Many folks would like to see us back on the Moon and developing its resources.

Wednesday, October 29, 2003

Bush May Announce Return To Moon At Kitty Hawk: "BEYOND LEO

Bush May Announce Return To Moon At Kitty Hawk

Washington - Oct 29, 2003
A report by Space Lift Washington and published by NASA Watch suggests a major new space policy initiative is under consideration and may be announced by US President George Bush at celebrations planned for the centenary of flight at Kitty Hawk in North Carolina December 17th.
As the full implications sinks in of funding three decades of a space program with no serious long term policy planning, Congress has become increasingly hesitant to offer NASA a blank check anymore.
From a variety of backgrounds and constituencies, pressure is being placed on Congress and the Bush Administration to get serious about space."

Friday, October 24, 2003

Latest News for the Low Dose Radiation Research Program: "Space Radiation Research Program
Nasa Research Announcement (NRA) 03-OBPR-07:
Research opportunities for ground-based research in space radiation biology and space radiation shielding materials. Beginning October 10, 2003, this solicitation will be available electronically via the Internet at:
Notices of intent are due: November 10, 2003
Proposals are due: January 9, 2004

NASA Space Radiation Laboratory Dedicated
The NASA Space Radiation Laboratory at the U.S. Department of Energy�s Brookhaven National Laboratory was dedicated on October 14, 2003.

Low Dose Radiation Research Program Workshop IV
October 27-29 DOE Low Dose Radiation Research Program Workshop IV, Washington, D.C. Sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy and the Office of Biological and Environmental Research.

All activities will take place at the Wardman Park Marriott located at the Woodley Park-Zoo/Adams Morgan Metrorail stop on the Red line."
13March 1989 - Solar CME Storm: "SUNSTORMS and SPACE WEATHER
Coronal Mass Ejections
June 2000 - Shavuout 5760 X-Class Solar Flares
5 February 2000 Metal Dragon X-Class Solar Flare
2000-2001: Solar Magnetic Field Flips
March-April 2001: Noaa9393 Sunspot, Aurora, Flare
September 2001 Aurora
13 March 1989 Solar Flare
11 May 1999 Quiet Sun
Een Virtuele Reis door de Zon "
The Phantom Torso: "The Phantom Torso
An unusual space traveler named Fred is orbiting Earth aboard the International Space Station. His job? To keep astronauts safe from space radiation."

May 4, 2001 -- Fred has no arms. He has no legs. His job is keeping astronauts safe.

Fred is the Phantom Torso, an approximately 95-pound, 3 foot high mockup of a human upper body. Beneath Fred's artificial skin are real bones. Fred's organs -- the heart, brain, thyroid, colon and so on -- are made of a special plastic that matches as closely as possible the density of human tissue.

Fred, who's spending the next four months on board the International Space Station (ISS), will measure the amount of radiation to which astronauts are exposed. High-energy particles that pass through the human body can disrupt the way cells function. Although no astronaut has ever been diagnosed with space radiation sickness, excessive exposure could lead to health problems.


Tuesday, October 21, 2003

Optical Physics: "Light Beams in High-Order Modes

A recent project that we have been working on involves the geometric phase that results from cyclic changes in the modes of a higher-order Gaussian beam. A set of the beam modes of a Gaussian beam carry orbital angular momentum. Patrick Crawford (Summer 2002), Matt Pysher (Summer 2002), Henry Sztul (Spring 2000 and 2001) and PJ Haglin (Summer 2000) have been working on this project. We have done the first measurements of this phase for optical beams. An article on this work appeared recently in Physical Review Letters [PRL 90, 203901 (2003)].

When you have a collimated beam of light the wave equation in three dimensions becomes the paraxial wave equation. This equation can be solved in either Cartesian or cylindrical coordinates. The solution in Cartesian coordinates gives a family of solutions expressed in terms of Hermite polynomials multiplied by a Gaussian envelope. These Hermite-Gauss solutions (or modes) are categorized by their indices (n,m) and 'order' N=n+m. The Hermite-Gauss (HGnm) of order zero, HG00 is the usual output of an ordinary laser (TEM00): "
NASA's History Office: Hot Topics/FAQs- New Publications - New OnLine

Monday, October 20, 2003

NEO Tools For The Observer: "JPL's Solar System Dynamics Group have provided the following software tools for the sky observer:

Ephemeris Generator for all bodies in the solar system including comets and asteroids.

Small Body Orbital Elements provides the orbital elements for numbered asteroids, unnumbered asteroids and comets.

Object Identification - Given a date, location and region of sky, find all comets and asteroids matching the constraints within the region.

