: SciTech briefs ... It appears that zinc can be used in a system for converting solar power into a portable fuel. SOLZINC: Storing Solar Energy in Zinc for Electricity or Hydrogen Production - Green Car Congress - June.26.05. You can find more information on the conversion plant at SOLZINC and SolarPACES. Info on zinc-air batteries is available at Electric Fuel Zinc-Air Battery System ...

... The cover article (subscription only) on the latest Aviation Week is about a solar powered drone that flew continuously for 48 hours. AC Propulsion reported earlier this month about the long flight of its SoLong UAV: AC Propulsion SoLong UAV Flies for 48 Hours on Sunlight Two Nights Aloft Opens New Era of Sustainable Flight - AC Propulsion - June.3.05. Note that the vehicle used the latest Li-Ion batteries with 220 Wh/kg. With even more substantial improvements in the offing, it appears that Li-Ion batteries may give fuel cells lots of competition for future energy storage dominance. ...

... The Views From Science educational website from Ely Silk provides an introduction to several interesting scientific topics and includes lots of beautiful pictures and videos. See the sections on Microcrystals, Fluorescence, and Radioluminescence. The CyberSPACE section offers video animation about topics such as the Jupiter Moon Io.


11:45 am: News briefs ... Space activist projects have apparently reached a level of sophistication where some press reporters cannot tell the difference between them and those at a well known space agency. Dan Shrimpsher points to this VOA article - NASA Creates Simulated Mars Base In Utah Desert - VOA News - June.24.05 - in which the reporter thinks "the Mars Desert Research Station is one of several sites built by NASA." (The National Geographic, though, got the story right: Life on Mars Simulated by Crew in Utah Desert - Nat. Geo. - June 26.02) ...

... The Moon Society hopes to expand its membership and develop its projects to the level of the Mars Society. A current project involves renting the MRDS for simulations of a lunar habitat ...

... During the ISDC'05 meeting, the Moon Society and the National Space Society announced the formation of a close alliance: The Moon Society and The National Space Society Sign an Historic Agreement by which the Moon Society becomes an Autonomous Affiliate of NSS - Moon Society - May.22.05 ...

... The Moon Society also cooperates closely with the American Lunar Society. Check out the Lunar Study and Observing Certificate Program - cosponsored with the Moon Society ...

... Speaking of the lunar habitats, here is an interesting article on developing an electrostatic radiation shield for them: A Force Field for Astronauts? - Science@NASA - June.24.05. This Analysis of a Lunar Base Electrostatic Radiation Shield Concept - Butler & Wichmann - NIAC - Apr.28.05 offers more details. ...

... The Florida educational program The Endeavour Academy has announced a program in which a group of Florida teachers will get to ride on the ZERO-G parabolic flights: Florida Teachers Soar High To Experience Zero-G - SpaceDaily/Zero-G - June.24.05 ...

... In Britain you can use GPS to find out where traffic cameras are placed: Show me the way - BBC - June.24.05. ...

... Hubble eyes an eye on us: Photo In the News: Hubble Snaps "Eye in the Sky" - Nat. Geo - June.24.05

11:45 am: SciTech briefs ... Do androids read electric authors? David Hanson of Hanson Robotics develops robots with realistic faces via his "patent-pending Frubber™ that closely matches the physics of human skin". At an upcoming exhibition he will debut a reasonable facsimile of the late sci-fi author Philip K. Dick, whose stories often involved robotics: Philip K. Dick Resurrected - Hanson Robotics : Project - June.05 ...

... The InstantSOUP - Electronics Cookbook uses a "learning by making" approach to teach "electronic prototyping in a playful, non-technical way." It uses the "Wiring" prototyping board that connects to USB and Processing 1.0 (BETA) software. It particularly focuses on connecting Macromedia Flash programs to the hardware. Projects include:SoundPad , Etch A Sketch, TinkerToy, and NetBell. Item via Another World Is Here: InstantSOUP for the Fabricator's Soul - WorldChanging - June.24.05


4:20 pm: News briefs ... I find much of Laurie Anderson's political commentary, in music and elsewhere, to be predictable and sophomoric but eliminating the NASA artist in residence program because you don't like her politics seems petty and shortsighted: End of the moon - John McCaslin - June.21.05 * NASA's First and Last Artist in Residence? - NASA Watch - June.21.05 ...

