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starship-design: FW: SpaceViews -- October 1998 -- from Boston NSS [part 1 of 2]

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Sent: Monday, October 05, 1998 5:02 PM
Subject: SpaceViews -- October 1998 -- from Boston NSS [part 1 of 2]

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                            S P A C E V I E W S
			Volume Year 1998, Issue 10
			       October 1998

*** News ***
	NASA Plans to Help Support Russian Space Agency 
	Gingrich, Congress Criticize NASA 
	Shuttle Rolls Out for Glenn Launch 
	Two New Extrasolar Planets Discovered 
	Engineers Regain Control of SOHO 
	Gamma Ray Burst Had Effect on Atmosphere 
	Mir Cosmonauts Complete Brief Internal Spacewalk 
	Astronomers See Dust Disks in Binary Star System 
	Mars Global Surveyor Resumes Aerobraking 
	Senate Hearing Explores Government Launch Incentives 
	SpaceViews Event Horizon 
	Other News 

*** Articles ***
	The Beginnings of America's Man in Space Program 
[part 2]
	The Mars Underground Emerges: The Founding Convention of the Mars
	Spaceweek Organizers Sought 

*** Book Reviews ***
	Just Visiting This Planet 
	Two Physics Books 

*** NSS News ***
	Upcoming Boston NSS Events 
	Boston NSS September Lecture Summary 

*** Regular Features ***
	Jonathan's Space Report No. 373 
	Space Calendar 

Editor's Note: As you are no doubt aware by now, we have had significant
problems e-mailing recent issues of SpaceViews.  Our old mailing list
provider, ARI, could not handle the large size of the list (SpaceViews now
has about 7,500 subscribers.)  We switched to one provider, but they had
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issue.  However, we have found a new home for the list that should end
these problems.

If you did not receive some of the past issues, the best way to get them is
by FTP:

September 15:

September 1:

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These issues are also archived on the SpaceViews Web site,
http://www.spaceviews.com .  If neither of these options is available to
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Jeff Foust
Editor, SpaceViews

			       *** News ***

	      NASA Plans to Help Support Russian Space Agency

	NASA is seeking up to $660 million in additional funds over
the next four years to provide desperately needed money for the
Russian Space Agency (RSA), whose funding problems pose a serious
threat to the International Space Station, the Washington Post
reported Monday, September 21.

	According to the Post, NASA is seeking $60 million now to
purchase additional Russian hardware, plus an additional $40 million
by the end of the year to help keep the troubled Service Module from
falling further behind schedule.

	The $40 million would be the first installment in up to $150
million a year that NASA would pay to the RSA over four years to
support their work on the station.  The $150 million a year would
represent about half of the annual costs Russia would incur for the
station, and would be a substantial fraction of the RSA's overall

	"In effect, we're buying $150 million per year worth of
insurance" on the station, Joseph Rothenberg, NASA associate
administrator for space flight told the Post.  "A year ago, we
wouldn't have predicted things would be this bad."

	While NASA is willing to pay half of Russia's space station
assembly costs, Rothenberg warned, "we can't be sure they'll come up
with the other half, though."

	The Port reported that, rather than welcoming the addition
funds, Russian officials are holding out for more money than the U.S.
is willing to pay for certain pieces of hardware.  Rothenberg said
that since Russia sees its space program as a source of national
pride, they may have trouble continuing to support the station if
their role in the project is reduced.

	Also of concern is the new Russian government installed this
month, the third one this year.  "We collectively don't really
understand the implications of the Primakov government yet," NASA
administrator Dan Goldin told the Post, referring to new Russian prime
minister Yevgeny Primakov.

	The initial $100 million to go to Russia will likely pay for
two Soyuz capsules that will be used as interim station "lifeboats"
until a permanent escape vehicle, based on the X-38, is put into
place.  As reported last week, NASA would pay the money now but not
have to take delivery on the Soyuz capsules until 2002.

	NASA still plans to launch the first segments of the
International Space Station -- the Russian-built  Zarya control module
and the American-built Unity docking module -- in November and
December of this year, respectively, Rothenberg told the Post. 
However, the launch of the Service module may slip from April to July
of 1999, even if the RSA receives the money needed now to complete the

		     Gingrich, Congress Criticize NASA

	Key members of both the House and the Senate have spoken out
in opposition of a NASA proposal to financially support the Russian
Space Agency, while Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich leveled strong
criticism against the agency in general.

	Speaking at a press conference Thursday, September 24,
Gingrich lashed out at NASA, claiming that the space agency was
bureaucratic and slow.  "We have got to break out of slowing down and
making space as boring as possible, which seems to be one of NASA's
major achievements," he said.

	Calling current launch systems "slow, cumbersome, and
extraordinary expensive", Gingrich said there was no technological
reason why NASA could not have done more.  "If you go back and look at
the last 30 years, and ask yourself how far could we have gotten,
there is no reason today we aren't permanently on the Moon," he said. 
"That is entirely an artifact of bureaucracy."

