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

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From: owner-spaceviews@wayback.com [mailto:owner-spaceviews@wayback.com]
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Sent: Sunday, October 18, 1998 9:34 PM
Subject: SpaceViews Update -- 1998 October 15

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

*** Top Stories ***
	Goldin Defends Russian Space Station Bailout Plan
	Air Force Announces EELV Contacts
	SOHO Instruments Come Back Online

*** Technology ***
	AXAF Launch Delayed Again
	Three Successful Launches
	Sea Launch License Reinstated, First Launch in March

*** Policy ***
	Congress Approves Commercial Space Bill
	Congress Approves NASA Budget
	On 40th Anniversary, NASA Looks Ahead

*** Science **
	RTG Heat May Account for Anomalous Spacecraft Acceleration
	Scientists Study Stormy Worlds
	Hubble Glimpses Distant Galaxies

*** CyberSpace ***
	Brian's Space Hotlist
	NASA Watch
	Understanding the Leonid Meteor Storms
	Space Jobs

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

			    *** Top Stories ***

	     Goldin Defends Russian Space Station Bailout Plan

	Caught in a growing rift between Congress and the Clinton
Administration, NASA administrator Dan Goldin defended a plan to
financially support the Russian Space Agency and hinted that a lack of
such support could doom the station.

	"If we cannot fund this properly because of the budget deal,
then maybe we ought to cancel the space station," Goldin told members
of the House Science Committee during a hearing Wednesday, October 7.
"I would say this project will have to be terminated unless there is a
commitment by the government that we have to give it the resources we

	Florida Today reported that Goldin admitted that the major
problems faced by the International Space Station (ISS) had "pushed
him to the brink of resignation," but he decided against it.

	Goldin was called upon by the committee to defend a plan that
would funnel up to $660 million to the Russian Space Agency over the
next four years, in an effort to support the construction of the ISS.
That figure includes a $60 million payment to Russia reported two days
earlier that gives NASA Russia's share of the research time and space
on ISS during its assembly.

	That report came a few days after an October 2 announcement by
NASA that the first launches of the space station would take place is
planned in November in December, but that the launch of the Service
Module would be delayed to at least mid-1999.

	NASA, the Russian Space Agency (RSA), and the other partners
agreed to launch the first two station elements on schedule.  The
Russian-built, U.S.-funded Zarya control module is scheduled for
launch November 20 on a Proton booster from Baikonur, Kazakhstan.

	It will be followed December 3 with the launch of the shuttle
Endeavour on mission STS-88.  Endeavour will carry the Unity docking
node into orbit.  Astronauts will attach Unity to Zarya in a series of
spacewalks during the mission.

	"I understand why members of this committee have great concern
about the critical nature of Russia's contributions," Goldin said in
an opening statement. "We share those concerns. Our reliance on
Russian capabilities has to be reduced, not by eliminating their
involvement but by adding layers of protection."

	That view was not shared by other panelists, such as James
Oberg, a space program writer and consultant.  "Russia's inability to
fulfill its promises is not due to any temporary conditions which will
easily go away," he said, citing allegations of corruption and a
general unwillingness by the Russian government to give money to the
Russian Space Agency.

	Calling the upcoming first element launches the "biggest Hail
Mary passes in history," Oberg said that "the wobbly assembly strategy
is a clear warning that something is fundamentally wrong."

	Judyth Twigg, a political science professor at Virginia
Commonwealth University and an expert on the Russian economy, also
warned that a simple infusion of funds is not enough to fix the
Russian problems.  Noting a gradual collapse of Russia's industrial
and operational capacity, she said that "money is a necessary, but not
a sufficient, short-term fix."

	Without Russian participation in the station, however, the
overall cost of the station may still increase, claimed Jay Chabrow,
who chaired a study earlier this year on space station costs.  "Since
May, not a single ruble has flowed from the Russian government to
RSA," he said. "Even knowing that, I will still tell you that without
near-term Russian participation the cost to assemble the ISS would
easily exceed the CAV Task Force's projection."

	Committee chairman James Sensenbrenner (R-WI) vented his
frustration with the station's problems not only at Goldin, but at the
Clinton Administration.  He noted that two key Administration members,
Deputy Secretary of State Strobe Talbott and Jacob Lew, Director of
the Office of Management and Budget, who were invited to speak at the
hearing but refused to attend.