... More about the new Imax space film: Magnificent Desolation - NSS Chapters News - June.17.05 ...

... If access to the ISS became a lot cheaper, as possible with, for example, the t/Space scheme, then science on the station starts to make sense: NASA, Entrepreneurs to Develop Biotechnology Plan for Space Station - SpaceRef - June.22.05 ...

... Here's a cool reusable microsat from NASA: NASA Successfully Demonstrates Innovative Nanosatellite System - NASA/ScienceDaily - June.22.05 ...

... I like the headline "Million Robot March Attended by Exactly 1,000,000 Robots": The Onion 2056.

4:20 pm: SciTech brief ... Curious Aibo pups: Robo-pups created with curiosity in mind - New Scientist - June.22.05 * The Playground Experiment / Sony CSL Paris.


11:45 am: The SpaceShow this week:

Tuesday, June 21, 2005, 7:00-8:30 pm (Pacific Time ) - David Ashford of Bristol Spaceplanes in the UK.

Sunday, June 26, 2005, 12-1:30 PM (Pacific Time) - Dr. Alan Hale, astronomer and co-discoverer of the Hale-Bopp Comet returns to The Space Show.

Recent shows include an interview with Jeff Feige, who talked about the Return to the Moon Conference VI (July 21-23 at The Flamingo, Las Vegas, Nevada), and an interview with Leonard David, senior reporter for space.com.

The interviews are discussed on the Spaceshow Forum at Space Investor.

11:45 am: This week's AMSAT news: IARU Speadsheets on Small Satellites Available * Send Your Name to Pluto! * AO-51 Configuration * AMSAT Journal Article Timing * ISS Crew could be on the air for Field Day. * SSETI Announcement * Small Payload Conference

11:10 am: Space Publisher/Developer ... The Space Age Publishing Company, based in Hawaii, is an interesting organization. It sells two online space services: the Space Calendar, which provides a schedule of upcoming space events, and the Lunar Enterprise Daily, which gives the latest news on Moon related developments. It also offers Hawaii Space Tours, which include some of the famous astronomical observatories on the islands.

In addition to these activities, the company is pursuing a space development project called the International Lunar Observatory. It gave SpaceDev a contract in July of 2004 to carry out a study to investigate the feasibility of a unmanned mission "to put a small dish antenna near the south pole of the Moon." The latter part of this Space.com article by Leonard David describes the project.

11:10 am: SciTech: Mu milestone ... It was a great news / bad news day for Carter Aviation Technologies, the small firm developing an innovative hybrid winged and rotor vehicle. Last Friday the company's CarterCopter was the first rotorcraft to ever achieve a mu of 1.

The mu factor, explained nicely here, is the ratio of the speed of the aircraft VA to the tip speed Vtip of the rotor (relative to the vehicle). The top speeds of conventional rotorcraft are limited because of the drag caused by the rotor and because the speed of the rotor tip relative to the atmosphere can reach supersonic at modest vehicle speeds.

The CarterCopter overcomes these problems by slowing the rotor (i.e. reducing Vtip) and relying on a small wing for lift. Weighted tips keep the slowly rotating rotor rigid, which prevents flapping. The goal is a vehicle that can achieve very short takeoff and landing and still provide for efficient forward flight with speeds reaching up to 500 mph.

So the achievement last week was a significant one. Unfortunately, in a flight later the same day "the pilots executed a forced landing in a nearby field." No one was hurt but the "aircraft sustained significant damage". This is reminiscent of the time the vehicle presented a very impressive flight demonstration before a military delegation only to land on its belly when the pilots forgot to deploy the landing gear.

