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

Sunday, December 26, 2004

2004 December 26 00:58:50 UTC

Preliminary Earthquake Report
U.S. Geological Survey, National Earthquake Information Center
World Data Center for Seismology, Denver

A great earthquake occurred at 00:58:50 (UTC) on Sunday, December 26, 2004. The magnitude 9.0 event has been located OFF THE WEST COAST OF NORTHERN SUMATRA. (This event has been reviewed by a seismologist.)

Small globe showing earthquake

Small map showing earthquake

Magnitude 9.0
Date-Time Sunday, December 26, 2004 at 00:58:50 (UTC)
= Coordinated Universal Time
Sunday, December 26, 2004 at 6:58:50 AM
= local time at epicenter

Time of Earthquake in other Time Zones
Location 3.298°N, 95.779°E
Depth 10 km (6.2 miles) set by location program
250 km (155 miles) SSE of Banda Aceh, Sumatra, Indonesia
320 km (200 miles) W of Medan, Sumatra, Indonesia
1260 km (780 miles) SSW of BANGKOK, Thailand
1605 km (1000 miles) NW of JAKARTA, Java, Indonesia
Location Uncertainty horizontal +/- 9.2 km (5.7 miles); depth fixed by location program
Parameters Nst=157, Nph=157, Dmin=>999 km, Rmss=1.35 sec, Gp= 29°,
M-type=moment magnitude (Mw), Version=9
Event ID usslav
Felt Reports At least 3,000 people killed in Sri Lanka, 2,300 in India, 2,000 in Indonesia, 289 in Thailand, 42 in Malaysia, 8 in Somalia and 2 in Bangladesh by tsunamis. Tsunamis also occurred on the coasts of Maldives and Cocos Island. At least 200 people killed, buildings destroyed or damaged in the Banda Aceh area, Sumatra. Felt widely in Sumatra. Also felt in Bangladesh, India, Malaysia, Myanmar, Singapore and Thailand. This is now the fourth largest earthquake in the world since 1900 and is the largest since the 1964 Prince William Sound, Alaska earthquake.

Friday, December 24, 2004

GOOGLE search results for HR 5382 - PRESIDENT SIGNS BILL - LRK -

XCOR Congratulates President Bush, Germany - 23 hours ago
23 /PRNewswire/ -- XCOR Aerospace thanked and congratulated President Bush on signing HR 5382, "The Commercial Space Launch Amendments Act of 2004," into law ...
XCOR Congratulates President Bush PR Newswire (press release)
Private-spaceflight bill signed into law MSNBC
all 5 related »
GUEST EDITORIAL: Regulation vs. innovation
Desert Dispatch, CA - Dec 22, 2004
In a reasonably sane world there would have been no perceived need for HR 5382, the Commercial Space Launch Amendments Act of 2004, which passed the Senate ...
Commercial Space Bill Wins Final Approval form Congress
Space Ref - Dec 9, 2004
... adjourning, the Senate last night gave final approval to the House Science Committee's Commercial Space Launch Amendments Act of 2004 (HR 5382), sending the ...

The Space Review
Getting into the act
The Space Review, MD - Dec 13, 2004
HR 5382 passed the Senate last week and is expected to be signed by the President. ... HR 5382 may be the key to sparking investment in suborbital ventures. ...

The Space Review
Is 2004 the breakout year for space entrepreneurship?
The Space Review, MD - Dec 20, 2004
... While that bill—HR 3752, later replaced by HR 5382—won early broad support in the House, it became bogged down in the Senate over debates regarding the ...
Space Foundation applauds Congress for passing suborbital launch ...
Space Ref - Dec 9, 2004
... President and Chief Executive Officer Elliot G. Pulham applauded Congress for approving the Commercial Space Launch Amendments Act (HR 5382) that provides a ...

The Space Review
Thinking big at Bigelow Aerospace
The Space Review, MD - Dec 20, 2004
... s “Suborbital spaceflight: a road to orbit or a dead end?”, The Space Review, December 15, 2003) But with the passage of HR 5382 potentially easing testing ...

How I caught "The Space Bug" and somehow started tracking satellites by radio

Sven Grahn, Sollentuna, Sweden

Trains, Locomotives and Aeroplanes

My technological preferences as a boy started with trains and locomotives and then moved to aeroplanes. An old fabric-covered biplane, a de Haviland Dragon, took me into the air for the first time and aviation seemed to be the closest to heaven that a boy could get. Spaceflight just seemed frightening after having seen the science fiction movie "Destination Moon" where the space travelers experience all sorts of horrifying adventures in their travel to the Moon. But, history had something different in store for my generation.

