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The Space Log
Space for Everyone      -    February 2003

Feb.28.03 Tell your Senators to Save Rocketry!

To All ARSA members and Fellow Rocketeers,

GO!!! FAX and Phone Your Senators Now!!!!!!!!

This morning Senator Enzi sent to all Senators a "Dear Colleague" letter requesting their support and cosponsorship in legislation that would provide a general exemption of rocketry from the Safe Explosives Act, which is part of the Homeland Security Act.

Ask your two Senators to read his letter, Senator Enzi has requested that you FAX your letter and phone your two Senators to enlist their support for this important legislation. Senator Enzi and myself thank you for your support and help.

[If you are unable to get through, you can continue over the weekend, but DO NOT fail to FAX your letter and follow it up with a phone call to verify it was received.]

John Wickman - www.space-rockets.com/congress.html


Feb.27.03 Space news...

More than one reason to fly... John Carter McKnight gives a spirited defense of manned spaceflight and reviews the many reasons for going to space : Why We Fly by John Carter McKnight - Spacefaring Web/Spacedaily - Feb.26.03

Planetary petition... The Planetary Society continues its campaign for both robotic and mannes spaceflight. Sign their petition :

Serendipity above... While critics in the science community like to ridicule claims of valuable spinoffs from manned spaceflight, it should be noted that when defending large expenditures for esoteric pursuits such as high energy physics (an area in which I used to work), astrophysics, and space science, there are often similar claims about the benefits of serendipitous discoveries, i.e. spinoffs.

Similarly, I would not be surprised that the first really exciting discovery in microgravity won't occur from a specific experiment but from someone just "fooling around" and noticing something very unusual and unexpected.

As described in this article - Saturday Morning Science: Elastic Water on the ISS - Science@NASA - Feb.25.03 - in weightlessness things behave quite differently than we expect. Perhaps such bizarre and wonderful phenomena may one day become the basis of a new industry (or artwork.)

Amateur Lunar observer vindicated... Dr. Leon Stuart, an amateur astronomer in Oklahoma, photographed in 1953 a bright flash on the Moon. The flash was long dismissed as a spurious artifact by professional astronomers but now it looks to be a photo of an impact on the Moon. Examing images from the Clementine lunar orbiter mission, two scientists found a rare "fresh" crater very close to the area where the flash occurred. NASA Solves Half-Century Old Moon Mystery - ScienceDaily - Feb.25.03

Space power for your cell phone... In the 1970s there was considerable excitement about space-based solar power. It seemed to offer a permanent solution to the shortage of clean energy while also providing a very profitable space industry that could pay for large space settlements. However, the high cost of space transportation made the proposals so expensive they were dismissed by most people as totally unrealistic.

Now there is something of comeback for the concept. Ultra-light thin film solar cells have reduced the amount of mass needed to be launched. Furthermore, there could be intermediate applications for modest sized solar satellites so that the systems can start small.

For example, Mitsubishi in Japan is developing its SOLARBIRD project in which solar satellites would transmit power to small devices such as cell phones and laptops, eliminating the need for batteries.

Feb.25.03 Rescuing Hobby Rocketry

"The First Step into Space is a Model Rocket"
Model Rocketry - the First Step
Image by Shrox
(larger image at AMSRA

Efforts are building to convince the Congress to exclude the fuels used in hobby rocketry from the explosives listing used under the new Homeland Security Act. See the recent entry here : UPS refusing to ship model rockets - Space Log - Feb.18.03.

The problem is starting to get more press attention:

Watch the Congressional Action Page at the Amateur Rocket Society of America for the latest strategy, especially as to when you should contact your Senator to act on this resolution.

Feb.25.03 Sci-Fi for Astronomy Students

Andrew Fraknoi of Foothill College in Los Altos Hills, California has developed an innovative approach to teaching astronomy to undergrads: He frames his courses around science fiction stories.

