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starship-design: FW: SpaceViews Update -- 1998 July 15

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From: SpaceViews-approval@nss.org [mailto:SpaceViews-approval@nss.org] 
Sent: Tuesday, July 21, 1998 8:32 AM
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Subject: SpaceViews Update -- 1998 July 15

                     S P A C E V I E W S   U P D A T E
                               1998 July 15

*** Top Stories ***
	Planet-B Launched on Mars Mission
	Researchers Find Evidence Against Martian Nanofossils
	Astronomers Discover Nearby Developing Solar System
	Baikonur Problems Delay Soyuz Launch

*** Technology ***
	Japanese Satellites Test Docking Techniques
	AXAF Completes Environmental Tests
	Zenit, Sub-Based Missile Launch Satellites

*** Policy ***
	Senate Vote Supports Space Station
	NASA Creates Near-Earth Object Office
	Movie Producers Challenged to Match NEO Grant

*** Science ***
	Io Volcanoes Hottest in Solar System
	New Type of Near-Earth Asteroids Discovered
	European Astronomers Discover Another Extrasolar Planet

*** CyberSpace ***
	The Space Weather Bureau
	The Moon Race Homepage
	Wired Collections: Space Exploration

*** Space Capsules ***
	SpaceViews Event Horizon
	Other News

Editor's Note: We apologize for the delay mailing this issue. 
Problems with the mailing list software at ARI, the company that hosts
the list, caused the delays.  We are looking into solutions to prevent
this from happening again.  Please feel free to send any comments,
concerns, suggestions, or question to jeff@spaceviews.com.  Our next issue
will be published August 1. 

			    *** Top Stories ***

		     Planet-B Launched on Mars Mission

	A rocket carrying the Planet-B spacecraft, Japan's first Mars
mission, lifted off early Saturday, July 4, on the first anniversary
of the landing of the American Mars Pathfinder spacecraft.

	The M-5 rocket launched from the Kagoshima Space Center on the
island of Kyushu in the predawn hours Saturday (late afternoon Friday
EDT).  The booster successfully placed Planet-B, renamed Nozomi
("Hope") after launch, into Earth orbit.

	Because the M-5 rocket is not powerful enough to place Nozomi
on a direct trajectory to Mars, the spacecraft will spend the next
several months in an elliptical Earth orbit.  Two lunar flybys will
provide the final kick needed to reach Mars.

	Once Nozomi arrives at Mars in October 1999, it will enter an
elliptical orbit around the planet. A suite of 14 instruments from
five nations, including the United States, will study the planet's
upper atmosphere and ionosphere.  When close to Mars, the spacecraft
will carry out studies of the lower atmosphere and surface of the
planet, and study the interaction of the atmosphere with the solar
wind in more distant portions of its orbit.

	The interaction of the outer atmosphere with the solar wind is
of particular interest to scientists since Mars, unlike the Earth,
lacks a magnetic field to shield the atmosphere from the solar wind's
charged particles. The solar wind may have played a key role in
stripping gas from the Martian atmosphere, and data collected by
Planet-B may provide clues to this process.

	The United States is contributing a neutral mass spectrometer
(NMS) to the Planet-B mission. "The Neutral Mass Spectrometer will
enable us to measure the chemical composition of the upper atmosphere
of Mars on a global scale, which has never been done before," said Dr.
Hasso B. Niemann, the NMS principal investigator at NASA's Goddard
Space Flight Center.

	Nozomi was launched almost exactly one year after Mars
Pathfinder landed on the Red Planet.  Japanese officials said the
launch date for Nozomi was chosen as a way of honoring the American
lander's mission.

	Two new American missions to Mars are scheduled for launch in
the next six months.  The Mars Climate Orbiter will launch in December
to study Martian meteorology from orbit, while the Mars Polar Lander
will lift off in January to land in the unique layered terrain near
the Martian south pole.

