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The Space Log
Space for Everyone - August 2005


12:05 pm: News briefs ... Alan Chan, who has worked on films like Titanic and The Lord of the Rings, is developing a space movie called Postcards from the Future. It will "chronicle the life of an ordinary guy who's job is to build out the power grid for a lunar settlement." More at Postcards From The Future - RocketForge - Aug.29.05 ...

... The Space Flight Laboratory at the University of Toronto Institute for Aerospace Studies has a very active nanosat program:

... Pondering a ball game on the Moon: Moon Tennis - Science@NASA - Aug.30.05 ...

... Astroplane is " The Strategy Game for the New Millennium". ...

... Michael Huang, who wrote this week in the Space Review about a Space Flag for space settlers, points me to an earlier flag for Mars pioneers: Official 'Mars flag' unfurls in space - CNN -Jan.7.00 ...

... The LEO comsat constellations continue a steady comeback: Iridium CEO eyes IPO in early 2006: Firm to pitch itself as a growth stock - MarketWatch - Aug.30.05 * Globalstar Growth Rate Soars: One year following restructuring, the satellite service provider shows robust customer growth, expanded coverage, as well as new products and services - Globalstar - May.19.05

... Mobile satellite communications can be of great benefit in a situation like the disastrous aftermath of hurricane Katrina: Globalstar Satellite Phone Service Uninterrupted in Hurricane-Lashed Gulf Region - Globalstar/PRNewswire - Aug.29.05 * GAN and mini-M provide vital back-up communications for disaster relief efforts in hurricane-hit US southern state - Inmarsat - Aug.31.05.


12:15 pm: The SpaceShow this week:

Tuesday, August 30, 2005, 7:00-8:30 pm (Pacific Time) - "Dr. Chris Luginbuhl, astronomer at the U.S. Naval Observatory in Flagstaff, AZ and expert on dark sky outdoor lighting issues and light pollution."

Wednesday, August 31, 2005, 9:30-11:00 am (Pacific Time) - "Jim Lewis, CEO of the Deep Space Communications Network."

Sunday, September 4, 2005, 12:00 - 1:30 pm (Pacific Time ) - John Barber returns to discuss his maglift rocket sled concept.

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

12:15 am: This week's AMSAT news: AMSAT Symposium * HAMSAT Reports Needed * AMSAT Election Deadline Approaching * Volunteer Station Needed
ARISS Status:
Arizona Contact a Success! * Upcoming School Contacts * ARISS International Meeting * ARRL Article on Krikalev * SSTV Safety Review Held * Space Tourist Issued Callsign

11:35 pm: News briefs ... To make the movement for space colonization more real and visible to the general public, Michael Huang suggests that a Space Flag is needed: The Space Flag by Michael Huang - Space Review - Aug.29.05 ...

... The [next to] last of Monte Davis's essay on maintaining a sense of realism with regard to the pace of space development: Thinking Clearly About Space Part III: Hardware and Hand-Waving - ad Astra/SPACE.com - Aug.29.05 ...

... You can now hear online the song I Want To Go In A Space Ship, which is the theme music for the DVD "Mojave Magic: A Turtle's Eye View of SpaceShipOne" (Amazon: US) ...

... The American Museum of Natural History offers a new Discovery Tour on the theme of space tourism that includes visits to spaceports and a rocket launch and the option of experiencing weightlessness on a parabolic flight: Spaced Out - Newsweek: Int. Edition./MSNBC.com - Sept.5.05 issue * Earth Orbit: Inside the US and Russian Space Programs. ...

... Phil Smith reviews a new book about the Spirit and Opportunity rovers: .Roving Mars - The Space Review - Aug.29.05 ...

... Nice to see scientists at my undergrad alma mater giving names to parts of Mars: Martian monikers: Tennessee crew puts its mark on map of Red Planet - KnoxNews - Aug.29.05 ...

... Check out this spectacular side view of Mount McKinley made by astronauts on the ISS: Mount McKinley, Alaska - International Space Station Imagery, NASA - Aug.14.05 * NASA Space Station Image of Denali (Mt. McKinley) - NASA/SpaceRef - Aug.29.05

11:35 am: Space movies ... Magnificent Desolation, the new IMAX movie produced and narrated by Tom Hanks, will be released in September: One Giant Leap - Wired - Sept.05 issue ...

... Check out the clips of the IMAX short film HubbleSOURCE: Hubble: Galaxies Across Space and Time.

11:35 am: Amateur astronomy ... Dwayne Day reports on the struggles of astronomers, professional as well as amateur, to get the credit (and funding) they deserve: When I'm not in prison I'm an astronomer - The Space Review - Aug.29.05 ...

... The AAVSO: American Association of Variable Star Observers, for example, involves amateurs who do solid, important work in the area of variable star observation: Amateurs Help Astronomers Unravel A Propeller Star - SpaceRef - Aug.26.05 ...