The team, however, doesn't seem to let such setbacks affect their plans very much. They simply fix the broken parts and get back into the air before long. They follow a very open development process and you can check their progress via the weekly updates posted on their website.


3:05 pm: News briefs ... You can monitor developments with the Cosmos 1 Solar Sail via the Updates page and the Solar Sail Blog. The launch is set for tomorrow at 19:46:09 GMT (15:46:09 EST) ...

... You can Build Your Own Solar Sail Spacecraft Scale Model via plans available at Space Craft International. They offer a number of other Free Spacecraft Paper Model Plans. There are also some low cost kits such as for the Hubble Telescope and Lunar Prospector...

... The latest Space Review includes:

... See a trailer for the IMAX space film Magnificent Desolation, which is narrated by Tom Hanks and will premier in the fall: Magnificent Desolation teaser trailer - collectSPACE - June.19.05...

... Students taking part in the European SSETI - Student Space Exploration & Technology Initiative will get to see their satellite launch this August: Students wait to launch their dream baby - ESA - June.17.05 ...

... A big Moon will bo on the horizon in the northern hemisphere: Summer Moon Illusion - Science@NASA - June.20.05

3:05 pm: Mundane vision ... Via Slashdot I came across the Mundane SF project whose Manifesto rejects non-hard science sci-fi scenarios and "technologies" such as faster-than-light travel, time travel, galaxy-wide empires, etc. (See also the Mundane-SF Blog.)

This jives well with my Solar Sci-Fi approach except that, at least from a quick scan, they seem to follow mostly an earth-only outlook with little consideration of the possibilities of a future in which life spreads throughout the solar system.

As I tried to express in this essay, a future within the "confines" of the solar system will be anything but mundane. (Note that slower-than-light travel to other stars is feasible but it doesn't allow for anything like normal human interaction and commerce.) We have enormous resources awaiting us and lots of room in which to develop a huge diversity of societies and ways of living.

The absence of a Solar Sci-fi genre with the popularity of Star Wars has nothing to do with scientific or economic feasibility. It does have everything to do with the paradigm of mundane space created by the Moon Race period, which left everyone, including many sci-fi writers, convinced that anything space-related must be stupendously expensive, agonizingly slow to develop, and involve only a handful of hyper-elite government employees.

I certainly hope that the X-PRIZE and StarShipOne and Two and other paradigm-exploding events and technologies coming along in the next few years will inspire a burst of creative energy and imagination that fully exploits the vast possibilities that are opening up to us.


2:05 am: News briefs ... Here's a review of Chip Proser's Gaia Selene documentary about lunar colonization: Hey Gang! Let's Move to the Moon! - Wired - June.17.05 (I will comment on it soon.) ...

... Here is a brief history of amateur/student satellites in the Soviet Union and Russia and a description of current projects: Students instructed from space satellites - RIA Novosti - June.17.05 ...

... The Mars Express can now start doing some serious water mapping: Mars Express deploys second radar boom - New Scientist - June.15.05 * Smooth deployment for second MARSIS antenna boom - ESA - June.16.05 ...

... I think the Martians (i.e. the people who live on Mars) will decide how and when to transform their planet: Terraforming: Human Destiny or Hubris? - ad Astra/space.com - June.17.05 ...

... More places to look for aliens: Setting SETI's Sights: Latest Planet Discovery Suggests New Targets - Space.com - June.16.05

1:55 am: SciTech briefs ... More holographic news. Check out the holographic videos developed at the Southwestern Medical Center: Dynamic Display of Real and Virtual 3-D Holographic Images Using TI's DMD - SWMED * Holographic Movies Show Promise For Medical, Military Applications - ScienceDaily/UTSMC - June.15.05 ...

... Info on open source hardware projects is available at the inventionDB - Invention Resource Database


3:00 pm: News brief ... Don't forget that Mike Melvill will hold a webchat on the EAA Young Eagles website this evening between 7 and 8 p.m. central time: First Civilian Astronaut to Answer Your Questions.