	   Researchers Find Evidence Against Martian Nanofossils

	A team of scientists reported Monday, July 6 that they had
found new evidence which disproves claims that worm-like features seen
in the Martian meteorite ALH 84001 are tiny "nanofossils" left behind
by ancient Martian life.

	The research, led by John Bradley of Georgia Tech, Hap McSween
of the University of Tennessee, and Ralph Harvey of Case-Western
Reserve University, found that the fossil-like features seen in the
meteorite were formed by mineralogical processes unrelated to life and
at potentially very high temperatures.

	The scientists found that magnetite crystals seen in the
meteorite were formed in the surrounding carbonates by epitaxy, or the
ordered growth of one mineral atop another.  Such formation requires
temperatures of at least 120 degrees Celsius (248 degrees Fahrenheit),
which would all but eliminate the possibility that fossilized Martian
life exists in the meteorite.

	The crystals seen appeared free of defects, which the
scientists noted is more representative of high-temperature growth
than crystals grown at lower temperatures.

	Their research, to be published in the July issue of the
journal Meteoritics and Planetary Science, is the third paper by the
team that has addressed the issue of whether the meteorite shows
evidence of Martian life, as originally claimed by a team of Johnson
Space Center (JSC) and other scientists in August 1996.

	"These three papers in combination basically invalidate much
of their (JSC's) evidence," Bradley, an adjunct professor at Georgia
Tech and executive director of the microscopy firm MVA Inc., said.

	The first paper reported that the magnetite crystals seen
inside the claimed fossils were straight whiskers, not "daisy chains"
as would be expected inside fossils.  A second paper claimed the
fossils themselves only resemble terrestrial fossils at certain
viewing angles; at other angles they resembled inorganic scales or

	Bradley was strongly critical of the claims of the original
JSC team.  "Early skepticism has evolved into international consensus
among meteoriticists and planetary scientists, with the exception of
the JSC team, that this rock does not contain Martian nanofossils," he
said. "I do not know of a single other individual who believes it at
this point."

	Still, he does not expect the debate about ALH 84001 to end
any time soon.  "Unless the JSC team concedes, the debate will never
die," he said.

	    Astronomers Discover Nearby Developing Solar System

	An international team of astronomers reported Wednesday, July
8, that they had found evidence of a solar system forming around the
nearby star Epsilon Eridani.

	The astronomers used the James Clerk Maxwell Telescope on
Mauna Kea, Hawaii, to find a ring of dust around the star that looks
"strikingly similar" to our solar system's own Kuiper Belt of icy
bodies, according to one astronomer.

	"What we see looks just like the comet belt on the outskirts
of our Solar System, only younger," said Jane Greaves of the Joint
Astronomy Centre in Hawaii.  "It's the first time we've seen anything
like this around a star similar to our Sun."

	Epsilon Eridani is a K2-class star -- slightly cooler than the
Sun and one-third as bright -- located 10.7 light years away.  The
star is one of the closest Sun-like stars, but is believed to be much
younger than the Sun.

	The images, obtained at submillimeter wavelengths, indicate
that the solar system is in the process of forming planets.  "This
star system is a strong candidate for planets, but if there are
planets, it's unlikely there could be life yet," Greaves said.  "When
the Earth was this young, it was still being very heavily bombarded by
comets and other debris." 

	Addition evidence for planet formation around the star is the
existence of a bright spot in the ring of dust imaged by the
astronomers.  "There may be a planet stirring up the dust in the ring
and causing the bright spot," said Bill Dent of the Royal Observatory,
Edinburgh, "or it could be the remnants of a massive collision between

	A region near the star itself that appears partially free of
dust is additional evidence for planet formation, astronomers said. 
Planets would be expected to absorb or otherwise clear out dust in the
regions where they form.

	The existence of a solar system forming around a nearby
Sun-like star may mean solar systems are quite common.  "The
implication is that if there is one system similar to ours at such a
close star, presumably there are many others," Benjamin Zuckerman of
UCLA said. "In the search for life elsewhere in the universe, we have
never known where to look before. Now, we are closing in on the right
candidates in the search for life." 