... John Dobson showed that big scopes could be build for little money: Heaven on earth: John Dobson, the high priest of amateur astronomy, stays true to his calling - Los Angeles Times - Aug.30.05

11:35 am: SciTech: Misleading first impressions ... How many times have you heard a newscaster begin an item with "Scientists announced today ..."? The report typically describes the results of a paper just published in a scientific journal and the conclusions are presented as if they had been established as fact. However, that isn't usually the case: Most scientific papers are probably wrong - New Scientist - Aug.30.05.

The problem is seldom due to fraud or even deliberate exaggeration. It is just the nature of scientific investigation that the first experiments are incomplete and based on limited amounts of data. There also can be serious systematic biases and errors, i.e. those due to the particular type of technology and techniques used in the experiment.

The same problems hold for theoretical analyses. Even if there are no errors in the calculations, the analysis must start from a set of assumptions and estimations and one or more of these may be incorrect. (I make the brave prediction that over the next century every year or two there will be a paper published, and reported on in New Scientist, that proves that travel through a wormhole is possible followed a year or two later by a paper proving that such a shortcut is impossible.)

During my time in high energy physics research, there must have been a dozen announcements of "discoveries" of new particles or particle properties that turned out to be wrong or at least were never confirmed by anyone. Fractional charges and a magnetic monopole were seen at Stanford and anomalons were tracked at Berkeley. A heavy mass for the neutrino emitted in beta decay was measured by several groups using a similar type of detector but was eventually disproven by groups using a different kind of detector. A major particle accelerator laboratory in Germany once held a press conference to announce the discovery of a new particle based on a signal seen after about a third of the data had been analyzed. To their chagrin, the signal (based on a 3.5 sigma bump on top of a background distribution) disappeared in the following months as the rest of the data was processed.

In many of these cases, dozens of theoretical papers were published that explored the implications of the experimental findings.

The moral of this story, is that you should not take the initial report of a scientific finding at face value. Look to see, for example, whether an experimental discovery is based on a single experiment or is a confirmation of earlier experiments. The latter case is much more reliable than the former.


1:55 pm: New satellite service... In the spring of 2005, a telecom in South Korea began to offer a high speed wireless service that provide multi-channel TV and other features. Both satellite and terrestrial signals are used. About 40,000 subscribers have signed up.

Here is some information sites about DMB (Digital Multimedia Broadcasting)

2:25 pm: Space art news ... Famous space artist Robert McCall has an exhibition opening in Arizona: Liftoff: Space exhibit opens at Youth Museum - Arizona Republic - Aug.25.05 ...

... Alan Boyle reports on some astronomy art sleuthing: New light on moon masterpiece - Cosmic Log / MSNBC.com - Aug.22.05

1:25 pm: News briefs ... DVDs of presentations at the recent 6th Lunar Development 2005 Conference: Return to the Moon - Reality Check are available at www.AcceleratingMedia.com. They also offer DVDs for other space activist meetings. ...

... More signs of water action on Mars: Water Flowed Recently on Mars, NASA Scientists Say - SPACE.com - Aug.24.05 ...

... Amateurs get some funding for asteroid finding: Amateurs Receive Asteroid-Search Grants - Sky and Telescope - Aug.24.05.


12:25 pm: News brief ... A particularly exasperating aspect of NASA budgeting is the way the agency will often kill very effective, very low cost projects to obtain money for very wasteful, very expensive projects. This seems an especially egregious example: Save the Moon Buggy Races


1:20 pm: Unmanned vulnerabilities ... There's nothing particularly unique or remarkable about this letter to a campus newspaper attacking an expensive robotic Mars mission: "Too Much for Mars?" - The GSU Signal - Aug.22.05. But that's the point.

Many critics of spending on space don't make a distinction between manned and unmanned systems. (I noticed this especially in the flurry of editorials and essays after President Bush announced his space initiative in January of 2004.) And why should they? It's not as if missions to Mars or beyond have produced a tremendous flood of direct practical benefits to the public or created lots of important indirect spinoffs.

Those space science fans who advocate the elimination of manned spaceflight in NASA because of a lack of near-term payoffs should realize that the unmanned program would then become far more vulnerable to the very same criticism.

Space science advocates like to bundle their spacecraft with communications satellites, GPS, and remote sensing systems but those in fact could all have been developed just fine without missions to Mars or Jupiter.

As shown in this NASA budget table, the money spent on space science, which mostly involves the deep space missions, is not a small fraction of the manned program as many people seem to think. At $4B it is equal to the Shuttle program and is comparable to the entire budget for NSF. Without a manned spaceflight program to hide behind, space science funding would be exposed for what it is: a stupendously generous amount of money for an activity with meager immediate benefit.

The idea that all of the manned spaceflight money would shift over to unmanned missions, or even to other basic sciences, is highly improbable if not preposterous. Far more likely, is that the space science budget would actually decline over time.

As I've noted before, the British government long ago eliminated any support whatsoever for manned missions but this did not result in a generous unmanned program. The Beagle Two mission, for example, suffered fatally from a lack of funding.