Catching the "space bug"

In November 1957, at the age of eleven, I finally caught the "space bug" when the Soviet Union launched "Lajka" into space. I then realized that human spaceflight and perhaps people traveling to the Moon would happen in my lifetime! My head spun with the thought: "I will live to see this happen." Just a few days earlier I had seen Sputnik 1, or what everyone thought was Sputnik 1. I had been with my father at a gas station in central Stockholm filling up his model 1954 VW "Beetle" when the bright twinkling light spot generated by the last stage of the rocket that launched Sputnik swept across the sky. It made a deep and lasting impression.

My first "hands-on" contact with space technology came in the summers of 1962-64 when I worked as a rocket assembly technician during the sounding rocket launchings from Northern Sweden in cooperation with NASA to investigate the so-called noctilucent clouds. This was a great experience for a teenager, but it ended when Sweden joined the European Space Research Organization and the makeshift summer rocket base manned by grammar school and university students was abandoned in favor of professional operations at ESRO:s new base in Kiruna in the northernmost corner of Sweden. In October 1964 I started studying for my Masters degree at the School of Engineering Physics at the Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm. I was longing for a new "hands-on" connection with space technology.


[Read on - LRK -]

Luna 3 - the first view of the moon's far side

One of the origins of Luna-3 was the work by Boris Raushenbakh on attitude control started in 1955 in the NII-1 rocket research institute of the Ministry of Aviation. This work was co-ordinated with Korolev's design bureau and had as its goal stabilised photo-reconnaissance satellites. Raushenbakh's group was contracted by the lunar project section Korolev's design bureau OKB-1 to design the attitude control for the E-2 variant of lunar exploration craft intended to image the Moon's hidden side. The manager of the lunar probe project at OKB-1 was Gleb Maksimov. An excellent account of these early Soviet lunar missions can be found in (4) and (14).

The radio system was designed by deputy chief designer of the NII-885 (Scientific Research Institute of Radio Instrument Building, established 1938), Yevgeniy Boguslavskiy at NII-885 and it provided trajectory measurements, telemetry and command and command verification functions. Boguslavskiy and Boris Chertok (1) (deputy chief designer at Korolev's OKB-1) preferred pulsed systems for telemetry and ranging ever since the 1940's when Boguslavskiy had criticized the German use of carrier based radio systems in their missiles. However for E-2A Boguslavskiy surprised everyone by designing a continuous carrier system. The explanation was that tried and true methods were quicker and safer to develop under a rushed schedule. Boguslavskiy later explained that the lack of contrast in the pictures from Luna-3 was caused by lack of onboard transmitter power. The low contrast of the Luna-3 images is partly due to the fact that the Moon was illuminated from above. There isn't much contrast in a full moon. The electronics of Luna-3 was transistorized, an innovation that was regarded as risky.

Boguslavskiy and the NII-885 was also responsible for setting up the ground station at Kochka mountain near Simeiz in the Crimea in cooperation with the military unit 32103. The station was placed on the southern slope of a mountain facing the Black Sea. It was formally a part of NII-4 under general Sokolev (1). The location probably had something to do with the fact that the Crimean Astrophysical Observatory and the Physical Institute of the USSR Academy of Sciences was, and is, located at Simeiz. The ground station and control center had been in operation since 23 September 1958, i.e the same day that the very first Soviet attempt to reach the moon was made (14)

Soviet Moon Images

Russian probes returned the first images of the Lunar far side and the first images from the Lunar surface. While a manned landing was never accomplished, the final phase of Soviet exploration included a number of impressive robotic missions, returning samples and roving the surface. (Click on images to see full-sized versions)

Soviet Space Cameras

Soviet engineers pioneered the use of cameras on spacecraft, obtaining the first images of the far side of the Moon and the first images from the surface of the Moon and Venus. Soviet planetary spacecraft used cycloramic and swept linear photometers rather than vidicon television cameras. On later American missions, the Viking lander's panoramic camera and the Mars Odyssey linear pushbroom camera hark back to Soviet camera designs.

Thursday, December 23, 2004

Donald Savage/Gretchen Cook-Anderson
Headquarters, Washington
(Phone: 202/358-1727/0836)

Dec. 22, 2004
RELEASE: 04-407

NASA Selects Investigations for Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter

NASA has selected six proposals to provide instrumentation and associated exploration/science measurement investigations for the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO), the first spacecraft to be built as part of the Vision for Space Exploration.

The LRO mission is scheduled to launch in the fall of 2008 as part of NASA's Robotic Lunar Exploration Program. The mission will deliver a powerful orbiter to the vicinity of the moon to obtain measurements necessary to characterize future robotic and human landing sites. It also will identify potential lunar resources and document aspects of the lunar radiation environment relevant to human biological responses.