	The same astronomers discovered dust disks earlier this year
around the more distant and less Sun-like stars Vega and Formalhaut. 
Another dust disk was seen around the star HR 4796 at around the same

	The Epsilon Eridani discovery was announced at the "Protostars
and Planets" conference in Santa Barbara, California.  The work has
been submitted for publication in Astrophysical Journal Letters. 

		   Baikonur Problems Delay Soyuz Launch

	A lack of electricity and running water at the Baikonur
Cosmodrome, Russia's primary launch site, will delay next month's
Soyuz launch of a Mir replacement crew by at least 10 days, Russian
officials reported Wednesday, July 8.

	A three-person crew, including a former aide to Russian
president Boris Yeltsin, was scheduled to lift off August 3 in Soyuz
TM-28 to dock with Mir.  However, a lack of electricity and water for
the last two weeks at Baikonur, Kazakhstan, the Soyuz launch site, has
forced officials to move the launch date back to August 13.

	Electricity and water were cut to Baikonur because of unpaid
bills, a problem stemming from a lack of money allocated to Energia,
the company that operates Mir for the Russian Space Agency, and part
of Russia's larger financial woes.

	"People are preparing for the launch in terrible conditions,
in temperatures of 37 degrees Celsius [99 degrees Fahrenheit], without
light, without water, without money," said Energia president Yuri
Semyonov told the Itar-Tass news agency.

	Power has been restored to Baikonur, Itar-Tass reported, but
the two-week loss of power impacted launch preparations enough to
force a launch delay.

	The launch cannot be delayed much longer. The Soyuz capsule
currently docked to Mir, which brought current crew members Talgat
Musabayev and Nikolai Budarin to the station, must return to Earth by
late August as its systems are only guaranteed to function for that

	The Soyuz TM-28 will carry a relief crew of commander Gennady
Padalka and engineer Sergei Avdeyev.  Also flying on the Soyuz will be
former presidential aide Nikolai Baturin.  Baturin will investigate
the status of the station and return with Budarin and Musabayev later
in August.

	Energia threatened last month to shut down Mir as early as
August if the Russian government did not pay the money it owed the
corporation for operating Mir.  On July 2 the Russian government
agreed to provide Energia with 600 million rubles (US$100 million) to
continue operating the station through mid-1999, at which time the
station will be deorbited into the Pacific Ocean.

			    *** Technology ***

		Japanese Satellites Test Docking Techniques

	A pair of Japanese satellites completed the first successful
test of an unmanned, automated docking early Tuesday, July 7.

	The two sections of the Engineering Test Satellite VII (ETS-7)
separated and moved two meters (6.6 feet) apart before docking
together again at 7:30am Japanese time (6:30pm ET and 2230UT July 6).

	In the test, three grappling claws on the 410 kg (900 lbs.)
target satellite, named Orihime, grabbed onto the 2,540 kg (5,590
lbs.) chaser satellite, named Hikoboshi.

	The test was the first time two unmanned spacecraft and
undocked and redocked under remote control.  Tests planned for later
this year will try docking after the two spacecraft are separated by
distances up to several kilometers.

	The technology is being tested with an eye for use on the
International Space Station.  Automated docking techniques would make
it easier for unmanned cargo spacecraft to dock with the station.

	ETS-7 was launched last November 27, along with the Tropical
Rainfall Measuring Mission, a joint NASA/NASDA (National Space
Development Agency) mission.

	The names of the two ETS-7 spacecraft come from an old
Japanese tale, where the princess Orihime and her lover Hikoboshi were
allowed to meet only once a year, on July 7th.

		    AXAF Completes Environmental Tests

	The Advanced X-Ray Astrophysics Facility (AXAF) satellite has
completed all of its environmental tests, satellite builder TRW
reported Wednesday, July 8, but a problem with one of the satellite's
instruments was uncovered during the tests.

