[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index]

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

-----Original Message-----
From: SpaceViews-approval@nss.org [mailto:SpaceViews-approval@nss.org] 
Sent: Saturday, August 15, 1998 10:33 AM
To: undisclosed-recipients:;
Subject: SpaceViews Update -- 1998 August 15

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

*** Top Stories ***
	Titan 4 Explodes After Launch
	SOHO Spacecraft Condition Improves
	More Delays for the International Space Station?
	Soyuz Launches Mir Relief Crew

*** Technology ***
	Possible Antenna Problem with Mars Global Surveyor
	Japanese Docking Experiment Malfunctions
	Eight ORBCOMM Satellites Launched
	Boeing, Air Force Test Space Maneuver Vehicle

*** Policy ***
	Senate Approves Commercial Space Act
	SEC Files Action Against SpaceDev
	Government Suspends Sea Launch

*** Science ***
	New Studies Cast Doubt on Mars Life Claims
	Two Earth-Crossing Asteroids Discovered

*** CyberSpace ***
	CyberSpace Reviews
	CD-ROM Review: "Russians in Space"

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

Editor's Note: We Will be switching over to a new mail list service later
this month, so that we can better meet the needs of our growing number of
subscribers.  Because of this, you may have problems trying to unsubscribe
or resubscribe in the next couple weeks.  If you have any problems, please
contact me at jeff@spaceviews.com.

Our next issue will be published on September 1.

Jeff Foust
Editor, SpaceViews


			    *** Top Stories ***

		       Titan 4 Explodes After Launch

	An Air Force Titan 4A booster exploded less than a minute
after liftoff early Wednesday, August 12, scattering debris into the
Atlantic Ocean off the coast from Cape Canaveral, Florida.

	The booster, carrying a classified military payload, exploded
42 seconds after its 7:30 am EDT (1130 UT) launch.  Debris from the
explosion fell into the Atlantic Ocean.  No injuries or damage were

	According to the Air Force, the Titan 4A began to
self-destruct 42 seconds into the flight.  Range safety officers,
charged with preventing the rocket from going off course and
threatening lives and property, destroyed the rocket two seconds

	The force of the explosion was powerful enough to set off car
alarms in the city of Cocoa Beach, well south of the Cape Canaveral
launch site, the Associated Press reported.

	A toxic cloud of fumes from the Titan 4's propellant did form,
but drifted northeast away from land and dissipated, Florida Today
reported.  There was no danger to anyone from the cloud.

	The launch had been delayed by 90 minutes because of fueling

	While classified, analysts believe the booster was carrying a
signals intelligence satellites valued at up to $1 billion.  The
satellite, which would have gone into a geosynchronous orbit, would
have been capable of intercepting radio and other communications.  It
was similar to existing signals inteligence satellites.

	The Titan 4 explosion is the first for that rocket since a
launch explosion 5 years ago at Vandenberg Air Force Base, California. 
The explosion is the first launch accident at Cape Canaveral since a
Delta 2 exploded just a few seconds after launch in January 1997. 
That explosion caused damage to the launch site and nearby buildings,
but no injuries.

	The launch was the last Titan 4A launch planned.  The Air
Force will be using the upgraded Titan 4B, a more powerful booster,
for future missions.  The Titan 4B entered service last year and was
used to launch the Cassini mission to Saturn last October.

		    SOHO Spacecraft Condition Improves

	The health of the Solar and Heliospheric Observatory (SOHO)
spacecraft, which was out of contact with ground controllers for six
weeks, continues to improve, the European Space Agency reported
Tuesday, August 11.

	Engineers received the first on-board telemetry from SOHO over
the weekend, ESA reported, and were able to send SOHO commands
directing the spacecraft to transfer power generated by its solar
cells to its batteries.

	"This is the best news I've heard since we lost contact with
SOHO on 25 June," said Roger Bonnet, ESA science director.  "I never
gave up hope of some recovery of this fantastic mission.  We should
just hope that the damage sustained by SOHO's enforced period of deep
freeze does not affect the scientific payload too much."

	Ground controllers first detected signals from SOHO on August
3, the first time the spacecraft was heard from since it went out of
contact late June 24.  No telemetry was included with those signals,
but contact with SOHO over the weekend included information on the
voltages and temperatures of the instruments onboard the spacecraft.