	Gingrich also spoke out against the current state of the
International Space Station, putting the blame for ISS's current
problems on the Clinton Administration. "The space station now is a
mess," he said, "in large part because this administration got off to
a feel-good, manage-bad model."

	Other members of Congress also voiced concerns about plans
reported September 21 where NASA would pay $660 million to Russia over
a four-year period to help support their contributions to ISS.

	Rep. F. James Sensenbrenner (R-WI), chair of the House Science
Committee, said NASA's plans is an acknowledgment by the space agency
that putting Russia on the "critical path" for ISS development was a
mistake.  "NASA's request that the American taxpayer now pay for that
mistake while simultaneously treating Russia as an equal partner is
unacceptable," Sensenbrenner said.

	"If the U.S. is to assume greater financial responsibilities,
the international agreement with Russia should be renegotiated to
reflect Russia's reduced contribution," Sensenbrenner said.  "I oppose
the Administration's scheme to turn a vital and important science
program like the Space Station into more Russian foreign aid."

	Sen. John McCain (R-AZ), chairman of the Senate Commerce,
Science, and Transportation Committee, also was skeptical of the NASA
bailout plan.  "The situation in Russia could signal future needed
bailouts, and raise concerns over quality control procedures," he

	McCain and Sen. Bill Frist (R-TN) called on the General
Accounting Office to study the proposed funding plan, to see how
likely Russia is to meet its obligations if the funding is approved,
and whether it would be more cost-effective to simply remove Russia
from the program.

	"American taxpayers deserve to know how this most recent
announcement affects the total cost of the space station, a full
account of where their dollars would be going, and an assurance that
funds will not be diverted for unapproved uses," McCain said.  "Only a
full justification of these costs is acceptable, especially
considering Russia's record as an unreliable financial partner."

		    Shuttle Rolls Out for Glenn Launch

	Workers at the Kennedy Space Center rolled out the space
shuttle Discovery early Monday, September 21, in preparation for an
October launch that includes the second flight of John Glenn, and
narrowly abvoided having to roll it back just three days later.

	Discovery was rolled out from the Vehicle Assembly Building to
Pad 39B starting at around 2 am EDT (0600 UT) September 21.  It took
six hours for the shuttle assembly, which includes Discovery, its
external fuel tank, and two solid-fuel boosters, to make the 6.8-km
(4.2-mile) trek to the pad.

	The shuttle sports a new paint job, with the round blue NASA
"meatball" logo on the left wing and the American flag and the
orbiter's name on the right wing.  The meatball logo replaces the old
NASA "worm" logo on Discovery and the other shuttles, including
Atlantis, which completed 10 months of servicing work in California
this month.

	Kennedy Space Center officials canceled late Thursday,
September 24, the planned rollback of the space shuttle Discovery
after it was clear that a hurricane would pose no threat to the

	The rollback of the shuttle to the safety of the Vehicle
Assembly Building (VAB) was prompted by Hurricane Georges, a powerful
hurricane approaching the south Florida coast.  The shuttle was to
begin its six-hour trek from Pad 39B early Thursday morning, but
lightning from an unrelated storm system has delayed the move.

	By Thursday night, the hurricane was forecast to pass through
the Straits of Florida and into the Gulf of Mexico, posing no threat
to the space center.  KSC officials then decided to keep Discovery on
the pad.

	Discovery is scheduled to lift off on the afternoon of October
29 on mission STS-95.  The nine-day mission has garnered extraordinary
publicity as it will mark the second flight into space for Senator
John Glenn, the first American to orbit the Earth.

	The 77-year-old Glenn will be the subject of a number of
experiments sponsored by NASA and the National Institute on Aging to
look for links between the aging process and the adaptation to
weightlessness.  Those experiments will include research into bone and
muscle loss, balance disorders, and sleeping problems.

	The shuttle will also refly the Spartan-201 solar research
satellite.  The satellite, designed to fly free from the shuttle for
several days while performing observations of the Sun, failed to
deploy properly on its last flight in November 1997.  The tumbling
satellite had to be retrieved in a special spacewalk by two

	Discovery will also carry a package of experiments to test
equipment that will be used on the next Hubble Space Telescope (HST)
servicing mission.  The equipment tested includes a new cooler that
may be attached to the HST's NICMOS infrared camera, extending its
life, as well as various electronics equipment.

	The mission will be commanded by four-time shuttle astronaut
Curtis Brown, with Steven Lindsey as pilot.  Mission specialists
include Scott Parazynski, Stephen Robinson, and Spain's Pedro Duque. 
Japan's Chiaki Mukai will join Glenn as payload specialists on the
mission.  The crew ranges in age from 77-year-old Glenn to Duque, who
was born a little more than a year after Glenn's Mercury flight 36
years ago.

		   Two New Extrasolar Planets Discovered

	A team of astronomers that includes the two most prolific
planet discoverers announced Thursday, September 24, that they had
discovered two more extrasolar planets, one that orbits extremely
close to its parent star and another in a more Earth-like orbit.