Of course, like most proponents of manned missions, I think the science program is well worth the expenditure and should get even more money. It is one of the great strategic mistakes of the space science community that it has never entered into a mutually supporting alliance with manned spaceflight advocate organizations. That failure of political insight and of imagination has resulted in a smaller, weaker space program for everyone.

PS: The Planetary Society has moved away from its early support only for unmanned science to a general backing of manned spaceflight, at least for Mars exploration. However, though it was founded by Carl Sagan and other noted space scientists, it is not equivalent to the space science community. The latter should follow the PS lead.

1:20 pm: News briefs ... Monte Davis continues his series on space activism and developing effective, realistic strategies for progress: Thinking Clearly About Space Part II: Everybody Wants Space - SPACE.com -- Aug.24.05 * Part 1 - Aug.18.05 ...

... Michael Mealling responds to a proposal by Sam Dinkin on how to raise funding for space settlement: Lunar settlement foundation - RocketForge - Aug.21.05 ...

... Spirit has risen to a new height: Robot From Earth Climbs Mountain On Mars - SpaceDaily - Aug.24.05. I especially like this image Sol581: Spirit Arrived! - Unmanned Spaceflight.com - Aug.22.05

1:20 pm: SciTech news ... Promises of holographic memory have been around for decades but it looks like commercial products are finally coming to market: Holographic Memory - Technology Review - Sept.2005. Too bad the first generation systems will be too expensive for consumers. They sure sound impressive:

The disc [of DVD size] has more than 60 times the storage capacity of a standard DVD, while the drive writes about 10 times faster than a conventional DVD burner. That means the disc can store up to 128 hours of video content--almost twice enough for the full nine seasons of Seinfeld--and records it all in less than three hours.


11:15 am: News briefs ... An excellent introduction to the promise and challenges of an Interplanetary Internet is given in The Interplanetary Internet: NASA researchers quarrel over how to network outer space - IEEE Spectrum - Aug.22.05. More info at the Goddard OMNI Web Server and Delay Tolerant Networking Research Group. See also Delay-Tolerant Networks (DTNs): A Tutorial - Mar.5.03 ...

... Dan Schrimpsher sees taking advantage of Internet in space as a good example of agile development practices: Agile at work in Space - Space Pragmatism - Aug.22.05 ...

... Help the American Museum of Natural History by proofreading the script of an educational space film they are producing: Calling All Space Geeks and Parents of Young Children - Freakonomics- Aug.22.05. (Item via Jay K.) ...

... The Hubble is helping to find a good spot to land on the Moon that has resources that would help sustain a base: Hubble scans for Moon base locations - New Scientist SPACE - Aug.22.05 ...

... Progress is being made in restoring one of the remaining Saturn V rockets: JSC Saturn V restoration continues - collectSPACE - Aug.22.05 ...

... More cool pictures of dust devils on Mars: Dust Devils Race Across Mars in New Movie - SPACE.com - Aug.22.05 * Spirit - Dust Devil (JPEG) - Exploratorium.


1:20 pm: The SpaceShow this week:

Tuesday, August 23, 2005, 7:00-8:30 pm (Pacific Time) - A re-broadcast of the recent show with Joe Latrell of Beyond Earth Enterprises who gave an update "on his company and plans for sending items to space and more."

Sunday, August 28, 2005, 12:00 - 1:30 pm (Pacific Time ) - John Spencer on space tourism.

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

12:15 am: This week's AMSAT news: AMSAT Symposium Reminder * AMSAT Symposium Agenda * AMSAT Election Deadline Approaching * Software Defined Transponder Prototype On-the-Air * AMSAT Website Technical Review Team Formed * New AMSAT Video News Released * OSCAR 11 Report
ARISS Status:
ARISS Student Pursues Astronaut Career * PCSAT2/MISSE5 Status * ARISS International Meeting * Australian News Article on Astronaut's Father * Astronaut to Visit ARISS School * Teaching from Space Teleconference Held

1:05 pm: News briefs ... This sounds rather lame but maybe they will do a good job: Thornton Becomes The Astronaut Farmer - Coming Soon! - Aug.19.05 * "Astronaut Farmer" to film in N.M. this fall - KOBTV.com - July.9.05 (via Curmudgeons Corner - Aug.22.05) ...

... This one appears to be a fun sci-fi fan fiction pastiche of various space operas: Star Wreck: In the Pirkinning. A trailer is available on line. ...

... Jeff Foust reports on a space activist effort "to organize visits to Congressional district offices during the August recess": August lobbying push - Space Politics - Aug.20.05


3:00 am: News briefs ... I've complained before about NASA's lack of interest in maintaining institutional memory and its poor record in archiving knowledge gained in past projects and studies. This item seems to show the problems remains: Library Downsizing - NASA Watch - Aug.15.05 (via an HS reader) ...

... Another SS1 passenger looks to have paid for its way to space: SpaceShipOne Obi Wan auction alert - Space Race News! - Aug.19.05 * eBay: Obi-Wan Kenobi figure FLOWN IN SPACE on SpaceShipOne! ...