	"I am truly satisfied with the information the data we
acquired gives us," said Francis Vanderbussche, in charge of the SOHO
recovery team. "Conditions on-board are as good as we expected them to

	Ground controllers instructed SOHO to fully charge its onboard
batteries, so it can begin to thaw out its supply of hydrazine fuel
used for attitude control.  Once thawed, engineers hope to be able to
stabilize the slowly-spinning spacecraft.  They expect the batteries
to be fully charged later this week.

	NASA's Deep Space Network has declared a "Spacecraft
Emergency", giving 24-hours-a-day coverage of SOHO over other
missions, so engineers can continue to monitor SOHO's status.

	Contact was lost with SOHO on the evening of June 24. A
preliminary investigation indicates that a combination of errors in
preprogrammed ground sequences sent to SOHO, combined with the
decision by ground controllers to send a command to the spacecraft
after receiving "unexpected" telemetry readings.

	SOHO is a joint ESA/NASA mission to study the Sun from the
Earth-Sun L1 Lagrange point, 1.5 million kilometers (900,000 miles)
Sunward of the Earth. It was launched in December 1995 and completed
its nominal two-year mission in April of this year. 

	     More Delays for the International Space Station?

	While NASA Administrator Dan Goldin told members of the House
Science Committee Wednesday, August 5, that the International Space
Station was on track for its first launches this fall, sources within
the space agency indicate that the station may be delayed yet again,
for up to six months.

	Acknowledging Russian funding shortfalls, Goldin said plans
were underway to modify the shuttle's maneuvering thrusters to allow
it reboost the station, a task originally planned for Russian
spacecraft, while a Clinton Administration budget official said
non-station shuttle flights might be cancelled to cover station cost

	A number of reports, including public Internet postings from
people at or with contacts at NASA, have claimed that internal NASA
schedules have pushed back the launch of the first station elements to
April 1999, with the service module pushed back from April to
September or October of 1999.

	While Goldin made no mention of planned delays in the launch
schedule in Congressional testimony, he did mention the possibility of
future delays.  Noting the problems the Russian Space Agency (RSA) has
had getting money from the Russian government, he said, "NASA is
concerned that the shortfall in funding available to RSA places the
scheduled April 1999 launch date of the Russian Service Module at some

	If true, it would be yet another delay for the station, whose
first elements were originally planned for launch last fall.  Those
launches were delayed first to this summer, then to this November and
December, because of problems with the Russian Service Module.

	According to Goldin, the first station elements are ready for
launch as currently scheduled.  A Russian Proton booster is set to
launch the Zarya ("Sunrise") control module in November, followed by a
December launch of shuttle mission STS-88 to deliver the Unity docking

	Goldin acknowledged other problems with the Russian space
program, including that production of Soyuz and Progress spacecraft
"has virtually ceased" because of a lack of parts.  Soyuz spacecraft
are scheduled to deliver some crews to the station and serve as a
lifeboat in the event of an emergency on the station, while unmanned
Progress vehicles would deliver supplies.

	The Progress vehicles would also periodically reboost the
station, whose orbit would be gradually lowered by drag from the
tenuous atmosphere is passed through.  Goldin said plans are underway
to modify the shuttles' maneuvering thrusters to reboost the station,
reducing the need for Progress spacecraft.

	Jacob Lew, the new director of the Office of Management and
Budget (OMB), told committee members that the Clinton Administration
would first seek to cover space station cost overruns from other
sections of the NASA budget related to human space flight, rather than
other science and research programs.  "We will look for offsets first
from within the $6 billion spent annually in the Human Space Flight
account, as long as they do not compromise Shuttle safety," Lew said.

	Such a decision would imply that shuttle flights unrelated to
the station could be cancelled.  While most shuttle launches during
the ISS assembly period are dedicated to the station, a small number
-- mostly involving the orbiter Columbia, which is too heavy to loft
space station components -- will be dedicated to microgravity, remote
sensing, and other missions, including reservicing visits to the
Hubble Space Telescope.

	Member of the committee were skeptical such a plan could work. 
"I don't believe you can get the money you need by canceling shuttle
flights or continuing to raid the shuttle budget," Rep. Dave Weldon
(R-FL) said.

	Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA) was more blunt.  "After hearing
your review of these costs, I wonder what planet you've been on."

		      Soyuz Launches Mir Relief Crew

	A Russian Soyuz spacecraft carrying a replacement crew for the
Mir space station, as well as a visiting former bureaucrat, lifted off
early Thursday, August 13.

	Soyuz TM-28 lifted off at 5:43 am EDT (0943 UT) from the
Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.  The launch proceeded normally and
the Soyuz is scheduled to dock with Mir on Saturday, August 15.  An
unmanned Progress cargo spacecraft undocked with Mir on August 12 to
allow the Soyuz to dock with Mir.