What's Observable Tonight? - Given an observation date, location and other constraints, find all asteroids and comets that are observable on that night.

Finding Pre-discovery Observations With SkyMorph "

Orbit for Hermes Dynamically Linked from 1937 to 2003: "Orbit for Hermes Dynamically Linked from 1937 to 2003
Steven R. Chesley
Paul W. Chodas
Jet Propulsion Laboratory
October 16, 2003

Using sophisticated orbit determination tools, the difficult problem of finding a precise orbit for the long-lost and recently rediscovered asteroid Hermes has been solved.


The recovery of Hermes was announced on October 15, 2003 by the Minor Planet Center (MPC) in Cambridge Massachusetts. The object was initially noted by Brian Skiff of the LONEOS asteroid search program at the Lowell Observatory in Arizona, and key follow-up measurements were provided by James Young of JPL's Table Mountain Observatory in California. Tim Spahr of the MPC located prediscovery observations from the last 7 weeks and computed the new object's orbit. Noticing that the orbit was very similar to that of Hermes, last seen during its close approach in 1937, Spahr concluded that the new object was almost certainly Hermes. Definitive proof of the object's identity was still lacking, however, because an orbit linking the known positions in 1937 to those in 2003 could not be found.

Finding the precise orbit of Hermes is difficult because its trajectory is very chaotic. In the 66 years since it was last seen, the asteroid has made numerous close approaches to both the Earth and Venus. Since the orbital changes at each approach depend highly on the circumstances of the encounter, finding an orbit with the precise sequence of encounter conditions that links positions in 2003 to those in 1937 is a challenging problem in orbit determination.

We have now solved this problem by using the JPL Sentry impact monitoring software in a novel way. Starting from the 2003 positions, Sentry found twelve distinct dynamical pathways that produced encounters in 1937, each with a different sequence of intervening close approach circumstances. Comparing these predicted 1937 encounters with the one determined directly from the 1937 observations, we were able to identify the most consistent candidate, and then zero in on the precise orbit that best matches the positions in both 1937 and 2003. We now know that since it was last seen, Hermes has made eight close approaches to the Earth and Venus to within 0.06 AU, including an Earth approach to within about 1.6 lunar distances in 1942. The new orbit solution allows us to predict future close approaches with great accuracy; we can now predict that Hermes will not approach the Earth any closer than about 0.02 AU (8 lunar distances) within the next hundred years.

BBC NEWS | Science/Nature | Rock lost in space for 66 years: "Rock lost in space for 66 years

By Dr David Whitehouse
BBC News Online science editor

Astronomers have seen a large asteroid that they first found 66 years ago and then lost in the depths of space.

It is called Hermes and it entered the record books by making a close approach to the Earth, just beyond the Moon.

But after only five days, it was lost because of the Sun's glare. Despite searches, it was never seen again.

Now scientists have spotted it once more - a faint dot in images taken by an observatory in Arizona. It was soon recognised as lost Hermes by its orbit. "

Out of the darkness

Hermes was discovered by Karl Reinmuth at Heidelberg, Germany, on 28 October 1937. He tracked it for only five days and then lost it.

It became famous because it passed within 800,000 kilometres of the Earth - two Earth-Moon distances.

But after 66 years in the dark, Hermes is back.

Early on 15 October, Brian Skiff of the Lowell Observatory in Arizona, US, found it again. At first, he did not realise it was Hermes.

"Since we find new near-Earth asteroids fairly regularly (I found, for instance, two other small asteroids also last night), my only reaction upon finding it was that it was unusually bright," he told BBC News Online.

Lost & Found: Near-Earth Asteroid Spotted after 66 Years: "Lost & Found: Near-Earth Asteroid Spotted after 66 Years
By Robert Roy Britt
Senior Science Writer
posted: 06:30 am ET
20 October 2003

A large near-Earth asteroid discovered in 1937 but not seen since was found again last week.

The rediscovery ends an investigation, ongoing for 66 years, while the boulder the size of a modest town repeatedly slipped by unnoticed.

The space rock, called Hermes, is well known to asteroid experts for its passage about twice as far from Earth as the Moon back in 1937. At the time, astronomers didn't know of any object that had ever come closer.

Hermes orbits the Sun on an elongated path that crosses the orbits of Earth and Venus, and then curves well out into the solar system. The new observations suggest it may be larger than originally thought, perhaps about a mile wide (1-2 kilometers).

Steven Chesley of NASA's Near Earth Object Program Office at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), called Hermes' elusiveness 'the last real big remaining thorn in the side for this business' of large-asteroid detection."