3:00 am: Spinning off discoveries ... In RLV News last Friday I posted an item about a stem cell related spinoff from a NASA funded project. Rand Simberg, though, thought it should be made more clear that the process takes place on the ground and that like most other spinoffs cited by NASA, it doesn't come close to justifying the expense involved in doing science in space with the Shuttle and the ISS: More Spinning Spinoff - Transterrestrial Musings - Aug.19.05.

I certainly agree with all that (see this discussion of spinoffs) but I would not go nearly as far as he does in dismissing spinoffs in general as just the result of occasional serendipity in any high tech research. Doing exciting, on-the-edge research, whether it is in basic science or in engineering, is a terrific environment for stimulating new ideas and new inventions.

I will note, for example, that this nanotube breakthrough, which I mentioned on Friday and also posted on Rand's site, can be traced directly back to the discovery of Buckyballs. That discovery didn't happen because the researchers were looking directly for great nano-technology to build stuff with but it came instead as a spinoff of the researchers' astrophysics studies of red giant stars. It's quite possible that someone would have found them eventually in a more direct manner but it also might have been many years later and we would be the poorer for the wait.

The fact that funding for basic science like astrophyiscs is routinely justified by such spinoffs seems perfectly appropriate to me. I just advocate that basic engineering (OK, there is no such phrase but you know what I mean) be treated the same way. Dealing with the engineering challenges of living and working in space will result in lots of spinoffs in the years to come, especially after the cost of getting there drops significantly.


12:10 am: News briefs ... This article - Local students participate in Moon mapping project - Coalfield.com - Aug.18.05 (via spacetoday.net) - reports on Virginia students who are developing a Geographic Information System database for the lunar polar regions. It will be posted at LunarGIS.com, which currently displays a very nicely made Flash animation. The students recently attended the Return to the Moon meeting to gather info and meet others who are focused on lunar exploration and development. ...

... This unobtainium looks to be obtainable for many different applications including space related ones such as solar sails and space elevators: Nanotubes show their strength in numbers: Super-strong sheets could be used in future screens and surfaces - MSNBC.com - Aug.18.05 * Researchers produce strong, transparent carbon nanotube sheets - PhysOrg.com - Aug.18.05 ...

... Alabama drivers can support restoration of the Saturn V at the U.S. Space & Rocket Center in Huntsvlle by buying a new license plate: After long delay, Saturn V fundraising tags land - Huntsville Times - Aug.18.05 * Save the Saturn V.


11:30am: News briefs ... Monte Davis argues against impatience and the search for simplistic silver bullet solutions to the slow pace of space development: Thinking Clearly About Space Part 1: Hustling the Future - SPACE.com - Aug.18.05 ...

... Michael Belfiore finds irony in the contrast of Russian market friendly space program with NASA's command economy approach: The 'Evil Empire' Strikes Back - Wired - Aug.18.05


11:40 am: ISS watching ... Florida Today offers some advice on spotting the Space Station when it crosses over your area: Look for the space station: Web sites help spot laboratory - Florida Today - Aug.17.05.

See also the ISS section of the Satellite Watching page for more information on tracking the station. NASA, for example, offers several applets at Science@NASA Realtime :

11:40 am: Student/Amateur space telescopes ... Space.com reports on the German student project called the Dobson Space Telescope (mentioned here last month): Universe in a Box: Collapsable Telescope Offers Multiple Uses - SPACE.com - Aug.17.05.

Students in the Department of Astronautics at the Technische Universitšt Berlin, Germany developed a clever way to pack a telescope to fit within the narrow confines of a small spacecraft. The unfolding scheme was recently tested on a prototype in microgravity during a parabolic flight mission:The unfolding space telescope - ESA - July.27.05. The telescope could be used for either astronomical or remote sensing applications.

Another student/amateur space based telescope project is ISSAT (The International Space Station Amateur Telescope), which would be placed on a truss of the ISS. The project has been delayed by the lack of access to the station but in the meantime they plan to operate the telescope on the ground in robotic mode at the Arizona Sky Village. They are currently in test phase of the Alpha telescope but will take requests for observations.

11:40 am: News briefs ... A spacesuit that is more practical for operations on the surface of Mars is under development: An outfit suitable for Mars - Slimmer space suits on the wrack for astronauts. - news @ nature.com - Aug.16.05. ...

... The Mars Society's analog stations are used by a number of projects to test technologies like this spacesuit for applications on Mars. For example, the MonaLisa Leonardo is an International Space University project that is focused on studies at the MRDS (Mars Desert Research Station) of both the social and technological challenges of establishing a Mars base. ...

... T. L. James worries about that many of the Mars studies are overemphasizing Martian science and not focused enough on realistic, flexible approaches to the creation of human settlements: Martian Mindsets - MarsBlog - Aug.16.05. (via Transterrestrial Musings.) ...