	"An appearance at today's hearing by the White House and State
Department would have at least sent a signal that they cared about the
program and wanted to work with us towards a solution," Sensenbrenner
said.  "We could not begin to consider supporting this initial $60
million reallocation without their constructive participation in the

	"The plain truth is that the White House is addicted to the
Russians," Sensenbrenner claimed. "I'm beginning to think it doesn't
care whether the Space Station gets built, so long as the Russians are

	Sensenbrenner warned that if the Administration doesn't show
any willingness to work with Congress, he and his colleagues may end
up developing their own solution that "will put an end to this
problem, one way or the other."

	"My colleagues and I may find a way to do that and keep Russia
in the program. We might not," Sensenbrenner said.  "I would prefer to
work with the Administration, but we cannot keep waiting for
leadership that may never come."

		     Air Force Announces EELV Contacts

	The U.S. Air Force awarded over $3 billion in contracts
Friday, October 16, to aerospace industry giants Boeing and Lockheed
Martin as part of the Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle (EELV)

	The Air Force will give $1.15 billion to Lockheed Martin for
nine launches on its Atlas-derived EELV booster and $1.38 billion to
Boeing for 19 launches on its Delta IV series of boosters.  Boeing
will get an additional $500 million to supplement development of the
Delta IV.

	Boeing's 19 launches will be spread out between 2002 and 2006.
Lockheed Martin's launches will run from 2003 to 2005.  The Air Force
plans to use the EELV launches to replace its current use of Atlas,
Delta, and Titan vehicles.

	The EELV program is an Air Force project to reduce the cost of
space access for military payloads by at least 25 percent.  The EELV
boosters selected are derivitives of commercial boosters in service or
in development.

	The selection of Boeing and Lockheed Martin for the EELV
contracts is no surprise.  Both were awarded development contracts in
late 1996, and last year the Air Force said it planned a "dual-source
procurement strategy" to reduce reliance on a single vehicle.

	Boeing's Delta IV is a family of vehicles based around a
common core booster, powered by a Rocketdyne RS-68 engine, powered by
liquid hydrogen and liquid oxygen.  Various combinations of the core
booster and upper stages are used for different Delta IV vehicles.

	The Delta IV Medium uses a single core booster and a Delta III
cryogenic upper stage.  It can loft 4,140 kg (9,200 lbs.) into
geosynchronous transfer orbit (GTO).  The Delta IV Heavy uses three
core boosters attached side-by-side with a modified Delta III upper
stage and expanded payload fairing on the middle core booster.  It can
carry 13,050 kg (29,000 lbs.) into GTO.

	Lockheed Martin's EELV proposal, based on its Atlas III
booster, also uses a core booster, based on the Russian-designed
RD-180 engine.  A Medium Launch Vehicle will use a single core booster
and Centaur upper stage to place 5,260 kg (11,600 lbs.) in GTO, while
a Heavy Lift Vehicle uses three core boosters and a Centaur to loft
6,580 kg (14,500 lbs.) into GTO.

		     SOHO Instruments Come Back Online

	The Solar and Heliospheric Observatory (SOHO) spacecraft is
approaching a complete recovery from problems encountered earlier this
year as a number of its instruments have been turned back on, NASA
reported Wednesday, October 14.

	NASA and European Space Agency (ESA) officials showed off new
images returned by two of SOHO's instruments, the Michaelson Doppler
Interferometer (MDI) and Extreme Ultraviolet Imaging Telescope (EIT),
to show that the spacecraft is approaching normal operations for the
first time in nearly four months.

	"Scientists on both sides of the Atlantic have waited
anxiously for the recover of SOHO," said Roger Bonnet, ESA director of
science.  Because of the "extraordinary effort" of NASA and ESA
personnel and industry contractors, Bonnet said, "the world has
recovered its chief watchdog on the Sun."

	Nine of SOHO's 12 instruments have been turned on, said ESA
project scientist Bernhard Fleck.  Four of the instruments, including
MDI and EIT, are fully functional, while the other five are being
carefully checked out.

	"So far no signs of damage due to thermal stress during the
deep freeze have been detected," Fleck said.  The remaining
instruments will be tested during the next few weeks.

	"We hope that all SOHO scientific instruments can be returned
to the same level of health, so we can resume scientific operations in
the near future," said U.S. SOHO project scientist Joe Gurman.