	On board the Soyuz are two cosmonauts, commander Gennady
Padalka and engineer Sergei Avdeyev, who will relieve the current Mir
crew of Talgat Musabayev and Nikolai Budarin, who have been on Mir for
six months.

	Also on board is Nikolai Baturin, a former aide to Russian
president Boris Yeltsin.  Baturin was originally named to the crew to
report on the status of Mir to Yeltsin, but since being removed from
his post earlier this year his post-mission plans are uncertain.

	Baturin will return to Earth with Musabayev and Budarin in
Soyuz TM-27, the Soyuz craft currently docked with Mir, after spending
12 days in space.

	The launch of TM-28 was scheduled for August 3, but was
delayed by ten days last month when power and water were shut down to
the Baikonur launch site.  Unpaid bills, caused by a lack of funding
from the Russian government, caused the utility shutdown.  This launch
was funded by credit extended from a Russian bank.

	Padalka and Avdeyev will be the next-to-last crew to fly Mir. 
A relief crew, likely to include one Russian cosmonaut and French and
Slovak guest cosmonauts, will fly to the station in early 1999.  One
or more members of that crew will stay on Mir until mid-1999, when the
station is abandoned and reenters the Earth's atmosphere.

			    *** Technology ***

	    Possible Antenna Problem with Mars Global Surveyor

	A potential problem with the extension mechanism of the
high-gain antenna on Mars Global Surveyor (MGS) may delay its
deployment next year by up to nine months, impacting the science data
returned by the spacecraft, NASA reported Monday, August 10.

	Engineers believe air bubbles may have formed in viscous fluid
in a damper that is used to cushion a spring used to deploy the
antenna, located at the end of a two-meter (6.6-foot) boom.  The
bubbles would keep the damper from working properly, pushing the boom
out at high speed before the damper would have any effect.  Such a
deployment could damage or disable the antenna.

	"To the best of our knowledge, we could deploy the antenna
boom without any adverse effect," said MGS project manager Glenn
Cunningham.  "However, the forces that the damper and boom would be
subjected to as a result of the bubble formation are close enough to
the maximum force that they are designed to withstand that we want to
take a cautious approach in evaluating the deployment."

	The antenna is in use now, folded up on the side of the
spacecraft.  The spacecraft must be turned in order for the antenna to
send and receive data, interrupting science observations.

	Engineers plan to deploy the antenna boom in March 1999, when
the spacecraft entered its final orbit after aerobraking.  The
deployed boom will allow the spacecraft to maintain contact with Earth
while continuing observations of Mars.

	MGS team members are now considering delaying the deployment
to after December 1999, when the Mars Polar Lander and Deep Space 2
land on Mars.  Deep Space 2, a small "hitchhiker" payload on the
lander, will penetrate into the Martian surface and rely on MGS as its
only communication link with Earth.

	If the antenna remains undeployed after March 1999, some
science data could not be returned because of the limited
communications with Earth.  A NASA statement said an estimated 40
percent of the original data would be returned in the first 30 days of
observations from its final mapping orbit if the antenna remained
undeployed.  That figure could be increased, though, through the use
of larger receiver antennae on Earth.

	No decision on antenna deployment will be made before February
1999, Cunningham said.  "We have not made any decisions yet, but we
want to take a conservative approach in order to protect the mission
as fully as possible," he said.

	The problem is not the first for MGS.  The aerobraking
procedure was delayed by damage to a hinge on one of its solar panels,
causing it to bend beyond its design limits during aerobraking passes
in the Martian upper atmosphere.  The problem was corrected by slowing
down the aerobraking, delaying the insertion of MGS into its mapping
orbit by one year to March 1999.

		 Japanese Docking Experiment Malfunctions

	The second experiment in automated rendezvous and docking
between two Japanese spacecraft failed Friday, August 7, and a second
attempt to bring the two spacecraft together failed a week later.

	The two sections of the Engineering Test Satellite VII (ETS-7)
separated early Friday morning, August 7.  The 2,540 kg (5,590 lbs.)
chaser satellite, named Hikoboshi, moved 525 meters (1,730 feet) from
the 410 kg (900 lbs.) target satellite, named Orihime.  The two
spacecraft then moved back together to redock.

	However, the two spacecraft apparently became misaligned as
they attempted to redock, and one of them entered a safe mode,
aborting the docking.  An attempt to redock the spacecraft later in
the day was foiled when Hikoboshi lost high-speed communications
contact temporarily.