11:15 am: News briefs ... Jim Oberg tries to bring some realism to the discussion of weapons in space: Hyperventilating over 'space weapons' - USATODAY.com - June.14.05 . See also the recent articles by Dwayne Day: General Power vs. Chicken Little - The Space Review - May.23.05 * Blunt arrows: the limited utility of ASATs - The Space Review - June.6.05 ...

... Dr. Jim Pass is advocating the development of a branch of sociology that deals with the many ways that space affects our society such as the impact of exploration and development activities, SETI, cosmological discoveries, etc. See his website Astrosociology.com and hear his recent interview on the SpaceShow for more info. ...

... Sounds like it involved more show than substance when ISS astronaut John Phillips testified to a Congressional committee yesterday: The astronauts show - Space Politics - June.15.05 * Space-to-Congress linkup allows astronaut to testify - Spaceflight Now - June.14.05. However, I still like the way this moves society at least a small step towards thinking of space as a place. A place where people are living and working. ...

... Tom Delay offers advice on other ways for space advocates to influence Congress: 'Space Nut' DeLay advises group how to lobby NASA - Houston Chronicle - June.14.05 ...

... Sounds like the Kansas Cosmosphere is opening an excellent exhibit on the Space Race: Cosmosphere immerses visitors in space race - Wichita Eagle - June.15.05 * Cosmosphere’s Mollett Early Spaceflight Gallery Opening Immerses Visitors in Launch Day Experiences and Cold War Space Race Original Seven Mercury astronaut Scott Carpenter highlights opening day event - Cosmosphere - June.6.2005.

11:15 am: Space business briefs ... Satellite radio is learning new tricks: Sirius Boosts Capacity: New modulation technology gives the satellite radio company the capacity to offer advanced services. - Red Herring- June.13.05 ...

... The LEO satellite constellations continue on the road to becoming solid businesses. Iridium has had a flurry of announcements recently and yesterday said it had raised more money to fund further development: Iridium Closes $32 Million Credit Facility with Bank of America - Iridium - June.14.05. Also, Globalstar seems to be doing well: Globalstar And Qualcomm Sign $140 Million Multi-Year Manufacturing Agreement - Globalstar - June.13.05. Orbcomm had its own announcement this week: ORBCOMM Announces Agreement with M2M Communications Corp. - June.13.05.

11:15 am: SciTech brief ... Here's a neat way to capture fast holographic images: Mobile Holography and Laser Systems * Fast holography of faces: An ultrafast holography system captures the shape of live subjects - optics - June.14.05


12:15 am: News briefs ... Mike Melvill will hold a webchat on the EAA Young Eagles website on Wednesday, June 15 between 7 and 8 p.m. central time: First Civilian Astronaut to Answer Your Questions ...

... The resolution of the Doppler technique for finding planets is getting much finer than I ever thought possible: Small, Rocky Planet Discovered Circling Another Star - SpaceRef - June.13.05. ...

... Another day comes and goes on Mars: NASA Mars Rover Sunset: A Moment Frozen in Time - SpaceRef - June.13.05


2:00 pm: The SpaceShow this week:

Monday, June 13, 2005, 7:00-8:30 pm (Pacific Time ) - Jeff Feige will talk about the Return to the Moon Conference VI (July 21-23 at The Flamingo, Las Vegas, Nevada), which he is organizing. Jeff Feige is currently an associate at PoliSpace, a political consulting firm dedicated to helping space entrepreneurs and intrapreneurs succeed at the nexus of space business, technology, and public affairs.

Tuesday, June 14, 2005, 7:00-8:30 pm (Pacific Time ) - Leonard David, Senior Space Writer for Space.com, will discuss the "latest up to the minute news and inside views on the important space news stories happening now."

Sunday, June 19, 2005, 12-1:30 PM (Pacific Time) - Chuck Walker will discuss his newly released Apogee book, Atlas, The Ultimate Weapon.