	Controllers lost contact with SOHO June 24 when a combination
of several problems on the ground, including poor decisions by ground
controllers, sent the spacecraft into a spin.  The spacecraft was out
of contact with the Earth until early August, and its spin was
corrected September 16 after its hydrazine fuel thawed.

	SOHO was launched in December 1995 and completed its primary
mission to the study the Sun in April.  NASA and ESA then decided to
extend SOHO's mission through 2003, so the spacecraft can monitor the
Sun as it passes through the peak of its 11-year activity cycle around
the year 2000.

			    *** Technology ***

			 AXAF Launch Delayed Again

	NASA announced Tuesday, October 13, that the shipment of the
Advanced X-ray Astrophysics Facility (AXAF) to Cape Canaveral in
preparation for an upcoming shuttle launch had been delayed while a
review of the project is performed.

	AXAF was to be shipped by its builder, aerospace company TRW,
to Cape Canaveral this month.  There the spacecraft was to be prepared
for a launch on the space shuttle Columbia January 21, 1999.

	However, AXAF will remain at TRW's Redondo Beach, California,
facility to continue tests and to replace an electrical switching box
on the satellite.  In addition, a review of AXAF, performed by NASA
Chief Engineer Daniel Mulville, will be performed between now and

	"We think it's prudent to wait to see what the review will
tell us before we set shipment and launch dates, so we don't expect to
ship AXAF before that," said Kenneth Ledbetter, director of the
Mission and Payload Division of the Office of Space Science at NASA.
That would likely delay the launch of AXAF until mid-1999.

	"It was a difficult decision, but we evaluated a number of
options for handling the remaining work, and selected the one that
will give us the most assurance of successfully completing the work,"
Ledbetter said.

	AXAF had earlier been planned for an August 1998 launch, but
problems with the spacecraft pushed back the launch to December, then
to January 1999 to avoid conflicts with the first shuttle mission
dedicated to the assembly of the International Space Station.

	Once in space, AXAF will fly in an elliptical orbit far above
the orbit of the Hubble Space Telescope and the Compton Gamma Ray
Observatory, other spacecraft that, like AXAF and the
under-development Space Infrared Telescope Facility (SIRTF), are part
of NASA's "Great Observatories" project.

	AXAF will spend at least five years studying X=ray sources in
the universe, including supernova remnants, black holes, neutron
stars, and quasars.

			 Three Successful Launches

	Ariane, Atlas, and Taurus boosters successfully launched an
assortment of commercial and military satellites from launch sites in
North and South America in early October.

	An Orbital Sciences Corporation (OSC) Taurus booster launched
a National Reconnaissance Office (NRO) satellite from Vandenberg Air
Force Base, California, at 6:04 am EDT (1004 UT) Saturday, October 3.

	The Taurus carried the 700-kg (1,540-lb.) Space Technology
Experiment (STEX) satellite for the NRO.  STEX, built by Lockheed
Martin, is designed to demonstrate 29 new technologies that may be
applied to future spacecraft.  The tests include a tether, an
electrical propulsion system, and a low-shock device to gently
separate the satellite from the booster.

	An Ariane 44L lifted off at 6:51 pm EDT (2251 UT) Monday,
October 5, from Kourou, French Guiana, carrying the Eutelsat W2 and
Sirius 3 communications satellites into orbit, the prelude for an
Ariane 5 launch later in the month.

	The W2 satellite, built by the French company Alcatel, will be
used by Eutelsat, the European Telecommunications Satellite
Organization, to provide direct TV coverage for Europe, North Africa,
and the Middle East.  The Sirius 3 satellite, built by Hughes, will
provide direct TV for Scandinavia.

	The launch is the last before the October 20 launch of an
Ariane 5 booster, the third launch of the heavy-lift rocket.  Ariane
503 will carry an atmospheric reentry demonstrator and a dummy

	An Atlas 2A lifted off at 6:50 pm EDT (2250 UT) Friday,
October 9,from Pad 36B at Cape Canaveral, Florida, carrying the
Eutelsat Hot Bird 5 satellite into orbit.

	There were a number of problems that delayed the launch,
originally scheduled for 5:55 pm EDT (2155 UT).  The launch time was
pushed back 5 minutes to avoid the threat of a possible collision with
an orbiting spacecraft, then further delayed by clouds and lightning
in the area.