	One planet, orbiting the Sun-like star HD 187123, orbits the
star at a distance nine times closer than Mercury's distance from the
Sun.  The planet, with a minimum mass half that of Jupiter, takes only
three days to complete one orbit of its star.

	The other planet, orbiting HD 210277, orbits at a more
Earth-like distance, but has a far more elliptical orbit than the
Earth.  The planet, with a mass about 1.4 times that of Jupiter, takes
437 days to complete one orbit.

	The discovery of the second planet was significant, according
to co-discoverer Geoff Marcy of San Francisco State University.  "We
had discovered planets that orbit much closer and much farther from
their stars than the Earth-Sun distance," he said.  "We wondered if
nature rarely puts planets at one Earth-Sun distance. Now we know that
such planets are not rare."

	The discoveries were made by an international team of
scientists that includes Marcy and Paul Butler of the Anglo-Australian
Observatory, who together have discovered nine of the 12 extrasolar
planets found to date.

	The team's junior member was Kevin Apps, a sophomore at
England's University of Sussex.  An avid amateur astronomer, he poured
over Marcy and Butler's initial list of stars to study and suggested
replacing some of them with stars more like the Sun.  One of Apps'
replacement stars, accepted by Marcy and Butler, was HD 187123.

	"I don't think I can put into words how I feel about Geoff and
Paul finding a planet around one of my suggested targets," Apps said.

	The team used a high-resolution spectrograph on one of the
10-meter (33-foot) telescopes at the Keck Observatory to measure the
wobble of stars.  The wobble is caused by the gravitational tug on the
star from orbiting planets.  The wobble is measured by noting minute
shifts in wavelength in light from the star, caused by the Doppler

	The team has studied 430 stars using the Keck Telescope over
the last nine months.  Continuing such observations, Marcy said,
should allow them to discover up to two dozen more Jupiter-sized
planets at the Earth's distance from the Sun in the next two to three

	Marcy's big interest, though, is looking for Jupiter-sized
worlds farther away from stars, as is the case in our solar system. 
"What we're all about is discovering (planets) where evolution might
have gotten a toehold," Marcy said. "Jupiter-sized planets at a
greater distance from their star would suggest a solar system that
could host a rocky Earth-like planet."

	"If it should turn out that out of more than 400 stars, none
has a Jupiter orbiting at five Earth-Sun distances, that would be a
frightening reality," Marcy added. "It might be the first sign that
Earth is truly unusual and so life may be rare."

		     Engineers Regain Control of SOHO

	NASA announced Thursday, September 17, that a team of
engineers successfully regained control of the Solar and Heliospheric
Observatory (SOHO) spacecraft nearly three months after ground errors
sent the spacecraft spinning out of control.

	The attitude recovery maneuver was completed September 16 at
2:29pm EDT (1829 UT), NASA said.  Engineers commanded SOHO to fire its
thrusters to take it out of its spin and point its solar panels
towards the Sun to generate power.

	Contact was lost with SOHO on June 24 when a series of errors
by ground controllers sent the spacecraft spinning, breaking contact
with the Earth.  Contact with SOHO was restored in early August, and
engineers have been working since then on procedures to return the
spacecraft to normal condition.

	"It's a big step forward in our recovery plan for SOHO," said
Francis Vandenbussche, who heads the SOHO recovery team for the
European Space Agency (ESA).  "We were never quite sure that we would
manage to make the spacecraft point back towards the Sun."

	The next step, explained ESA SOHO project scientist Bernhard
Fleck, is a slow, comprehensive check of all the spacecraft systems
and the scientific instruments used to study the Sun.  Some
instruments were subjected to temperature ranges of -100 to +100
degrees Celsius (-148 to +212 degrees Fahrenheit).

	"We shall take our time and go step by step," Fleck said, "but
I'm cautiously optimistic that SOHO can win back much of its
scientific capacity for observing the Sun."

	SOHO, a joint ESA/NASA mission to study the Sun, was launched
in December 1995.  It completed its primary mission in April, after
which ESA and NASA agreed on an extended mission through 2003 to study
the Sun as it passed through the peak of its 11-year cycle of
activity.  The ability of SOHO to continue this mission will depend on
the status of the instruments and other spacecraft systems.

	NASA and ESA are also continuing a review of all ground
systems used to control the spacecraft, based on recommendations of a
report released earlier in the month about the June 24 accident.  That
report pinned the blame on the accident on ground controllers, who
relied on a gyroscope on SOHO that had been previously disconnected as
well as another one which was in an improper mode.

		 Gamma Ray Burst Had Effect on Atmosphere

	A powerful gamma ray burst detected in late August had an
effect on the Earth's atmosphere, increasing the electrical activity
in the ionosphere to daytime levels, scientists reported September 29.