His recent article - Teaching Astronomy with Science Fiction: A Resource Guide by Andrew Fraknoi, 2003 in Astronomy Education Review describes how he uses the stories, particularly ones written by scientists, to illuminate sometimes difficult astrophysics concepts.

He provides a listing of 200 stories at ASP: Science Fiction Stories with Good Astronomy & Physics categorized areas as interstellar travel, black holes, and SETI.

Feb.23.03 Interstellar messages: What should we say?

When a SETI project finds a signal emanating from an alien civilization, what message should we send back? For the second year a group of "group of scientists, artists, and scholars from the humanities" will meet in Paris, France to discuss the composition of such a message.

Encoding Altruism:The Art and Science of Interstellar Message Construction

On March 23-24, 2003, the second in a series of international workshops on interstellar message design will be held in Paris. The workshop will focus on two broad themes: first, the interface of art, science, and technology in interstellar message design; and second, how to communicate concepts of altruism in interstellar messages. The workshop will focus on messages that could be transmitted across interstellar space by radio or laser signals. These communication techniques reflect the methods used by current observational programs in the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence (SETI).

A distinguished group of scientists, artists, and scholars from the humanities will discuss many facets of interstellar communication, including

  • Creating interstellar messages that unfold and evolve in response to the "listener."
  • Preparing for interstellar contact by studying animal communication.
  • Expressing the human sense of beauty in interstellar messages.
  • Uncovering the origins of language through archeology.
  • Communicating religious views of altruism through artificial languages.
  • Composing interstellar "music" inspired by the structure of DNA.
  • Explaining the logic of altruism.

The workshop is being sponsored by The SETI Institute; Leonardo Observatory for the Arts and TechnoSciences; The John Templeton Foundation; The International Society for the Arts, Sciences and Technology (ISAST); and The International Academy of Astronautics (IAA) Permanent SETI Study Group.

Abstracts of the presentations - Biographies of the speakers

Encoding Altruism web site.

Feb.22.03 Space news...

Students to design Mars settlements... Johnson Space Center is sponsoring the JSC Annual Mars Settlement Design Competition for high schools students who will propose the designs and operating plans for a Mars base. JSC Hosts Fifth Annual Mars Settlement Design Competition - JSC PR/SpaceRef - Feb.20.03

Robot race to Las Vegas... DARPA is sponsoring a contest - Darpa Grand Challenge - that will award $1 million to the team that builds a robot that will go from Los Angeles to Las Vegas without remote control during March 2004. Such autonomous vehicles will have obvious applications to exploration of Mars and other planets and moons. (Item found via spacetoday.net-weblog) [A "Grand Challenge" for NASA - The Space Review - Feb.24.03]

Feb.20.03 Space news...

Many still want a ride to space... The public continues to show remarkably strong support for human spaceflight and a personal interest in going to space themselves: Support for NASA Shuttle Flights Remains Firm Three in four Americans want funding levels maintained or increased - Gallup - Feb.17.03.

The poll found that "3 in 10 Americans would like to take a space shuttle flight at some time in the future. This number is just slightly below the 34% who expressed this desire in 1991, and the 38% who said that shortly following the 1986 Challenger explosion."

Science teachers also still want to go: Nation's Science Teachers Believe Educators Should Have a Place On Future Space Shuttle Missions - NSTA PR/Yahoo - Feb.19.03

Rand Simberg complains, though, that the polls and public discussions really don't ask the correct questions - False Choices - Transterrestrial Musings - Feb.20.03 and fail to recognize the alternatives to a NASA and science-only motivated space program.

In the meantime... While we wait for a way for the rest of us to go to space, we can go to Disney World - Mission Space - WDWMAGIC.COM - Feb.18.03 .

News briefs ... Students continue ham radio contacts with the crew on the ISS : ARISS Contact with Japanese School First Since Columbia Tragedy - ARRLWeb - Feb.19.03 ...