... Mark Whittington reviews five major space movies: Five Films about Space Exploration - Mark Whittington - FineTuning.com - Aug.16.05. (I believe that a strong case can be made that Arthur C. Clarke's 2001 book was his interpretation of the movie, not the other way around.)


2:40 pm: News briefs ... Here's the official review of the annual Mars Society meeting held last week in Boulder Colorado: Eighth International Mars Society Convention - The Mars Society - Aug.15.05 ...

... Alan Boyle talks about the project MegaFlyover: Revealing the Last of the Wild, which is a National Geographic project to use all sorts of geographic data, including aerial and satellite imagery, to determine the "human footprint" on Earth: Views from above - Cosmic Log/MSNBC - Aug.15.05


3:30 pm: The SpaceShow this week:

Monday, August 15, 2005, 7:00-8:30 pm (Pacific Time) - Gene Kranz about his coming History Channel special, Beyond the Moon: Failure is Not an Option II.

Tuesday, August 16, 2005, 7:00-8:30 pm (Pacific Time) - David Hoerr, co-author of The Rocket Company.

Thursday, August 18, 2005, 7:00-8:30 pm (Pacific Time) - Joe Latrell of Beyond Earth Enterprises "returns to update us on his company and plans for sending items to space and more."

Sunday, August 21, 2005, 12:00 - 1:30 pm (Pacific Time ) - Re-broadcast of Monday's show with Gene Kranz.

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

3:30 pm: This week's AMSAT news: ISS PCSAT2 PSK-31 * PCSAT2 Telemetry * MRO Electra SDR * AMSAT Awards + ARISS Status

3:30 pm: News briefs ... Dwayne Day reviews two space DVD documentaries that follow a dramatization format: Voyages to alien worlds- DVD review: Voyage to the Planets and Alien Planet - The Space Review - Aug.15.05....

... Taylor Dinerman looks at the problems of international collaborations for space projects: More international delusions - The Space Review - Aug.15.05 ...

... Tom Hill reports on the Mars Society Conference held last week in Boulder Colorado: The Woodstock of Mars - the Space Review - Aug.15.05. ...

... Tom mentions a couple of films shown at the meeting: The Mars Underground - Ocule Entertainment and M a e l s t r o m II - An independent short science fiction movie project. Based on the short story Maelstrom II by Arthur C. Clarke ...

... Here's a neat Java tool to view the latest Mars rover images: Midnight Mars Browse


8:30 pm: News briefs ... A whole herd of Red Dust Devils in recent Spirit rover images:Dust Devil Dance - Eric Hartwell's InfoDabble - Aug.12.05 (via NASA Watch) ...

... Quakefinder, a spinoff from a smallsat program at Stanford, is making progress with its satellite and ground base studies of a possible "correlation between electromagnetic phenomena and pre-seismic activity": QuakeFinder Steps Up Technology for Earthquake Forecasting - Quakefinder/CommsDesign - Aug.12.05 ...

... An art museum in Hamburg will have a space art exhibition from September to February: Return to Space - Hamburger Kunsthalle.

8:30 pm: Space business news ... While entrepreneurs try to create space business based in new areas, especially human spaceflight, the plain old comsat industry keeps moving along. Recent launches include: Soyuz rocket launches U.S. cable TV spacecraft - Spaceflight Now - Aug.13.05 and Heaviest ever telecom satellite reaches orbit - New Scientist - Aug.11.05. ...

... The total global space and satellite market exceeds $100B according to Space & Satellite Market Surpasses $103 Billion, to Reach $158 Billion by 2010 - Int. Space Business Council/Yahoo! - Aug.9.05. Not sure what they include in their estimate ( the www.spacebusiness.com is not reachable at the moment). The Satellite Industry Association (SIA) released its own report of satellite related markets back in June: SIA Releases Satellite Industry Report - PR - June 6, 2005 (doc).Their report breaks down the numbers as follows:

  • Total world sat revenue for 2004: $97.2 billion
  • This number consists of
    • Satellite services: $60.9 billion
      • This includes Direct-to-Home TV: $49.5 billion
    • Ground equipment: $23.3 billion
    • Satellite Manufacture: $10.2 billion
    • World launch revenue: $2.8 billion


4:10 pm: News briefs ... NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter is on its way to join three other orbiters there: Sharp-eyed orbiter dispatched to Mars - Spaceflight Now - Aug.12.05 ...

... More plans for space based ham radio, including an amateur radio facility in the European Columbus module, are under discussion: ARISS Delegates Urged to Cast Eye on Future of Ham Radio in Space - ARRLWeb - Aug.12.05 ...

... The educational Ball State Electronic Field Trips program includes some space related adventures such as experience weightlessness in parabolic flights: Floating Back to School - NASA - Aug.12.05 ...

... A new play builds a speculative drama around a fictional Apollo 18 mission to the Moon: Probing the 'Darkside' of space travel: Review: Ken Jones' gripping drama takes us to the moon, and to the inner lives of U.S. astronauts. - OC Register [CA] - Aug.12.05 (via spacetoday.net).