	The weather did clear and the launch was rescheduled for 6:30
pm EDT (2230 UT).  The countdown proceeded but was stopped at the
1-minute 18-second mark when a sensor reported that the liquid oxygen
tank on the Centaur upper stage was overfilled.  That and other minor
problems were corrected, clearing the way for a launch at 6:50 pm,
with just 15 minutes left in the launch window.

	The Hot Bird 5 will be used by the European company Eutelsat
to television, radio, and other services for Europe.  It will replace
the older Eutelsat 2F-1 satellite.

	   Sea Launch License Reinstated, First Launch in March

	The U.S. State Department reinstated the export license for
Boeing's Sea Launch program Wednesday, September 30, more than two
months after it was suspended on allegations of the improper transfer
of information to Russian and Ukrainian partners.

	Less than two weeks later, Boeing announced that the first Sea
Launch mission would take place in March 1999, with the launch of a
dummy payload.

	The license was reinstated after Boeing paid a $10 million
fine.  The company said that part of the fine was suspended so the
money would be used internally to support export compliance measures.

	The State Department suspended Boeing's export license July 27
after the company admitted it had not followed proper procedures
regarding the exchange of technical information with Russians and

	The project's first launch was to be of a Hughes HS 702
communications satellite for PanAmSat, but Boing announced OCtober 12
that the first launch will be of a dummy payload that will resemble an
HS 702.

	"We are proceeding with preparations to being Sea Launch
online and this will be accomplished through the demonstration
launch," Sea Launch president Allen B. Ashby said.  "While Sea Launch
has revised its payload for the first launch, the company is committed
to meeting the requirements of its customers."

	Boeing is the lead partner on Sea Launch, a project to launch
rockets from a floating platform in the Pacific Ocean.  The project
uses a Zenit 2 booster provided by KB Yuzhnoye/PO Yuzhmash of the
Ukraine, an upper stage developed by RSC Energia of Russia, and a
launch platform and command ship built by Norway's Kvaerner Maritime.
Boeing serves as the project integrator and operates Sea Launch's home
port in Long Beach, California.

	Project participants believe the system will be a way to
economically launch large communications satellites.  By launching in
equatorial waters in the Pacific, the Zenit booster can get the
maxmimum kick from the Earth's rotation, allowing it to loft larger

			      *** Policy ***

		  Congress Approves Commercial Space Bill

	The U.S. House of Representatives approved on Monday, October
5, a conference report on previously-approved legislation that should
make it much easier for private companies to launch spacecraft and do
space-related business, with the Senate following suit three dyas

	H. Res. 572 was approved by a voice vote in the House October
5.  The resolution called for the approval of H.R. 1702, the
Commercial Space Act, and minor Senate amendments to the bill.

	On Thursday. October 8, the Senate approved the legislation on
unanimous consent, leaving only the President's signature standing
between it and enactment. President Clinton is expected to sign the

	H.R. 1702 passed in the House last fall and was approved by
the Senate in late July.  The bill covers a number of aspects of
commercial space efforts, from the licensing of reusable launch
vehicles to the purchase by the government of commercial launch
services and scientific data.

	The bill gives the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) the
authority to license the reentry of reusable launch vehicles.  The FAA
currently has the authority to license launches, but not reentries.

	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.

	One aspect missing from the final version of the bill is
legislation regarding licensing of remote sensing.  This subject had
become sensitive as some members of Congress feared loosening licenses
on remote sensing satellites could endanger the security of the United
States and its allies, particularly Israel.

	"The State Department kept pushing for even more authority
than they have now," said Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA), chair of the
space subcommittee of the House Science Committee, "so rather than
give them that authority and make life harder for our remote sensing
industry, we decided simply to strike title II [remote sensing] from
the bill, and say, we will come back and talk about that issue on
another day."

		       Congress Approves NASA Budget

	The U.S. Congress approved earlier this month NASA's 1999
budget, increasing its budget by $200 million from the Clinton
Administration's first request and  making a number of administrative
changes, including a new name for a NASA field center.

	H.R. 4194, the appropriations bill for the Departments of
Housing and Urban Development and Veterans Affairs, as well as
independent agencies like NASA, was approved by the House October 5
and the Senate October 8, after a conference committee ironed out
differences between the two versions of the bill.

