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The Space Log
Space for Everyone - May 2004

May.28.2004 Space News

Holiday break... I will be traveling over the next week or so and postings will be even more intermittent than usual and probably none at all over this weekend.

Space station sim... NASA helps with development of the Space Station Sim video game: Maryland Game Developer Vision Videogames Receives NASA Space Act Agreement to Develop Space Station Game - Vision Videogames - May.31.04

Venus transit... On June 8th Venus will transit over the face of the Sun. You can watch a webcast at Exploratorium: Transit of Venus. More info at Sun-Earth Day 2004 Venus Transit and a fascinating history story at James Cook and the Transit of Venus - Sceince@NASA - May.28.04.

News briefs... The Economist takes a dim view of the recent ESA review of the Beagle 2 failure: Mars Attacks! A bungled report into the failure of a Mars lander - Economist.com - May.27.04 (via NASA Watch)....

... Expedition 9 makes contact: ARISS School Group Contact a First for Astronaut, Expedition 9 - ARRLWeb - May.27.04 (via spacetoday.net).

May.27.2004 Space News

Near space sci-fi... Inspired by the JP Aerospace and its proposed high altitude Dark Sky station, Stephen Gordon posted this short story at The Speculist: Dark Sky Station October 9, 2016 Journal of Captain Marvin Orr Day 1 - May.25.04 (via K.Kert).

There's something wonderfully Jules Verne-like about the JP Aerospace airship designs, especially the proposed orbital airship. I can imagine them inspiring a lot of fun sci-fi.

Robert Zimmerman on space... Check out the fascinating interviews with space historian and author Robert Zimmerman at the SpaceShow on May 11, 04, March 30, 2004, Feb.10, 04, and Dec.3, 2003.

Also, SciScoop has posted a Q&A with Robert Zimmermann. (Via K. Kert.)

News briefs... At the FAA COMSTAC meeting on May 20th Brant Sponberg presented an interesting overview of the Centennial Challenges (ppt). ...

... Some interesting ideas for protecting people from space radiation: Shields Up! New Radiation Protection for Spacecraft and Astronauts - Space.com - May.27.04 ...

... Beautiful images of Saturn taken by Hubble and Cassini: Saturn Seen From Far and Near - JPL News - May.26.04 ...

... Activists plan to a political blitz on the Capitol: Space Exploration Alliance to mobilize 'Moon-Mars Blitz' on Capitol Hill - CSA - May.26.04 ...

... Vote atSciScoop on which NASA center you think should be closed (Via K.Kert)...

... Bruce Behrhorst of NuclearSpace.com recommends To the End of the Solar System: The story of the nuclear rocket (Amazon affiliate link), by Dr. James A. Dewar, Dec.2003.

May.26.2004 Space News

News briefs... Frank Sietzen reports on the coming crunch time for the space initiative : Analysis: Summer showdown for space plan By Frank Sietzen - UPI - May.25.04...

... The Spacearium is offering a big list of rocket scripts. See also this educational page and applet for Converging Diverging Nozzle design at Virginia Tech.

May.25.2004 Space News

The SpaceShow this week:

Tuesday, May 25, 2004 Space Show features Dayna Steele Justiz ...the founder and President of TheSpaceStore.com.

Sunday, May 30, 2004 Space Show "features returning guest Patrick Bahn, CEO of TGV Rockets, Inc. TGV rockets is now located in Norman OK and is a company dedicated to achieving low cost suborbital flight. TGV was founded in 1998 and is growing rapidly. Mr. Bahn is also a key member of The Suborbital Institute. He will be discussing these issues with Space Show listeners, as well as reporting to us from the NSS ISDC Annual Conference which will be in progress in Oklahoma City while Mr. Bahn is conducting this interview."

Listen to recents shows by space historian Robert Zimmerman and author Sylvia Engdahl that are now available for downloading.

Hear the SpaceShow programs live at KKNW, 1150 AM in Seattle, and on line at www.live365.com/stations/dlivingston?site=dlivingston.

May.24.2004 Space News

Spiral Images
The shape of the first space hotel?

Spiral space development... Bigelow Aerospace is slowly releasing more information about its space habitat development projects: Bigelow Aerospace to Tackle Inflatable Space Habitats - Space.com - May.24.04. The company has an ambitious schedule for launching prototypes of their inflatable systems in the coming year. The Genesis Pathfinder projects will eventually lead to the launch of the large ((20,000 to 23,000 kg) Nautilus habitat.