1:25 am: The next space tourist ... Things seem to be going smoothly so far in Greg Olsen's preparations for his trip to the ISS in October. Information about him and his trip can be found in the GoToOrbit.com section at Space Adventures. I'll be posting articles about his trip in the Space Tourism section.

Here are some recent postings

1:25 pm: Sci-Tech: Solar power focus ... Perhaps the concentrator approach will be the dark horse (light horse?) winner in the race to develop solar power systems that are competitive with conventional power sources. This article in a recent edition of Wired - The Dotcom King & the Rooftop Solar Revolution - Wired - July.05 - described compact, low cost but highly efficient concentrators developed by Bill Gross's Energy Innovations and EI Solutions companies.

Now comes word that Southern California Edison has signed a contract with Stirling Energy Systems to build a 500MW power station with a 20000+ dish array of the company's concentrators: World's largest solar installation to use Stirling engine technology - Open Source Energy - Aug.11.05.

This Inc. Magazine article from July 2005 says the systems can produce power for 8 cents per KW, which is competitive with gas powered plants.


1:30 pm: News briefs ... NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter is still stuck on the ground as of today. You can keep check on its status at Spaceflight Now | Atlas Launch Report | Mission Status Center ...

... Meanwhile, the ESA's Mars Express orbiter has begun its radar probes into the depths of the Martian surface: Martian radars to peer beneath Red Planet's surface - Spaceflight Now - Aug.10.05 ...

... Efforts continue in the quest to offer broadband Internet access from space:Heaviest ever telecom satellite reaches orbit - New Scientist - Aug.11.05


9:55 am: News briefs ... Check out these amazing maps of the known universe: The Universe within 14 billion Light Years - The Visible Universe ...

... Some Belgian students are taking advantage of Pongsat flights: SP. ACE - Secondary School Students flying... up, up and away. [Aug.31: corrected previous item which said the students were German.]...

... More about the Mars Homestead Project and its design of a settlement on Mars:
The Homestead Project: Making a Mars Settlement a Reality - SPACE.com - Aug.10.05


12:40 am: News briefs ... Rotation of a space habitat to produce simulated gravity via the centrifugal effect is the ultimate solution for microgravity ailments. In the meantime, something like the Space Cycle in a non-rotating habitat will do the trick. A turn for the better: A UCI researcher is testing a centrifuge-like device built to counter astronauts' physical deterioration under lighter gravity. - OC Register [CA] - Aug.8.05 ...

... Despite what's implied by the title of the article, the participants actually found parabolic flights to be enormous fun: 'Vomit Comet' tries even the strongest of stomachs - Rolla Daily News - Aug.8.05. "The whole experience was awesome and I'd love to do it again." ...

... Mission Specialist Steve Robinson offers an MP3 from space: Discovery Astronaut Sends Podcast From Space - SpaceRef - Aug.8.05 * Steve Robinson: First Podcaster From Space - NASA - Aug.7.05. ...

... Leonard David reports on spaceflight gone bad: Mishaps in Space: Failures and Foul-Ups - SPACE.com - Aug.8.05

12:40 am: The SpaceShow this week:

Tuesday, August 9, 2005, 7:00-8:30 pm (Pacific Time) - David Harland from Scotland and author of How NASA Learned To Fly In Space.

Sunday, August 14, 2005, 12:00 - 1:30 pm (Pacific Time ) - - Jason Andrews of Andrews Space, Inc. (Replay of show on August 5th.)

Peter Diamandis of X-PRIZE fame was interviewed on Monday August 8th and the audio is already available in the archive.

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

12:15 am: This week's AMSAT news: AMSAT-NA Space Symposium Announcement * PCSAT2 Installed and Activated on the ISS * AMSAT-UK Reports PO-28 to Return to Amateur Satellite Service * September 27 is the New Launch Date for SSETI * Satellite DXpedition to JW-Svalbard Announced * OSCAR-11 is Still Alive * New OSCAR FM Help Page * AMSAT-Argentina Unveils On-line Amateur Radio Calculator * AMSAT Awards This Week * PCSAT2 Telemetry Guide
ARISS Status:
SuitSat Status * PCSAT2/MISSE5 Delivered to ISS * ARISS International Meeting, Guildford, U.K.


1:45 am: News briefs ... Robert Pearlman writes about the artist Cecelia "Cece" Bibby who painted the Mercury capsule logos and did other space artwork: Breaking through the glass gantry - collectSPACE - Aug.7.05. ...

... Astrosociology is a new science that will study the enormous influence space has on society: Astrosociology and the space community: Forging collaboration for better understanding and planning - The Space Review - Aug.8.05 ...

... A book from the 1960s inspires Taylor Dinerman to create a wonderfully written essay: Oriana Fallaci on the way to the Moon - The Space Review - Aug.8.05 ...