	The bill has been sent on to President Clinton for his
signature, but that has been delayed while efforts by the Democratic
administration and the Republican-controlled Congress to iron out an
overall budget accord are underway.

	H.R. 4194 includes $13.665 billion for NASA in 1999, $200
million more than first requested.  The space agency received $13.638
billion in 1998 and $13.7 billion in 1997.

	Human space flight, which includes the space shuttle and
International Space Station, will receive $5.48 billion in 1999, $200
million less than in 1998 and $30 million less than what the Clinton
Administration requested.  The space station will be fully funded in
1999 at $2.27 billion, while the space shuttle program gets $3.059
billion, slightly less than requested but about $100 million more than
in 1998.

	Space, Aeronautics, and Technology, the section of NASA that
does research and development and funds space science missions, will
get $5.654 billion in 1999, nearly $200 million more than requested
and $100 million more than in 1998.

	A number of specific projects got funding increases beyond
what was oringally requested.  The Mars Surveyor 2001 program got a
$20 million boost, which may be enough to include a Sojourner-like
rover on the lander component of that spacecraft.  The Next Generation
Space Telescope, space solar power research, and near-Earth asteroid
tracking programs also got funding boosts.

	Technology projects also got funding boosts.  Congress
directed $20 million to be spent on NASA's contribution to the
Military Space Plane program, while liquid flyback boosters and hybrid
propulsion also got funding incerases.

	The spending bill also included a number of administrative
measures.  Notably, the bill calls on NASA to rename the Lewis
Research Center in Cleveland to the "John Glenn Research Center at
Lewis Field", after the retiring senator and former astronaut who will
be flying on STS-95 at the end of October.

	H.R. 4194 also restricts NASA from spending funds from other
projects on the space station, as members of Congress signal their
disapproval with how the project is being managed.  The bill also
calls on Congress to separate space station funding from other
programs anmd present it in a separate account starting in fiscal year

	However, the final version of the bill removed a provision
inserted into the House version that would have prevented NASA from
spending money researching the Triana spacecraft, a controversial
Earth-observing mission conceived and promoted by Vice President Al

		   On 40th Anniversary, NASA Looks Ahead

	On the 40th anniversary of the creation of the National
Aeronautics and Space Administration, the administrator of the space
agency and outside experts predicted -- to varying degrees -- a future
where NASA and private industry worked together far more closely.

	During Congressional hearings Thursday, October 1, 40 years to
the day after NASA was founded by an act of Congress, NASA
Administrator Dan Goldin and other witnesses looked ahead to what NASA
can and should do in the next 40 years.

	Those testifying noted that NASA, an agency born of Cold War
rivalries and tensions, must reinvent itself as a research and
development organization and a catalyst for commercial space

	In his testimony, Goldin described a future scenario where
NASA efforts have revolutionized high-speed air travel, established
human outposts in space near Mars, and launched robotic problems into
interstellar space.

	NASA would be able to achieve this vision, Goldin said, by
transferring as much operational work as possible to the private
sector, allowing NASA to focus its efforts and resources on more
risky, but higher-payoff, projects and research.

	"It is my hope that within ten years, NASA will have
transferred all low Earth orbit operations and infrastructure to the
private sector," Goldin said. "We will then be able to focus our human
and financial resources on pushing the frontiers of science and
advancing technology."

	NASA also needs the "sustained, bi-partisan advocacy that has
characterized Congressional support for NASA for the past four
decades," Goldin added.  "To earn this support, we intend to continue
to do what we say were going to do and honor our commitments to the
Administration and Congress."

	Pete Conrad, a former astronaut and current chairman and CEO
of Universal Space Lines, outlined four roles for NASA and the federal
government in the future of space.  Conrad believed that governement
should encourage and support science, foster long-term high-risk
technology development, defend the nation's interests in space, and
encourage the growth of commercial space efforts.

	For the final goal, Conrad said government should purchase
both launch services and science data from private companies and do
technology development in the form of X-vehicles.  Congress also needs
to pass incentives to support the commercial space industry.

	"NASA should be the leading advocate of change and the
transition to a primarily commercial space industry," Conrad said.
"Nonetheless, the real change is up to Congress."

	"We have only scratched the surface on the possibilities for
space commerce," Pat Dasch, executive director of the National Space
Society, noted in written testimony. "NASA needs be more aggressive in
laying the groundwork for commercial space enterprises."

