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The Space Log
Space for Everyone      -    January 2003

Jan.30.03 News briefs...

Texas Rocketeers... The Amateur Spaceflight Association, based in Houston, will launch its advanced solid rocket powered A1/2 on Saturday, February 8th "from the Gulf Coast Regional Spaceport in Brazoria County." The ~550kg vehicle should reach 4.5km (15000ft).

The A1/2 is a half scale version of the LOX/Kerosene powered A1, which they hope to launch in the fall of this year. They aim for this ~900kg vehicle to reach an altitude of 120km (75mile) and thus set a new record for amateur rocketry.

Satellite TV & Internet in the Air...Delta Airlines' new low-cost spinoff company Song Airlines will provide each seat with a monitor to show satellite TV delivered by Echostar: DISH Takes to the Skies with Song - SkyREPORT.com - Jan.30.03.

This follows the success of the low cost carrier JetBlue, which provides each passenger with 24 channels from DirecTV.

Meanwhile, Boeing's Connexion service has begun tests of airline internet service - A New Era Begins: Lufthansa Passengers First To Experience Connexion By Boeingsm Inflight Internet Connectivity - Connexion - Jan.15.03.

New space forum... Check out the space news posting and discussion forum at Frontier Files Online that just opened at the Space Frontier Foundation. (My way of thanking them for a link to the Dennis Wingo interview as one of their first postings.)

See also the list of space weblogs and news posting sites and newsgroups & forums.


Jan.29.03 News briefs...

Big bucks for planet hunter... A rich and now happy amateur astronomer has won the auction for the opportunity to spend an evening hunting extrasolar planets with Geoff Marcy. (See previous article - Rent a Famous Planet Finding Scientist-Jan.15.03)

ASP Fundraising Auction Ends Successfully - Astronomical Society of the Pacific - J an.28.03 * Amateur wins out-of-this-world auction: S.F.-based stargazers' society sells night at world's biggest telescope for $16,000 - Alameda Times-Star - Jan.28.03

Cosmic Valentine...Send your free Valentine's Day message to the Stars via Cosmic Call - Team Encounter - Jan.29.03


Jan.28.03 News briefs...

ISS flasher... The Starshine 3 student satellite came back to earth on January 21 (see Capture the Fiery Death of Starshine 3). The innovative educational Starshine project has two more satellites ready for when they can get a ride to space (they got bumped from a shuttle mission.)

An exciting new project called Starshine on Station involves "attaching a lightweight, controllable mirror to an unused handrail on the outside of the International Space Station (ISS) and using the mirror to send brief, daylight-visible Morse Code messages to students around the world in the various languages of the countries that are building the the ISS."

The half meter mirror would produce "flashes will be bright enough to be visible to the average observer in broad daylight, under reasonably clear sky conditions."

Volunteers would build the system and send it up on a shuttle flight for installation during an EVA. NASA is now considering the proposal.

Sky shows...You might catch a view of the shuttle Columbia this week. See the viewing instructions at Look at that Spaceship: The space shuttle Columbia (STS-107) will make a lovely series of morning passes over the United States this week. - Science@NASA - Jan.27.03. See also the Satellite Watching section for links to sites with instructions on viewing the shuttle this week as well as the frequent opportunities to see the ISS....

... While over the net you can view a comet via the SOHO satellite - Internet Astronomy: Watch on Web as Comet Kudo Zips around the Sun - Space.com - Jan.27.03 * The very latest SOHO images.

Space building designs... I've opened at Space Architecture section with links to various sites and articles about designing structures in space. This compliments the Space Lodging sub-section in Space Tourism.

Campaign for Space Day... There is an effort to have July 20th declared as a US official Day of Commemoration. See the web site July 20th - National Space Day campaign. This Sunday the guests on the the Spaceshow webcast will be Jim McDade and Tom McKeever who are leading this campaign.

Online space books... the Questia site provides a large number of online books, many of which are quite useful for reference study. The library includes a number of space related books (search under space or astronomy ) such as the Space Law books section.


Jan.26.03 News briefs...

Teachers Flood Astronaut Recruitment - In just the first two days of its Educator in Space program, NASA received over 600 nominations of teachers for up to six astronaut openings: NASA's Call for Teachers Generates 'Phenomenal' Response - Space.com - Jan.23.03 * Educator Astronaut Report Card - NASA - Jan.4.03.