... Check out this nice little article at the Christian Science Monitor on space spinoffs - Spinoffs from space - csmonitor.com - Feb.20.03 ...

... Space scientist S. Alan Stern argues for a renewed commitment to both human and robotic exploration of space : Columbia lost, but not a nation by S. Alan Stern - The Space Review - Feb.17.03

Feb.19.03 Columbia Tribute Song
Jerry Rucker has worked for many years as a technician on the shuttle's external tank. He is also a songwriter who wrote Blast-Off Columbia that was recorded by Roy McCall & Southern Gold in 1981.

This song was transmitted as a wakeup call to astronauts Young and Crippen on the first flight of Columbia, which was also the very first flight of the shuttle program.

The loss of Columbia is thus especially poignant for him. In honor of Columbia he joined with his son Joe Rucker to write the song America, We Must Carry On.

You can hear the song at www.SpiritOfColumbia.com.

More about the Ruckers is available in this article: Son joins shuttle engineer father to pen song in memory of Columbia - BP News - Feb.5.03 and on the shuttle page at Joe Rucker's site.

Feb.19.03 Visiting Interstellar Neighbors

I have posted a copy of my article A Starship to Visit a Neighbor that just came out iin in the Jan/Feb issue of Ad Astra Magazine. It reviews the challenges of reaching a "nearby" star and looks at various interstellar propulsion schemes.

The theme of HobbySpace holds that exploration and development of our own solar system will provide plenty enough excitement even if we never develop some kind of warp drive that will make starflight practical. However, I was asked by the Ad Astra editor to write such an article and it was quite fun to do.

Note that the conclusion states that the best way to reach the stars is to start now with developing our own little space neighborhood.

Feb.19.03 Space Design Competition

The European Space Agency (ESA) is sponsoring a space projects design competition for students in Canada and Europe: Calling all students and universities - ESA - Feb.18.03 -

The goal is to find "innovative, imaginative ideas, concepts and technologies to enhance Europe’s long-term Aurora programme for the robotic and human exploration of the Moon, Mars and asteroids." (Rules, pdf file)

Feb.18.03 Space news...

UPS refusing to ship model rockets... UPS has announced that it will no longer ship any item that includes materials labeled as explosive. The Alcohol, Tobacco & Firearms agency (ATF) continues to mistakenly include on its as explosives list the fuel ammonium perchlorate composite propellant (APCP), which as been used safely for decades in model and high power rocketry .

This means even small Estes rockets can no longer be shipped - Transportation Carriers Dropping Solid Rocket Motors Due To Homeland Security Act - Amateur Rocket Society - Feb.17.03.

As other shippers are certain to follow suit, this will mean the death of a very educational and fun hobby for both kids and adults.

While the National Association of Rocketry (NAR) has had some success with a lawsuit to force the ATF to remove APCP from the list, things have reached a crisis stage with the passage of the recent Homeland Security Act. It included a provision that any substance declared as explosive by the ATF must now undergo severe restrictions on its handling and transport. The UPS action follows from these requirements.

The Amateur Rocket Society is leading a campaign to get an "emergency bill passed in the Congress to delay implementation of the Safe Explosives Act until a "technical corrections" bill can be passed." Follow the instructions on their site to see how you can let your congress-person know that you support this bill.

Art for the Moon... TransOrbital's Trailblazer is taking some artworks with it when it heads for the Moon : London based artist Stephen Little is sending his art work to the Moon - PR Web - Sept.27.03.

Note that TransOrbital is also a HobbySpace sponsor. Consider sending your own artwork or other momento to the Moon via their lunar time capsule that will travel in the spacecraft.

Rocket Inaugurates Texas Spaceport... Mark Goll's Texas Spacelines company launched a high power hybrid rocket to initiate activities at a new spaceport taking shape in southeast Texas : Taking Flight: Elected leaders and officials gathered to witness event - Valley Morning Star - Feb.18.03 . More about the launch and Texas Spacelines in the advanced rocketry section. (Thanks to spacetoday.net for links to articles about the launch.)

