Sunday, November 30, 2008
Thursday, November 27, 2008
Chang'e's New Map of the Moon
Iran test fires second Kavosh
Iran denied its long-range ballistic technology is linked to its atomic program, and "is already under international pressure to give up its nuclear work," which, it says, "is purely civilian."
The US referred to the February satellite launch as "unfortunate", given the questions over the recent IAEA assessment that Iran now has processed sufficient plutonium to construct an atomic bomb.
"Iranian state TV," the BBC report continues, "says the rocket was carrying a space lab and a data-monitoring and processing unit. "Kavosh 2 completed its mission and returned to earth with a special parachute after 40 minutes," the channel reported.
Iran added the rocket had been designed and built by Iranian aerospace experts, though "much of Iran's technological equipment derives from modified Chinese and North Korean" designs.
Earlier this month Iran said it had test-fired a new medium-range missile. Its 2,000-km (1,240-mile) range would be capable of reaching Western Europe."
"I don't think anybody is confused about the balance of power in the Gulf," she said in response to a reporter's question at a press briefing she held at the State Department.
"The United States has had a period of enhancing the capabilities of our allies in the region," she noted, referring to new defense deals with Gulf states such as Saudi Arabia, as well as Israel. "The United States has increased its presence in the region."
She also referred the emphasis the US has put on missile defense as "the best answer to some of these Iranian efforts."
Wednesday, November 26, 2008
Meanwhile, ISRO Releases Lunar Data
November 1 through the 15th, smaller version of the Lunar Fly-By Windows Media Video referenced in the following note:
As the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) methodically troubleshoots Chandrayaan 1's thermal problems, Pradeep Mohandas, President of SEDS in Mumbai, reports, "ISRO has released more of its lunar flyby videos," HERE.
"But," Pradeep writes, "what might be more interesting for the space geeks are the first results from Chandrayaan 1 released publicly, HERE.
The Pioneer agrees with Pradeep's recommendation, that everyone "enjoy and savour them!"
Chandrayaan Overheats, Mission 'Endangered'
"Scientists are desperately trying to find a way to cool it down after a sudden surge of temperature inside the country's first unmanned lunar craft, Chandrayaan 1.
Indian Space Research Organisation chairman Madhavan Nair said the craft was 10C too hot, enough to affect its instruments."
Roscosmos sends upgraded Progress to ISS
Lyndin says the Soyuz-U booster rocket carrying the ship lifted off as scheduled at 3:38 p.m. (1238 GMT) Wednesday from the Baikonur.
He says the ship is set to dock at the station Sunday.
Europe reaches deal on space spending
Haggling over the ExoMars project as well as the International Space Station dominated wider talks on 10 billion euros ($13 billion) of overall spending sought by the 18-nation European Space Agency at a meeting of science ministers.
"Germany wants to be sure the money is spent during a longer period to ease the pressure on financial commitments. It produced a lot of discussion in the corridors," a delegate said.
ESA meets at ministerial level every three years.
ExoMars would involve landing a rover on the surface of Mars and drilling down 2 metres (6.6 feet) into the soil to take soundings. The cost has roughly doubled since an earlier plan.
ESA ministers, who meet along with Canada every three years, agreed that the financial structure of ExoMars would be set by end-2009 and that their combined contribution must not exceed 1 billion euros, a delegate said.
A further 200 million is expected to be raised through co-operation with the United States and Russia. Meanwhile, Canada has pledged a considerable sum to stay within the European agency's future expeditions.
"The centre will focus on space robots and innovative power sources including development of ExoMars." ExoMars, a source of some controversy as ESA's ministers worked out their priorities, is a planned robotic probe designed to search for life on Mars.
Tuesday, November 25, 2008
ISS new urine recycler passes
Recycle urine into drinking water.
While some are reporting the use of such a system will not outlast the lifetime of ISS, its difficult to see how the Armstrong South Pole-Aitken semi-permanently manned lunar station will get along without it. I want to learn more, whether it is a true closed system, for example.
XCOR Announces Ticket Sales for Suborbit
"On Tuesday, December 2, XCOR Aerospace is introducing its General Sales Agent for ticket sales and will announce a price that is substantially lower than prices quoted by leading competitors."
XCOR says it "will introduce its new partner, a well-known and established travel entrepreneur with extensive experience in high-end adventure travel, who will outline the total Lynx flight experience, from initial screening, to training, and finally, the flight itself."
Lunar Lander Challenge 09, Pomerantz and Diamandis
In late October, the 2008 Northrop Grumman Lunar Lander Challenge drew to a close. History was made several times over: the first prize awarded in that competition, the largest prize to date as part of NASA’s Centennial Challenges, the first attempt at Level Two of that competition, the first time with multiple vehicles flying at the event. But before that event was finished, we at the X PRIZE Foundation were already turning our eyes towards 2009, with a goal of offering the remaining prize money in the most fair and most sustainable way possible.