Amateur Astronomers Spend Big Bucks - It's not uncommon for people who started their astronomy hobby with a low cost basic telescope to gradually upgrade to a scope in the one or two thousand dollar range. However, some don't stop there. For example, this article - Star Man: How to Spend $60k on Home Astronomy - Wired - Feb.03 issue - describes one amateur's escalating ambitions. He uses his high end system to search for highly variable stars (see AAVSO).

Bill Yeung uses his advanced scopes for searching for asteroids. See the Amateur Astronomy Projects section for resources about advanced amateur astronomy.


Jan.25.03 Sci-Tech News: Flying Car for sale

Moller International has announced that it will offer its first working Skycar for sale on eBay starting January 31st - Press Release. The M400P prototype has repeatedly flown short hovering flights on tethers in tests since 2001 (see videos).

The vehicle has not been FAA certified. The company warns that although "[a]ll systems are operational. Potential buyers are cautioned that this is a prototype model and considered an experimental aircraft." and also "the Skycar has not yet been approved as a road vehicle." Shoot! It would be great to pull up to the take-out window at the local McDonalds!!

The offering was probably prompted by the recent eBay auction of SoloTrek's first prototype. Initially, the bids went to several million dollars but all were later withdrawn. Last I saw, there were no bids above the $50k minimum. Hope Moller gets a better response. I think it will since even if it never flys again, it is so beautiful and futuristic looking, it would be a super crowd pleaser at an aerospace museum or other exhibition site.

A more powerful 2nd gen production version is currently under construction for longer untethered test flights this year.

I've been following the progress of the Skycar for over decade. Sure glad to see it finally flying. I've been surprised by the lack of publicity about the test flights over the past year. The longer untethered flights, though, should really get peoples' attention.


Jan.23.03 Space Musical Interview

Check out my latest interview: A Conversation with Megan Halpern & Max Evjen, the creators of the rock music production Galileo: The Emotional Life of a Spacecraft.


Jan.21.03 NASA Educator Astronaut Online

NASA has created a new Educator Astronaut program in which it will recruit people for astronaut positions who also have high qualifications for teaching in grades Kindergarten through 12th grade (K-12 as it's called). This grows out of the Teacher-in-Space program.

This would follow the role model of Barbara Morgan, a teacher and backup to Christa McAuliffe who died in the Challenger accident. Morgan has since then become a fully qualified mission specialist astronaut.

Note that by creating a special category of astronauts who are teachers, rather than vice versa, NASA avoids the issue of "civilians" riding the shuttle.

Space Potty Training Video - And since astronaut trainees of all ages usually ask first about going to the restroom in space, the Educator Astronaut site includes a page about When You Gotta Go, and even offers a video demo.


Jan.19.03 Cosmic Africa is a Winner

Jeff Foust gives a thumbs up to Cosmic Africa, the new documentary from Cosmos Studios mentioned below - "Cosmic Africa": a film well worth seeing - spacetoday.net weblog - Jan.18.03 . More about the background of the film at Young SA Astronomer introduces African Starlore to the World - SAAO - Jan.14.03


Jan.16.03 Space news briefs...

Herding Space Junk - Eventually, something will need to be done about the growing accumulation of debris in earth orbit. Joseph Carroll, a leader in the field of space tethers (such as the successful TiPS project with the Navy), has recently developed the concept of a tether based spacecraft that would gather up orbital junk. 'Space sheepdogs' could round up space junk - New Scientist - Jan.15.03 .

An African Astronomer's Story - The documentary Cosmic Africa will be shown tonight in a sneak preview at the Carnegie Institution in Washington. The work was produced by Cosmos Studios, headed by Ann Druyan, widow of the astronomer and educator Carl Sagan.

On Thursday evening, January 16, the Carnegie Institution of Washington will host a sneak preview of the highly acclaimed documentary film, Cosmic Africa. This special, high-definition screening comes from South Africa's Ĺland Pictures and Cosmos Studios of New York for its U.S. debut.

Cosmic Africa is a true story of one extraordinary man's journey into the rich and surprising history of African astronomy. Thebe Medupe, narrator, astronomer, and central figure, built his first telescope at age 13 in a remote African village. As an astrophysicist today, Thebe leads the audience through the breathtaking landscapes of the Sahara, Namibia, and Mali as he explores the deep connections the indigenous cultures have with the cosmos.

"Scientifically based Western people feel that their world-view is more relevant than these African mythologies," reflected filmmakers Craig and Damon Foster. "We really believe that both world-views have equal relevance." With the High-Definition format developed by George Lucas for Star Wars, and the Dolby digital soundtrack recorded by the Cape Town Philharmonic Orchestra, Cosmic Africa will change the way you look at the sky.