Comet watching gets even NEATer.. As mentioned earlier, you can watch the watch the comet named NEAT via the SOHO real-time images available on the internet. The comet has gotten even brighter as a solar eruption blows upon it - Amazing Live Images: Sungrazing Comet Possibly Hit by Solar Eruption - Space.com - Feb.18.03.

Public support for space remains strong... Latest surveys show amazingly robust public support for human spaceflight: Poll: Despite Accident, Support for NASA Still High - Space.com - Feb.18.03

Feb.15.03 Space news...

Space tourism poll... Put in your 2 cents (or $98,000) on issue of space tourism. Fill out the survey at How much do you want to go into space?.

TransOrbital article... The National Geographic looks at a vicarious trip to the Moon: For-Profit Moon Mission Slated for October - National Geographic News - Jan.29.03. See the TransOrbital entry in Token Space Tourism.

Feb.14.03 Space news..

Watch the comet... ESA reports on an opportunity to watch a comet via the SOHO satellite. Surf the Web to see the Sun-dancing comet - ESA SCIENCE - Feb.12.03. Don't forget that you can regularly get the latest spectacularly views of the sun at The very latest SOHO images page at NASA. These are also available via the SOHO real time images screen saver. Lots of other real-time space imagery can found with the viewers in the Living Space section.

Thrust vectoring student rocket... The advanced rocketry group at Cal State Long Beach: Aerospace Engineering @ the Beach! will test a sophisticated high power rocket engine this month:. P-3 Launch Date Set to the Feb. 22-23 Weekend at the MTA - Flight of the Thrust Vector Control System - Cal State Long Beach. The engine will provide vectoring of the thrust to maneuver the Prospector 3 vehicle, which will carry a payload of the USC Student Microsatellite Program.

Tennessee Rocket Volunteers... If you live in Tennessee and would like to help rocket hobbyists avoid ridiculously oppressive regulation, then send a fax to Senator Bill Frist to encourage him to push an exemption from the recent Homeland Security Act that unintentionally placed a non-explosive type rocketry fuel under explosives regulations. See John Wickhams Congressional Action Page for a detailed explanation of the campaign.

Columbia links:

Feb.13.03 Moving an Asteroid

The B612 Foundation holds that near earth asteroids present a serious risk for gigantic damage to the earth and its civilisations. While we don't know when such an impact will occur, it is virtually certain to happen someday and we may not have much time to respond when we find an asteroid heading our way.

To prepare for such a situation, the foundation campaigns for a project that would by 2015 move a selected asteroid as preparation for when we need such capability. A space tugboat providing a steady pull over a long period can change the orbit of such a body significantly enough to avoid an impact.

Founders of the organization include the Princeton physicist Piet Hut, planetary scientist Dr. Clark R. Chapman, the astronaut Rusty Schweickart and others. See the article Avoiding the Impact - Scientific American - July.8.03 for an overview of the challenge

Feb.13.03 More Columbia links

Here are additional articles and sites dealing with Columbia:

Feb.12.03 Space news...

Way up there on video... Patti LaBelle's rendition of the song Way Up There at the Columbia memorial last week in the National Cathedral is now available on web cast at MSNBC - ‘Way Up There’: A Columbia tribute NASA theme dedicated to fallen astronauts; hear Patti LaBelle’s memorial performance - MSNBC - Feb.12.03.

According to Alan Boyle, the song is getting lots of requests for radio play.

Mr. Lindsey Goes to Washington... Check out the report on the Monday campaign on Capitol Hill by the Suborbital Institute and volunteers like me to inform Congress about the new suborbital launch industry and how it offers an alternative commercial route to low cost access to space.