Saturday, October 18, 2003

Prime Minister Announces Mission to Moon: "Prime Minister Announces Mission to Moon
August 16, 2003

The Chandrayan-1 mission, announced by the Prime Minister yesterday (August 15, 2003) during his Independence Day address to the nation, represents India's foray into a planetary exploration era in the coming decades. Today, India is confident of undertaking a complex space mission because of its indigenously developed launch vehicle and spacecraft capabilities. This mission will provide a unique opportunity for frontier scientific research. Chandrayan-1 is expected to be the forerunner of more ambitious planetary missions in the years to come, including landing robots on the moon and visits by Indian spacecraft to other planets in the solar system.

The Chandrayan-1 mission envisages placing a 525-kg satellite in a polar orbit 100-km above the moon. The satellite will be launched using a modified version of India's indigenous Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV). The spacecraft will initially be launched into Geo-synchronous Transfer Orbit, and subsequently manoeuvred into its final lunar orbit using its own propulsion system. The main objectives of Chandrayan-1 include obtaining imagery of the moon's surface using high-resolution remote sensing instruments in the visible, near infrared, low and high-energy X-ray regions. Furthermore, considering the interest expressed by the international scientific community, a provision has also been made to accommodate instruments from other countries.

The spacecraft is expected to be ready for launch by 2008. "

Friday, October 17, 2003

GSLV - Summary: "GSLV - Summary

The Geosynchronous Satetllite Launch Vehicle (GSLV) is intended to eventually launch Insat-type satellites for India, to make India less dependent on foreign rockets for Insat launches. The GSLV improves on the performance of the PSLV with the addition of liquid strap-on boosters and a cryogenic upper stage. The solid first and liquid second stages are carried over from the PSLV. The GSLV will initially use a cryogenic upper stage supplied by Russia, having ordered 7 upper stages. India originally tried to buy the technology to build a cryogenic upper stage from Russia, but under pressure from the United States, that technology was not provided. Therefore, India, has been working on developing a cryogenic upper stage for the past seven years."
India: Aerospace Sources >Spaceflight: "India: Aerospace Soruces > Space Flights
ASLV PSLV GSLV SpaceFlight India's Launch Vehicle

India's Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle (GSLV) came on 18 April from Sriharikota. The flight, designated GSLV-D1, began at 10.13 GMT and placed the 1540kg GSAT 1 payload into a geosynchronous transfer orbit (GTO). The satellite will use its own propulsion system to reach a geosynchronous (24-hour) orbit. The orbit is slightly lower than a true GTO, having the following parameters: inclination 19.3 degrees, orbital period 557.6 minutes, perigee 168km and apogee 31,961km.
The GSLV is a three-stage vehicle, with the first stage supplemented by four liquid-propellant strap-on boosters. The first two stages are modifications of those used on the previously flown Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV). The introduction of the GSLV means that India no longer has to rely upon foreign launchers to place communications and remote sensing satellites into geosynchronous orbits. However, whether the GSLV will ever become a viable commercial launch vehicle is open to question; there are already sufficient launch vehicles available for such work without a newcomer entering the marketplace. More...

The Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) C2 lifted off at 2:22 am EDT (0622 UT) from the Indian Space Research Organization's launch facility at Sriharikota, an island in southern India. The rocket successfully placed three satellites into a 727-km (450-mi.) polar orbit. The launch was the fourth success for the PSLV, a four-stage rocket that uses a combination of solid- and liquid-propellant stages, along with a set of strap-on boosters. In addition to the PSLV, which can place about 1.2 tons into polar orbit, India is also developing the Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle (GSLV), capable of placing 2.5 tons into geosynchronous orbit. More...

The ASLV was created by adding two additional boosters modified from the SLV-3's first stage and by making other general improvements to the basic SLV-3 4 stage stack. The ASLV is actually a five-stage vehicle since the core first stage does not ignite until just before the booster rockets burn out. The payload capacity of the ASLV is approximately 150 kg to an orbit of 400 km with a 47 degree inclination.The first launch of the ASLV on 24 March 1987 failed when the bottom stage of the core vehicle did not ignite after booster burn-out. The second attempt ended with the Rohini payload falling into the Bay of Bengal on 13 July 1988 when the vehicle became unstable and broke up soon after release of the booster rockets. Finally, on 20 May 1992 the SROSS 3 (Stretched Rohini Satellite Series) was inserted into LEO by the third ASLV. However, instead of obtaining a circular orbit near 400 km, the ASLV only achieved a short-lived orbit of 256 km by 435 km, not unlike the degraded performance of the SLV-3 launch of 31 May 1981.
The last ASLV mission in May, 1994 successfully reached its programmed orbit of 434 km by
921 km. More...