... Greg Olsen's Soyuz mission patch is posted at collectSpace: TMA-7 SFP Personal Patch - collectSPACE: Messages -Aug.4.05 ...

... Iridium satellite communications continues its steady if modest growth: Iridium Issues 2005 Mid-Year Report:Subscribers Up 20% and Revenue Up 27% in First Half; Company Has 127,000 Voice and Data Subscribers Worldwide - Iridium - Aug.1.05.


1:45 pm: News briefs ... While scanning the net for information in response to a reader's question about the Revell Gemini model kit, I came across this nice little article Win A Gemini! by Scott P. Cook. I've not been adding to it lately, but you can find more such stories in the Personal Space Histories section ...

... Colin Fries has compiled a complete list of all the Wakeup Calls sent to US astronauts since the beginning of the space program. See the site at Wakeup Calls Chronology - NASA History and the file Chronology of Wakeup Calls - Compiled by Colin Fries, NASA History Office, June.15.05 (pdf) ...

... Here's a beautiful image of just one small patch of Earth: Unique Arctic landscape Surveyed by Proba - ESA Image of the week - Aug.5.05. More at ESA - Earth from Space Image of the Week - archive ...

... Mark Knopper is a writer for Rolling Stone and other magazines and he has posted a couple of articles on his website that deal with space music: Rocket & Roll: What do astronauts listen to in outer space? Details tracks the sounds of the final frontier - by Mark Knopper - Details/Knopps.com -Jan.2000 and Weird Band Alert: Max Q: Can NASA astronauts rock? Yes, they can! by Steve Knopper - Blender/Knopps.com - Oct.2002 ...

... Jim Oberg reports on Discovery re-entry viewing: Skywatchers look south for shuttle's streak: Central America becomes prime viewing zone for crucial re-entry - MSNBC.com - Aug.5.05. ...

... Smithsonian Air & Space Magazine displays a set of RSS feeds at AIR&SPACE Web News. It includes a Race to Space feed from Space Race News!.


4:35 pm: Space radio supplies... As I described in the tutorial in the Space Radio section, tracking weather satellites and receiving their images directly via your own home satellite station is great fun. It provides a wonderfully visceral direct connection with what is going on up there in space.

Unfortunately, since moving back to the US and living in condo with a poor view of the sky, I have not gotten back into the hobby. Today, though, when I visited the Hamtronics, Inc. website, I felt that maybe I shouldn't wait till we move to a house to build a new sat station.

In Sweden we used some excellent and very reasonably price equipment from the British Timestep company, which caters directly to those interested in weather sat reception (as opposed to stores that deal in general ham radio supplies). Located in the US, Hamtronics also provides some low priced weather fax equipment, like the R139 wideband fm receiver, aimed at the hobbyist.

Check the reviews at Hamtronics R139 Weather Satellite Receiver - ARRL Review * Direct reception of satellite weather images - Citizen Scientist Article/Hamtronics - June.4.05. See also the Hamtronics in Space.

4:35 pm: Astronomy briefs ... This seems to make astronomy almost too easy: SkyScout - the next step in telescope functionality - gizmag - Aug.5.05 . More info at Yamcon ...

... At Wunderground.com Sky, US residents can just enter their ZIP code to get this evening's night sky at their location.

4:35 pm: News briefs ... Joe Latrell of Beyond-Earth Enterprises, a HobbySpace advertiser, gives some good advice on how to pursue space activism: Space Advocacy: A Guide to Getting Involved - SPACE.com - Aug.5.05. ...

... Meanwhile, Bill Boland of the Space-Fronter Foundation and Forever Bound talks about space advocacy and private spaceflight with a reporter from Eileen Collins hometown region: Corning native eyes place in space: Boland signs up to fly in space tourism project. - Star-Gazette [NY] -Aug.5.05 ...

... More KSC history bites the dust: Explosives to topple Cape launch pad this weekend - Spaceflight Now - Aug.4.05 ...

... Alan Boyle posts an item about the recent space polls and what they may imply about public interest in the shuttle program: Space support slipping? - Cosmic Log / MSNBC.com - Aug.4.05 ...

... This shuttle mission seems to be producing a particularly large number of striking images:

More at Return-to-Flight Multimedia.


12:50 pm: News briefs ... There is a sizeable core audience out there for space: Space enthusiasts glued to the tube (on the Web): NASA 'blown away' to learn that 433,000 watched Discovery's launch on agency's site - Houston Chronicle - Aug.3.05. Space advocacy organizations need to reach the members of this audience and expand and deepen their involvement with space. ...

... Jeff Foust reports on the latest space polls and their usual shortcomings: Polls on shuttle and exploration - Space Politics - Aug.4.05 ...

... I didn't know there was nitrogen in the lunar soil: Earth's Air Trapped in Moon Dirt, Scientist Speculates - SPACE.com - Aug.3.05. I'll have to look into whether there is enough to be practical to extract it to provide for a more earthlike atmosphere and to help with farming.