	AXAF spent a month in a thermal vacuum chamber at TRW's El
Segundo, California, facility.  The satellite was exposed to the
vacuum of space and alternating periods of hot and cold temperatures
to simulate the environment the satellite will be in after launch.

	Key subsystems and instruments were tested during the thermal
vacuum test to ensure they worked as planned.  Engineers also tested
sending commands to the spacecraft from the AXAF Operations Control
Center (OCC) in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

	It was during those tests that a mechanical problem was
noticed in one of AXAF's instruments, the AXAF CCD Imaging
Spectrometer (ACIS).  TRW's AXAF program manager, Craig Staresinich,
said the cause of the problem and repair plans are being investigated.

	"We believe that the repair can be made in parallel with
upcoming electrical testing of the observatory with little or no
impact to the delivery schedule," he said.

	He added that the discovery of the problem during the tests
was a success, not a failure, since AXAF's highly elliptical orbit
makes any on-orbit repairs by shuttle crews impossible, unlike the
Hubble Space Telescope.  "Discovering a problem now is a success.
Discovering a problem later, after launch, would be a failure," he

	AXAF, originally planned for an August launch, was pushed back
to December after delays in the assembly of the spacecraft were
reported late last year.  Launch of the spacecraft is now likely to
take place no earlier than January, as the first space station
assembly shuttle flight is now planned for December.

		Zenit, Sub-Based Missile Launch Satellites

	An oft-delayed Zenit booster and a missile launched from a
Russian submarine successfully placed satellites from several nations
into orbit in early July.

	A Zenit 2 rocket lifted off at 2:30am EDT (0630 UT) July 10
from Baikonur, Kazakhstan, carrying five satellites, including a
Russian Resurs-0 remote sensing satellite and several small satellites
from other nations, including Chile, Thailand, and Israel.

	The launch was originally planned for June 23 but was pushed
back more than two weeks because of problems with the guidance system
on the booster.  The booster was taken off its launch pad for over a
week while repairs to the system were completed.  A last-minute
failure in the system delayed a launch planned for July 8.

	The launch is the first for the Zenit since a May 1997 launch
ended in an explosion shortly after liftoff. The Zenit has experienced
other launch failures in the recent past as well.

	An SS-N-23 ballistic missile launched the Tubsat-N satellites
from the  Delfin-class submarine Novomoskovsk, submerged in the
Barents Sea, at 7:15am Moscow time July 7 (0315 UT, 11:15pm ET July
6).  The satellite successfully reached orbit, officials reported.

	Tubsat-N, built at the Technical University of Berlin,
consists of two small satellites, together weighing less than 11.5 kg
(25.3 lbs.). The larger Tubsat-N and smaller Tubsat-N1 were launched
attached and are designed to separate once in orbit.

	The satellites contain a number of experiments, including
tests of reaction wheel and star sensor performance.  They are also
designed to store and forward low data rate communications.

	The Russian Navy, which conducted the satellite launch, said
it plans future commercial launches using its nuclear submarines as a
way to raise money for the cash-strapped armed service.

			      *** Policy ***

		    Senate Vote Supports Space Station

	In a final rebuke to a longtime but retiring foe of the
International Space Station, the Senate voted down by a 2-to-1 margin
July 7 a measure that would have cut funding to the station.

	By a vote of 66 to 33, the Senate rejected an amendment to a
NASA appropriations bill proposed by Sen. Dale Bumpers (D-AR) that
would have canceled the station and placed the funding intended for it
into veteran's health and low-rent housing projects.

	Bumpers, a longtime opponent of the space station who is
retiring from the Senate at the end of the year, has introduced
similar amendments for many years.  All have failed in Senate votes.

	In support of his amendment, Bumpers cited recent studies from
the GAO that claimed the total cost to build and operate the station
would reach or exceed $100 billion.  The annual operating cost of the
station alone, he said, "will be enough to fund 6,000 researchers at
NIH [National Institutes of Health] and universities across America
for a year."

	"We are going to have six people on the space station doing
what the National Research Council estimates to be 24 hours of
research each day, at a cost at which we could hire 6,000 researchers
on earth," he said.