	Researchers at Stanford University's Very Low Research Group
found that when the gamma ray burst hit the Earth's atmosphere on the
night of August 27, electrical activity increased from normally
quiescent nighttime levels to the much higher levels seen during the
day.  The levels remained high for the five-minute duration of the

	"It is amazing that such a burst could produce ionization
levels similar to those produced by all the radiation coming from the
Sun," said Umran Inan, professor of electrical engineering at
Stanford.  "It was as if night was briefly turned into day in the

	The ionization increase was caused by the powerful gamma and
X-rays stripping electrons from atoms in the tenuous ionosphere.  The
burst has about the same intensity as a dental X-ray, scientists said,
and posed no threat to life on Earth.

	The burst was traced back to SGR 1900+14, a distant object
thought to be a magnetar, a neutron star with an intense magnetic
field.  The object is one of four known soft-gamma repeaters, objects
which will occasionally release a burst of gamma rays.

	Inan said similar increased in ionospheric activity had been
seen in the past, but the cause of them were unknown.  Thus, "this may
be the first time that a transient extra-solar phenomenon has
measurably affected a part of the Earth's environment," he said.

	The sudden burst of energy from the magnetar, believed th be
caused by a "starquake" on the surface of the star, was also detected
in early September by radio astronomers.  They detected radio waves
emitted by particles accelerated away from the magnetar by its intense
magnetic field.

	"All this goes to show that the Earth does not exist in
splendid isolation," said Inan. "We now know that the Earth's physical
environment is affected not only by our own sun but by energy
originating from distant parts of our universe."

	     Mir Cosmonauts Complete Brief Internal Spacewalk

	Two Mir cosmonauts spent less than an hour -- far less time
than expected -- completing repairs inside the unpressurized Spektr
module Tuesday evening, September 15.

	The spacewalk began at 4:00 pm EDT (2000 UT) as cosmonauts
Gennady Padalka and Sergei Avdeyev entered the Spektr module to
reconnect cables for the solar panels mounted outside the station. 
The spacewalk ended after just half an hour, although they had planned
to spend three hours on the task.

	The reconnected cables should permit the panels to be turned
remotely, allowing them to be oriented to capture the maximum possible
amount of sunlight and convert it into electricity.

	"We now have to turn the whole station toward the sun in order
to preserve power, while the normal mode of operation envisages
turning the panels," Viktor Blagov, deputy chief of mission control,
told the Itar-Tass news agency.

	A Russian Space Agency spokesman also hinted that Mir,
scheduled to be deorbited in mid-1999, might stay up even longer. 
Vyacheslav Mikhailichenko told Reuters that further delays with the
Russian-built Service Module for the International Space Station,
caused by Russian economic woes, may prompt Russia to keep Mir in
orbit until the Service Module can be launched.

	"As long as the International Space Station is not in orbit it
doesn't make sense to bring Mir down," Mikhailichenko said. "What if
the new station turns out not to work? Technology is technology after

	     Astronomers See Dust Disks in Binary Star System

	Astronomers using the Very Large Array (VLA) radio telescope
have detected evidence of large dust disks -- from which planets are
believed to form -- around both stars in a binary star system,
evidence that many more stars could support planets than first

	An international team led by Luis Rodriguez of the National
Autonomous University in Mexico City detected the disks around both
stars of a binary system 450 light years from Earth in the
constellation Taurus.  The two stars, separated from one another by
only slightly more than the distance between the Sun and Pluto, each
have disks that extend out to Saturn's distance from the Sun.

	The finding was a surprise, since astronomers had assumed the
gravitational effects of the two stars would prevent protoplanetary
disks from forming.  "It was surprising to see these disks in a binary
system with the stars so close together," Rodriguez said.

	While the astronomers did not detect any planets in the disks,
there is enough material there to support their formation.  "Each of
these disks contains enough mass to form a solar system like our own,"
said team member David Willner of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for

	"However," he noted, "we don't think these solar systems would
be able to form outer, icy planets like Uranus and Neptune, because of
the small size of the dust disks."

	Dust disks seen around other stars appear to extend to up to
100 AU (15 billion kilometers, 9.3 billion miles) from the star, about
ten times farther than the disks seen around these stars.

	Had the two stars formed a few times closer, the astronomers
noted, the gravitational forces would have been enough to prevent the
disks from forming. "If these disks form planetary systems, they would
be among the closest possible adjacent sets of planets in the
universe," said Rodriguez.

	Alan Boss, a theorist at the Carnegie Institution of
Washington, notes that if a giant planet formed at the edge of these
disks, the gravitational tug-of-war between the planet and the two
stars could eject the planet from the system.

	This could explain TMR-1C, an object discovered in May by
astronomers using the Hubble Space Telescope.  The object, located in
the same dust cloud as this binary system, is thought to have been
ejected from another binary system.  Further studies are planned to
determine if TMR-1C is a planet or a heavier brown dwarf star.

		 Mars Global Surveyor Resumes Aerobraking

	After two false starts earlier in the month, the Mars Global
Surveyor (MGS) spacecraft successfully resumed aerobraking with a
thruster burn on Wednesday, September 23.

	The 14.8-second firing of the main thruster on MGS altered its
orbit so that the spacecraft passes through the upper fringes of the
Martian atmosphere, slowing down the spacecraft and circularizing its
orbit with each pass.