The interviews are discussed on the Spaceshow Forum at Space Investor.

2:00 pm: This week's AMSAT news: Call for papers-2005 AMSAT Space Symposium and Annual Meeting * AMSAT Board of Directors Nominations Due * AO-51 Configuration for Field Day * OSCAR-11 Reception Reports Sought * AMSAT Journal Needs Authors * Field Day Pictures, Please * SETTI Express Launch Date * AMSAT Awards Announcement * Keplerian Elements Now Available for PDA
ARISS Status:
Australian School Contact Successful * Upcoming School Contacts * SuitSat Status * Astronaut Training * Dayton Hamvention 2005 Presentations * Field Day

11:45 am: A space suit for an amateur satellite ... SuitSat is an innovative project of the ARISS (Amateur Radio on the International Space Station) program that will turn a spare Russian spacesuit on the ISS into a satellite. ARISS Seeks School Involvement in "SuitSat" Project - ARRLWeb - June.3.05

Note that there are still a couple of days remaining before the deadline for schools to place images of artwork on SuitSat:

Attention Schools!!
Would your school like to participate in a spacewalk??
Here is an outstanding opportunity!!


In the fall of 2005, a Russian spacesuit is expected to be deployed from the International Space Station. This deployment is expected to occur during a spacewalk currently planned in mid-September. Once deployed, the spacesuit will orbit the Earth for several weeks until it burns up as it enters the Earth's atmosphere.

The Amateur Radio on the International Space Station (ARISS) team has received permission to include a special compact disk on-board this spacesuit with school artwork included. As a result, participating schools will have an opportunity to "fly" their artwork as part of the spacewalk.

To participate, schools should develop a 1 page piece of artwork that uniquely represents your school. This could be an artist's representation of the school, a list of student names, student signatures, a school science project summary or a school mission patch. This artwork should be primarily developed by the students. The goal is for you to use your imagination and engage your students in the development of the artwork.

The page, as delivered, should not exceed 8.5x11 inches ( 216x279 mm) so that it can be easily scanned onto the compact disk. Schools can also take a digital photograph of their art work and send this in. If you elect to take a digital photograph, we ask that this be in jpg format and not exceed 2 megs in size. No other formats can be accepted.

Delivery Specifics:

All entries need to be received prior to June 15 2005 to be included on the compact disk. The disk will be delivered to Russia in late June, flown to the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan and launched on the 19P Progress vehicle currently planned for August 2005.

8.5x11 inch page artwork can be mailed to the following address:
School Spacewalk
850 Sligo Ave.
Suite 600
Silver Spring, MD USA 20910-4703

Jpg images, no greater than 2 megs, using the naming format "schoolname_location.jpg" can be e-mailed to: schoolspacewalk@comcast.net

The ARISS team looks forward to your artwork and is pleased to provide this opportunity to school students around the world!!

11:45 am: News briefs ... NASA flies a telescope in Near Space: 'BLAST' Off! Stratospheric Telescope Studies Stars - Space.com - June.13.05 * NASA Sends Up Balloon Carrying Telescope - Yahoo!/AP- June.12.05. More info at NSBF Kiruna Sweden Operations. (Item via R. Nech) ...

... Dwayne Day reviews where the ISS has succeeded and where it has failed: Twenty-five gigabucks of steel: the objectives of the International Space Station - The Space Review - June.13.05 ...

... Meanwhile, a session of the House Committee on Science on the space station project will receive testimony directly from the ISS astronauts: Even in space you cannot escape Congress - Space Politics - June.10.05 ...

... See Mars up close and in 3D via a high definition digital video production opening this summer at the Science Museum of Minnesota. The article Touring Mars in 3D - Apple.com/ProVideo News - June.05 describes how Mars 3D was developed from NASA 3D images taken by the rovers. See the trailers and more info in the Mars 3D PDF Press Kit available from the site of the producer Melissa Butts ...