	Not everyone agrees on the degree of action needed to develop
commercial space.  Rick Tumlinson, president of the Space Frontier
Foundation, told Congress that far more radical change is needed
since, despite all the success of NASA to date, "you and I and our
children [have] little more chance of being able to go into space and
participate in creating this dream than we had at its beginning."

	Tumlinson agreed with Goldin that NASA needs to get out of
near-Earth operations.  However, Tumlinson offered far more radical
suggestions, including turning the shuttle over to private operators
and commercializing the International Space Station "as soon as

	Whatever course NASA chooses to pursue, it will require a
well-defined guiding vision, wrote Keith Cowing, editor of NASA Watch,
in written testimony.  "I am not certain just what America's guiding
vision for the exploration of space should be," Cowing said.  "All I
know is that we are in desperate need of one."

			      *** Science ***

	RTG Heat May Account for Anomalous Spacecraft Acceleration

	An unusual acceleration towards the Sun observed in the
trajectories of several spacecraft may be explained not by exotic new
physics but by the radiation of waste heat from the spacecraft's power
systems, according to one physicist.

	In a paper submitted to the journal Physical Review Letters,
Jonathan Katz, a physics professor at Washington University in St.
Louis, explained how the emission of thermal radiation from the
radioisotope thermoelectric generators (RTGs) on Pioneers 10 and 11
and the Ulysses spacecraft could explain why the spacecraft appeared
to be slowing down.

	RTGs work by converting the heat from the decay of radioactive
materials into electricity.  This process is not 100 percent
efficient, so much of the heat from the decay is radiated into space
at infrared wavelengths.

	This energy is radiated into space evenly in all directions,
so it imparts no net force on the spacecraft.  However, some of the
infrared radiation is reflected off the back of the high-gain antenna
of each spacecraft, imparting a small net force in the opposite

	Since the spacecraft are usually oriented such that the
antenna is pointed towards the Earth (and essentially towards the Sun
when the spacecraft are at great distances from the Earth), the force
is oriented towards the Sun, creating a small acceleration of the
spacecraft towards the Sun.

	According to Katz the engineering data on the spacecraft would
create a force in qualitative agreement with that needed to explain
the acceleration of the spacecraft, but detailed modeling of the
spacecraft is needed to verify it.

	If correct, Katz's explanation would solve a problem first
raised last month by a team of scientists from JPL and Los Alamos, who
found that the Pioneer 10 and 11 and Ulysses spacecraft all appeared
to be slowing down, for no known reason.  The acceleration on the
spacecraft was minuscule -- about 10 billionths of the acceleration
created by the Earth's gravity -- but its existence opened the
possibility that some new physical effect was at work.

	Katz, who read about the anomalous accelerations in a preprint
of a paper submitted to Physical Review Letters, said he became
intrigued by the "provocative" implications of the work and decided to
investigate further.  "It was obvious they had not appreciated that
the waste heat was many times the electrical power, and that a small
asymmetry in its radiation could explain their effect," Katz said.

	Katz's normal line of research focuses on gamma-ray bursts and
soft-gamma repeaters, but he said he likes to venture into different
fields, from seismology to hydrodynamics, to explore interesting
problems.  "I am interested in unsolved problems in science," he said.
"They are a lot more fun than problems which are mostly understood!"

		      Scientists Study Stormy Worlds

	The weather on a number of worlds in the solar system is
decidedly stormy, from Jupiter's giant storms to cloud systems on
smaller moons, scientists reported this week.

	Planetary scientists gathering at the annual meeting of the
Division for Planetary Sciences of the American Astronomical Society
in Madison, Wisconsin, reported on a number of storms and weather
systems in the planets and moons of the outer solar system, from the
merger of two storms on Jupiter to cloud formations on Saturn's moon

	Astronomers witnessed a rare event earlier this year when two
long-lived storms unexpectedly merged into a larger one.  Two of the
three "white ovals" observed in a band of Jupiter's southern
hemisphere for over fifty years merged into a single storm as large as
the Earth itself.

	"The newly-merged white oval is the strongest storm in our
solar system, with the exception of Jupiter's 200-year-old 'Great Red
Spot' storm," said Glenn Orton, a planetary scientist at JPL.  "This
may be the first time humans have ever observed such a large
interaction between two storm systems."

	The two ovals, dubbed "BC" and "DE", likely merged early this
year, although the exact date is uncertain since the planet is not
monitored continuously.