Special guests for this screening will include Thebe Medupe, Ann Druyan, CEO of Cosmos Studios and co-writer with Carl Sagan of TV's Cosmos series, and Dr. Mamphela Ramphele, managing director at The World Bank, former vice-chancellor of the University of Cape Town, and widow of Stephen Biko. Renowned Carnegie astronomer, Vera Rubin, will host the evening.

Space Business Looking Up? - It's far too early to say that the crisis that space business has been in since the Iridium/Globalstar failures is over, but recently things have gotten a bit more positive. Here are some recent developments:

  • Globalstar Buyout - yesterday it was announced that an investment group had offered to buy a majority stake in Globalstar for $55 million. If accepted by the bankruptcy judge, the company would leave its default status.

    The company currently has over 80,000 subscribers. It has lowered the calling charges to near cell phone levels and this apparently is helping to attract more business. It also is developing cargo tracking applications with AeroAstro and aviation communication systems.

    Note that if the company can get an average of $50 per month from 100k subscribers, it would produce $60 million per year. Since it no longer has to pay off its multi-billion dollar development debt, that's a pretty good return and should also help to pay for replacement satellites.

  • XM & Sirius Stocks Leap Up - both satellite radio companies got positive news this week that led to significant stock price increases. In addition to the recent news that XM had exceeded its subscriber goals, GM announced that it would include XM ready radios in 75% of its cars. Sirius made progress in its re-capitalization plan and also got an upgrade from Salomon Smith Barney. With its stock now above $1.00, the threat of delisting from Nasdaq is eliminated.

  • DirecTV & PanAmSat Profits - Hughes DirecTV and PanAmSat divisions reported profits for the fourth quarter of 2002. PanAmSat, in particular, had a strong quarter while DirecTV was helped by a payout from Echostar after its merger bid failed.

Jan.15.03 Space news briefs...

More About the Galileo Music Project - I communicated with Max Evjen of Redshift Productions and the musical group Terra Incognita about their musical Galileo: The Emotional Life of a Spacecraft mentioned below . He says that the event on January 30th

"features the music and projections of images from the Galileo mission. The full production will be the live band (Terra Incognita), dancers, and projections in a collaborative storytelling experience. We will be recording the music from the show, and will release a CD of the music, most likely in tandem with the full production. We will be taking pictures at the event on the 30th and they will be posted on our site after the event. In addition, we have plans to develop a DVD of the music and images that will tell the story of the Galileo mission."

Max and Megan Halpern run Redshift Productions. They created, wrote, and are now producing the Galileo concert.

I'll have more about this project later.

Capture the Fiery Death of Starshine 3 - The Starshine project wants students around the world to try to observe, and perhaps photograph, their Starshine 3 satellite when it enters the atmosphere sometime around January 20th or 21st (see predictions). Here is the press release:

"The Starshine project needs your help. Our Starshine 3 satellite is expected to come to the end of its orbital life in mid to late January 2003. By then, it will have descended far enough into the earth's atmosphere that its 1500 student-polished aluminum mirrors and structural shell will experience intense aerodynamic heating. At about 50 kilometers (30 miles) above the earth, it will flare up and vaporize, like a slow-moving meteor. If this visually spectacular event occurs in your vicinity, under reasonably clear skies, and if you are outside, looking up at the right time, you might be able to see it and even photograph it. If so, we need to know from you when it flamed out and where it was in your local sky at that time.

"Please go to our web site at http://www.azinet.com/starshine and read the information about this forthcoming Starshine special event.

"Your school or club might even win a scale model kit of the International Space Station for taking the best photograph or digital image or videotape of the Starshine 3 fireball."

Rent a Famous Planet Finding Scientist - The Astronomical Society of the Pacific is currently running a fundraising auction for a luxury trip to the Big Island of Hawaii to hunt planets with astronomer Geoff Marcy. Marcy is famous as one of the originators of the primary techniques for finding extrasolar planets.

"This special fundraising auction will help support the ASP's nationwide education efforts. As Dr. Marcy observes, "the auction is a great way to contribute to the programs that build science literacy, inspire kids and nurture the next generation of scientists and astronomers."