... Here's an interesting story about how the Orange County Space Society managed to resurrect a full sized shuttle crew cabin simulator for the Discovery Science Center in Orange County, California: Have Shuttle, Will Travel: Endeavour Takes Shape at Discovery Science Center - ad Astra/Space.com - June.2.05

11:45 am: Space history briefs ... James Oberg reports on a well deserved honor bestowed on John Houbolt who successfully championed the Lunar Orbit Rendezvous strategy for the Apollo program: Academic honors for a spaceflight prophet - The Space Review - June.13.05 ...

... Geoffrey Landis reviews a couple of books about a trio brilliant and eccentric rocket pioneers: The Three Rocketeers - American Scientist - July/August.05 issue


8:50 pm: News briefs ... Alan Boyle reports on places to see satellite images of storms: Watch storms from space - Cosmic Log / MSNBC - June.10.05 * NASA - Hurricane 2005: A Hurricane Resource Site ...

... If you are going for a walk on the Moon, be sure to check the solar storm forecast: A New Kind of Solar Storm: Going to the Moon? Be careful. A new kind of solar storm can take you by surprise - Science@NASA - June.10.05 ...

... On the other hand, lunar colonies and space habitats can take great advantage of sunlight by piping it throughout their structures: New lighting system transports sunlight to where it's needed - Gizmag - June.10.05 ...

... Mark Whittington reviews the various types of space related tourism experiences: Space: The Final Frontier of Tourism - Fine Tuning - June.10.05 ...

... You can download plans for models of Japanese spacecraft at NASDA Paper Models ...

... NASA develops a nanosat that can be used by itself or as a blackbox attachment to larger spacecraft: Micro Spacecraft to Pave the Way for Future Space Exploration - NASA - Apr.29.05.


7:25 am: News briefs ... The refurbishment of the Saturn V in Huntsville will start soon: Saturn V ready for makeover, 'shrink wrap' - Huntsville Times - June.9.05. The Save the Saturn V campaign raised over $2M for the project ...

... So what is really needed to prepare for a human mission to Mars? One big problem is how to deal with Red Planet dust. Check out this study for a list of such challenges: Precursor Measurements of Mars Needed to Reduce the Risk of the First Human Mission to Mars - SpaceRef - June.9.05 ...

... Space stuff is hot stuff: Moscow Police Detain Man Trying to Sell $50,000 Stolen Meteorite - Moscow News - June.9.05. (via spacetoday.net)


12:05 am: News briefs ... Astro Black Morphologies is a multimedia performance derived from x-ray data from the black hole Cygnus-XI. The performances by the duo Eddie George and Anna Piva will be at the Science Museum in London during June 9-24. They produce multimedia installations and sound art performances under the Flow Motion name and record as Hallucinator. ...

... Mars lights up: Auroral Lights Discovered at Mars - Space.com - June.8.05. ...

... Things are starting to buzz at KSC as the Discovery mission nears: Outward bound: A new shuttle mission stirs up outer-space excitement - Chicago Tribune - June.7.05.


12:45 am: News briefs ... It's often said that space is extraordinarily tough on spacecraft. It appears to me, though, that space is not all that different from the harsh environment of home. If a consumer device doesn't break down there in the first week or two, it almost always works for many years. In space, whether its amateur sats or Mars rovers, if the equipment survives the launch and some dramatic events like separation from boosters and landings, the systems go on and on:. Mars rover escapes sand dune - spacetoday.net - June.6.05 ...

... Sam Dinkin discusses the "interesting law and economics questions about who should get the spoils when a [space]ship goes bad." Dividing up the spoils - The Space Review- June.5.05 ...

... Dwayne Day points out the technical and political drawbacks involved in trying to hit satellites with rockets: Blunt arrows: the limited utility of ASATs - The Space Review - June.6.05 ...

... Taylor Dinerman examines the consequences on space policy of the failure of the EU constitution: The French "non", the Dutch "nee", and their impact on Europe's space policy - The Space Review - June.6.05 ...