	Amy Simon, a planetary scientist at New Mexico State
University, explained that the sudden stop of the BC storm put into
motion a series of events that led to the merger.  With BC stopped,
other smaller storms in that band stopped behind it.  Another large
white oval, "FA", merged with the smaller storms, while BC and DE
eventually moved together.

	The merged storm, named "BE", appears to be undergoing a
transition, Orton said, as the storm appears to be slightly colder
than its surroundings and is opaque at some wavelengths of infrared
light.  "The oval may have generated a thick cloud system which
obscured the downwelling" of material normally seen in such storms,
Orton said.

	Other scientists have noticed that Jupiter's low-pressure
regions, associated with some storms, are also associated with
clusters of lightning seen by the Galileo spacecraft.

	The storms spawn bright clouds that appear similar to large
thunderstorms on Earth, explained Andrew Ingersoll, a planetary
science professor at Caltech. "We even caught one of these bright
clouds on the day side and saw it flashing away on the night side less
than two hours later," he said.

	The process that generates the lightning on Jupiter is not
well-understood, though.  "Models of terrestrial lightning suggest
that to build up electrical charge, both liquid water and ice have to
be present," Ingersoll said.  "Rain requires a relatively wet Jupiter,
and that's a controversial subject."

	The Galileo probe dropped into Jupiter's atmosphere in
December 1995 detected far less water than expected.  Ingersoll and
other scientists believe that the probe may have hit a dry spot in the
planet's atmosphere.

	Jupiter is not the only outer solar system planet with a
dynamic atmosphere.  University of Wisconsin scientists, using images
from the Hubble Space Telescope and the ground-based NASA Infrared
Telescope Facility, have found more clouds in Neptune's atmosphere
than seen in other observations in the recent past.

	Cloud patterns have been seen on Neptune since the Voyager 2
encounter in 1989, but the clud patters have been remarkably dynamic,
chaning from year to year.  "The character of Neptune is different
from what it was at the time of Voyager," said Wisconsin's Larry
Sromovsky.  "The planet seems stable, yet different."

	The cloud patters on Neptune are unusual since energy from the
Sun drives the weather on planets like the Earth.  Neptune, being 30
times farther from the Sun that the Earth, receives 1/900th the solar
energy as the Earth.

	The energy that powers Neptune's cloud patters likely comes
from internal heat, although the exact process is not fully
understood.  "It's an efficient weather machine compared to Earth,"
Sromovsky said.  "It seems to run on almost no energy."

	Similar clouds have also been seen in infrared images of
Uranus taken by the Hubble Space Telescope.  Erich Karkoschka of the
University of Arizona took the images, which he and colleagues are
analyszing to understand the wind patterns and clear spots in the

	The giant planets are not the only bodies in the outer solar
system with dynamic weather.  A team of astronomers led by Caitlin
Griffith of Northern Arizona University reported at the conference on
obsrevations of Titan, Saturn's largest moon, which has an atmosphere
denser than the Earth's.

	Griffith and colleagues, who observed Saturn for over 10
nights at a telescope atop Mauna Kea, Hawaii, found unusual readings
on two of the nights.  They explained those observations by clouds
that covered about 10 percent of the planet from an altitude of 15
kilometers (9 miles) above the surface.  By comparison, about 30-70
percent of the Earth is cloud-covered at any time.

	These clouds are different from the global haze that obscures
the surface.  What the clouds are made of and how they are created and
destroyed has yet to be understood.

		     Hubble Glimpses Distant Galaxies

	Astronomers using an infrared camera on the Hubble Space
Telescope have discovered new galaxies thought to be the among the
most distant objects yet known.

	A team of astronomers combined a set of long-exposure images
taken with Hubble's Near Infrared Camera and Multi-Object Spectrograph
(NICMOS) instrument and compared them to visible-light images of the
same region taken by Hubble.

	The astronomers believe that these new objects are more
distant than those seen in the visible images, as the redshift caused
by the expansion of the universe makes more distant objects invisible
in normal light but visible at longer infrared wavelengths.  A number
of the objects discovered had colors consistent with galaxies too
distant to be observable in the visible-light images.

	The most distant objects are thought to be up to 12 billion
light years away, making them some of the most distant objects
observed.  The exact distance depends on the cosmological model used
to describe the nature of the universe.