	The aerobraking was originally scheduled to begin on September
14, but a problem with the backup receiver on the spacecraft's antenna
delayed the aerobraking for three days.

	A computer glitch then delayed the aerobraking just hours
before it was to begin September 17.  A faulty command placed the
solar panels of MGS in the wrong orientation, reducing the amount of
electricity they could generate.  the spacecraft drained much of the
charge in its batteries until the problem was corrected.

	With the batteries recharged and other problems resolved,
controllers were able to restart the aerobraking as planned. 
Aerobraking will continue for four and a half months, as drag from
repeated passes through the upper atmosphere moves the spacecraft's
orbit into the desired circular mapping orbit.

	The aerobraking operation was originally planned to take place
between September of 1997 and last January, but was delayed when a
solar panel began bending beyond its design limits.  Fearing continued
aerobraking could snap the panel off, the aerobraking was halted last
October until a plan to split the aerobraking into two longer, less
intense sections, was adopted.  MGS will enter its final mapping orbit
in March of 1999, one year later than planned.

	   Senate Hearing Explores Government Launch Incentives

	Both the administrator of NASA and leading members of the
launch industry encouraged the development of government incentives,
ranging from tax credits to guaranteed loans, to promote the
development of new, low cost, reusable launch vehicles.

	Speaking at a hearing of the U.S. Senate's  Science,
Technology, and Space subcommittee Wednesday, September 23, NASA
administrator Dan Goldin said current high launch costs is inhibiting
not only the commercial development of space, but future uses by NASA.

	"The potential for the future seems almost limitless," Goldin
said, but noting that NASA spends more than $4 billion a year on
launch costs, "without affordable and reliable access to space, this
potential will remain unrealized."

	Goldin said a NASA analysis of the launch industry indicated
that if private industry developed a large reusable launch vehicle on
its own, it could lower the price per pound to orbit to around $2,500. 
Government incentives, though, could lower that per pound cost to as
little as $1,000.  "The contrast is stark, and could make all the
difference in opening up space."

	Goldin outlined four kinds of government incentives that could
help private industry develop new low-cost launch vehicles.  Through
research and development support, guaranteed government loans, advance
purchase agreements of launch vehicles, and tax credits and holidays,
new affordable launch vehicles can be developed.

	Goldin had a sympathetic ear from Senator John Breaux (D-LA),
who earlier this year introduced S.2121, the Space Launch Cost
Reduction Act.  Breaux's bill includes many of the incentives outlined
by Goldin, including government loan guarantees administered by NASA.

	"I am a big believer in the private sector," Breaux said. 
"But while we are competing with other countries that are not
market-based economies, it is important that we be able to compete."

	The idea of government loan guarantees was criticized earlier
this year by two space activist organizations, the National Space
Society and the Space Frontier Foundation, who feared such a program
would allow NASA to pick "winners" among established aerospace
companies while stifling innovative new projects.

	"Federal loan guarantees sound nice, but they are a bad idea
that will wreck the embryonic reusable space transportation industry
by warping the market and stifling innovation," SFF president Rick
Tumlinson said in June.
	Some members of the launch industry are in favor of loan
guarantees.  Jerry Rising of Lockheed Martin's X-33 project told the
committee that the most effective means "of facilitating private
investor confidence would be through a government loan program."

			 SpaceViews Event Horizon

October 1:	40th Anniversary of the creation of NASA

October 2:	OSC Taurus launch of the STEX satellite from 
		 Vandenberg Air Force Base, California

October 7:	Ariane 4 launch of the Eutelsat-W2 and Sirius-3 
		 satellites from Kourou, French Guiana

October 8:	Atlas 2AS launch of the Hot Bird 5 satellite from Cape 
		 Canaveral, Florida.

October 9-11:	Space Frontier Foundation Conference, Los Angeles, 

October 11-16:	American Astronomical Society's Division for Planetary 
		 Sciences annual meeting, Madison, Wisconsin

October 19:	Atlas 2A launch of the UHF-F9 satellite from Cape 
		 Canaveral, Florida

October 22:	Pegasus XL launch of the SCD-2/Wing GLove payloads 
		 from off the coast of Cape Canaveral, Florida

October 25:	Delta 2 launch of Deep Space-1 and SEDSAT-1 from Cape 
		 Canaveral, Florida

October 29:	Launch of shuttle on mission STS-95 (John Glenn 

				Other News

Ariane, ORBCOMM Launches:  Ariane 4 and Pegasus XL rockets
successfully placed satellites into orbit in September.  An Ariane 4
booster launched a PanAmSat communications satellite into orbit early
Wednesday, September 16, from Kourou, French Guiana.  The PAS-7
satellite will go into geosynchronous orbit over the Indian Ocean.  It
is designed to provide video and telecommunications services
throughout the region in conjunction with PAS-4, an existing PanAmSat
satellite.  An Orbital Sciences Corporation (OSC) Pegasus booster
launched eight ORBCOMM satellites into orbit early Wednesday,
September 23, completing a constellation of 28 satellites that will
provide worldwide messaging services.  The system is expected to go
into full commercial service in a few months, after the new satellites
are checked out.