In the first two years of competition, the Northrop Grumman Lunar Lander Challenge was tied to a larger event called the “X PRIZE Cup,” an educational exposition bringing crowds in contact with rockets and with the entrepreneurial and inventive teams who design and operate them. In 2008, there was no X PRIZE Cup, so the Challenge was offered as a stand alone event. In all three years, the Challenge was offered at great expense to the X PRIZE Foundation, which receives no funding from NASA to conduct this competition.
Moving forward, the concept of conducting a large common event at which all teams fly their vehicles is likely not financially sustainable for the Foundation. Additionally, the conduct of such an event imposes non-negligible expenses on our teams, who must not only transport themselves and their vehicles to the venue for the competition, but who also must complete their design process, their regulatory paperwork, and their procurement of insurance with not only their own “home facility” but also the competition venue in mind. As such, the fairest and most sustainable model may prove to be one where each team plays host to a crew of Judges and X PRIZE personnel at a facility of their choice.
Saturday, November 15, 2008
Chandrayaan 1 Impact Probe Shoots Shackleton Approach
Friday, November 14, 2008
Dr. Harrison H. Schmitt's Parting of the Ways from The Planetary Society
merely represents the
absence of definitive science."
From Harrison H. Schmitt
I am sorry, but I can no longer support the society in its goals as they seem to have gone back to being more political than rational. I want humankind on Mars more than most, but I, at least, feel obligated to look at this goal rationally. Specifically, relative to your bullet points:
TPS Statement *deferring humans landing on the Moon until the costs of the interplanetary transportation system and shuttle replacement are largely paid
---This strategy would leave deep space activities, exploration and resources to others, i.e., China, India, maybe Russia, for the indefinite future. I believe that would be major step in initiating the decline of America's global influence for freedom and the improvement the human condition. Although I wrote the book "Return to the Moon" as an illustration of how it makes financial and national sense for private investors to provide the Earth with the benefits of lunar Helium-3 fusion power, having NASA develop the initial Earth-Moon infrastructure may hasten the time when that alternative to fossil fuels and non-economic other alternatives becomes available.
---As a geologist, I love Earth observations. But, it is ridiculous to tie this objective to a "consensus" that humans are causing global warming when human experience, geologic data and history, and current cooling can argue otherwise. "Consensus", as many have said, merely represents the absence of definitive science. You know as well as I, the "global warming scare" is being used as a political tool to increase government control over American lives, incomes and decision making. It has no place in the Society's activities.
TPS Statement * achieving a step-by-step approach of new achievements in interplanetary flight, including a human mission to a near-Earth object
---Returning to the Moon achieves "step-by-step approach of new achievements in interplanetary flight" far better than not doing so, as I have indicated in my list above. Not going by way of the Moon will make the Mars objective far more difficult and more costly to achieve.
---Also, returning to the Moon enables a mission to a near-Earth object if such a mission can be justified scientifically, operationally, or resource-wise. I remain a skeptic on all three but am willing to debate the point.
---Returning to the Moon further enables, in a much more timely fashion and would a Mars initiative, the capability to do something about diverting an asteroid on a collision course with the Earth. We had this capability once, but lost it when the Saturn V assembly line was shut down in the early 1970s.
TPS Statement "In short, the Roadmap calls for "A new and flexible program, based on a series of important first-time achievements and an international commitment to exploration and discovery." International cooperation is strongly recommended both to reduce costs for any one nation and to increase public interest and support."
---I see that the Society has gone back to its roots on "international cooperation." If that phrase means "international management" of the critical path items in a Mars Program, then you clearly do not want to go to Mars. Nothing will prevent success with more certainty than to try this. The rest of the world will want a "one-nation, one vote" management regime for which history shows only a record of abject failure.
Many of the Society's members are good friends, but I just cannot support you in this effort.
Tuesday, November 4, 2008
Cape Canaveral Lunar Declaration
The Japanese Kaguya and Chinese Chang’e-1 celebrated one year in lunar orbit, and have delivered a wealth of science data, discoveries and exploration findings. The SMART-1 team presented the latest data on polar peaks relevant for future landers and bases. The Indian ISRO Chandrayaan-1 mission (carrying six international instruments) has just been launched on 22 October toward the Moon. The NASA Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter and Lunar Crater Observation and Sensing Satellite (LCROSS) impactor are scheduled for joint launch in spring 2009. The participants appreciated the steady progress in technology development within the NASA Constellation program.