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Welcome to HobbySpace. the site that will prove to you that everyone can participate in space exploration and development in one way or another.
April 2009
Recent Blog Postings
HobbySpace Log:
RLV & Space Transport News:
Recent Features
Space Access ' 09
Space Access 2009
Compilation of blog postings, articles, photos and videos concerning this event in October 2008.
Bigelow Genesis II
Commercial Stairway to Space - Timeline 2009
A discussion of how commercial efforts might dominate human spaceflight by the latter half of the next decade.
Falcon 1 launch
Review of NewSpace Progress in 2008
A compilation of significant events and developments in the NewSpace movement during 2008.

More Interviews, Articles, and Special Topics.
Space Art Spotlight

Planetes - Makoto Yukimura
Planetes - Makoto Yukimura

Sample panel from T-Minus - art by Zander Cannon
T-Minus - illustrated by
Zander Cannon & Kevin Cannon

Astronauts in Trouble - Space: 1959 -  by Larry Young, Illustrated by Charlei Adlard
Astronauts in Trouble - Space: 1959
Illustrated by Charlei Adlard

Cindi in Space
Cindi in Space - illustrated by Erik Levold

Solar Sci-Fi Comics

More space art...
Space Music Video of the Month
Space Hobbies & Activities in the Spotlight
Explore Maps of Mars and the Moon

Several orbiters of the Red Planet have now provided detailed maps of the Martian landscape. Similarly, spacecraft from the 1990s till today have improved upon maps made of the Moon during the 1960s Space Race. In addition to standard maps, there are also topograghical maps providing elevation information and maps in different spectral ranges that enhance features according to the type of surface materials.

A number of web sites provide maps of the solar system's planets and moons. There also programs such as Google Moon and Google Mars that provide interactive features. Globes of Mars and the Moon are available from space merchandise stores. Below is a sampling of these sorts of maps, programs and globes.

Moon Poster
Moon Poster

Marineris Quadrangle of Mars
The Marineris Quadrangle of Mars (pdf) at
Ralph Aeschliman's Planetary Atlas

USGS Mars mappng tools
US Geological Survey's Mars mappng tools
Google Moon
Google Moon
Moon Chart
Moon Chart at Spaceshots store
Mars Globe at Spacetoys store
Mars Globe at Spacetoys store
It's a Whole New Outer Space Out There

An Unreasonable Goal in Reach

Unreasonable Rocket is a team currently focused on the Northrop-Grumman Lunar Lander Challenge contest. The team consists primarily of Paul Breed and his son. Though they did not manage to get a vehicle into the 2008 NG-LLC event in New Mexico last October, they did make huge strides towards development of a vertical takeoff and landing (VTOL) rocket vehicle.

The NG-LLC requires a VTOL vehicle to rise up from a pad with only rocket power to 50 meters in altitude, move horizontally 100 meters and then come down for a landing on a second pad. After refueling the vehicle must return along the same path back to the original pad. All of this must happen within 150 minutes. There are two competition levels. In the first level, the total time in the air must be 90 seconds, in the second level 180 seconds. (The second level also involves a pad with a lunar terrain-like rocky surface.)

The video below, first shown at the Space Access 2009 conference, is a compilation of engine and vehicle tests by Unreasonable Rocket. (More videos from their projects can be found in this YouTube gallery.) You can see that after a great deal of experimenting and testing they eventually achieved stable hovering while tethered to a crane. For more details , see Paul Breed's slides (50MB pdf) from his presentation at SA'09.

It appears that in 2009, the NG-LLC competition will include Unreasonable Rocket as well as Armadillo Aerospace, which won the first place purse for Level 1 in 2008, and probably one, maybe two other teams. This year the flights will not take place at one location on one date but instead a team will select a time and place of its choosing. The best team performance by the end of the competition window, probably at the end of October, will win the purse for the particular level. (The second place purse currently remains for Level 1 and both first and second purses remain for level 2.)

Unreasonable Rocket expects to continue rocket development after the NG-LLC and to pursue high altitudes and eventually suborbital space flights. The team TrueZer0 also was a very small group with a small budget that managed within less than a year of starting development to send a vehicle to the 2008 NG-LLC event. Though their vehicle failed during its flight, they nevertheless impressed many people with how much they accomplished. I hope that the achievements of these small teams can inspire many amateur and student groups elsewhere to pursue fully reusable VTOL rocket projects.

Check for the latest in leading edge rocket and space travel projects on the Space Transport News blog.

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Weather maps, remote sensing
and spysat images.
Space Weather Viewer
Space Weather
Sun, solar wind, aurora images
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Space Explorers
Images and data from
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See the archive of previous HobbySpace homepage Spotlight items ...
March 09 - May 09

HobbySpace provides over 15,000 space links and
has delivered over
30,588,000 page views since
January 1999.

The Art of C. Sergent Lindsey
NewSpace Watch at NSG


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