Proposals were submitted to NASA in response to an Announcement of Opportunity released in June 2004. Instrumentation provided by these selected measurement investigations will be the payload of the mission scheduled to launch in October 2008.

"The payload we have selected for LRO builds on our collective experience in remote sensing of the Earth and Mars," said NASA's Deputy Associate Administrator for the Science Mission Directorate, Dr. Ghassem Asrar. "The measurements obtained by these instruments will characterize in unprecedented ways the moon's surface and environment for return of humans in the next decade," he added.

"LRO will deliver measurements that will be critical to the key decisions we must make before the end of this decade," said NASA's Associate Administrator for the Exploration Systems Mission Directorate, Craig Steidle. "We are extremely excited by this innovative payload, and we are confident it will fulfill our expectations and support the Vision for Space Exploration," Steidle added.

"The instruments selected for LRO represent an ideal example of a dual use payload in which exploration relevance and potential scientific impact are jointly maximized," NASA's Chief Scientist, Dr. Jim Garvin said. "I am confident LRO will discover a 'new moon' for us, and in doing so shape our human exploration agenda for our nearest planetary neighbor for decades to come," he said.

The selected proposals will conduct Phase A/B studies to focus on how proposed hardware can best be accommodated, completed, and delivered on a schedule consistent with the mission timeline. An Instrument Preliminary Design Review and Confirmation for Phase C Review will be held at the completion of Phase B.

Selected investigations and principal investigators:

"Lunar Orbiter Laser Altimeter (LOLA) Measurement Investigation" - principal investigator Dr. David E. Smith, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center (GSFC), Greenbelt, Md. LOLA will determine the global topography of the lunar surface at high resolution, measure landing site slopes and search for polar ices in shadowed regions.

"Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter Camera" (LROC) - principal investigator Dr. Mark Robinson, Northwestern University, Evanston, Ill. LROC will acquire targeted images of the lunar surface capable of resolving small-scale features that could be landing site hazards, as well as wide-angle images at multiple wavelengths of the lunar poles to document changing illumination conditions and potential resources.

"Lunar Exploration Neutron Detector" (LEND) - principal investigator Dr. Igor Mitrofanov, Institute for Space Research, and Federal Space Agency, Moscow. LEND will map the flux of neutrons from the lunar surface to search for evidence of water ice and provide measurements of the space radiation environment which can be useful for future human exploration.

"Diviner Lunar Radiometer Experiment" - principal investigator Prof. David Paige, UCLA, Los Angeles. Diviner will map the temperature of the entire lunar surface at 300 meter horizontal scales to identify cold-traps and potential ice deposits.

"Lyman-Alpha Mapping Project" (LAMP) - principal investigator Dr. Alan Stern, Southwest Research Institute, Boulder, Colo. LAMP will observe the entire lunar surface in the far ultraviolet. LAMP will search for surface ices and frosts in the polar regions and provide images of permanently shadowed regions illuminated only by starlight.

"Cosmic Ray Telescope for the Effects of Radiation" (CRaTER) - principal investigator Prof. Harlan Spence, Boston University, Mass. CRaTER will investigate the effect of galactic cosmic rays on tissue-equivalent plastics as a constraint on models of biological response to background space radiation.

The LRO project is managed by GSFC. Goddard will acquire the launch system and spacecraft, provide payload accommodations, mission systems engineering, assurance, and management. For information about NASA and agency programs on the Internet, visit:

2004 marks a turning point in the history of NASA. Energized by the new Vision for Space Exploration, the Agency is transforming itself to return to the moon and eventually to explore Mars and beyond.

"NASA has a new face and new approach to operations and programs," said NASA Administrator Sean O'Keefe. "As we approach the return to Space Shuttle operations, NASA is facing the most exciting time in our 46-year history."
NASA Picks Science Team for Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter Mission
By Leonard David
Senior Space Writer
posted: 23 December 2004
08:57 am ET

BOULDER, Colo. -- NASA announced Wednesday the suite of U.S. science investigators for its Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) project, as well as a Russian scientist.

The U.S. Moon probe is the first spacecraft to be built as part of the Vision for Space Exploration, put into motion earlier this year by U.S. President George W. Bush. LRO is slated for a liftoff in the fall of 2008, under the auspices of NASA’s Robotic Lunar Exploration Program.

The LRO underpins NASA’s interest in replanting human footprints on the Moon. President Bush has called for the space agency to conduct the first extended human expedition to the lunar surface as early as 2015, but no later than the year 2020.

