Pluto Fly-by: New video update, Alan Stern profile, Resources list, & Infographic

The New Horizons probe will pass by Pluto 14 days from now. Closest approach will happen on July 14 at 11:49:57 UTC. Here is a video update released today:

Here is an interesting article about Alan Stern, the New Horizons science principle investigator: How Alan Stern’s tenacity, drive, and command got a NASA spacecraft to Pluto – Science/AAAS

Emily Lakdawalla provides lots of info, links and time line on the fly-by: What to expect when you’re expecting a flyby: Planning your July around New Horizons’ Pluto Pictures – The Planetary Society


Here is an infographic sent to me about Pluto:


The Space Show this week – June.29.15 (I will be on the Tuesday episode)

The guests and topics of discussion on The Space Show this week:

1. Monday, June 29, 2015: 2-3:30 PM PDT (5-6:30 PM EDT; 4-5:30 PM CDT): We welcome back BRENT SHERWOOD from JPL to discuss human spaceflight, Discovery Proposals, t and much more.

2. Tuesday, June 30, 2015:,7-8:30 PM PDT (10-11:30 PM EST, 9-10:30 PM CDT): DR. CLARK LINDSEY now with NewSpace Global is back with us. – This is me! Here is the blurb in the newsletter:

Dr. Clark Lindsey is currently the Managing Editor of the NewSpace Watch daily news and commentary service
at NewSpace Global (, a company that provides information, data, and analysis regarding the NewSpace industry. He has followed entrepreneurial space efforts closely since the 1990s and has witnessed many ups and downs in the long struggle to reduce the costs of space endeavors, especially the high cost of accessing space.

Like most in the NewSpace community, he considers space access cost to be the overwhelmingly most important barrier to space development and believes fully reusable space transports will surmount this high hurdle. 

He also blogs occasionally at about general space topics ranging from space art to student satellites that involve ways for the general public to  participate directly or vicariously in humanity’s great adventure in space. His website provides extensive web resources for space related hobbies and participatory activities.

Dr. Lindsey has a PhD in experimental physics from the University of California at Riverside. After post-docs with Iowa State and Fermilab, he worked for several years at the Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm, Sweden.

3. Friday, July 3, 2015; 9:30 -11 AM PDT (12:30-2 PM EDT; 11:30-1 PM CDT):No show today as this is part of the July 4th holiday weekend.

4. Sunday, July 5, 2015: 12-1:30 PM PDT (3-4:30 PM EDT, 2-3:30 PM CDT): No show today as part of July 4th holiday weekend.

See also:
/– The Space Show on Vimeo – webinar videos
/– The Space Show’s Blog – summaries of interviews.
/– The Space Show Classroom Blog – tutorial programs

The Space Show is a project of the One Giant Leap Foundation.

JP Aerospace takes the first slot machine to the edge of space

I’ve often posted about the many projects of JP Aerospace, a hybrid commercial/volunteer organization that carries out high altitude balloon and airship flights with innovative hardware and is even trying to get to orbit (pdf). To make a living they often fly products of various sorts as promotions for companies. For example, they flew phones for Samsung and a laptop for Lenovo. Here is a report about another JPA near space flight with one of their more unusual payloads:

Success! Amazing Footage Of The First Slot Machine In Space Is Released

(San Jacinto, CA) – It was a galactic 20 years in the making but finally on the morning of Sunday, June 14th 2015, just before 10 a.m. – the team at Soboba had lift off! 25 crew members, engineers and volunteers gathered just outside Lovelock, Nevada to cheer on the first slot machine successfully launched into space.

Soboba Casino’s slot, nicknamed “Icarus,” was carried aboard a spacecraft designed by the not for profit and independent space company JP Aerospace. It ascended with the help of a super high-altitude weather balloon. Rising to an elevation of 99,000 feet (just shy of its 100,000 foot goal) aboard “Away 117”, Soboba launched the world’s first slot machine into space! Also accompanying the miniaturized three-wheel, one-armed bandit was a payload of specially produced commemorative Soboba Club cards by Ablecard of Azusa, California which will be distributed to select Soboba players and VIPs. After a five hour journey and over 16 hours of searching at the edge of a Northern Nevada mountain, “Away 117” and Icarus were successfully recovered and the spectacular footage of the “slot in space” was intact.

“This is yet another first for Soboba Casino,” declares Soboba Casino’s General Manager Scott Sirois. “Our partnership with the great people of JP Aerospace was out-of-this-world and we could not be happier with the result. This launch lets our players know that we will go to the stars and back to win them over.”

Icarus is a fully-functioning, albeit much smaller slot machine, and is operated with coins, reels, gears and springs, similar to the devices used when slot machines had their start in the 1900’s. Unlike other slot machines it contained a small, hidden compartment with messages penned by casino employees; this mechanical-celestial voyager is pulling double duty as a time capsule to be opened during Soboba’s 40th anniversary in 2035.

“In June of 2015 Soboba Casino celebrated its twentieth anniversary,” exclaimed Soboba Casino’s Director of Marketing Michael J. Broderick. “The Team at Soboba decided to honor this monumental occasion by accomplishing a monumental feat: to be the first casino in history to launch a slot machine into space, and prove that “Soboba is out of this world”. We successfully did it and with that success we have made a lasting mark on space travel as well as gaming history”.

The entire journey was filmed, and will be produced and edited by Inman Productions of Riverside, CA. From preparation, to lift-off, to the final moments of the slow decent by parachute, every step of the 12-inch tall, 2.5 pound Icarus’ flight was captured on film. “Soboba Casino’s Mission to Space” will debut at the 20th Anniversary party on June 27, 2015 along with the unveiling and display of the slot machine Icarus and a mockup of the space vehicle “Away 117”.

Be the first to see the video of the first slot machine in space click here: First Slot Machine in Space

Celebrating 20 years Soboba Casino features approximately 2,000 of the newest, hottest slot machines, an expansive and modern non-smoking room, 20 classic gaming tables featuring all your favorite card games, and a large outdoor event arena which easily accommodates over 10,000 people. Need to recharge & refresh? Visit the cozy Soboba Café and Coffee Kiicha, or experience AC’s Lounge with full cocktail bar and three giant HD flat screens including the “Sobobatron”, the Inland Empire’s biggest HD video wall.

Soboba Casino is proudly owned and operated by the Soboba Band of Luiseno Indians. Come join us for all the fun and then some! Soboba Casino. Where Everybody Goes to Play! For more information visit: