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January 29, 2004

You have made me very angry!

For those who haven't been following the Mars probes, Spirit has pretty much stopped working.

But -as always- NASA is on the job troubleshooting the problem, and may have found it.

May 18, 2004

Private Enterprise Milestone

We have a new milestone! The Civilian Space eXploration Team (CSXT) launched the first fully privately-funded rocket into space Monday in Nevada. The rocket was about 6.5 meters long, and reached an altitude of over 100 kilometers.

The CSXT received signals from the rocket while it was in space, then the rocket and the telemetry package descended under different parachutes. According to avionics manager Eric Knight, the team has detected the telemetry beacon, but haven't yet reached it.

Link cheerfully stolen from Dean.

While I am excited about this (and the X-Prize competition) as Dean is, we have to keep things in perspective. None of the new launch technology will count for much if we don't alter the legal conditions of space exploration, including international treaties.

For example: when an American Airlines jet crashes, AA is the party responsible; but under current law if a privately-owned spacecraft crashes, the launching country is responsible, so if the CSXT rocket had crashed in Mexico, the United States would have been liable, not CSXT.

Another problem is that according to UN treaty, there's no private property in space. Yep, that's right! There is, therefore, no way for a particular privately-owned company to protect their investment from the nearest greedy bureacrat.

If the Bush administration is serious about space exploration, they should concentrate at least as much on changing the legal sphere as on funding. If the money is flagged for NASA, I would say forget the money, and just fix the laws. The Bush administration is already under fire for Kyoto and the ABM treaty, so they might as well load for bear.

This is something we can all influence. Write your local Congresscritter, and Senator, and explain how you feel that the current laws are too restrictive to allow private investment in space development, and that we need to pry the direction of US space development out of the fingers of NASA.

If you want more information -especially for the above letters- here's some places/books to check out:

G. Harry Stine's The Third Industrial Revolution
G. Harry Stine's Halfway to Anywhere

Jerry Pournelle A Step Farther Out
Pournelle's web pages on space development. Use Control-F [find] "Space", there's no direct link.

The Space Access Society webpage.

June 19, 2004

Mohave Interplanetary

Back when I was a kid, I devoured eveny Robert H. Heinlein book I could. One of the major reasons was how he portrayed the future in such a realistic fashion. One of his recurring themes included quick thumbnail descriptions of the local spaceport. Heinlein's stories frequently included throwaway references to "Goddard Field," or similar.

Reality has finally begun to catch up. Mohave Airport is now Mohave Spaceport.

And it's a private enterprise.

Maybe not too far off in the future we'll hear something like "Mohave Interplanetary Spaceport Flight 209, now leaving for Luna, Mars, and Ceres."

This article was cross-posted to Dean's World.

July 1, 2004

Assume standard orbit, Data!

How many times have we heard that over the years? The TV guys make it sound so easy.

But the reality is much more diffficult, especially when you are watching from more than halfway across the solar system.

Spacecraft Cassini Enters Saturn's Orbit(AP)
Cassini Spacecraft Enters Saturn's Orbit Between Two of Its Rings
...
A carefully choreographed maneuver allowed Cassini to be captured by Saturn's gravity as it arced within 12,500 miles of the giant planet's cloud tops.

Using its big radio dish as a shield against small particles, the spacecraft ascended through a gap between two of the rings, then spun around and fired its engine for more than 1 1/2 hours to slow its acceleration.

The craft then rotated again to place its shielding antenna in front as it descended back through the gap.

Since the craft was over 900 million miles away, all JPL could do was watch, and hope that Cassini-Huygens worked as advertised. It did so, by flying between two of Saturn's rings.

Good on ya, guys!

You can find more information about Cassini-Huygens here, as well as the latest images.

July 20, 2004

SpaceShip One Photos

Just found some more SpaceShip One photos; they're a very nice series from launch to landing.

The commentary included mentions that not only is astronaut Mike Melvill the second oldest man into space (after John Glenn), he is also the oldest to command a spaceflight.

My particular favorite is the sign Melvill holds up in the final photo.

You go, guys!

Thanks to Blackfive for the link.

October 5, 2004

To Every Thing

...there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven.

And in the heavens. Barely 24 hours ago, SpaceShip One made history as the worlds first civilian spacecraft.

Yesterday marks another milestone: pioneer Mercury autronaut "Gordo" Cooper died at home on Monday, October 4, in his Ventura, California home.

If you recall, in the movie The Right Stuff screenwriters Philip Kaufman and Tom Wolfe had Gordon Cooper characterize himself as "the best pilot in the world." You could probably say that of any of the Mercury Seven.

It's almost as if he had been waiting for the pilots at Scaled Composites to join the club, before he left it...

Rest In Peace, Gordo; and may you fly high forever.

You can find Gordon Cooper's bio here.

UPDATE: Dean Esmay pointed out that I mixed up the nicknames for "Gus" Grissom and "Gordo" Cooper; and is my face red right now. Fixed.

July 26, 2005

It's a coverup, and we have PROOF!

No, I'm talking about the "Plame affair," AKA Nadagate. I'm talking about something I dropped the ball on last week: the 21st was the thirty-seventh anniversery of Neil Armstrong's first steps on the moon.

Y'all remember how well the MSM covered it. {smirk}

John of Arrgghhh!!! had a nice little post about some of the moonbats who really do think the the landings were fake.

But... What if the moonbats have it right, for once?

It took me nearly a week to find the video -the original website is gone- but I now have positive proof that the landings were faked, right here.
You may want to save some bandwidth by right-clicking on the link and selecting "Save As..." or "Save target as..." depending your browser.


UPDATE: Forgot to mention: listen closely as the astronaut mentions Mr. Gorsky...

October 12, 2013

Did Scott Carpenter screw up?

Just heard about the death of Scott Carpenter tonight, and after reading a comment over at Commander Salamander's place, I had to snark a little.

I decided to post the reply here.

Continue reading "Did Scott Carpenter screw up?" »

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