I'm particularly interested in what the Nautilus design looks like. I've always been a fervent proponent of the Gerard O'Neill scheme for large scale settlement of space via huge space habitats that rotate to provide artificial gravity. (See the L5 artworks.) The central challenge of such a scenario is how to get from here (small space modules) to there (rotating island-sized behemoths)? It would appear that such huge rotating structures could only be built directly, not incrementally. That would require an enormous initial investment, which most likely could only come from a government and that is unlikely for a long, long time.

Perhaps, however, incremental development of rotating structures is not out of the question. I've toyed with the idea of how one might build in a spiral around a rotating core. This would allow for starting with a small, low cost seed structure and then incrementally developing outward as more space becomes needed and the money to pay for it is generated.

There are obviously a lot engineering questions and options for such structures. Perhaps, for example, a double spiral would be needed to keep the system balanced around a fixed axis. The construction might proceed longitudinally as well as radially as shown by this sea habitat.

Most likely, Bigelow's Nautilus has nothing at all to do with such ideas but is still fun to speculate about how the company's habitats might lead to much bigger things someday.

News briefs... This Russian firm - ZAO - Aerospace Systems - has a lot of plans for Mars exploration - Expedition to Mars : Current project state - and will be launching a prototype spacecraft this summer: Test schedule . (Item via K. Kert.) ...

... More updates on the space initiative in Moon-Mars initiative: where do things stand now? - The Space Review - May.24.04 * A few words with Craig Steidle - The Space Review - May.24.04 ...

... This article exaggerate the deprivations that a space traveler will undergo but is still an interesting analysis of the economic forces on the development of such an industry: The price of privation - The Space Review - May.24.04 ...

... The company that owns space.com, Space News, and other space related businesses is changing its name: Space Holdings Enters Next Stage of Growth Plan with Name Change to Imaginova - Space.com - May.24.04

Losing money for space... Britain had a tough post-WWII period but in the last couple of decades its economy has come roaring back. (See GDP ratings.) Yet despite this wealth it could not find a few pounds to fund the Beagle 2 mission sufficiently:

This miserly approach to unmanned space exploration came despite the complete absence of a human spaceflight program. The British example indicates that if a society decides that space is not important enough for humans to explore, then it is also not important enough to spend a lot of money on robots to explore it.

According to many US scientists, canceling the NASA human space program would result in a windfall for unmanned programs. There is no evidence whatsoever for this belief. The British example in fact shows the opposite. Not only would the money fail to go to space science, the funding for it would actually decrease. Without the cover of the human program, the space science program funding would be exposed for what it is: preposterously big compared to that for all other sciences outside of medicine.

News briefs... The German company Environmental Studies offers a diverse array of services based on satellite tracking: "Precision Farming, Wildlife/ pet/ dog/ animal/ bird GPS/GSM tracking collars."...

...It's also nice to see this German group - Alltra -Alltranpsport - offering interesting ideas for space tourism, lunar and Mars bases. (Link via a HobbySpace)...

...Frank Sietzen give an update on the space initiative: Analysis: One step ahead for space plan - UPI - May.21.04...

... Students develop some interesting spacesuit designs for Mars What to Wear on Mars - Tech Trends - May.22.04 using radiation resistant fabric from Radiation Shield Technologies (RST) - Creators of Demron (TM)

May.22.2004 Space News

Epilogue 2

The Rocket Company comes to an end. The final installment tells how the founder of the Rocket Company seeks to reduce the cost of transportation to Mars just as he did for access to LEO. If successful, large numbers of people will be able to travel to the Red Planet for permanent settlement.

May.21.2004 Space News

Nearspacecraft hunting... An interesting new specialty has arisen. Stratofox Aerospace Tracking & Recovery Team is described as a "team of Amateur Radio operators, mostly in or near Silicon Valley, who perform or participate in tracking and recovery operations for amateur rocketry and high-altitude balloon ('amateur aerospace') flights."

Space collecting is a great hobby but don't base your financial future on it: Space buffs bring in treasures: Experts appraise memorabilia, leaving some people disappointed - Florida Today - May.21.04 ...