Don't Forget to Send Your Cosmic Valentine... Place a message on Team Encounters broadcasts to 5 "local" stars (within 70 light-years) on Friday. Phoning E.T.’s home - Brian Boyle at MSNBC - Feb.11.03 * Send your free Valentine's Day message to the Stars via Cosmic Call - Team Encounter - Jan.29.03

Space Disasters... I've created a new Space Disasters section in Space History with resources about Columbia, Challenger, Soviet space disasters and others.

Feb.11.03 New Web sites ...

Space Review debut... Jeff Foust has just opened a new site called The Space Review which will provide "essays and commentary about the final frontier". The new site will complement the daily news listings of Jeff's Spacetoday.net. He wants to focus on the "fundamental problems with how we approach space today". These problems include space transportation but many others as well.

Some other interesting websites I've come across recently include

Feb.9.03 Columbia Aftermath

Here are various essays and articles dealing with the Columbia disaster :

Feb.7.03 National Space Society Petition

Sign the NSS Space Petition!
Add this logo to your web site!

The National Space Society has opened an online petition drive in support of human spaceflight. Be sure to add your name to the list.

Feb.7.03 More Defense of Human Spaceflight

The Columbia disaster has again brought up the unmanned versus human spaceflight debate that has been around since Sputnik. As discussed below in the Science and Space essay, the superiority of unmanned exploration is not nearly as clear cut as proponents suggest.

Here are some additional resources on the issue:

Feb.7.03 Columbia links...

Feb.5.03 Columbia links...
Feb.4.03 Columbia links...

Here are some Columbia related sites you may find of interest:

Feb.4.03 Columbia Artwork

I've been sent or become aware of several images inspired by the Columbia disaster. Click on these thumbnails for the full sized versions:

Columbia - Shrox
Columbia tribute
at Shrox Rocketry
Lift by Joel Anderson
by Joel Anderson
Columbia Disaster - Carola Kassner
Columbia Disaster
by Carola Kassner

Feb.4.03 The Comet and the Shuttle

In the RLV Section I discuss today why the shuttles need replacing with a safe, robust, and genuinely reusable launch vehicle. And I question claims that it will take 10 years and $35 billion to do so.

Feb.3.03 Science & Space

Whenever a tragic event like Columbia occurs, there soon arise calls from some to end funding for human spaceflight. They state that robotic and remotely controlled spacecraft can carry out scientific exploration as effectively and far more safely than humans can.

These claims typically come from scientists and academics who use their prestigous credentials to bolster their opinions. They usually portray their bias as based on scientific, indisputable facts.

In fact, there are strong counter arguments to dispute their claims. Here are a few:

  • If remote controlled science is so superior, then why is so much science still carried out in person in dangerous locations? From Antarctica to volcanic mountains to underwater caves, everyday there are scientists going into dangerous areas to risk their lives in the pursuit of their research. And it is not uncommon for researchers in the field to lose their lives.

  • Scientists do these things in person because that there is no robotic or remote control system that comes anywhere close to the mental agility and physical dexterity of a human. For example,
    • Humans have incredible powers of pattern recognition. The glint of something strange out the corner of the eye may turn out to be that key rock that explains a key mystery in the history of the Moon or Mars.
    • Humans are clever and can improvise solutions to complex problems that had not been considered or encountered before.
    • Humans interact with their environment and from all that sensory input, they synthesize new ideas and perceptions. Has anyone ever seen a video of a place that can substitute for actually being there?

  • Many scientists greatly underestimate what was accomplished by the Apollo astronauts, especially during the last three science oriented missions. In addition to the capabilities of the professional geologist Harrison Schmidt on Apollo 17, the other astronauts received considerable training in field geology. Andrew Chaikin's famous book A Man on the Moon gives a wonderful account of that training and how useful it was when they began exploring the Moon.

    I. A. Crawford, a physicist at University College London, also gives a detailed defense of the Apollo astronauts in his paper The Scientific Case for Human Spaceflight.