	A second attempt to redock the two spacecraft took place
Thursday, August 13, but again failed.  A large attitude error in the
chaser spacecraft, caused by the inproper operation of the jet
thrusters on the spacecraft, was blamed for the failure, Japanese
engineers said.

	Engineers originally said the smaller Orihime satellite had
only enough power to last 72 hours while undocked from Hikoboshi. 
Hikoboshi provides power to both satellites while docked.  However,
both spacecraft seem to have enough power to continue redocking after
being separated over a week.

	The two spacecraft successfully undocked and redocked in July,
after separating by a distance of 2 meters (6.6 feet).  Future
experiments planned to redock the two spacecraft from separations as
large as 9 kilometers (5.6 miles).

	The spacecraft, launched last November, is designed to test
automated docking procedures for future use on the International Space
Station.  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.

		     Eight ORBCOMM Satellites Launched

	A Pegasus XL booster launched eight ORBCOMM communications
satellites into low-Earth orbit Sunday, August 2, bringing the global
messaging service system more than halfway to completion.

	The Orbital Sciences Corporation (OSC) Pegasus XL was dropped
from its L-1011 carrier aircraft at 12:24pm EDT (1624 UT) August 2,
while flying over the Atlantic Ocean east of Wallops Island, Virginia. 
OSC reported August 3 that all eight satellites launched by the
Pegasus appeared to be operating normally.

	The satellites, placed in an orbit 825 kilometers (510 miles)
above the Earth at an inclination of 45 degrees, join twelve others
previously launched.  The new satellites will undergo several months
of tests before going into commercial service, OSC said.

	Each satellite in the system weights about 40 kg (90 lbs.) and
has an eight-year lifetime.  When completed, the 36-satellite
constellation will provide a low-cost system for sending short
messages worldwide.  The addition of the eight satellites will
increase the total availability of the current system from 9 to 17
hours a day.

	The next group of eight ORBCOMM satellites will complete
factory testing over the next several weeks.  They are scheduled for
launch on a Pegasus XL off the West Coast in September.

	       Boeing, Air Force Test Space Maneuver Vehicle

	The U.S. Air Force and Boeing conducted the first flight test
August 11 in New Mexico of the X-40A, a prototype of a future reusable
Space Maneuver Vehicle.

	The X-40A was dropped from a helicopter at an altitude of
2,700 meters (9,000 feet).  A parachute deployed to stabilize the
vehicle, and was jettisoned once the vehicle was in stable flight. 
The X-40A then glided to a runway landing using satellite navigation.

	"I am very pleased with the results of this flight test," said
John Fuller, Boeing project manager.  "We wanted to validate low-speed
handling qualities and demonstrate autonomous approach and landing
capability. We did that today."

	The X-40A is a scale model of the Space Maneuver Vehicle
(SMV), a proposed reusable spacecraft that would deliver satellite
payloads, perform on-orbit reconnaissance, and other duties.  With a
wingspan of 3.6 meters (12 feet) and a fuselage length of 6.7 meters
(22 feet), the X-40A is 90 percent the size of the SMV.

	The SMV would be launched into orbit on another rocket, and
could stay in orbit for up to a year to perform its tasks.  It's
designed to then return to Earth, where it could be serviced and
launched again within 72 hours.

	Future tests will more fully explore how the X-40A and SMV
would fly in the air and in space.  "Our next step will be to
demonstrate the vehicle's capabilities, both in the atmosphere and
space," Fuller said.

			      *** Policy ***

		   Senate Approves Commercial Space Act

	The U.S. Senate approved late Thursday, July 30, legislation
that would open new opportunities for commercial launch firms in the
United States.

	The Commercial Space Act, H.R. 1702, was approved by unanimous
consent by the Senate.  The bill allows the Federal Aviation
Administration (FAA) to license the launch and landing of reusable
launch vehicles.  Currently the FAA is limited to issuing launch

	The bill also mandates the use of commercial launch services
for most government payloads, the purchase of space science data from
private companies, a study on the commercialization of the
International Space Station, and improved licensing regulations for
remote sensing satellites.

	The ability to issue launch and reentry licenses was seen by
many analysts as the key section of the bill.  With new reusable
launch vehicles being developed by private industry, such regulation
is critical to permit them to be launched from the United States.

	In one case, Kistler Aerospace, developer of the K-1 reusable
launch vehicle, has planned to launch from Australia instead of the
United States, thanks to a regulatory environment more conducive to
commercial space ventures.  Other launch firms have also considered
offshore launch sites.