Not only will LRO characterize future robotic and human landing spots, the spacecraft will be equipped to inventory possible resources for human crews to “live off the land” -- in this case what’s available on the crater-pocked Moon. Another key duty of the LRO is to characterize the lunar radiation environment and its impact on humans.


Monday, December 20, 2004

NASA Ames Research Center
65 Years of Innovation


On December 20, 2004, the NASA Ames Research Center will celebrate the 65th anniversary of its founding. The public is invited to a FREE day at the Ames Exploration Center, to enjoy displays about Ames' history and showings of an Ames history video prepared by the Ames Public Affairs Division in cooperation with the Ames History Office. Public lectures will highlight Ames' contributions to the Cassini-Huygens mission, as well as research in robotics, information technology, aeronautics and space science. Scott Hubbard, NASA Ames center director, will discuss what to expect during the next 65 years of Ames history.

It was on December 20, 1939, that Russell Robinson led a National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (NASA) work crew in turning the first shovel of dirt on the corner of Moffett Field that would become the NACA Ames Aeronautical Laboratory. In January 1940, the first NACA engineers began to arrive at Ames to plan and construct the world's greatest collection of wind tunnels.

At an age when many people might expect to retire, NASA Ames as a center is working and moving forward, stronger than ever.

Monday, December 13, 2004

Lunar Ethics and Space Commercialization
Copyright © 2000 by
David M Livingston


As we start this new century, we note that many of our successful business models are based on greed and are excessively competitive, often to the exclusion of basic human needs and a reasonable distribution of resources. Although they usually operate within the law, these actual businesses do not always value their moral and ethical responsibilities to the consumers, let alone the public in general. In the not-too-distant future, expanding our economy to LEO and the Moon will begin a new era of industrialization in space. Many questions remain as to what this LEO-and-beyond economy will look like, especially the lunar and Martian settlements which are sure to follow.

One of the most important concerns that we can resolve before this era of space industrialization is in full swing involves the standards that our LEO and lunar-based businesses will project. All of us, not just the businesses that will be operating in LEO and on the Moon, can contribute to the debate. The standards that we export to outer space will be with us for many years to come as our new space economy develops, expands, and eventually seeks independence from its source here on Earth. To have a say in the moral component of a new space economy, we need to be addressing these issues now, and even more important, we need to get the business community involved.



Our future generations will be in space, on the Moon, Mars, and even beyond. The initial space residents and pioneers will be from Earth, but as future generations are born in space and on the Moon, their own identity will evolve over time. What springs forth from the seeds that we plant is something that we should all be concerned with today. We must come to understand that we do not own the Moon, space, planets, and celestial bodies. We are not guaranteed these entities. They are not ours for the taking just because we can take it. In "Travelogue for Exiles," a poem by Karl Jay Shapiro, the relationship with space is explained in a way that appropriately summarizes the need for moral and ethical business practices in space.

Look and remember. Look upon this sky;
Look deep and deep in the sea-clean air,
The unconfined, the terminus of prayer.
Speak now and speak into the hallow dome.
What do you hear? What does the sky reply?
The heavens are taken; this is not your home.

We can use space and prosper from it, but as the poem says, the heavens are already taken and they are not our home. Capturing space without regard to ethical considerations will surely breed significant problems, some of which may be with us for centuries. With sufficient forethought, we can make living and working in space beneficial for all concerned. When we do this, we will find the heavens inviting us in as treasured and most welcomed guests, and perhaps over time we will have earned the right to call the heavens our extended home.


This week in The Space Review…

What is The Space Review?

The Space Review is a new online publication devoted to in-depth articles, commentary, and reviews regarding all aspects of space exploration: science, technology, policy, business, and more. more info

Old myths never die, they just (sorta) fade away

The Vision for Space Exploration has been burdened with a number of myths and misunderstandings since its announcement in January. Dwayne Day finds that while the myth of a trillion-dollar cost for the program has faded, another myth lives on.
Monday, December 6, 2004

Getting into the act

HR 5382 passed the Senate unanimously at the last minute. Sam Dinkin analyzes this long-sought legislation supporting space adventure travel.
Monday, December 6, 2004

The Senator from Hawaii

Hawaiian Senator Daniel Inouye will become the ranking Democrat on the Senate Commerce Committee in January. Taylor Dinerman wonders if Inouye will use that position to push some of the visions for space exploration espoused by a former Hawaiian senator.
Monday, December 6, 2004

Mars: the only goal for humanity

The Vision for Space Exploration has focused on sending humans to the Moon rather than Mars. Donald Barker argues that, for reasons that extend beyond science and education to the future of the US itself, the nation should focus on Mars exploration.
Monday, December 6, 2004

Moon and Mars - Videos