... "Ed Buckbee, with Wally Schirra, in their book The Real Space Cowboys share emotional highlights of their own and others from the early U.S. space program.": Book Review: The Real Space Cowboys - Universe Today - June.6.05


12:05 am: The Space Press Syndicate ... In last week's SpaceShow interview with Robert Zimmerman I heard the bad news that UPI is dropping his column and also that of Irene Mona Klotz. The struggling company wants to focus its tech/science coverage on a limited selection of topics such consumer health. Zimmerman and Klotz have been doing a great job the past year or so in reporting on developments in the new commercial space movement. It is a real shame to see their columns disappear just when things are heating up.

Maybe it's time to form a press service dedicated to space. It could distribute columns and reports from pros like Zimmerman and Klotz as well as less polished works from the various alt.space publications. It could operate initially as low budget clearinghouse type of operation but eventually develop into the "AP of space" as human spaceflight operations expand. I can imagine there will someday even be stringers in space sending in hot news items from the Moon, L5 habitats, and elsewhere...

12:05 am: Talking with greens in space ... I occasionally hear suggestions from space advocates that there should be a greater effort to ally with environmentalists. This should be a easy sale since space offers many ways to help the environment ranging from extensive monitoring of the earth by satellites to the use of space based resources like solar power. Unfortunately, the environmental community contains a wide strain of knee-jerk anti-tech sentiment and the suggestion of collaborating with space developers is a nonstarter with many, if not most, environmental activists.

However, there are some Greens who actually seem enthusiastic about the possibilities. Jamais Cascio, for example, is not only aware of how space utilization has benefited the environment but also recognizes the potential benefits of the commercialization of space: Another World Is Here: Greens in Space, Part II - WorldChanging - June.4.05. (I disagree with him on the Mars contamination issue but that is something to argue about down the line.)


10:25 am: News briefs ... Robert Pearlman reports on a fascinating discovery in "a long-locked room at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station": "Suits for Space Spies" - collectSPACE - June.2.05 ...

... Alan Boyle links to several fascinating Mars images and an amazing dust-devil sequence: Postcards from Mars - Cosmic Log/MSNBC.com - June.2.05 ...

... Many of those beautiful astronomical images that you see from the Hubble and other observatories are the result of extensive processing and the somewhat subjective choices made for the coloration: How Do Space Pictures Get So Pretty? - Photoshop, of course. By Daniel Engber - Slate - June.1.05.


1:15 pm: News briefs ... Looks like Olsen's flight really is back on this time: Space tourist Gregory Olsen may fly in fall 2005 - RIA Novosti - June.1.05 * Countdown to space ride: - Cosmic Log/MSNBC - June.1.05 ...

... Dan Schrimpsher thinks that a new joint NASA and DOD organization will be needed to deal with monitoring and possibly deflecting a NEO that might hit earth: 2004 MN4, Return of the Jedi - Space Pragmatism - June.1.05


4:35 pm: Space teachers ... Despite the fact that thousands of teachers continued to express strong interest in going to space even after the Challenger disaster and the death of Christa McAuliffe, NASA has never sent a single teacher to space in the 21 years since the founding of the Teachers-in-Space program. That program evolved into the Educator Astronaut, in which former teachers, like McAuliffe's backup Barbara Morgan, become full-time mission specialists. However, Morgan has still not flown.

Space Frontier Foundation seeks to do something about this. It has created the program Teachers in NewSpace with the goal of convincing Congress to send up to 1000 teachers to space via suborbital space tourist vehicles. Tickets are projected to cost in the $100K range, so $20M a year would give rides to 200 teachers a year (4 from each state.)

Ed Wright originated the idea and illustrated how it could be done when his X-Rocket company flew a teacher on one of its high altitude MiG-21UM supersonic jet trainer: Teacher In Space Candidate Completes Proficiency Flight - X-Rocket - Mar.30.05.