"This 4 day/5 night, once-in-a-lifetime vacation for two people includes: * luxury ocean view room at the Four Seasons Hualalai resort * round-trip air to Kona, Hawaii, meals and car rental * exclusive, VIP tour of W.M. Keck Observatory * dinner and one night of observation with Dr. Geoff Marcy and his team in Keck control room with * overnight room at Keck's private Visiting Scientists' Quarters (VSQ)."

The auction began January 13 9am PST, and runs to January 23 9am PST. To place a bid, go to http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=3000554792.

Night of Observing with World's Leading Planet Hunter Being Auctioned on eBay - Space.com - Jan.14.03

Teacher Space Trip Set - It was announced recently that Barbara Morgan's shuttle trip to the ISS has been set this November. I'll maintain info and resources about her trip in the Education section.

Name the Rovers Soon - The "Name the Mars Rovers" contest , organized by NASA, Lego and the Planetary Society, will be closing on January 31, 2003. So don't wait any longer to send in your suggestions for names for the two little guys who will be launched this summer for a January landing on the Red Planet. Homestretch For NASA & LEGO "Name the Rovers Contest" - NASA - Jan.14.03


Jan.13.03 Space news briefs

Spacedev's CHIPSat In Orbit - congratulations to Jim Benson and his Spacedev team on the successful launch of the CHIPSat science spacecraft, which they built for the University of Californiat at Berkeley. Their COTS approach included the first use of Internet protocols on a science mission as the lone means of communication. Data can be grabbed simply with FTP! See the Spacedev press release for more details about the satellite.

As noted before, Benson was inspired to found the company by a desire to do prospecting of near earth asteroids and eventually to mine them. They still hope to launch their NEAP probe someday if they can convince NASA to use a data purchase approach, that is, Spacedev will fund the satellite if NASA promises to buy the data when they obtain it.

A Spacecraft Musical - On January 30th there will be a performance of Galileo: The Emotional Life of a Spacecraft in New York City by the musical group Terra Incognita. According to the press release from Redshift Productions - New Rock Experience: Galileo: The Emotional Life of a Spacecraft - Redshift Productions/Yahoo - Jan.4.03, the musical

"chronicles the journey and discoveries made by the Galileo Orbiter, a spacecraft that traveled to Jupiter in the early 1990's and has remained there, gathering information about the planet and its satellites. Beginning with Follow Me, the spacecraft's creation and launch from within the Shuttle Atlantis, this production traces the path of Galileo as it travels to Jupiter and remains there to fulfill its mission."

Redshift Productions' performances are inspired by science and created in an environment in which artists and scientists can realize new ways of entertaining and enlightening the public. Galileo is a prime example of this type of collaboration. The Jet Propulsion Laboratory, (the creators of the Galileo Orbiter) and The Planetary Society are supplying vital information and images for this production. Neil de Grasse Tyson, the director of the Hayden Planetarium, an advisor to Redshift Productions, and the scientific advisor for Galileo, wrote: "I'd bet that the theories and discoveries of modern science have a limitless capacity to awaken human emotion and trigger unbridled wonder." At the heart of Galileo is the understanding that the more we learn about the universe, the better we understand ourselves.

Terra Incognita layers Aubree Mazzola's harmonies, Max Evjen's arrangements and Megan Halpern's lyrics into a journey that spans musical genres from rock to ballad to experimental. Like Pink Floyd's Dark Side of the Moon, Galileo incorporates structural variations on recurring musical themes that serve as both character and plot development in the same way a script serves a play. Galileo is sung in the first person, as if the craft itself were telling the listener its story. Projections of stunning images captured during the mission add to the final production to create an evening of insightful drama wrapped in a spectacular rock concert.

The performance will be held January 30 at 8:00 pm at the Elbow Room, 144 Bleeker Street between Thompson and LaGuardia. Tickets are $10 and can be purchased at the door or at www.elbowroomnyc.com. Running Time is approximately 1 hour and 15 minutes." - Press Release

I found this this item via Jeff Foust's new weblog - spacetoday.net weblog: Galileo: the rock opera - Jan.4.03.


Jan.12.03 Mars Society Activities

The Mars Society remains very busy as usual. The 11th crew to occupy the Mars Desert Research Station (MRDS) in Utah took over the habitat on January 5th. The previous crew got the Musk Mars Desert Observatory (see previous note) up and running. See the "first light" image.

The Society just announced that it will sponsor an annual contest to design spaceships that would be involved in Mars missions. The Kepler Design Contest this year will be aimed at the

"design of an Earth Return Vehicle (ERV) for use in piloted Mars missions. In the contest, participants will propose their design for the ERV and have it judged based on set criteria and mission requirements."