	Supporters of the station, including Sen. John Glenn (D-OH),
took issue with some of Bumpers's statements.  "This $96 billion is a
fictitious figure; $40 billion of that, by NASA estimates, includes
shuttle costs that are going to go on anyway," Glenn said.

	Glenn, who, like Bumpers, is retiring after this year, said
spending on programs like the station is necessary to make progress. 
"If we ever tried to solve all problems and to do everything we wanted
to do before we made research, we would never have moved off the east

		   NASA Creates Near-Earth Object Office

	The Jet Propulsion Laboratory will host a new NASA office
dedicated to detecting, tracking, and understanding potentially
hazardous near-Earth objects (NEOs), NASA announced Tuesday, July 14.

	NASA's Near-Earth Object Program Office will focus on the goal
of locating at least 90 percent of the estimated 2,000 asteroids and
comets that approach the Earth and are larger than 1 kilometer (0.62
miles) in diameter, by the end of the next decade.

	"We determined that, in order to achieve our goals, we need a
more formal focusing of our near-Earth object tracking efforts and
related communications with the supporting research community," said
Dr. B. Carl Pilcher, science director for solar system exploration at
NASA headquarters.

	"Finding a majority of this population will require the
efforts of researchers at several NASA centers, at universities and at
observatories across the country, and will require the participation
by the international astronomy community as well," said Dr. Donald
Yeomans of JPL, an expert on asteroid and comet orbits who will head
the new office.

	The new office will focus on coordinating efforts to detect
NEOs as well as facilitating communications between astronomers and
the public should a dangerous NEO be discovered.

	This second role for the NEO office is seen as a reaction to
the fiasco surrounding the announcement in March that asteroid 1997
XF11 would pass dangerously close to the Earth in 2028.  Later
analyses of the data, combined with pre-discovery observations,
eliminated any threat of a collision in 2028 within one day of the
original announcement.

	In the months following the 1997 XF11 announcement, NASA has
announced plans to more than double funding for NEO tracking projects,
to around $3 million in 1999.  NASA has also formed policy that
requires NASA-funded astronomers -- most of the NEO community
worldwide -- to better communicate any discoveries among themselves
and NASA before going public.

	       Movie Producers Challenged to Match NEO Grant

	Two private space organizations announced a $50,000 grant
Wednesday, July 1, to support work to locate and track near-Earth
objects (NEOs), and challenged the producers of two current Hollywood
blockbusters to match the grant.

	The Space Frontier Founation (SFF) and the Foundation for the
International Non-Governmental Development of Space (FINDS) announced
the grant as a kickoff for a fundraising campaign to support NEO
research and bring together top experts on the issue.

	The organizations alsom challenged the producers of the movies
"Deep Impact" and "Armageddon" -- two summer blockbusters that depict
comets and asteroids on collision courses with the Earth -- to match
the grant.

	"The film industry has done an excellent job educating people
about the very real threat NEOs pose to our civilization, and is
making millions of dollars at the same time," said SFF president Rick
Tumlinson.  ""Meanwhile, there is very little money going to support
the handful of heroic people doing the actual work of finding and
tracking these potential Earth killers."

	"There are astronomers who cannot afford to turn on their
telescopes," Tumlinson noted.  "Hollywood is making a lot of money
playing off of the fear -- now it's time for them to ante up."

	The grant will go towards a program called "The Watch" whose
goal is to raise $1 million a year to support NEO research worldwide. 
The funds will be disbursed by an advisory council headed by John
Lewis of the University of Arizona.  The council will meet for the
first time at an SFF conference in California in October.

	FINDS, a $13 million endowment that funds "breakthrough
projects" in space-related topics, currently supports NEO tracking
projects at Canada's University of Victoria and asteroid iron
extraction work at the University of Arizona.

	Deep Impact, a movie released in May by Dreamworks and
Paramount, cost $75 million.  The movie has grossed over $133 million
in the United States alone by late June.  Armageddon, about a giant
asteroid headed towards Earth, opened in North America July 1.  Its
budget was estimated at well over $100 million.

			      *** Science ***

		   Io Volcanoes Hottest in Solar System

	Planetary scientists using data from the Galileo spacecraft
have discovered that volcanoes on Io are the hottest planetary
surfaces in the solar system, reaching temperatures of thousands of

	Researchers from the University of Arizona, Brown University,
and other institutions, writing in the July 3 issue of the journal
Science, found that at least a dozen volcanic vents on Io, the
innermost of Jupiter's four largest moons, reach temperatures of at
least 1,200 degrees Celsius (2,200 degrees Fahrenheit). One is as hot
as 1,700 degrees C (3,100 degrees F), about three times hotter than
the sunlit surface of Mercury.

	"The very hot lavas erupting on Io are hotter than anything
that has erupted on Earth for billions of years," said Alfred McEwen,
director of the University of Arizona's Planetary Image Research Lab. 
"They are the highest surface temperatures in the solar system other
than the sun itself."

	McEwen and colleagues combined infrared data from Galileo,
which provided temperatures, with visible-light camera images to
confirm that the hotspots were associated with volcanic vents. The
temperatures and colors imply the lava is rich in heavy elements like

	That finding is leading scientists to questions the
composition of Io's surface.  Highly volcanic surfaces like Io are
thought to be highly differentiated, with low-density materials in the
crust and heavier materials below.  Such a differentiated body would
make it difficult for heavy magma, like that inferred from the Galileo
data, to make it to the surface.

	"The evidence suggests we're seeing heavy magma erupt to the
surface. How do we explain that?" McEwen asked.  "It's harder for
dense material to rise through a low-density crust, although this has
occurred on Earth's moon. Perhaps some process mixes the crust back
into Io's interior, so the crust has a higher density."

	Studies of Io may help understand conditions on the early
Earth, McEwen said.  "Early Earth is hard to understand because the
evidence has been so degraded by an active environment and plate
tectonics. I like to think of Io as a grand experiment in planetary
vulcanism and differentiation."

	Io is heated by tidal forces.  The moon is locked into an
orbital resonance with Europa and Ganymede, two other Jovian moons,
making its orbit slightly elliptical.  The tidal forces caused by
Jupiter's gravity heat Io's interior, which in turn powers the moon's

	Io's volcanoes were discovered by the Voyager 1 and 2
spacecraft as the flew by the Jovian system in 1979.  Since then,
volcanic eruptions on Io have been monitored by ground-based infrared
telescopes, the Hubble Space Telescope, and Galileo.

		New Type of Near-Earth Asteroids Discovered

	Astronomers at the University of Hawaii have discovered a new
type of near-Earth asteroid whose location makes them difficult to

	Dr. David Tholen and Robert Whiteley of the University of
Hawaii's Institute for Astronomy discovered 1998 DK36 earlier this
year and found that its orbit lies entirely within that of the Earth
-- that is, it never gets farther from the Sun than the Earth.  All
previously known asteroids have orbits that take them at least briefly
beyond the orbit of the Earth.

	This type of orbit makes the asteroids difficult to detect, as
they are close to the Sun in the sky as seen from the Earth, and thus
are only visible in the dawn and dusk skies.

	"All other efforts to discover asteroids on a collision course
with the Earth are being directed at a region of the sky almost
opposite the Sun," said Tholen.  "The significance of this discovery
is that we would have otherwise never found this new asteroid because
it apparently doesn't travel to that region of the sky being scanned
by other search efforts."

	Such asteroids could strike the Earth from the daytime side
without any advance warning possible, Tholen said. 

	1998 DK36 was discovered in February using a specialized
camera system on the University of Hawaii's 2.2-meter (88-inch)
telescope atop Mauna Kea. Tholen and Whiteley were performing
observations of the dawn and dusk skies using the telescope to search
for near-Earth asteroids.