William Boland, founder of Forever Bound, is a strong advocate for Teachers in NewSpace and I first heard about it from him at the recent ISDC gathering. Here's a message he wrote earlier this year to Sean O'Keefe asking for NASA's support.

4:35 pm: News briefs ... Rep. Dana Rohrbacher will try to get some support for NEO monitoring as urged by Rusty Schweickart and the B612 Foundation: Congressman Backs Asteroid Agency - Wired - June.1.05. * NEO policy - Space Politics - June.1.05...

... More about beaming your message to space: Intergalactic Communications: Tele-spamming Our Alien Brethren - Popular Science - June.05 issue. The Vicarious Space Travel section lists several companies offering deep space messaging services...

... The satellite images option for Google's map service has gotten lots of publicity. Other satellite based mapping services for the consumer will become available soon. Google, for example, is selling a standalone satellite/aerial imaging program from its Keyhole subsidiary that has many more features than the free online mapping tool.

MSN will roll out its Virtual Earth service this summer and it will combine satellite and aerial images so that you can see up close the places you are seeking. Amazon's A9.com will offer images of store fronts made on the ground but they will rely on GPS coordinates to align the images. ...

... Speaking of Google, here is another article about one of their top programmers giving up the web search business to do astronomy full-time: The Google Astronomer - Space.com - June.1.05....

... Here are a couple of books that I've seen talked about recently. In Space Tourism : Adventures in Earth's Orbit and Beyond (Amazon: US  UK) , author Michel van Pelt attempts to answer the question of "what would it actually feel like to be a tourist in space, to be hurled into orbit on top of a controlled explosion, to float around in a spacecraft, and to be able to look down on your hometown from above the atmosphere?" ...

... In the children's picture book Reaching for the Moon, Buzz Aldrin tells kids the story of his life and how he got to the Moon (Amazon: US  UK). Buzz Aldrin takes giant leap into kids' books - Register - June.1.05.

4:35 pm: Space music news ... Eli Goldberg of Prometheus Music passes along some items about the space music album To Touch the Stars:

We are now shipping the second (2000 unit) printing of "To Touch the
Stars", the first-ever singer-songwriter compilation CD celebrating space
exploration. This printing features a new afterword by former NASA mission
controller (and NSS director) Marianne Dyson, replacing the afterword by
former NSS executive director Brian Chase.

We also removed one track, "Beyond the Sky", and redesigned the Digipack
to include a removable booklet, rather than the glued booklet used in the
first printing.

This second printing is now available for purchase, with generous free
MP3s, at: www.totouchthestars.com

The last 8 remaining copies of the first edition (also 2000 unit) are
available on eBay through June 4th at:

(These items were first posted on the collectSPACE forum: New printing of "To Touch the Stars" CD; last few copies on eBay - collectSPACE: Messages):

Music from the album has become a part of the annual Yuri's Night festivities. The Kristoph song "Others Standing By" is now one of their official Yuri's Night tracks.

Eli also says that To Touch the Stars has found its way into several academic

  • "After Columbia: The Space Shuttle Program and the Crisis in Space
    Access" by Dr. Roger Launius (in the Astropolitics journal) concludes
    with Bill Roper's song "Legends".

  • "A Tribute to the Space Shuttle Columbia and Seven" by Jill Walters
    (in the Microbial Ecology journal) quotes Dr. Jordin Kare's song "Fire
    in the the Sky" in its entirety.

    (This was also mistakenly reproduced without Dr. Kare's permission -
    and with an erroneous attribution. They'll be publishing a correction in
    their next issue. Thanks to Sherman Dorn for helping us track that down.)

  • "Got Filk? Lament for Apollo in Modern Science Fiction Folk Music"
    again by Dr. Launius is a draft paper that discusses the album and
    several of the songs on it. I was personally struck by his interpreting
    Apollo-related filksongs through Elizabeth Kubler-Ross's five-step
    grieving process.

Continue to May 2005 articles in archive

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