	"Can you imagine the Wright Brothers flight at Kitty Hawk ever
being made if the government told them, `Sure you can fly it, just
don't land,'" said Sen. Bob Graham (D-FL), one of the leading supports
of the legislation.  "The way the law presently exists, commercial
companies can launch but cannot land any vehicle returning from space.
Only the U.S. government is allowed this privilege."

	"This is good news for America's commercial space
transportation industry, and for the long-term economic and national
security of this nation," said Charles Miller, president of ProSpace,
a grassroots lobbying group that supported H.R. 1702.  "We have been
fighting for this legislation for 4 years, and the U.S. Senate was the
last major hurdle."                          

	The bill was introduced in the House last year, and was
approved there in November.  The bill moved over to the Senate side,
where it was approved by the Commerce Committee in March.  A
conference committee will now iron out the differences between the
House and Senate versions.

	"I expect the House/Senate conference will be concluded
quickly this September, and that the President will sign it into law
this Fall," Miller said.

		     SEC Files Action Against SpaceDev

	The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) announced
Thursday, August 6, that it was requesting action against SpaceDev,
Inc., claiming the private space exploration company made "false and
misleading" statements to the public.

	SpaceDev, however, denied any wrongdoing and planned to
"vigorously contest" the planned SEC action.

	The SEC, in a request for a public hearing with an
administrative law judge, said the publicly-traded company made a
number of fraudulent statements, including claiming projected revenues
of $10 million and earnings of $2 million in 1998, without noting that
those numbers required NASA approval of specific projects.

	The SEC also said the company erroneously claimed it had a
deal with NASA for the use of the space agency's Deep Space Network to
communicate with SpaceDev's Near Earth Asteroid Prospector (NEAP)
spacecraft, scheduled for launch in 2000.

	Such administrative hearings usually take place within 60
days, Don Hurl, an official with the SEC's Denver office, told
SpaceViews, although legal maneuvering can often delay the hearing. 
No penalties would result from the hearing, Hurl said, as the SEC was
only seeking a cease-and-desist order to keep SpaceDev from making
claims that are not "accurate and complete."

	Of the about four hundred cases a year the SEC handles, Hurl
said, a "good number" involve false statements like the SEC's action
against SpaceDev.

	Dan Shea, director of the SEC's Denver office, told the
Associated Press that few investors were involved with SpaceDev. 
"Some people invested in this, but we caught it very quickly," he

	The SEC declined to said how it became aware of SpaceDev's
claims, but Hurl told SpaceViews that the SEC generally gets its
information from a wide range of sources, including press releases and
information posted on the Internet.

	In a statement issued Friday, August 7, SpaceDev claimed no
wrongdoing and planned to fight the SEC.  "While the Company disagrees
with the views expressed by the SEC in its Order Instituting
Proceedings, the Company had attempted to resolve the issues raised by
the SEC through a settlement," the statement read.  "The Company now
intends to vigorously contest the SEC's allegations."

	SpaceDev president and founder Jim Benson told SpaceViews that
the SEC's action was comparable to "shooting at ants with an elephant
gun."  He said he was confident that the SEC's case would be

	"This is a legitimate, hardworking business," Benson told the
Associated Press.  "This is a serious effort and it's being taken
seriously by the scientific community."

	SpaceDev is traded on the over-the-counter bulletin board
(OTCBB) under symbol SPDV.  As of late Wednesday afternoon, August 12,
the stock was trading at 1.562, off about 0.25 from its August 7

		      Government Suspends Sea Launch

	The U.S. State Department has suspended Boeing's license to
work with Russian and Ukrainian engineers on the Sea Launch project,
effectively bringing the project to a halt just months before its
first launch, the Washington Post reported Saturday, August 8.

	The suspension, which was issued July 27 but not publicly
announced, was issued because of lax security Boeing had in its
communications between American and Russian and Ukrainian engineers.

	The Post reported that a government official said the
suspension would be lifted once the government's security concerns are
met.  Russian and Ukrainian engineers working at Sea Launch's offices
in Long Beach, California, have left for home in the last few days
because of the suspension.

	The suspension comes at a time when American dealings with
foreign companies has come under intense scrutiny, stemming from
reports that Chinese officials obtained restricted technical
information from an American company in the aftermath of a 1996
explosion of a Chinese booster carrying an American satellite.

	The Post article said Boeing officials were ill-prepared to
deal with the restrictions required by the State Department on
communications with Russian and Ukrainian engineers.  Boeing might not
have been aware of some of the regulations, one industry executive
told the Post.