SpaceFlight Leading Sources of Online Space News.
Launch Vehicle: India

Welcome to Indian Space Research Organisation: "The prime objective of ISRO has been to develop space technology and its application to various national tasks. Since 1969, when it was set up, ISRO has established space systems like the INSAT for telecommunication, television broadcasting and meteorological services, and the Indian Remote Sensing Satellites (IRS) for resources monitoring and management. ISRO has also developed the satellite launch vehicles PSLV and GSLV to place these satellites in the required orbits"

Earth Imaging Spacecraft Launched by India's PSLV: "Earth Imaging Spacecraft Launched by India's PSLV
By Staff
posted: 02:30 am ET
17 October 2003"

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. -- India successfully launched an Earth resources sensing satellite into polar orbit Friday, the nation's space agency said.

Liftoff of the three-stage Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle from the Satish Dhawan Space Center was reportedly on time at 12:52 a.m. EDT (0452 GMT).

The eighth flight of the Indian Space Research Organization's PSLV booster carried RESOURCESAT-1, a 3,000-pound (1,360-kilogram) spacecraft built with three cameras that see light in different wavelengths.

Here is some more information about the spacecraft as provided by the Indian space agency:

RESOURCESAT-1 (IRS-P6), the payload on board PSLV-C5, is the most advanced remote sensing satellite built by ISRO so far. The tenth satellite of ISRO in IRS series, RESOURCESAT-1 is intended to not only continue the remote sensing data services provided by IRS-1C and IRS-1D, both of which have far outlived their designed mission lives, but also to vastly enhance the data quality.

The 1,360 kg RESOURCESAT-1 will be launched into an 817 km high polar Sun Synchronous Orbit.

From - LRK -
India Approves Moon Mission: "India Approves Moon Mission
By K.S. Jayaraman
Special to
posted: 04:15 pm ET
19 August 2003"

NEW DELHI, India -- India will send a spacecraft to the moon by 2008, prime minister Atal Behari Vajpayee said in his Independence Day address to the nation Aug. 15. The announcement has put an end to suspense over the fate of the roughly $100 million project of the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) that was waiting for a formal sanction for over eight months.

The mission -- named Chandrayan-1 -- foresees placing a 1150 lb. (525 kilogram) satellite in a polar orbit 62 miles (100 kilometers) above the moon. The spacecraft will be launched by a modified version of India’s indigenous Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle. The lunar orbiter will be designed to operate for two years.

"This mission will provide a unique opportunity for frontier scientific research," ISRO said in a statement. "It is expected to be the forerunner of more ambitious planetary missions in the years to come, including landing robots on the moon and visits by Indian spacecraft to other planets in the solar system."

Chandrayan-1’s aim, according to the study group that recommended the mission, is to obtain a chemical map of the entire lunar surface. The data from the mission will be used to create a 3-dimensional atlas of regions of interest using high-resolution remote sensing in the visible, near infrared, low and high-energy X-ray regions.

Observations using the X-ray spectrum and stereographic coverage of most of the moon’s surface at a ground resolution of 5 meters is designed to provide new insight in understanding lunar surface processes, according to ISRO. The areas selected for a focused study are the north and south polar regions (believed to contain ice) and the lunar South Pole’s Aitken basin -- an ancient crater impact area.

At the end of the mission ISRO expects to provide the scientific community an improved model of the moon’s gravity. This would be made possible with the highly accurate measurements of moon’s topography by a lunar laser ranging instrument and the digital elevation model derived from 3-D imageries obtained by the terrain mapping stereo camera.

- LRK -

Thursday, October 16, 2003

Gunter's Space Page - Information on Launch vehicles, Satellites, Space Shuttle and Astronautics: "Nuclear Powered Payloads"

