Year 4 Number 187

Tuesday / 28 September 2004

1st Space Exploration Conference takes place 30 Jan-1 Feb 2005 in Orlando FL; abstracts due 18 Oct; topics include human missions to Moon, Projects Constellation & Prometheus;   Bigelow to offer US$50M "America's Space Prize" for first company to develop vehicle that could place 5-7 people in orbit by end of decade;
Mojave Airport, host of X Prize, is the hot spot for space travel; airport manager Stuart Witt calls it "a tunnel to the Moon," due to its restricted air space and location;   ISS E9 crew performing maintenance on Russia Electron oxygen generator; E10 to launch from Baikonur on 10 Oct and arrive at station 13 Oct
Richard Branson's Virgin Galactic plans commercial space flights in 2007, using SpaceShipOne technology in a partnership with Mojave Aerospace Ventures;   NASA-funded researchers studying Atacama Desert and testing robotic capabilities for mobility, autonomy and science thru 21 Oct; 202-358-1727
Space Frontier Foundation praises risks taken by rocketeers in X Prize; Rick Tumlinson, SFF founder & X Prize founding Trustee, says, "the benefit to humanity is worth the risk" China exhibition ‘Embracing Shenzhou’ to be held in Natl Museum 29 Sep–23 Oct in Beijing; includes SZ5 re-entry capsule, Yang’s space suit;
Gregg Maryniak, Executive Director of X Prize Foundation, says, "We mean to jumpstart the personal spaceflight revolution;" played crucial role in promoting X Prize goal; Europe’s H H Koelle looking for new editor for Lunar Base Quarterly; latest edition includes article ‘Lunar Space Transportation Systems;’ info here

India Is On Track To Launch First Moon Mission In 2007-08 After Completing Design Work On Chandrayaan-1, According To ISRO Chairman Madhavan Nair (R); This Progress Comes On The Heels Of The Successful Launch Of Edusat And In The Context Of India's Newfound Cooperation With The US Government, Just Days After ISRO Was Lifted From US Restrictive List And India Prime Minister Manmohan Singh (L) Visited USA; (Credit: ISRO)


Current Private Space Boom Leading Out of Atmosphere, Toward Moon. If all goes as planned, tomorrow will see the long-awaited completion of the first half of a US$10M Ansari X Prize attempt. Scaled Composites' SpaceShipOne (SS1) team is optimistic the craft will attain the required altitude and reach it again on 4 Oct to win the prize due to its SpaceDev-provided engines being more powerful than the ones it used before. SpaceDev isn't the only private enterprise to get a boost from the X prize and SS1. The Canadian da Vinci team has seen extended publicity as it plays David to SS1's Goliath and expects to take humans to space soon regardless of the SS1 results. Bigelow Aerospace is constructing space habitats (which can apply to lunar bases) and has formed a new prize to develop a transport for them. Days before, SpaceDev announced it will be developing such a vehicle, which they call "Dream Chaser." X Prize founder Peter Diamandis' Zero-G Corp. begins providing $3,000 weightless parabolic flights 9 Oct. NASA and the military are paying more attention to the private space sector than ever before. One low-cost rocket provider, SpaceX, has just signed a contract with the new Malaysian Space Agency and has separate deals with Bigelow and DARPA. Related article:

Human & Robotic Technology (H&RT) Proposal Deadline Extended to 29 Sep. NASA Goddard Space Flight Center has announced the extension for offerors impacted by recent hurricane activity. Offerors now have until 16:30 EDT 29 Sep to send electronic proposals. The original due date was 17 Sep. The H&RT Broad Agency Announcement (BAA) was released 29 Jun to support research and development of NASA's human and robotic missions to the Moon, Mars and beyond. The focus of the proposals will be in the Advanced Space Technology Program (ASTP) and the Technology Maturation Program (TMP). The TMP is designed to advance key technologies required to enable MMBV, such as high energy space systems, advanced space systems and platforms, advanced space operations and lunar & planetary surface operations. The ASTP's goal is to validate these new technologies and to transition them for application in NASA's Exploration Systems Enterprise.

Moon Seen as Main Potential Source of Energy and Asteroids as Source of Material Resources. Vladislav Shevchenko from the Sternberg State Astronomical Institute wants to use celestial bodies for the production of minerals and fuels by the middle of this century. By 2050, the Earth's population will be 9 billion and energy consumption will double to 34 trillion watts, he estimates. If the trend prevails, by the end of the 21st century, energy consumption will reach 50 trillion and exceed 90 trillion watts by 2140. Humanity will have to deal with the depletion of natural sources of energy and the destruction of the environment will become irreversible. Thus, Shevchenko maintains, the critical level of energy production on the Earth will be exceeded before the end of the next century and humanity must look to extraterrestrial sources. The Moon can indirectly pass solar energy to the Earth through ultra high-frequency radiators and energy can also be produced from Helium-3 in lunar rock. He3 can be used by thermonuclear reactors on Earth with almost no radioactive waste. Asteroids contain metallic, carbonic, chondrite and basalt elements. They can produce at least iron, nickel and cobalt. The advantages of asteroids include close to Earth orbits and small mass.


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