	The asteroid is estimated to be about 40 meters (132 feet) in
diameter.  The size is comparable with the size of the stony asteroid
that caused the Tunguska explosion in Siberia 90 years ago and the
iron asteroid that created Meteor Crater in Arizona 50,000 years ago.

	1998 DK36 appears to orbit between the orbits of Earth and
Mercury.  Tholen said that although they were not able to make enough
observations for a complete analysis, their best-fit orbit has 1998
DK36 passing an apparently-safe 1.2 million kilometers (750,000 miles)
from the Earth.

	"1998 DK36 is nothing to lose sleep over," said Tholen.  "It's
the ones we haven't found yet that are of concern."

	  European Astronomers Discover Another Extrasolar Planet

	A team of European astronomers led by the duo who discovered
the first extrasolar planet around a Sun-like star announced Monday,
July 6 that they had discovered another planet orbiting another star
similar to the Sun.

	The team, led by Michel Mayor of Switzerland's Geneva
Observatory and Didier Queloz of the Geneva Observatory and JPL,
discovered the planet around the star 14 Herculis (also known as
Gliese 614).  The star, with about 80 percent of the mass of the Sun,
is located 60 light-years away in the constellation Hercules.

	The team estimated the mass of the planet to be 3.3 times that
of Jupiter, the largest planet in our own solar system.  The planet is
located 2.5 AU (375 million kilometers, 232.5 million miles) from its
parent star and takes 4.4 years to complete one orbit.

	"This long-period planet, orbiting a nearby star, is a very
promising candidate for direct imaging," the discovered said in an
announcement from the Geneva Observatory.  "The longer the period, the
larger the separation between the planet and the parent star,
therefore the easier it becomes to distinguish the feeble glow of the
planet near the bright glare of the star."

	The observers said the estimated separation between the planet
and star is good enough to attempt direct observations of the star
using the 3.6-meter (141.7-inch) Canada-France-Hawaii Telescope on
Mauna Kea, Hawaii, using the telescope's adaptive optics system.

	The observers also confirmed the discovery last month of a
planet around the star Gliese 876.  The planet around the star, just
15 light years from Earth, was announced last month by veteran
extrasolar planet discoverer Geoff Marcy of San Francisco State

	Mayor and Queloz discovered the first extrasolar planet around
a Sun-like star when they discovered a planet around 51 Pegasi in

			    *** CyberSpace ***

			 The Space Weather Bureau

Solar flares, aurorae, even meteor showers -- all are considered
"space weather", events outside the Earth's atmosphere that can have
effects on satellites, communications, and astronauts in orbit.  The
Space Weather Bureau provides updated information on the current space
weather, such as solar flare activity, and a 24-hour forecast. 
There's also some background information on space weather phenomena
and related news items.



Orbit-on-Web allows people to perform orbital computations within
their Web browser. Convert between orbital elements and state vectors,
propigate orbits, compute transfers between orbits, and more, at this
Web site.  You'll need some knowledge of orbital mechanics and a
browser that supports JavaScript to take advanatage of this site's


			  The Moon Race Homepage

The Moon Race Homepage features a detailed history of the race between
the United States and the Soviet Union to be the first to set a man on
the Moon. A detailed timeline explores Space Race history from the 50s
into the 70s, and background information gives you the opportunity to
learn more about the people and technologies that shaped the efforts
of both countries.  Pictures and videos add to the multimedia
experience of the site.


		   Wired Collections: Space Exploration

While Wired magazine is considered by many to be a magazine of the
Internet and new computer technologies, it has published a number of
articles on space exploration in the past several years, with an
emphasis on new space technologies.  This Web site includes links to
those articles, ranging from SETI to the Roton and robotic spacecraft. 
There are also links to Wired News space news articles.