ALSEP - General: "Experiment Operations During Apollo EVAs
Experiment: Apollo Lunar Surface Experiments Package"
4Reference || Variable specific impulse magnetoplasma rocket: "Variable specific impulse magnetoplasma rockets or VASIMRs as the name is commonly abbreviated is a hypothetical form of spacecraft propulsion that uses radio waves and magnetic fields to accelerate a propellant. VASIMRs bridge the gap between high-thrust low-specific impulse propulsion systems and low-thrust high-specific impulse systems, being capable of functioning in either mode simply by adjusting its parameters of operation. The propellant, usually hydrogen, is first ionized by radio waves and then is guided into a central chamber threaded with magnetic fields. The ions spiral around the magnetic field lines with a certain natural frequency; by bombarding them with radio waves of the same frequency, the system heats the ions to 10 million Kelvins. A magnetic nozzle converts the spiralling motion into axial motion, driving the hydrogen ions out the back of the rocket and producing thrust. The radio waves and magnetic fields would be produced by electricity, which would almost certainly be produced by nuclear fission. Any conceivable chemical fuel used in a fuel cell or to activate a generator would be more efficiently used in a conventional rocket. Solar energy could be more efficiently used in a solar thermal rocket. By adjusting the manner of heating and a magnetic choke, a VASIMR can control the exhaust rate. Closing the choke shifts the rocket into high gear; it reduces the number of ions exiting the drive (thus producing less thrust), but keeps their temperature high (thus increasing specific impulse). Opening the choke has the reverse effect. A spacecraft would use low gear to climb out of planetary orbit, and high gear for interplanetary cruise. The method of heating plasma used in VASIMR was originally developed as a result of research into nuclear fusion. One possible future enhancement of the VASIMR system may be to promote fusion among the atoms of the propellant; this could provide a great deal of extra heating, and therefore provide even greater thrust than the electrical input into the system would otherwise allow. However, such an enhancement is not expected to be practical any time soon. NASA HSF- VASIMR

This article courtesy of Wikipedia. This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License, which means that you can copy and modify it as long as the entire work (including additions) remains under this license. GFDL:
China Successfully Completes First Manned Space Flight: "DRAGON SPACE

China Successfully Completes First Manned Space Flight

Beijing (AFP) Oct 16, 2003
China completed its first manned space flight Thursday when the Shenzhou V capsule with astronaut Yang Liwei returned safely to Earth, sparking celebrations and a pledge of a new mission within two years.

The capsule landed at 6:23 a.m. (2223 GMT Wednesday) just 4.8 kilometres (2.9 miles) off target in the vast grasslands of the Inner Mongolia region some 300 kilometres (186 miles) northwest of Beijing.

Lieutenant Colonel Yang, 38, was in good health and the Beijing Space Command and Control Centre and Premier Wen Jiabao announced the mission a 'complete success.'

Yang exited the capsule on his own, looking dazed, and was seen on television waving following his 21-hour flight that covered 600,000 kilometres (372,000 miles).
Variable-Specific-Impulse Magnetoplasma Rocket: "Variable-Specific-Impulse Magnetoplasma Rocket

This rocket is expected to enable long-term human exploration of outer space.
Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center, Houston, Texas

Johnson Space Center has been leading the development of a high-power, electrothermal plasma rocket - the variable-specific-impulse magnetoplasma rocket (VASIMR) - that is capable of exhaust modulation at constant power. An electrodeless design enables the rocket to operate at power densities much greater than those of more conventional magnetoplasma or ion engines. An aspect of the engine design that affords a capability to achieve both high and variable specific impulse (Isp) places the VASIMR far ahead of anything available today. Inasmuch as this rocket can utilize hydrogen as its propellant, it can be operated at relatively low cost.

The design of the VASIMR is so original that a prototype is being developed in collaboration with the Department of Energy and with the Oak Ridge National Laboratory and its Center for Manufacturing Technology. The VASIMR is expected to be commercially useful for boosting communication satellites and other Earth-orbiting spacecraft to higher orbits, retrieving and servicing spacecraft in high orbits around the Earth, and boosting high-payload robotic spacecraft on very fast missions to other planets. Similarly, the VASIMR should make it possible for robotic spacecraft to travel quickly to the outer reaches of the Solar system and begin probing interstellar space. By far, the greatest potential of the VASIMR is expected to lie in its ability to significantly reduce the trip times for human missions to Mars and beyond. This reduction in times is expected to enable long-term exploration of outer space by humans - something that conventional rocket designs now preclude.

Because the VASIMR uses plasma to produce thrust, it is related to several previously developed thrusters; namely, the ion engine, the stationary plasma thruster (SPT) (also known as the Hall thruster), and the magnetoplasmadynamic (MPD) thruster [also known as the Lorentz-force accelerator (LFA)]. However, the VASIMR differs considerably from these other thrusters in that it lacks electrodes (a lack that enables the VASIMR to operate at much greater power densities) and has an inherent capability to achieve high and variable Isp. Both the ion engine and the SPT are electrostatic in nature and can only accelerate ions present in plasmas by means of either (1) externally applied electric fields (i.e., applied by an external grid as on an ion engine) or (2) axial charge nonuniformity as in the SPT. These ion-acceleration features, in turn, result in accelerated exhaust beams that must be neutralized by electron sources strategically located at the outlets before the exhaust streams leave the engines.