	A Boeing spokesman said the problems existed from the
inception of the project in 1995 through early 1997, when the company
brought in additional experts to deal with the flow of technical

	The Sea Launch project is a multinational venture headed up by
Boeing to launch payloads from a portable launch site in the ocean. 
The Ukrainian company KB Yuzhnoye/PO Yuzhmash provides the Zenit
booster and Russia's RSC Energia provides an upper stage for the
Zenit.  Norway's Kvaerner Maritime built the command ship and launch
platform, a converted oil-drilling rig.  Boeing serves as the "system
integrator" for the project.

	Sea Launch was slated to launch its first booster late this
year.  The launch will take place in on the Equator in the Pacific,
south of Hawaii.  Launches from the Equator get the maximum push from
the Earth's rotation, requiring less energy from the booster to reach

			      *** Science ***

		New Studies Cast Doubt on Mars Life Claims

	Several independent new studies published this week have added
their voices to the growing doubts that a Martian meteorite contains
evidence of past Martian life.

	The work, much of it published in the current issue of the
journal Meteoritics and Planetary Sciences, attacks the two-year-old
claims of Martian life in meteorite ALH 84001 on several fronts, from
the temperature of formation of the meteorite to the shapes of the
"nanofossils" seen within it.

	Researchers at the University of Hawaii reported that studies
of carbonate crystals seen in the meteorite show the carbonates formed
at high temperatures, not low ones as required for them to be a
product of biological processes.  

	Studies of various carbonate crystals under electron and
optical microscopes show the disk-shaped carbonates were squeezed in
and completely enclosed by rock.  This is consistent with their
formation from a hot liquid that passed through fissured in the rock,
and not with percolation of a low-temperature liquid through the rock.

	Another group at the University of Arkansas studied a number
of Martian and lunar meteorites under a scanning microscope.  They
found a number of structures in the lunar meteorites that were
indistinguishable from features claimed to be "nanofossils" in ALH
84001.  Since the Moon has likely been inhospitable to life throughout
its history, it casts doubt on claims that the Martian features as
fossils of tiny bacteria.

	Meanwhile, in a paper published in the August 14 issue of
Science, a team at the University of Massachusetts has found that a
chemical reaction used to explain the existence of microbes deep under
the Earth and possible on Mars is not feasible.

	Scientists had believed that the formation of hydrogen gas in
basalt deep underground could support microbes.  However, the
Massachusetts group found that hydrogen is not formed under those
conditions, depriving microbes of a key energy source.

	The studies are some of many recent assaults on the claim,
first announced in August 1996, that ALH 84001 contains evidence of
Mars life.  While the original team of scientists from NASA's Johnson
Space Center and Stanford University continue to believe their claims,
an increasing number of scientists are voicing their doubts.

	"The evidence against life in the Martian meteorite has been
steadily accumulating during the past year," said Ed Scott of the
Hawaii Institute of of Geophysics and Planetology.

	John Bradley, an adjunct professor at Georgia Tech who
published a separate paper arguing against life in ALH84001 last
month, was more blunt.  "I do not know of a single other individual
who believes it at this point," he said.

	Still, the announcement, even if incorrect, has focused the
attention of the planetary science community on the possibilities of
Martian life, and raised awareness in the nascent field of
astrobiology.  "More scientists than ever before are studying Martian
meteorites for clues to past conditions on Mars," said Scott.

	The reports are also coming out as the founding convention of
the Mars Society takes place in Boulder, Colorado.  Everett Gibson, a
member of the NASA/JSC team that first announced evidence of past life
in the meteorite, was scheduled to speak at the conference.

		  Two Earth-Crossing Asteroids Discovered

	A JPL telescope project designed to search for near-Earth
objects has discovered two asteroids whose orbits cross that of the
Earth, but astronomers emphasized that these asteroids pose no threat
to the planet for at least several decades.

	The two asteroids, designed 1998 OH and 198 OR2, are notable
because of their size.  Each is estimated to be 1-3 km (0.6-1.8 mi.)
in diameter, enough to cause serious global effects if one struck the
Earth.  They join about 125 other "potentially hazardous objects",
sizable asteroids whose orbits take them near the Earth.

	Neither asteroid is expected to pose any threat to Earth for
the foreseeable future, although follow-up observations will be made
to accurately determine their orbits.  With current data, they know
that one of the asteroids, 1998 OH, can come no closer than 5 million
kilometers (3 million miles) to the Earth.