Space For Sale:  NASA is considering selling to companies the rights
to display their logo during NASA media events, an industry newsletter
reported Tuesday, September 21.  According to "Science & Government
Report", a newsletter published by John Wiley and Sons' Technical
Insights subsidiary, a Congressionally-mandated report to be delivered
to the space agency soon will recommend a wide range of advertising
ventures that could raise funding for NASA.  The first step would be
to sell the rights to display corporate logos during NASA media
events, and would grow to include advertising during the construction
of the space station and the possibility of allowing the entertainment
industry to use the space shuttle and station. 

More Human Studies Needed:  Additional studies, both on the ground and
in orbit, of the effects of weightlessness on the human body are
needed as missions become longer, a panel of medical experts recently
concluded.  In a report released September 22, the Committee on Space
Biology and Medicine, part of the Space Studies Board of the National
Research Council, issued a report calling for additional studies to
see how long-duration space flight might adversely affect both the
human body and the mind.  Of greatest importance, the committee
concluded, were studies of how weightlessness affects bone and muscle
mass, blood pressure, orientation, and movement. 

Dust Rings Around Jupiter:  Data from the Galileo spacecraft show that
Jupiter's system of thin, intricate rings is formed from dust from the
planet's innermost small moons, scientists announced Tuesday,
September 15.  Using images from Galileo, scientists from Cornell
University and the National Optical Astronomy Observatories (NOAO) saw
that one of Jupiter's three rings, a dim "gossamer" ring, has one ring
embedded inside another, with both composed of dust from the small
inner moons of Amalthea and Thebe.  The dust likely comes from
collisions of asteroid or comet fragments with the moons.

Globalstar Restructures:  Globalstar announced Tuesday, September 22,
plans to recover from a failed Zenit launch earlier in the month by
purchasing additional Delta and Soyuz launches to put its
communications satellite constellation in orbit next year. The company
announced a plan to move up three Soyuz launches, originally planned
for early 1999, to November and December of 1998 and January of 1999.
The company will then select from among five additional Soyuz
launches, six Delta 2 launches of four satellites each, and two Zenit
launches of 12 satellites each with the goal of placing an additional
12 satellites in orbit by May 1999 and 16 more by the end of the year.

In Brief: Scientists from the Carnegie Institution of Washington,
using data from Mars Pathfinder, believe that the bulk composition of
the planet Mars does not match that of carbonaceous chrondites, a
common class of meteorite thought to be left over from the formation
of the solar system, placing into doubt a commonly-held theory of
planetary formation... The first of four 8.2-meter mirrors of the Very
Large Telescope in Chile is returning scientific data, European
astronomers reported.  The telescope collected 100 hours of data in
late August and September... A Congressional conference committee
agreed  September 17 to reclassify communications satellites as
munitions, making them harder to export to China for launch on Long
March boosters.  The Clinton Administration said in the past it would
veto any bill that made such a reclassification... NASA turns 40 years
old on October 1.  Happy Birthday!  But, is it time for a mid-life

			     *** Articles ***

	     The Beginnings of America's Man in Space Program
			    by Andrew J. LePage


	On October 1, 1958 - days short of the first Sputnik
anniversary - the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)
officially came into being.  After months of study and debate in the
wake of the launching of the first Soviet satellites, the United
States government reached a consensus on how the country should
proceed into the Space Age when President Dwight Eisenhower signed the
National Aeronautics and Space Act of 1958 on July 29.  

	NASA was formed around the existing NACA (National Advisory
Committee for Aeronautics) which had been under the direction of Hugh
L. Dryden.  Appointed as NASA's first administrator was T. Keith
Glennan while Dryden became his deputy.  While the military would
continue to run space projects related to the needs of national
security, all purely scientific space programs under military control
would eventually be transferred to NASA.  This included, much to the
chagrin of officials in the Department of Defense, the United States'
nascent man-in-space effort.

Early Studies

	The genesis of what would become America's first manned space
programs can be traced back to July 14, 1952 when the NACA executive
committee passed a resolution to "devote modest effort to problems of
unmanned and manned flights at altitudes from 50 miles to infinity and
at speeds from Mach 10 to escape from earth's gravity."  The direct
result of this resolution was the X-15 program conducted jointly by
NACA, the USAF, and the U.S. Navy starting in December of 1954.  This
advanced rocket-powered aircraft would fly to the edge of space at 80
kilometers (50 miles) and as fast as Mach 7.  It would bridge the
performance gap between existing X-planes and what was needed to meet
NACA's ultimate goal.  