For its first year's contest, the Kepler Prize will be given to the team that presents the best design of an Earth Return Vehicle (ERV) for use in piloted Mars missions. In the contest, participants will propose their design for the ERV and have it judged based on set criteria and mission requirements.

The ERV is a critical piece of the Mars Direct mission plan, (for details see, The Case for Mars, by Zubrin and Wagner, and/or http://www.nw.net/mars/ ) The ERV flies to Mars autonomously, landing on the surface and using an on-board supply of hydrogen to create fuel, oxygen, and water for extended operations when the crew arrives later. The same fuel and oxygen are used to propel the crew (and the ERV) back to Earth when their mission is complete. [Mars Society Announces Kepler Design Contest- The Mars Society - Jan.11.03]

The winning team will receive a trophy and two slots on the MRDS. Aimed particularly at school projects, the program will start formally at the next Mars Society conference in Eugene Oregon in August 2003 and last through the year to the next meeting in 2004 where the winning team will present its design. Details of the contest requirements will be developed over the coming months.


Jan.9.03 Space news briefs...

SORAC Back On line - the S.O.R.A.C. (Sub-Orbital Rocket Amateur Class) project has its site back up. I lost track of this group, which had been a competitor in the CATS contest, when its web site went down for a long period. Recently leader Bill Colburn informed me that the site was back up and the group (10 core staff and 20 volunteers) has several projects in the works. For example,

"SORAC, in conjunction with Micro Aerospace Solutions, has gotten a contract for studying Gelled Propellants from NASA. This is our fourth contract, the other three being from Stanford Research Institute for Gas Generators and research on Thermitic Materials....

... We will be testing at M K Ballistic Systems and Rocket Ranch."

The group focuses on hybrid rockets. I look forward to following their progress.

Find more about SORAC and other such projects in the Advanced Rocketry section.

More Sat Radio Progress - XM Radio reports that it beat its subscriber goal for the end of 2002 - XM Reaches 360,000 Subscribers - XM Radio PR - Jan.8.03. It expects to easily reach its goal of 1 million subscribers by the end of this year.

Meantime, Sirius announces that it can supplement its radio with video broadcasts - Sirius Conducts First-Ever Live Broadcast of Video Over Satellite Radio System - Sirius PR - Jan.9.03.

Making Stuff in Space - Even when RLVs are flying daily and launch costs drop significantly from today's outrageous prices, it will still be relatively expensive to ship anything to orbit or to a lunar or Mars colony.

Robert Zubrin has long advocated that living off local resources is the key to lowering the costs of Mars missions and to developing sustainable settlements there. But its one thing to extract, say, oxygen and hydrogen from ice deposits, its quite another to make an extra radio transceiver or some other complex device.

Rapid prototyping techniques have been proposed for making spare parts in space. These systems build up an object in a thin layer by layer manner using, for example, a laser to hardened a liquid or powder base material. Such a part, created from a 3D computer model, might be used directly or as a mold for a casting.

Now it appears that even active electronic components could be created with such an approach. This article - Gadget printer' promises industrial revolution - New Scientist - Jan.9.03 - discusses research into making electronics devices in a layer by layer manner. This is intended for lowering costs of such devices here but they could really benefit those living in space. Of course, the base materials must still be located and mined, but this is still a shorter step than building an electronics industry there.

Robot Progress - Robot helpers also will provide essential help for the space communities. They will help in everything from mining to building habitats. However, we are still far away from anything like the intelligent and adaptable robots in science fiction.

It looks to me, though, that robotics is entering one of those self-reinforcing development paths that will lead to very sophisticated systems in a relatively short time, say five to ten years. Semiconductor electronics and PCs followed similar paths. They began with very simple devices but then made steady progress with innumerable small, incremental improvements, all paid for by markets that opened up along the way.

Seems like every other day or so, some company announces a new robot for consumer applications. Sony's robot dogs get smarter all the time. Robot lawn mowers and household vacuum cleaners have become increasingly practical. These products are selling and the profits made from them will in turn lead to more sophisticated systems in each product cycle.

For example, yesterday I was sent a set of press releases from Evolution Robotics, which makes consumer oriented robot kits. They have developed a navigation system that they claim will drastically lower the cost of autonomous robots - Evolution Robotics™ Introduces Breakthrough Solution for Robot Navigation - Evolution Robotics PR - Jan.8.03. They also announced a second robot kit called the ER2.