1:15 pm: News briefs ... Eugene Kranz, the famous mission control director during the Apollo period, contributed an article on today's NY Times editorial page: From Giant Leaps to Baby Steps - NY Times - Aug.3.05 ...

... Kranz will also be on the SpaceShow on Monday, August 15. He will be promoting a sequel to his previous History Channel program called Failure is Not an Option broadcast in 2003 (see item at collectSpace).. The sequel is called Beyond The Moon: Failure Is Not An Option II and it will air on August 28th....

... The Space Walk Hall of Fame Foundation needs help finding a new home: Space museum searching for home: Hike in rent, more memorabilila force look for new spot - Florida Today - Aug.3.05.


6:00 pm: News briefs ... Well, it's all in the head. H2O is just H2O, regardless of where the molecules have been: The Big Gulp:NASA pisses away millions hauling H2O into orbit. But there's a better way - recycle astronaut urine. Just one question: How does it taste? - Wired - August.05 ...

... It's impossible to save the world without using space: Disaster Relief from Space - WorldChanging - Aug.1.05 ...

... CollectSpace talks with the Discovery crew about their souvenir payload: Discovery's on-board souvenir stash: The STS-114 Official Flight Kit Manifest - collectSpace - Aug.2.05 ...

... The mysterious methane of Mars: Methane on Mars: the plot thickens - New Scientist - Aug.2.05 ...

... Perhaps these movable habitats will offer ideas for the early Moon/Mars shelters: Futuristic design for new Antarctic base - gizmag - Aug.1.05

12:15 am: Star Wars in space ... Here's your chance to own some genuine space artifacts flown on SpaceShipOne:

Rocketboosters to auction flown Star Wars dolls for Charity
"I have you now, SpaceShipOne!"

On Monday, August 8, a charity auction will begin on Ebay for the first of two flown and autographed Star Wars dolls - Luke Skywalker and Obi Wan Kenobi. Details about the charity will be announced before the auction. You can find more information and pictures over at the Mojave Air and Space Collectibles site: http://www.mojaveairandspace.com/auction.html

12:15 am: The SpaceShow this week:

Tuesday, August 2, 2005, 7:00-8:30 pm (Pacific Time) - Charles Chafer, CEO of Space Services, Inc, which provides rocket launches of cremated remains via its Memorial Spaceflights program (formerly Celestis). He was also involved with the Team Encounter solar sail project. [Perhaps we will find out why the Team Encounter web site has been inactive for several months.]

Friday, August 5, 2005, 9:30-11:00 am (Pacific Time ) - Jason Andrews of Andrews Space, Inc.

Sunday, August 7, 2005, 12:00 - 1:30 pm (Pacific Time ) - Ben Shelef, co-founder of Spaceward Foundation, Director of Engineering at Gizmonics, Inc. and involved with Dr. Brad Edwards and the space elevator as well as the coming climber contest.

Sunday, August 7, 2005, 7-8:30 pm (Pacific Time ) - Red (William) Whittaker Fredkin Professor of Robotics, Director of the Field Robotics Center, and founder of the National Robotics Engineering Consortium at Carnegie Mellon University. [CMU Robotics Institute]

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

12:15 am: This week's AMSAT news: PCSAT2 Launch * PCSAT2 Downlink Challenge * AMSAT Video News Debuts * VU2NUD Silent Key * Echo Mode Change * AMSAT President's Letter, July 2005 * SSETI Express Launch Delay * AO-27 Mode Schedule Program Available * AMSAT Symposium * PCSAT2 On ISS
ARISS Status:
NES Teacher Workshop * SuitSat Status * ARRL Article on Return to Flight Mission * ARISS International Meeting, Guildford, U.K. * ARISS International Teleconference Held * ARRL Article on ISS Ham Repeater Mode * Astronaut Training

12:15 am: Space music news ... On the last day at Oshkosh, Burt got to hear the song Want to Go in a SpaceShip from the DVD "Mojave Magic: A Turtle's Eye View of SpaceShipOne" (Amazon: US ): It's music to ears of SpaceShipOne team - AV Press - July.31.05 ...

... Andrei Gulaikin wrote me about his electronic space music. Try samples at Gulan-meditation - SoundClick and Gulan - Soundclick.

12:15 am: News briefs ... The Space Frontier Foundation sent out this notice on Monday evening:

Need a lively discussion in the morning while others are still asleep? Tune-in to CNN at 7:15am EDT/4:15am PDT as Rick Tumlinson and Miles O'Brien talk about Discovery, the future of the space shuttle program, and what it means for the emerging commercial space transportation industry

Hope CNN makes it available as a free video cause I ain't gonna be up at that time. ...

... Here's a new online space periodical: International Space Review, which is unfortunately priced for those who can charge the subscription to their business account.

Continue to July 2005 articles in archive

HobbySpace News Articles Index 1999-2004


See also  
Space Headlines
RLV News
News Links
Special Topics
Other Space Weblogs

The Hobbyspace
The Art of C. Sergent Lindsey
NewSpace Watch at NSG




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