... Also, watch out for anyone offering you a Moon rock at a deep discount: $5M Moon Rock Stolen From Malta Museum - space.com - May.21.04

News briefs... Another asteroid between Earth and Venus is found: .New Object is 2nd Rock from the Sun - Space.com - May.20.04 ...

... Look out for bright Iridium flares: NightSky Friday - Satellite Spotting: See Dramatic Iridium Flares Now - Space.com - May.21.04 )...

... Abuse of the tort system reaches even to the sky. Please help the General Aviation Legal Defense Fund (via Transterrestrial Musings)...

... NSS recognizes the pioneers in private space development: Historic Firsts Challenge the Edge of Space: NSS annual conference to bring together pioneering leaders during the 'Summer of Space' - NSS - May.20.04

May.20.2004 Space News

News briefs... Watch fires around the world at FIRE GLOBE: The Global Fire Monitoring Center (GFMC) ...

... Maybe the apparent nano-fossils in the Mars meteorite were not so farfetched afterall: Claim made for new form of life - BBC - May.19.04 ...

... SpaceWorks Engineering offers an interesting concept for altering the course of earth-menacing asteroids: Asteroid Eaters: Robots to Hunt Space Rocks, Protect Earth - space.com - May.19.04

May.19.2004 Space News

Secret Soyuz in Oakland... The Chabot Space Center is restoring at Soyuz spacecraft from the early 1960's that was a big secret project at the time: SOYUZsecret.com - brought to you by the Chabot Space Center - Oakland, Ca. * "In search of secrets, Soyuz x-rayed" - collectSPACE - May.18.04

News briefs ... A closed (or nearly so) cycle space habitat will use waste not only for gardening but power:Waste Not: NASA-supported researchers are working to develop a fuel cell that can extract electricity from human waste.- Science@NASA - May.18.04....

... More about the CSXT launch (including a video) in the Advanced Rocketry Section.

May.18.2004 Space News

Another CSXT article... The CSXT launch is getting wide coverage: Amateur rocket fired into space - BBC - May.18.04

News briefs...Space Adventures working with advertising firm "to send a prominent Japanese figure to the International Space Station (ISS) within the next several years": Space Adventures And Dentsu Working Together To Send First Japanese Private Explorer To Space - Space Adventures - May.18.04 ...

... Greg Klerkx's book on NASA continues to attract attention: How to Fix NASA: A critic with a new book says the space agency needs an overhaul - MSNBC/Newsweek - May.18.04

More CSXT reports... First amateur rocket blasts into space - New Scientist - May.18.04 * Rocketman' on Cloud 9 - TwinCities.com - May.18.04 (via spacetoday.net)

CSXT sets amateur rocket altitude record,.. An amateur team finally reaches 100km. Congratulations to Ky Michaelson's Civilian Space eXploration Team, which made it to space last Sunday with the 21-foot ‘Go Fast’ rocket: Rocket Carrying Ham Radio Payload Reaches Space! - ARRLWeb - May.17.04 (via RocketForge). See May 7th press release.

News briefs... More about the use of the Orbital Recovery space tug to rescue the Hubble: Space Tug Could Save Hubble - Wired News - May.15.04 ...

... Boeing's Connexion satellite broadband service for airliners finally gets off the ground: Hi-flying Wi-Fi debuts on transatlantic flight - New Scientist - May.17.04

May.14.2004 Space News

More alt.space business... Bigelow Aerospace, which recently signed a contract to launch a payload on the new SpaceX Falcon V, also plans a series of launches on the low cost Russian Dnepr rocket: Bigelow signs contracts for Dnepr launches - spacetoday.net - May.14.04. What exactly the company is launching isn't public yet but is assumed to be related to their work with inflatable space habitats. ...

... Orbital Recovery signs up Arianespace for launch services beginning in 2007: Arianespace will launch Orbital Recovery Ltd.'s "space tugs" - Arianespace - May.12.04 * First space tug set to launch in 2007 - New Scientist - May.13.04. Now that the company has signed up its major hardware contractors and arranged for ESA to pay about half of the space tug development cost, the only big task left is to sign up with a satellite or space insurance company to rescue a comsat. From what Dennis WIngo said at SA'04, such a contract does not seem far away.

News briefs... Congrats to Alan Boyle on the second birthday of his precocious web log: The terrible twos - Alan Boyle: Cosmic Log - May.13.04 ...