More about the Evolution announcement and other robotics developments can be found in - Robots for the masses - CNET.com - Jan.9.03.

This kind of gradual development path means that there will not be a sudden dramatic announcement of the creation of a HAL or a R2D2 type robot. Instead, we will take for granted each new improvement and probably not notice just how much progress has been made. You might look around, though, one day and say, "Gee, I just realized that we've gone from a robot dog to a robot walking the dog and playing catch with it."


Jan.8.03 Space news briefs...

Frequent Space Miles - Space Adventures has teamed with another airline to allow their frequent flyer miles to apply towards a trip on a sub-orbital vehicle when one becomes available: Lufthansa Airlines and Space Adventures Partner on Miles and More Sweepstakes - Space Adventures PR/Spaceref - Jan.7.03 .

This follows an earlier arrangement with US Airways: US Airways and Space Adventures To Offer The Ultimate Destination -- Space - Space Adventures PR - Mar.11.02

Filkadelic Chris Conway - Chris Conway has released a new album entitled Alien Salad Abduction. He describes the work as a " huge filk (sci-fi folk music) album. An album of excesses, theremins, harmonies, instruments galore, electronics, and strange interludes. FILKADELIC!!!! A twin release with My Mind's Island - each follow the journey begun on the Earth Rising CD - Alien Salad Abduction follows the journey outwards - the other twin , the inward journey."

Also check out other Filk Music.

Sat TV for the Road - if satellite radio doesn't keep the kids quiet in the back seat on those long trips, try satellite TV. The company KVH announces a small antenna system suitable for use in cars and vans that will receive satellite TV for $10 per month: Company unveils satellite TV for cars - CNN.com - Jan.8.03 * KVH to unveil satellite TV for cars; stock surges - Reuters/Yahoo - Jan.06.03

There have been larger systems available for large recreational vehicles and boats to receive satellite TV (e.g. ASA Electronics) but apparently this one uses a much more compact antenna.

More Amateur Sats in Orbit - the recent Russian Dnepr rocket launch carried not only the TransOrbital test module, but also 5 other spacecraft. Three of these were student built satellites and AMSATs.

The German SAFIR-M -- Der AATiS-Sat has now become OSCAR-49 (AO-49). It was designed by the Amateur Radio and Telecommunications in Schools and a university group to provide an orbital Store-and-Forward service for German students to experiment with: German Amateur Radio payload reaches orbit - ARRLWeb - Dec.24.02 .

SaudiSat 1C has become SO-50. Built by the Space Research Institute of the King Abdulaziz City for Science and Technology, the spacecraft is the third in a line of AMSAT satellites from Saudi Arabia: New SaudiSat Gets OSCAR Designation - ARRLWeb - Jan.7.03

UniSat-2 is a project from the University of Rome Astro-dynamics department.


Jan.5.03 Opportunties & Challenges for the Space Entrepreneur

Check out the latest HobbySpace interview : A Conversation with Dennis Wingo. Mr. Wingo is the founder of SkyCorp and cofounder with Walt Anderson of Orbital Recovery. He discusses these companies, which lead the development of in space commercial services, and the tough challenges that the space entrepreneur faces, especially with regard to raising money.

Jan.5.03 Amateurs Make Big Contributions

HobbySpace seeks to show that the public, and especially dedicated amateurs, can particpate in space exploration and development and, in some cases, even make crucial contributions.

To illustrate this I will maintain and develop a list of amateur contributions to space.


Jan.4.03 A Big Space Year Ahead

Looks like there will be lots of exciting happenings in space and launcher development in the coming year ranging from X Prize test flights to Chinese astronauts heading to space.

See the RLV News section for speculations on the coming year in development of low cost launchers.

The ISS construction will heat up with perhaps its busiest year yet. Over 40 tons of solar panels, truss, and other materials will be delivered in up to 6 shuttle flights. The installations will require up to 24 space walks.

NASA will also launch two rovers to Mars that will land in early 2004. The European Beagle 2 rover will also head for Mars this summer.

China may join the exclusive club of nations (currently just the US and Russian) with manned space flight capability - China Plans to Launch Manned Space Flight in 2003 - Space.com - Jan.02.03.

Jan.4.03 HobbySpace Progress - With over 60k page views in December, the total number of page views since opening HobbySpace in January 1999 has surpased the one million mark.

I hope to continue the steady increase in traffic by offering more features, interviews, and other resources. I hope also that HobbySpace will play a part in expanding public participation in space exploration and development.

 

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