In the LFA, acceleration is not electrostatic but electromagnetic. A radial electric current flowing from a central cathode interacts with a self-generated azimuthal magnetic field to produce acceleration. Although LFAs can operate at power levels higher than those of either the ion engine or the SPT and do not require charge neutralization, their performances are still limited by the erosion of their electrodes.

Spaceflight Now | Shenzhou Launch Report | First Chinese space hero safely returns to Earth: "First Chinese space hero safely returns to Earth
Posted: October 15, 2003

Wrapping up a historic day in space, the Shenzhou 5 return capsule parachuted to a soft touchdown today, bringing to an end China's first manned voyage into space and opening the door for a wide variety of future plans in the final frontier.

Touchdown came at 6:23 a.m. local time Thursday (2223 GMT; 6:23 p.m. EDT Wednesday), according to the central Chinese television network CCTV and the Xinhua news organization. Video from the landing site showed the craft's single occupant -- Lt. Colonel Yang Liwei -- waving to a crowd assembled around the capsule as it laid on its side minutes after landing.
Chinese media also reported the landing point was just 4.8 kilometers from the targeted touchdown site in Inner Mongolia.

Yang was carried away from the spacecraft in a seat and looked a bit wobbly and dazed on state television coverage of the event. Official reports from Xinhua say Yang 'was confirmed to remain in good health' after his 21-hour stint in orbit.

The taikonaut soon left the landing site for a two-hour flight to the capital city of Beijing, the location of China's control center, training facility and the home of Yang's family. 'The spaceship operated well. I feel very good and I am proud of my motherland,' he said. "

Tuesday, October 14, 2003

China puts man into orbit to join elite space club with Russia and US: "China puts man into orbit to join elite space club with Russia and US

JIUQUAN, China (AFP) Oct 15, 2003
China Wednesday launched an astronaut into space aboard the Shenzhou V craft in a historic mission which catapults the country into an elite club alongside Russia and the United States.
The Long March II F rocket carrying the capsule blasted into clear skies from the remote Gobi desert in north China's Inner Mongolia at 9:00 a.m.for a 21-hour flight that will see the craft orbit the Earth 14 times.
Shenzou V went into preset orbit 10 minutes after take-off as China became just the third country after the United States and the former Soviet Union to put a man in space 42 years after Cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin's epic first flight.
Russian Gagarin was the first human in space on April 12, 1961 in a flight lasting 108 minutes. Days later on May 5 American Alan Shepard spent just 15 minutes on a suborbital flight.
People's Liberation Army Lieutenant Colonel Yang Liwei, 38, was at the controls Wednesday and reported 34 minutes into the flight that he 'feels good' and that the craft was operating normally.
'I feel good, see you tomorrow,' Yang, a fighter pilot with more than 1,300 hours flight time, was quoted as saying.
Chinese President Hu Jintao watched the blast-off at the Jiuquan Launch Center and hailed the successful launch as 'the glory of our great motherland'.
He said the culmination of the 11-year space program was a 'historic step of the Chinese people in the advance of climbing over the peak of the world's science and technology'.
The Xinhua news agency quoted Chinese space officials as saying the maiden manned flight was a 'success'."

Sunday, October 12, 2003

Space Calendar (JPL): "Oct 13 - Comet C/2003 K4 (LINEAR) Perihelion (1.024 AU)
Oct 13 -[Oct 08] Comet P/2002 O8 (NEAT) Closest Approach To Earth (2.848 AU)
Oct 13 - Asteroid 1585 Union Occults HIP 43060 (7.1 Magnitude Star)
Oct 13 - British Interplanetary Society's 70th Birthday (1933)
Oct 13-14 - 14th Annual October Astrophysics Conference: The Search for Other Worlds, College Park, Maryland
Oct 13-15 - Meeting: The New Rosetta Targets, Capri, Italy
Oct 13-15 - Symposium: Atmospheric Remote Sensing using Satellite Navigation Systems, Matera, Italy
Oct 13-16 - Workshop: Multiwavelength Mapping of Galaxy Evolution, Venice, Italy
Oct 13-17 - 3rd International Conference on Mars Polar Science and Exploration, Alberta, Canada "
BIS Spaceflight - News: "Latest News:
Brazil holds out hope for space programme
Brazilian president Luiz Inacio de Silva has vowed to continue his country's space programme following the explosion of the third VLS booster on the launch pad at Alcantra on 23 August, killing 21 people. He has stated that the VLS will make a successful flight before 2006. Damage to the Alcantra facility is estimated at $33 million, compared with Brazil's $12 million annual space budget.
India aims for the Moon
The Indian government has confirmed that the country's first Moon probe, Chandrayan 1, will be launched in 2008. The 525 kg spacecraft will be launched by a modified version of the Indian Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle into a geostationary transfer orbit and using its on board propulsion system, will be propelled towards the Moon."
The British Interplanetary Society: "'From imagination to reality'
Founded in 1933, The British Interplanetary Society (BIS) is the world's longest established organisation devoted solely to supporting and promoting the exploration of space and astronautics.