... Some amateur astronomers take comet finding really seriously (and successfully): Comet Man - St.Louis Dispatch - May.11.04 (via spacetoday.net)...

... Check out the alt.space - journal of the new space race, which includes cool resources like an archive of streaming movies ...

... I earlier mentioned Jeff Foust's article on NASA's apparent intention to pursue a large spacecraft for the Lunar Reconaissance mission. Kaido Kert points out, though, that Goddard Spaceflight Center is also looking at small lunar orbiters: NASA Presolicitation Notice: Lunar Microsat Network Feasibility Study - SpaceRef - May.7.04 * Mini-Moonsat Network to be Studied - Space.com Astronotes - May.11.04

May.13.2004 Space News

ISS will cross over Jupiter and the east coast of the US tonight. Space Station Eclipses Jupiter - science@NASA - May.12.04. Will occur around 9:30pm.

See a great image of a transit of the Saturn by the ISS on www.wonderplanets.de - Torsten Edelmann. More on transits at Computing sun & moon transits by the International Space Station - ISS-Transit.sourceforge.net.

See also the Philp Masding's Space Station observations page and his ISS VRML Simulator.

More on ISS observation and photography in the Satellite Watching section.

CSXT amateur rocket launch raising interest and a ham radio transmitter: Homegrown Rocketeers Prepare for Their Next Space Shot - Space.com - May.12.04 * Ham Radio-Carrying Rocket Hopes to Reach Space - ARRLWeb - May.12.04

GPS brief ... GPS selling soda: Pop-Top: Coke Can Goes GPS - Space.com Astronotes - May.12.04

Space business briefs... Orbital Recovery's development of a space tug continues moving along nicely: Orbital Recovery Ltd. Signs Launch Ariane Services Contract For the ConeXpress Orbital Life Extension Vehicle "Space Tug" - Orbital Recovery Corp - May.12.04 ...

... Satellite Radio reaches past 2 million subscribers: Sirius Satellite Radio Reaches 400,000 Subscribers - SIRIUS Satellite Radio - May.11.04 * XM Satellite Radio ... Adds 320,000 Subscribers, Ends Quarter at 1.68 Million - XM Radio - May.6.04

May.12.2004 Space News

Alt Space conferences in the next few months:

The Fifth Annual Return to the Moon Conference - July 16 – 18 at the Westin Casuarina, Las Vegas, Nevada - An amazing speaker list is lined up that includes:

  • James Cameron, director of such films as Alien, The Abyss, Titanic, and many others. James Cameron is among the leading innovators in film technology and an avid space enthusiast.
  • Captain John Young, whose long and distinguished career included walking on the Moon during the Apollo 16 mission,
  • Andrew Chaikin, author of the book "A Man on The Moon" on which the HBO Series "From the Earth To The Moon" was based. (He is also the conference co-chairman with Rick Tumlinson.)
  • Dr. George Mueller also known as "The man who put men on the Moon" for leading the Apollo program from 1963 to 1969.

Register now

NSS's 23rd International Space Development Conference - May 27-31 at the Clarion Meridian Hotel & Convention Center Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. Still time to sign up. Check out the speakers and sessions programs.

Mars Society's 7th International Conference - August 19 -22 at the Palmer House Hilton hotel, in downtown Chicago, Illinois. This conference flyer (pdf) lists 36 sessions covering an enormous range of Mars related topics.

Space Frontier Conference 2004 - Nothing posted yet but presumably the Space Frontier Foundation will hold its yearly meeting this October in L.A. as usual. At the recent Space Access Society meeting there was talk of including a one day space access session during the SFC meeting to get a six month update on the latest developments with new space transports.

May.11.2004 Space News

The SpaceShow this week:

Tuesday, May 11, 2004, 7:00-8:15PM PST - "Robert Zimmerman, a returning Space Show guest. Mr. Zimmerman is an award winning science writer and space historian. Mr. Zimmerman has been a producer and screenwriter of feature films, documentaries, industrials, and commercials..."