	The next step lead to joint NACA and USAF studies of still
higher flying manned aircraft or the "Manned Glide Rocket Research
System".  Conducted under the aegis of the USAF's ARDC (Air Research
and Development Command) starting in March 1956, this set of studies
eventually lead to the "Dyna-Soar" or X-20 program.  At the same time
ARDC also established a parallel research project for a manned
ballistic capsule known as "The Manned Ballistic Rocket Research
System".  Since the development of a simple ballistic capsule would
require much less time than an aerospace glider, such a program could
give the USAF much needed experience in this new environment in the
shortest time possible.  As had been done in many earlier USAF
research programs, NACA was invited to participate.

	Although there was a vocal minority in the NACA hierarchy who
were against involvement in a purely ballistic approach to manned
spaceflight, by early 1956 there had already been much research
conducted at NACA laboratories on the subject.  As a result of
hypervelocity experiments performed during June 1952, a team of
scientists and engineers under H. Julian Allen at the High-Speed
Research Division of NACA's Ames Aeronautical Laboratory (now NASA
Ames Research Center) discovered that a blunt body minimized heating
during a hypersonic reentry into the atmosphere.  The previous
conventional wisdom held that a slender shape would be preferred but
studies had shown that they produced more heat than any known
materials could withstand.  Allen and his team had now solved this
thermal barrier problem with their counterintuitive blunt shape in
which 90% of the heat is absorbed by the shock wave generated during

	On April 28, 1953 Allen and Alfred J. Eggers Jr. of Ames
co-authored a secret NACA report detailing their findings.  This
report, which was distributed to missile contractors and the military
that spring, heavily influenced the designs of the first generation of
ICBM warheads and subsequent manned spacecraft.  

Choosing the Best Approach

	In early 1954 Allen, Eggers and Stanford E. Neice of Ames
wrote a now classic paper on atmospheric reentry entitled "A
Comparative Analysis of the Performance of Long-Range Hypervelocity
Vehicles".  In this paper they compared the advantages and
disadvantages of three different reentry body configurations: A blunt
no-lift body, a high-drag lifting body, and a low-drag gliding body. 
These three concepts would be the focus of manned spaceflight research
in the following years.

	Eggers went on to present a modified version of this paper at
the annual meeting of the American Rocket Society in San Francisco in
June of 1957.  At the time he was convinced that a glider would be a
better approach to manned spaceflight than a simple ballistic capsule. 
While the total heat load would be greater, a glider's heating rate
would be much lower as would be the G-forces during reentry.  A glider
would also be maneuverable and allow the pilot to make a precision
landing.  Unfortunately it was soon realized that such a spacecraft
would be too heavy for any military rockets then envisioned to lift
into orbit.  

	Eggers then began to push for a lighter and simpler
lifting-body design (originally proposed in an Ames report on
hypersonic flight released in January of 1957) as a compromise between
the ballistic capsule and the glider.  His design, called M-1, was a
triangular shaped craft about 3 meters (10 feet) wide and 2 meters (7
feet) long with a rounded underside and a flat top.  Looking like a
quarter of an egg, this design would minimize heating and G-forces
during reentry and allow 320 kilometers (200 miles) of cross-range and
1300 kilometers (800 miles) of down-range maneuverability in a package
that military rockets could handle.

	The third concept using a simple ballistic capsule was
championed by a team at NACA's Langley Aeronautical Laboratory (now
NASA Langley Research Center) who wrote a minority view in the
appendix of the January 1957 Ames report.  During the mid-1950s Maxime
A. Faget, Robert O. Piland, and a team of engineers at Langley's
Pilotless Aircraft Research Division (PARD) had conducted a series of
flight tests with models of blunt bodies under the supervision of
Langley's Associate Director, Robert R. Gilruth, in an effort to
extend Allen's original work.  They felt that a blunt, nonlifting
shape like a sphere would offer the best chances of getting a man into
orbit in the shortest time.  

	While the M-1 design held much promise and stimulated further
research into lifting bodies (which continues to this day), NACA
management began to favor Langley's ballistic approach due to its
simplicity.  In parallel with the USAF efforts in the manned ballistic
rocket project (which eventually became known as MIS or
"Man-In-Space") and those of a group of 11 contractors who answered
the ARDC call for proposals, Langley engineers continued to slowly
develop the design and specifications for a manned ballistic space
capsule during the months leading to the Space Age.  

The Dawn of the Space Age

	After the launch of Sputnik, the entire country was struck by
a sense of panic.  And with the launching of Sputnik 2 in November
1958 with its canine passenger, it was clear that the Soviet Union
were taking the first steps needed to send a man into space.  During
this time, NACA leaders sought to determine what role their
organization would play in an American manned spaceflight effort.  But
in addition to the NACA plans and the USAF MIS study (which quickly
became MISS or "Man In Space - Soonest"), the U.S. Army and Navy also
started pushing their own proposals for a manned space mission.