	The asteroids were discovered using the Near Earth Asteroid
Tracking (NEAT) telescope, an automated 1-meter (39-inch) telescope
located on the summit of Haleakala, the tallest mountain on the
Hawaiian island of Maui.

	"Our goal is to discover and track all the potentially
dangerous asteroids and comets long before they are likely to approach
Earth," said NEAT Principal Investigator Eleanor Helin, a JPL
astronomer. "The discovery of these two asteroids illustrates how NEAT
is doing precisely what it is supposed to do."

	The discovery came after the NEAT telescope was upgraded last
month.  "Our upgraded equipment has speeded up the data processing
allowing us to analyze up to 40 gigabytes of data each night,
equivalent to 1,200 images of the sky," said project manager Steven
Pravdo.  "This shows that our efforts to find near-Earth objects are
paying off."

			    *** CyberSpace ***

			     The Mars Society

The Mars Society is a new organization dedicated to the exploration
and eventual settlement of Mars, through public outreach, support of
government-funded exploration, and future private exploration.  The
organization's Web site features information on the upcoming founding
convention of the society, taking place in August in Boulder,
Colorado.  There's also an online e-zine, "New Mars", and bulletins on
related topics, including efforts to get more funding for future Mars



As you might expect, the research performed by NASA scientists spans a
wide range of fields.  Science@NASA, a Web site by the Marshall Space
Flight Center (the same people who have provided previous winners on
space weather and microgravity), showcases some current science
research, from space science to materials science to Earth
observations.  The creators of this site have done a great job
explaining current research in an interactive and interesting format,
so that a visitor doesn't need much background to understand the work
presented here and why it is important.



If you're looking for information on European space activities, from
ESA to private aerospace firms, check out go-Ariane.  This site has
updated news on ESA, Ariane launches, and related topics, schedules of
upcoming launches, historical and technical information, and more. 
Go-Ariane is one of the leading online resources for European space



Interested in contributing to the search for extraterrestrial
intelligence (SETI)?  If you have a PC, consider contributing to
SETI@home, a project to help reduce the massive amounts of data
collected by SETI observing projects.  A screensaver, running at your
computer while you're not using it, will help analyze sections of data
collected.  The software is in the final stages of development, so be
sure to check out the Web site for more information about the project
and sign up to receive further information as the project gets


	  CD-ROM Review: "Russians in Space" by The Ultimax Group
			       by Jeff Foust

	CD-ROMs with information about the American space program are
relatively plentiful, but those with information about Soviet and
Russian efforts are much more difficult to find.  "Russians in Space",
a Russian CD-ROM translated into English for sale in the United
States, helps fill this gap with a multimedia exploration of Russian
and Soviet space history.

	The CD-ROM is divided into four sections: people, programs,
technology, and basics.  Each sections includes useful written content
in addition to photos and videos. It's the photos and videos that
really make this CD-ROM, as they provide imagery not readily available
elsewhere for the average space enthusiast, from the launch of an
Energia-Buran to a map of the Plesetsk Cosmodrome.

	The content seems a little hit-and-miss, though: the
cosmonauts section includes information on Gagarin and Tereshkova but
not Leonov or any of the modern Mir cosmonauts. Some of the section
descriptions seem to have suffered a little in the translation from
Russian: the "Personalia" (people) section includes section titles
"Those Who Made Rockets Fly" and "They Taught Rockets to Fly".  The
former is about rocket designers and the latter about cosmonauts,
although it's not readily obvious.

	Overall, "Russians in Space" is a good overview of the history
of Russian space efforts.  The collection of photos, videos, and other
information will make this a useful resource for those seeking to
learn more about Russian space programs.

	"Russians in Space" is a hybrid PC/Mac CD-ROM.  It can run on
PCs with Windows 3.1, 95/98, and NT and requires a 386SX or faster
processor, 4MB RAM (8MB recommended), a 2x or faster CD-ROM drive,
SVGA graphic card (640x480 with 256 colors or better), and an
MPC-compliant sound card.  It can run on Macs with System 7.0 or later
with a 68030 or faster processor, 4MB RAM (8MB recommended), a 2x or
faster CD-ROM, and at least a 256-color display.  See
http://www.catalog.com/ultimax for more information.  The cost is $29.95
plus shipping and handling, with 10% discounts for members of some
organizations, including the NSS and The Planetary Society.