Sunday, May 16, 2004,12-1:30PM PST - "Dr. Brian Greene, author of the newly released book, 'The Fabric Of The Cosmos.' Dr. Brian Greene, one of the world's leading physicists, has been working on the unified theories and quantum gravity for more than a decade. In 1990, he and a colleague discovered mirror symmetry, launching a vibrant new field in physics and mathematics. Later, he and his colleague discovered topology change, showing that the fabric of space can tear, refuting Einstein's theory that space can stretch, but not tear. His discoveries have been published in the leading science peer review journals as well as other science and popular press. Professor Greene has lecture in more than twenty-five countries and is widely regarded for a number of groundbreaking discoveries in superstring theory. Dr. Greene is the author of the bestselling book, 'The Elegant Universe,' a book which became a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize and the subject of the recent three-part Nova PBS series hosted by Dr. Greene...."

Listen to recents shows by space activists Brian Chase and Marianne Dyson that are now available for downloading.

Hear the SpaceShow programs live at KKNW, 1150 AM in Seattle, and on line at www.live365.com/stations/dlivingston?site=dlivingston.

News briefs... The President will apparently return to the subject of space soon: New Bush space speech planned by Frank Sietzen - UPI - May.10.04 * Revision in space vision - Alan Boyle/MSNBC - May.10.04 ...

... NASA sponsors student rocketeers: NASA Student Launch Initiative: Rockets soar for student teams participating in hands-on initiative sponsored by NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center - MSFC - May.10.04

May.10.2004 Space News

Lander challenge update... The following update was posted on the rec.models.rockets newsgroup yesterday about the competition for launching a model rover, landing it safely, and remotely driving it to a target site (See What is Lander Challenge?):

We have received quite a few requests for updates, so we are posting the information here in rmr.

The Rocket Rover Lander Challege seems to be going quite well.

We have had over 37 inital sign up requests and have received back more then 12 project plans. All of them, both high and low budget look impressive.

We have an impressive amount of prizes supplied by the supporting vendors. go to the www.landerchallenge.com and click prizes, current prize list, or a direct link is here: boosterworks.com/lander/currentprizelist.htm

Please visit these supporting vendors websites as well if you could, as they have dontated generiously.

we have a yahoo group for those who signed up at: groups.yahoo.com/group/LanderChallenge/

Due to the competitive nature of the contest, not too many at this time have been open in the public forum about their projects till they submit their qualifying entry. I don't blame them either, as some teams are even competing amongst themselves in their local area.

The judging will take place at the end of LDRS and the entries are to have arrived at LCHQ by June 30th (to take to LDRS and presented to the judges) or they can be flown at LDRS and given to LCHQ their.

BoosterWorks will be representing LCHQ at LDRS.

Art Upton

News briefs... Check out the big collection of astronomical images at The Virtual Amateur Astronomer® hosted by Jupiter Scientific, "dedicated to the promotion of science and scientific education through books, the internet, and other means of communication"...

... More about the space advocacy groups joining forces: Leading Space Groups Agree: It's Time For The Moon, Mars And Beyond - NSS/Space Exploration Alliance - May.8.04 ...

... Petitions in support of the Moon-Mars missions: Planetary Society: AIM FOR MARS & Go for Mars! - petition at space.com ...

... To carry out the Moon-Mars missions, however, NASA will have to undergo serious reforms: NASA Facing Big Changes To Meet Bush Space Initiative Goals - Aviation Week - May.9.04 ...

... NASA may go for a mission with robots to refurbish the Hubble: Robot to Hubble's Rescue? - NPR - May.10.04 * NASA Weighs Robotic Mission To Aid Hubble - Washington Post - May.10.04 ...

... A possible approach to encouraging space mining is discussed in Property rights and space commercialization - The Space Review - May.10.04...

Alt space to deep space... Jeff Foust reports on NASA's current Battlestar Galactica approach to a lunar orbiter mission and proposes the use of smallsats instead: Lunar science missions: the smallsat alternative - The Space Review - May.10.04. His alternatives include a NASA partnership with projects like Transorbital (a HS advertiser), which already has a lunar orbiter spacecraft in development.

This would be a great way both to accomplish NASA's science goals and to encourage development of the private space industry. As discussed below, we are seeing alt space companies from here to the Moon. They are now building hardware for suborbital transport, orbital transport, LEO habitats, and lunar exploration.

Alt space speeding up... Last week there were two particularly significant developments in the world of private spaceflight.