	The Army proposal originated from the Wernher von Braun's team
at the ABMA (Army Ballistic Missile Agency).  Initially called "Man
Very High" and later known as Project Adam, their proposal called for
using a modified Redstone rocket to launch a manned capsule on a short
suborbital flight.  The ABMA proposal was essentially an updated
version of the British Interplanetary Society's V-2-based Megaroc
concept.  The Navy's Bureau of Aeronautics proposal, called Mer I for
"Manned Earth Reconnaissance I", envisioned a cylindrical spacecraft
with deployable wings launched on a two-stage rocket.  As with other
aspects of the nation's space program, ARPA (Advanced Research
Projects Agency) was put in charge of coordinating all these efforts
in the spring of 1958.  From the start ARPA clearly preferred the MISS
proposal but whoever finally got the project, NACA was guaranteed a
leading role due to their experience in the field.

	Still, as the spring of 1958 approached, it was becoming
increasing clear that the nation's space program would be run not by
ARPA but by a civilian agency and NACA had already quietly accepted
the task.  Because of this and growing differences in opinion between
NACA and USAF over the best way to proceed with MISS, NACA began to
quietly break out and push its own ideas among the various military
and civilian study groups and panels that were set up to consider the
issue.  In order to bring their own ideas into the forefront, NACA
sponsored the Conference on High Speed Aerodynamics from March 18 to
20, 1958 where NACA engineers presented their proposals for a manned
space mission to a group of military, industrial, and contractor

	During this symposium, the NACA management's eventual plan was
outlined in a Langley paper by Faget, Benjamin Garland, and James J.
Buglia.  They proposed a 3.35 meter (11 foot) long, roughly conical
shaped ballistic capsule with a 2.13 meter (7 foot) in diameter heat
sink mounted on its blunt end.  The pilot would be strapped into a
form fitting couch to better withstand the G-forces associated with
launch and reentry.  Because the effects of spaceflight on the pilot
were totally unknown, the simple capsule would be designed to operate
automatically.  Unlike the USAF which wanted to develop a new
Thor-based launch vehicle for MISS, NACA wanted to use the Atlas ICBM
(which had just begun test flights) to orbit their capsule.  

	Once in orbit, the capsule would be turned so that it traveled
blunt-side first using small gas jets to control attitude.  A solid
retrorocket package would then be used to slow the capsule enough to
perform a high drag, no-lift reentry into Earth's atmosphere at the
end of the mission.  By June 1958 Langley's Faget and Charles W.
Mathews had already completed the first draft of the manned
satellite's preliminary specifications based on this concept that NACA
officials clearly preferred.

Project Mercury is Born

	As ARPA and the USAF continued to jockey for position
throughout mid-1958 in a bid to monopolize the manned space program,
NACA engineers continued to refine their space capsule design and
specifications.  But the unofficial competition for the manned space
program ended on August 18 when President Eisenhower finally decided
that the soon to be created NASA would be in charge.  Money ARPA had
allocated for MISS would be transferred to NASA along with the funding
for other scientific space projects that had been given to NASA.  

	To ease the program's transition, a Joint NASA-ARPA Manned
Satellite Panel headed by Gilruth was established on September 17,
1958 to make final recommendations to NASA for the manned program. 
Their proposals were submitted to Glennan and ARPA director Roy
Johnson between October 3 and 7.  On October 7 NASA formally organized
its manned space program and gave it the task of placing a capsule in
orbit, investigating the pilot's reaction to the orbital environment,
and safely recovering the pilot and capsule.  By the end of October,
NASA representatives had already started negotiations to procure the
rockets they needed for their project.  

	By November 5, 1958 NASA's new Director of the Office of Space
Flight Programs, Abe Silverstein, had organized the STG (Space Task
Group) at Langley to run the manned space program.  Gilruth was
appointed as Director of the program with his former Technical
Assistant, Charles J. Donlan, assigned as his deputy.  Faget became
the Flight System Chief in charge of the spacecraft's design while
another former-PARD member, Piland, became Assistant Chief for
Advanced Projects.  With NASA's manned space program management team
and an initial staff of 33 people in place, the program's pace began
to accelerate.  

	On November 7, 1958 40 perspective bidders met at Langley for
a briefing from STG engineers on their vision of the manned space
capsule.  About half expressed continued interest in the project and
on November 14 they received a copy of the 50-page document entitled
"Specifications for Manned Space Capsule".   On December 11 STG
received bids from 11 contractors for the manned space capsule.  After
STG established component assessment teams to review the bids, the
long task of choosing a contractor for America's first manned space
capsule began.

	But as the pace of the manned program began to pick up, there
was a need to give the new project a name.  While several were
proposed, on November 26 Glennan and Dryden choose Silverstein's
suggestion which he had based on Greek mythology.  On December 17,
1958 NASA officially announced it - Project Mercury.


David Baker, The History of Manned Spaceflight, Crown Publishers, 1981

William M. Bland Jr., "Project Mercury", in The History of Rocket
Technology, Eugene M. Emme (editor), Wayne State University Press, pp.
212-240, 1963 

Eugene M. Emme, Aeronautics and Astronautics 1915-1960, NASA, 1961

Loyd S. Swenson Jr., James M. Grimwood, and Charles C. Alexander, This
New Ocean: A History of Project Mercury, NASA, SP-4201, 1966 

[continued in part 2]
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