The BIS is financially independent, has charitable status and obtains its main income from a worldwide membership. The Society's headquarters are situated in central London."
BIS Spaceflight - Space Chronicle: "The first JBIS issues of Space Chronicle appeared under the editorship of Andrew Wilson between August 1980 and July 1986. These issues became widely read offering articles at a more general level than those found in the other monthly JBIS issues. In effect Space Chronicle was regarded by many as a new space magazine being set apart by its unique character.
Click here to order on-line
Vol. 56 Supplement 1, 2003

The B.I.S. Space-Ship

The Problem of Interplanetary Propulsion

The Challenge of the Spaceship (Astronautics and its Impact upon Human Society)

The Lunar Base

Minimum Satellite Vehicles

Some Limiting Factors of Chemical Rocket Motors"

Tuesday, October 07, 2003

NSSDC Master Catalog: Spacecraft: "Launch Date/Time: 2003-09-27 at 23:04 UTC
On-orbit dry mass: 305 kg

SMART-1 launched successfully on September 27 at 23:04 UT (7:04 p.m. EDT).
The SMART-1 (Small Missions for Advanced Research in Technology 1) is a lunar orbiter designed to test spacecraft technologies for future missions. The primary technology being tested is a solar-powered ion drive. It will also carry an experimental deep-space telecommunications system and an instrument payload to monitor the ion drive and study the Moon. The primary scientific objectives of the mission are to return data on the geology, morphology, topography, mineralogy, geochemistry, and exospheric environment of the Moon in order to answer questions about planetary formation accretional processes, origin of the Earth-Moon system, the lunar near/far side dichotomy, long-term volcanic and tectonic activity, thermal and dynamical processes involved in lunar evolution, and water ice and external processes on the surface. "

- LRK -
ESA - SMART-1 - The SMART way to travel: "9 July 2003
SMART-1 first orbits the Earth in ever-increasing ellipses. When it reaches the Moon, its orbit is altered by the Moon's gravitational field. It uses a number of these 'gravity assists' to position itself for entering orbit around the Moon.

Credits: AOES Medialab, ESA 2002."


- LRK -

Saturday, October 04, 2003

Address at Rice University on the Nation's Space Effort:
" We choose to go to the moon. We choose to go to the moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard, because that goal will serve to organize and measure the best of our energies and skills, because that challenge is one that we are willing to accept, one we are unwilling to postpone, and one which we intend to win, and the others, too."

Space Settlement:

"Online Space Settlement Books
NASA Ames/Stanford 1975 Summer Study.
Space Resources and Space Settlements NASA Ames 1977 Summer Study.
Space Resources Overview NASA-California Space Institute 1984 Summer Study.
Space Resources Volume 1, Scenarios NASA-California Space Institute 1984 Summer Study.
Space Resources Volume 2, Energy, Power, and Transport NASA-California Space Institute 1984
CoEvolution Book on space settlement edited by Stewart Brand and published in 1977. This work contains arguments for and against space colonization, very interesting. "

Celestia: A 3D Space Simulator: "Celestia is a free real-time space simulation that lets you experience our universe in three dimensions. Unlike most planetarium software, Celestia doesn't confine you to the surface of the Earth. You can travel throughout the solar system, to any of over 100,000 stars, or even beyond the galaxy. All travel in Celestia is seamless; the exponential zoom feature lets you explore space across a huge range of scales, from galaxy clusters down to spacecraft only a few meters across. A 'point-and-goto' interface makes it simple to navigate through the universe to the object you want to visit. "



Friday, October 03, 2003

The Industrial Physicist: "April/May 2002
Volume 8, Number 2
Solar power via the moon
Solar-power stations constructed on the moon from common lunar materials could beam clean, safe, low-cast commercial electric energy to Earth via 12-cm microwaves---David Criswell

Illuminating new territory with lidar
Light detection and ranging (lidar) has been around since the 1960's, but recent advances in other technologies have enabled its use in a wide variety of research and commercial applications---Jennifer Oullette"