  • Most people, including most scientists, greatly underestimate the funding that goes to space science. As shown by the budget table, the science (including both deep space and earth remote sensing projects) and human spaceflight budgets are roughly equal at around 6 billion dollars.

  • And many space scientists greatly overestimate the support for their work. One of the reasons the late astronomer and educator Carl Sagan became a strong supporter of human spaceflight (he even came out in support of the Space Station) was the direct correlation he saw between the human spaceflight and science budgets - when the former when up or down, the latter also went up or down in tandom.

  • Scientists should watch out for what they wish for. Britain, for example, has steadfastly refused to fund any human space activities. Yet this has not resulted in rich funding for space science. In fact, the exciting Mars project Beagle II needed to go outside of the government for extra funds.

  • If space scientists insist on a strict cost/benefit analysis, then most of their funding should shift to the National Science Foundation. The entire NSF budget for a whole range of sciences is about equal to the NASA science budget. For example, scientists in condensed matter physics (out of which arose electronics, lasers, MRI machines, and many other practical inventions) can easily claim to offer a far bigger return on the dollar.

    Despite the huge funding for space science, there has never been a Nobel prize awarded in that area. (There was a prize for the discovery of the atmospheric ozone depletion problem but that relied on earth remote sensing data rather than space science per se.) If the human spaceflight budget disappeared, the NASA science budget would stick out like a sore anomaly and scientists in other areas would quickly campaign to grab away its funding.

    This is not just speculation. I previously worked in high energy physics and saw scientists in other fields, especially in condensed matter physics, lead the campaign in the early 1990s to kill the multi-billion dollar SuperCollider project in Texas. With a zero-sum mentality, they were certain that the project would take money away from them. I don't see the campaign against human spaceflight by scientists to be any more profound or noble than it was in this case.

  • I believe that humans in space will eventually do great and important science, but that is just a feeling, a belief. Space science also requires faith. There is never a certainty that pure scienctific research of any kind will lead to direct benefits. We can argue from past experience but that doesn't prove anything about the future.

    I believe, for example, that there can be many practical spinoffs to space science such as in studying the weather patterns of Jupiter; this might someday help improve the understanding of earth's weather. But that is only my belief. There is no way that I can prove it.

    Most of the data returned from space science probes will never have any direct benefit to anyone. Yet my belief is that it is still good for us, that it adds to the general body of knowledge, that indirect benefits like the inspiration and training of students make it worthwhile. But that is just my belief.

    As Carl Sagan understood, by undercutting people's belief in the long term benefits of human spaceflight, space scientists undercut the faith in the benefits of their own work and they will eventually suffer for it.

Of course, as I discuss frequently in the RLV News section, human spaceflight needs a far cheaper and safer mode of transportation that the shuttles or expendables like the Soyuz. If scientists had emphasized this rather than making sweeping condemnations of human spaceflight in general, then both pursuits would have greatly benefited.

Finally, science is not the main reason for us to go into space. Outer space offers us a wildly rich and exciting new domain in which we can settle and prosper. The Columbia crew and the others who have made the ultimate sacrifice all understood and believed in this. Regardless of the naysayers, with that kind of determination human spaceflight can't be stopped, even if we have to do it without government support.

Other views supporting human spaceflight can be found in these columns:

Feb.3.03 More STS-107 News

In addition to the sites mentioned below, here are some other sites and articles of interest:

Feb.3.03 More Columbia Songs

Jerry Pournelle has posted an mp3 of Fly, Columbia! - written by Diana Gallagher and performed by Leslie Fish and Arlin Robins. It comes from the classic space filk album Minus Ten and Counting from 1983.

Also, an mp3 of the inspiring song The Phoenix - written and performed by Julia Ecklar for the same album - can currently be found here.

Perhaps the poem New Star Over Texas by Monty Fisher will become the lyrics of new song as well.

Feb.2.03 Columbia in Song

Here are two songs that may help us deal a bit better with this tragedy.