The first development was the announcement by SpaceX that it had signed a contract to launch a spacecraft built by Bigelow Aerospace. (The Bigelow home page has reprinted the Space.com article.) Here we have a privately funded space transportation company signing up a privately funded space habitat company to launch a large payload. Due to their mega-millionaire owners (Elon Musk and Robert Bigelow, resp.), these companies can be assured of steady funding for the long term. They are building real hardware and making rapid progress all without NASA or military funding. (SpaceX's first customer is from the Defense Department but the company did not receive military funding for vehicle development.)

Musk has indicated that he wants eventually to launch people with the Falcon V or a derivation of it. So such a vehicle could be the one that will carry space tourists to a Bigelow space hotel. This is no longer sci-fi but a simple extrapolation of what is already happening. (Note the mysterious Nautilus page at the Bigelow site.)

The second big development was the announcement of a title sponsor for the X PRIZE: Celebrating Anniversary of Historic Space Flight, Ansari Family's Donation Gives Huge Boost to Future Space Travel and Tourism - X PRIZE - May.5.04. This follows the earlier announcement of a presenting sponsorship by Champ Car. Both are contributing money in the "7 figure" range to the X PRIZE organization.

This shows that the private space launcher projects are increasingly being taken seriously by businesses outside of the aerospace industry. Most importantly, these outsiders are willing to get involved and provide significant money.

Added with the other ongoing developments such as the SpaceShipOne flights and progress by other suborbital projects, the alt space world is showing real progress and at this rate could become self-sustaining within a couple of years, especially when tourist flights begin on the suborbitals. There will be setbacks and disappointments, but private spaceflight development is looking more viable and sustainable than it ever has.

May.8.2004 Space News

Space advocates to fight together in support of the new space policy: Space Advocacy Groups Unite to Back Moon, Mars and Beyond Vision - Space.com - May.7.04

Eyes on the prizes... Alan Boyle gives an interesting review of NASA's Centennial Challenges program that will provide $20M in prize money for accomplishing various space related feats: NASA plans contests for space feats: Workshop aimed at devising ‘Centennial Challenges’ - MSNBC - May.7.04

May.7.2004 Space News

The SpaceShow this week:

Sunday, May 9, 2004,12-1:30PM PST -Virgilu Pop, noted European space attorney is a "specialist in space law and policy[. He is] writing-up a doctoral thesis at the University of Glasgow on the subject of landed property rights in outer space. He is a lecturer at Lille 2 University in France and is a member of the International Institute of Space Law and of the European Center for Space Law. He published several space law articles in 'Space Policy' and in the 'Proceedings of the Colloquium on the International Law of Outer Space', having attended a number of IAF congresses, and is also a contributor on spacedaily.com."

Listen to recents shows by space activists Brian Chase and Marianne Dyson that are now available for downloading.

Hear the SpaceShow programs live at KKNW, 1150 AM in Seattle, and on line at www.live365.com/stations/dlivingston?site=dlivingston.

Song contest... The Mars Society announces that "Due to popular demand, the deadline for the Second Rouget de Lisle Award contest for songs celebrating the cause of the human exploration and settlement of space has been extended. The previously announced deadline was April 30, 2004. The new, final, absolute drop-dead deadline is May 31, 2004. Songs received after that date will not be considered. Over 50 songs have already been received from songwriters all over the Earth. But if you have a song you would like to be heard on two worlds, send it in this month."

See the original announcement for the contest back in April.

News briefs... Check out the cool space models at Custom Replicas . See, for example, the Gemini and F1 Rocket Engine pages....

... The testimony to the Aldridge Committee by George Whitesides, head of the National Space Society, is now posted at Whitesides Testimony to Aldrige Committee - NSS - May.5.04 ...

... NASA announces a new set of astronaut candidates: Teachers among 11 new astronauts - Florida Today - May.6.04 ...

... The Genesis spacecraft is setting up to drop its sampling of Comet dust this September - NASA Genesis Spacecraft On Final Lap Toward Home - ScienceDaily - May.6.04. The return capsule will be snagged in mid-air by helicopter.

CSXT goes for rocket record ... Ky Michaelson's CSXT rocketry group will try again to break the amateur altitude record. Press release in Advanced Rocketry News.