			  *** Space Capsules ***

			 SpaceViews Event Horizon

July 21:	Galileo flyby of Europa
July 23:	Long March 2C/SD launch of replacement Iridium 
August 13:	Soyuz TM-28 launch from Baikonur, Kazakhstan
August 13-16:	Mars Society Founding Convention, Boulder, Colorado

				Other News

SpaceDev Buys British Firm: SpaceDev announced July 6 that it was
acquiring Space Innovations Limited (SIL), a British builder of small
satellites and satellite subsystems.  Terms of the deal were not
announced.  SpaceDev is working on the Near Earth Asteroid Prospedctor
(NEAP), the first private space exploration spacecraft, and the SIL
deal is seen as a way to bring needed knowledge and technology into
the company.  "We are especially interested in SIL's deep space X-band
transceiver capabilities, one of many SIL subsystems applicable to our
Near Earth Asteroid Prospector," Jim Benson, president and CEO of
SpaceDev, said.

SPACEHAB Buys Engineering Firm: SPACEHAB moved to expland its presence
in support of human spaceflight July 1 with the acquisition of
Houston-based Johnson Engineering Corporation ("JE"), a Johnson Space
Center contractor.  JE handles a number of key services for NASA,
including operations of the Neutral Buoyancy Laboratory, a
weightlessness trainer; construction of ISS mockups used in training;
and developing hardware for use in the crew quarters of the
International Space Station.  Key leaders of JE, including former
astronaut Eugene Cernan, will stay with SPACEHAB and its JE
subsidiary.  "Having spent most of my career in the space program, I
am delighted to be part of SPACEHAB, which has been leading the
development of commercial systems that are advancing the frontier of
human space flight," Cernan said.

Boeing, TRW Win NRO Contracts:  TRW and Boeing announced Friday, July
10, that they won contracts to build and launch, respectively, an
experimental National Reconnaissance Office (NRO) satellite to test
the feasibility of laser communications.  Under a $77.8 million
contract, TRW will design, build and operate the Geosynchronous
Lightweight Technology Experiment (GeoLITE) satellite.  The satellite
will be launched in early 2001 on a Boeing Delta II rocket.  GeoLITE
is an advanced technology demonstration satellite designed to test the
effectiveness of laser communications.  It will also be outfitted with
more conventional ultra-high frequency (UHF) communications equipment.

Evidence for Magentars:  Astronomers at NASA's Marshall Space Flight
Center believe a recent series of low-energy gamma-ray bursts detected
last month is caused by a magnetar, a rare type of neutron star with
an intense magnetic field whose surface is subjected to powerful
quakes.  The bursts match the profile of a soft gamma repeater (SGR),
a rare class of gamma-ray burst source.  This SGR is only the fourth
known to exist and the first discovered since the late 1970s.  SGRs
are thought to be a brief stage in the life of a magnetar, a neutron
star with an intense magnetic field up to a million billion (10^15)
times as powerful as the Earth's magnetic field.  Astronomers think
that the powerful magnetic fields of magnetars cause wrinkles in their
tightly-bound surfaces.  The fields cause wrinkles only a few
millimeters high, but enough to cause the surfaces to crack in a
"starquake" and release tremendous amounts of energy in the form of
X-rays and gamma rays.

University Gets Solar Satellite Contract: The University of
California, Berkeley, has won a $72 million contract to build and
operate a satellite designed to study solar flares during the upcoming
solar maximum, the university announced June 30. The High Energy Solar
Spectroscopic Imager (HESSI) will be the first NASA spacecraft in over
25 years to be designed, built, and operated entirely by a university
and its partners.  NASA relinquished control of much of the mission to
the university as a way reduce the costs of the mission, estimated to
be $72 million.  "When we initially put together this mission the
estimated cost was 10 times as much, in part because we had to comply
with the way NASA did things in large projects," said project leader
Professor Robert Lin. "Now that NASA has changed its philosophy, we
can be lean and efficient - and more responsible to the public."  The
spacecraft, scheduled for launch into Earth orbit in the year 2000,
will carry a telescope that will observe solar flares at X-ray and
gamma-ray wavelengths.


        This has been the July 15, 1998, issue of SpaceViews Update.
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