Stephen Savitzky wrote Keep the Dream Alive in 1986 in tribute to the Challenger. Yesterday, he added new verses :

Keep the Dream Alive
by Stephen Savitzky,
Copyright 1986, 2003

In the year of Nineteen Eighty Six,
On an icy winter's day
The shuttle Challenger left the pad
And started on her way
The shuttle Challenger lifted off
With seven brave women and men
In flames they died just ten miles high,
And never came home again.

Never came home again,
In flames they died just ten miles high
And never came home again.

And seventeen years after
Nearly forty miles high,
Columbia's wreckage wrote a line
Of fire across the sky
But long before the jetstream blew
Her trail of smoke away
We saw that it marked a highway
That we'd travel again some day.

So never say that they died in vain
Nor stay on the ground afraid,
The stars are one step closer now
Because of the price we've paid.
And mourn for the shuttles that fly no more,
And weep for the friends we've lost,
But to leave the Earth will still be worth
Whatever it has to cost.

And fire no guns in last salute
But let the rockets roar,
And reach for the wide and starry sky
As Challenger did before.
And raise no earthbound slab of stone,
To mark the place they lie,
But write their names with a shuttle's flames,
Ten miles in the sky.

And here's a toast to the shuttle crews
Who died for the dream of space
And all the pioneers who have
The sky for a resting place.
No grave nor tombstone do they need,
For their memory will survive
As long as we fly beyond the sky
And keep the dream alive.

Keep the dream alive,
As long as we fly beyond the sky
And keep the dream alive.

Keep the dream alive,
Let the shuttles fly beyond the sky
And keep the dream alive


Jordin Kare also wrote Fire in the Sky after the Challenger disaster and it seems especially poignant today. (Reportedly Buzz Aldrin read a passage from it yesterday on TV and broke into tears - The Days of Miracle and Wonder by Peggy Noonan)

Fire in the Sky
By Jordin Kare,
bridge by Kristoph Klover

(Hear a performance of this song by Kristoph Klover at MP3.com)

Prometheus, they say, brought God's fire down to man
And we've caught it, tamed it, trained it since our history began.
Now we're goin' back to Heaven, just to look him in the eye:
There's a thunder 'cross the land
And a fire in the sky!

Gagarin was the first, back in 1961
When, like Icarus undaunted, he climbed to reach the Sun,
And he knew he might not make it, for it's never hard to die:
But he lifted off the pad
And rode a fire in the sky!

Yet a higher goal was calling and we vowed to reach it soon
And we gave ourselves a decade to put fire on the Moon
And Apollo told the world we can do it if we try:
There was "One small step..."
And a fire in the sky!

I dreamed last night
Of a little boy's first space flight,
Burned into me,
Watching the black and white TV:
There was a fire in the sky!
I'll remember 'til I die:
A fire in the sky--
A fire in the sky!

Then two decades from Gagarin, twenty years to the day
Came a shuttle named "Columbia", to open up the way
And they said "She's just a truck," but she's a truck that's aimin' high!
See her big jets burnin',
See her fire in the sky!

Yet the gods do not give lightly of the powers they have made,
And with Challenger and seven, once again the price is paid
Though a nation watched her falling, yet a world could only cry,
As they passed from us to glory,
Riding fire in the sky!

Now the rest is up to us, and there's a future to be won:
We must turn our faces outward, we will do what must be done:
For no cradle lasts forever; every bird must learn to fly:
And we're goin' to the stars--
See our fire in the sky!

Yes, we're goin' to the stars--
See our fire in the sky!
I'll remember 'til I die:
A fire in the sky--
A fire in the sky!

Feb.2.03 STS-107 News

Here are some sites with extensive coverage of the disaster:

I'll be posting vehicle related articles in the RLV News section.

Continue to January 2003 articles in archive

HobbySpace News Articles Index 1999-2003


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Space Headlines
RLV News
News Links
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