WSJ rocketry article... A generally sympathetic article appears in today's Wall Street Journal about the ATF (Alcohol, Tobacco, & Firearms) agency's obsession with hobby rocketry: Explosive Debate: Should U.S. Check Up On Model Rockets? Under 9/11 Law, ATF Keeps Tabs on Propellant Buyers; Feds Visit Al's Hobby Shop - Wall Street Journal - May.7.04 (paid subscription required but you can find a printed copy at your library)

One quote sure annoys me:

"Most of the people involved in these activities are harmless fanatics and nerds," says one federal law-enforcement official. "But since 9/11, we have a responsibility to make sure the nerds are not terrorists."

Gee, do you thing this person's kids will go into engineering or science?

May.6.2004 Space News

Moon-Mars Commission latest hearing reviews at

A space station show... HS reader Bill R. tells me about a British sci-fi drama called Space Island One that centered around seven people living on a space station and followed fairly realistic plotlines and scenarios. It lasted for two seasons (1997-1998), which is one more than many such series last. Unfortunately, few of these lesser known sci-fi series seem to make it to video. More info here:

News briefs... Review of the Mars water story: Water on Mars - Physics Today - April 2004 (via Transterrestrial Musings )...

... Glenn Reynolds suggests ways to get space mining off the ground:
How to Create a Lunar Klondike by Glenn Reynolds - Tech Central Station - May.5.04

... One space scientists thinks its better to build more Hubbles than send a shuttle to the old one: It's Time For Hubble-2 - SpaceDaily - May.5.04 - via Jon Goff. (I still prefer bringing it to the ISS with a space tug even if Dr. Bell thinks its silly.)

May.4.2004 Space News

Mars the target... The Planetary Society has organized a campaign called AIM FOR MARS to support the new national space policy that reorients NASA to focus on exploration of the Moon, Mars, and other deep space goals. Sign the petition.

Great crater shots ... HS reader Tim P. recommended yesterday that I look at the great photos taken by Opportunity at Endurance Crater and posted at JPL for Sol 95 and later. The stereo view is especially nice. Today several sites have also posted stories about the images as well:

News briefs... Greg Olsen tells the BBC about his planned trip to the ISS: Q&A: Third space tourist - BBC - May.4.04 ...

... Amateur astronomer excels at comet finding: An eye on the southern sky - BBC - May.4.04 ...

... British space interests: No sex (or any other human activities) in space, please: we're British! - The Space Review - May.3.04

May.3.2004 Space News

The Moon-Mars commission is having another hearing today. Some space activist groups including the National Space Society are making presentations. See the agenda comments at Aldridge Commission Meeting Today at Noon - RocketForge - May.2.04. Michael Mealling will provide real time commentary at ArocketIRC

Aviation archaeology... The organization West Mojave Aviation Archaeology investigates crash sites in the Mojave area "to explain how several historic aircraft have met their ends." This, of course, is where Edwards Air Force Base is located and where those with the Right Stuff tested the fastest, highest, and most advanced aircraft and X vehicles were tested.

On May 8th the organization will hold the Major Michael Adams Monument Dedication. Major Michael Adams became the 27th American astronaut on November 15th 1967 during a high altitude test flight of the X-15. Unfortunately, the vehicle experienced hardware problems during the reentry and he was killed.

(Item via collectSPACE.)

Inflatable spacecraft test by Bigelow Aerospace arranged for launch in late 2005 on the SpaceX Falcon V. Space Inflatable Project Eyed by Bigelow Aerospace - Astronotes @ Space.com - May.3.04. Robert Bigelow is the owner of the Budget Suites hotel chain. He has promised to spend several hundred million dollars to develop a space hotel. He created Bigelow Aerospace in Nevada to develop Transhab style inflatable habitats.

News briefs... The National Space Society's yearly conference is in Oklahoma City, OK this year over the Memorial Day weekend May 27 - 31, 2004: ISDC 2004....

... Check out all the cool astronomy related applets at J. G.'s GeoAstro Applet Collection

May.1.2004 Space News

News briefs... Review of the famous Collier's Magazine series on space exploration written by Wernher Von Braun: The Ugly Spaceship [Collier's Space Flight Series 1952-1954] by Al Jackson - April 28.2004 ...

... Check out the extended interview with Andrew Chaikin starting at Going Mobile - Astrobiology Magazine - Apr.30.04 ...

... The political winds are blowing against the President's space initiative: Bush's 'Vision' For Space Clouded - Washington Post - Apr.30.04

Continue to April 2004 articles in archive

HobbySpace News Articles Index 1999-2003


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