Getting Power From The Moon: "Getting Power From The Moon

Houston, TX (April 15, 2002) - If a physicist in Houston has his way you'll be able to say good-bye to pollution-causing energy production from fossil fuels. In the April/May issue of The Industrial Physicist Dr. David Criswell suggests that the Earth could be getting all of the electricity it needs using solar cells - on the moon.
In the article Criswell proposes a Lunar Solar Power (LSP) System, using arrays of solar cells on the lunar surface to beam energy back to Earth. Criswell estimates that the 10 billion people living on Earth in 2050 will require 20 Terawatts (TW) of power. The Moon receives 13,000 TW of power from the sun. Criswell suggests that harnessing just 1% of the solar power and directing it toward Earth could replace fossil fuel power plants on Earth.
'The lunar operations are primarily industrial engineering,' says Criswell. He and Dr, Robert Waldron first described LSP in 1984 at a NASA symposium on Lunar Bases and Space Activities in the 21st Century. 'Adequate knowledge of the moon and practical technologies have been available since the late 1970's to collect this power and beam it to Earth. The system can be built on the moon from lunar materials and operated on the moon and on Earth using existing technologies,' reducing the expenses associated with transporting materials to the moon. He adds that LSP would be even cheaper if parts of the production machinery are designed to be made of lunar materials."

University of Houston - Collegium: "UH's Man on the Moon
by Philip Montgomery
University of Houston Professor of Physics David Criswell concedes he may appear slightly off the wall with his idea for snaring sunbeams on the Moon and transforming that solar power into electric gold for mankind.
The promises are grand�cheap energy for everyone, a reduction in wars over petroleum resources, a new source of wealth unlike anything seen before, and the opening of the solar system to human exploration and habitation. Cheap unlimited power is what people need, and Criswell, who has eighteen patents in space and terrestrial solar power and space transportation, says he has a plan that can deliver.
His vision is solidly grounded in engineering and economics. He is the director of the University of Houston Institute for Space Systems Operations, has worked on the Apollo missions, and directed major research projects and technical review programs at the Lunar and Planetary Institute for NASA. When the shuttle Columbia exploded last February, he was among the experts assembled by The Wall Street Journal for an online roundtable about what the tragedy would mean for the United States space program.
For twenty years, he has touted something called the Lunar Solar Power System. And he has published more than 250 research articles and contract and advisory reports on the economics of returning to the Moon to provide electricity to Earth. "


SciScoop || Comments Space Solar Power for Moon and Earth: "By apsmith, Section Commentary
Posted on Mon Jul 7th, 2003 at 10:09:11 PM PST

At this year's International Space Development Conference, Saturday, May 24, was the main day for the Moon track, which I had coordinated (representing the Moon Society). The morning sessions covered use of lunar resources for space solar power systems, with the morning plenary talk given by David Criswell of the University of Houston. Criswell's proposal has been around in one form or another for about 20 years now, but received significant publicity last year after the California energy crisis and his publication of a summary of the proposal in the April/May 2002 issue of The Industrial Physicist. Criswell also contributed to an article published in Science magazine last November, which concluded that the only reasonable options to provide power to the Earth through the next century are fusion and space-based solar power. "


Isaac Asimov and Space Exploration: "'Our Future in the Cosmos - Space'

Throughout the history of humanity, we have been extending our range until it is now planet-wide, covering all parts of Earth's surface and reaching to the bottom of the Ocean, to the top of the atmosphere, and beyond it to the Moon. We will fiourish only as long as we continue to ectend that range, and although the potential range is not infinite, it is incredibly vast even by present standards. We will eventually etend our range to cover the whole of the solar system, and then we will head outward to the stars"
I want to discuss our future in the cosmos. One of the things I think will mean the most to us and will make the future different from the past is the coming of a "space-centered society." We are going to expand into space, and I think it is fitting and right that we should do so. All through the 50000 years of Homo sapiens, to say nothing of their hominoid precursors, humanity has been expanding its range of habitation. We don't know exactly where the first Homo sapiens made their appearance, but they have been expanding until they now inhabit the entire face of the Earth. For the first time in human history, we are faced with a situation in which we literally have no place on Earth to expand. We have crossed all the mountains; we have penetrated all the oceans. We have plumbed the atmosphere to its height and the oceans to their depths. Unless we are willing to settle down into a world that is our prison, we must be ready to move beyond Earth, and I think we are ready. We have the technological capacity to do so; all that we need is the will. I think it is quite possible, starting now, to build settlements in space, to build worlds miniature in comparison to the Earth but large in comparison to anything we have done so far. These worlds, in orbit


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