			  *** Space Capsules ***

			 SpaceViews Event Horizon

August 13-16:	Mars Society Founding Convention, Boulder, Colorado
August 15:	Soyuz TM-28 docks with Mir
August 15:	Deadline to submit names to be included on the 
		 Stardust spacecraft
August 24:	Delta 3 inaugural launch of the Galaxy 10 satellite 
		 from Cape Canaveral, Florida
August 25:	Ariane 4 launch of the ST-1 satellite from Kourou, 
		 French Guiana
August 25:	Proton launch of the Astra-2A satellite from Baikonur, 
October 9-11:	Space Frontier Foundation Conference, Los Angeles, 
October 29:	Launch of shuttle on mission STS-95 (John Glenn 

				Other News

NSS Demands Station Changes: As words leaks out of yet more delays in
the International Space Station project, the National Space Society is
calling for changes in how the project in managed.  In a special
section of its Web site, the NSS laid out a five-part plan that calls
for a decision to remove or keep the Russians in the project,
commercialization of the station, and greater interest and involvement
by the Clinton Administration.  More information and a petition are
available at http://www.nss.org/alerts/iss/home.html

Cerf Named JPL Visiting Scientist: A computer scientist that has
advocated the growth of the Internet throughout the solar system was
named as a Distinguished Visiting Scientist at the Jet Propulsion
Laboratory Tuesday, August 4. Vint Cerf, a vice president at the
telecommunications giant MCI and co-developer of the TCP/IP protocol
used to convey Internet traffic, will work with JPL scientists and
engineers and other industry experts to develop new protocols for
handling communications among spacecraft. "It took 20 years for the
Internet to take-off here on Earth," he said. "It's my guess that in
the next 20 years, we will want to interact with systems and people
visiting the Moon, Mars and possibly other celestial bodies."

Stardust Passes One Million Names Mark: More that one million names
have been submitted to fly on the Stardust comet sample return
mission, the National Space Society reported Thursday, August 6. The
names will be etched onto one of two microchips that will be attached
to the Stardust spacecraft, scheduled for launch early next year.  The
spacecraft will fly by the comet Wild-2, collecting samples of
cometary particles that will be returned to Earth in 2006. The
original signup effort garnered 136,000 signatures last fall.  The
second microchip was added in a promotion with the NSS in the spring
in conjunction with the release of the Paramount and Dreamworks
Pictures movie Deep Impact.  The deadline for adding names was August

New Mars Meteorite Found: Scientists reported last month that they had
found a new Mars meteorite, the thirteenth such object found on Earth. 
The meteorite, found in the Sahara Desert and owned by a private
collector, weights 2 kg (4.4 lbs.) and is thought to be a shergotite,
the most common class of Mars meteorites.  The meteorite is the first
Martian once discovered since 1994 and the first discovered outside
Antarctica since 1962.

Canadian Space Telescope: The Canadian Space Agency is moving forward
with plans to build the world's smallest space telescope, the agency
announced August 5.  The Microvariability and Oscillations of Stars
(MOST) project will feature a 50 kg (110 lbs.) satellite with an
telescope no bigger than a pie plate to measure rapid oscillations in
stars, providing clues to their interior structure and ages.  The CSA
is providing C$4 million (US$2.6 million) for project, which includes
participants from Canada and the United States.

Media Watch: John Glenn is on the cover of the August 17 issue of Time
magazine.  The cover asks if Glenn's upcoming flight is a "gimmick",
but concludes, "No, a timely reminder that we can still have
beroes."... The September issue of Discover magazine, just hitting
newsstands now, features a cover story on "What Should We Do With The
Moon?"  The article goes over a wide range of possibilities, from
industry to tourism, and includes quotes from a wide range of people,
from NASA moon advocate Wendell Mendell to Artemis Society head Greg
Bennett... What does astronaut Cady Coleman have in common with Bill
Cosby, Boston Celtics head coach Rick Pitino, and CEOs of several
major corporations?  All are graduates of the University of
Massachusetts and all promote their alma mater in a radio ad playing
on New England radio stations...

	This has been the August 15, 1998, issue of SpaceViews Update.
SpaceViews Update is also available on the World Wide web from the
SpaceViews home page:


or via anonymous FTP from ftp.seds.org:


For editorial questions and article submissions for SpaceViews or
Spaceviews Update, contact the editor, Jeff Foust, at jeff@spaceviews.com/
For questions about the SpaceViews mailing list, please contact

    ____                | "SpaceViews" (tm) -by Boston Chapter
   //   \ //            |       of the National Space Society (NSS)
  // (O) //             |  Dedicated to the establishment
 // \___//              |       of a spacefaring civilization.