	"NICMOS has parted the dark curtain that previously blocked
our view of very distant objects and revealed a whole new cast of
characters," said Rodger I. Thompson of the University of Arizona.
"We now have to study them to find out who, what and where they are."

	Such studies will have to wait until a new generation of
powerful, advanced telescopes, are built, because the objects are so
dim as to make detailed studies of them impractical even with Hubble.

	"This is just our first tentative glimpse into the very remote
universe," says Alan Dressler of the Carnegie Observatories. "What we
see may be the first stages of galaxy formation. But the objects are
so faint that their true nature can only be explored with the advanced
telescopes of the future."

	Such telescopes would include the Next Generation Space
Telescope (NGST), a successor to the Hubble Space Telescope.  Proposed
for launch in 2007, the NGST would feature a mirror 4-8 meters
(13.1-26.2 feet) in diameter and optimized for observations at
infrared wavelengths.  Studies of distant galaxies is one of the key
missions of the telescope.

			    *** CyberSpace ***

			   Brian's Space Hotlist

Brian's Space Hotlist is a collection of hundreds of links to quality
space information.  The site is intelligently organized into a number
of topics, and annotations make it clear what each site listed is
about.  This is certainly one of the better lists of space links on
the Web.


				NASA Watch

NASA Watch is the leading source on the Web for unofficial news about
NASA.  From the latest in rumors about the International Space Station
to "Worm Watch" -- a search for NASA's old "worm" logo on agency Web
sites and elsewhere -- NASA Watch keeps people both within and outside
the space agency up to date on the latest "real" news about NASA
affairs.  The recognition for the NASA Watch site here is long


		  Understanding the Leonid Meteor Storms

In November the Leonid meteor shower will put on another light show in
the night skies, and the intensity of the 1998 and/or 1999 storms will
be the highest since the dramatic 1966 Leonid shower.  While it will
make a nice display from here on the ground, the possibility of a
serious storm is a concern for satellites in orbit, who could be
"sandblasted" or even fatally damaged by the shower.  This site,
created by The Aerospace Corporation, explores the dangers of the
Leonids and what can be done to protect satellites.


				Space Jobs

If you like space a lot, why not try and find a space-related job?
The Space Jobs Web site is an excellent way to do this, with its
listing of positions in aerospace engineering, science, computer
programming, and other fields at a wide range of companies.  You can
also subscribe to get the latest job postings e-mailed to you as soon
as they're added.  This is a great resource if you're looking to move
into, or change jobs within, the space field.


			  *** Space Capsules ***

			 SpaceViews Event Horizon

October 19	Atlas 2A launch of the Navy UFO-F9 comsat from Cape
		 Canaveral, Florida

October 21	Ariane 5 launch od the MaqSat-3 dummy satellite and
		 Atmospheric Reentry Demonstrator from Kourou, French

October 22	Pegasus XL launch of SCD-1 Brazilian environmental
		 satellite and NASA Wing Glove experiment off the
		 coast from Cape Canaveral, Florida

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

October 28	Soyuz launch of the Progress M-40 cargo spacraft from
		 Baikonur, Kazakhstan

October 29	Launch of space shuttle Discovery on mission STS-95
		 from Kennedy Space Center, Florida

October 30	Long March launch of the Feng Yun 1C satellite from
		 Taiyuan, China

October 31	Delta 2 launch of five Iridium spacecraft from
		 Vandenberg Air Force Base, California

December 2-3	NSS's "Property Rights and Commercial Space
		 Development" meeting, Washington, DC

				Other News

University Astrobiology Program:  The University of Washington will
become the first university to create a graduate program in
astrobiology, bringing together students and professors from a wide
range of disciplines, the university announced this month.  The
program, scheduled to begin in the fall of 1999, will provide a broad
interdisciplinary look at the various fields involved in the study of
possible life on Mars, Europa, and other worlds. Graduate students
participating in the program will earn degrees in one of 11 fields,
from aeronautics to history.  Students will earn an endorsement noting
an emphasis in astrobiology along with their traditional degree.
"Astrobiology students will have to learn rigorously as well as more
broadly than most other science graduate students," said Conway Leovy,
an atmospheric sciences professor at the university and part of the
astrobiology program.

Sensenbrenner Introduces Space Station Act: House Science Committee
chairman James Sensenbrenner (R-WI) introduced legislation last week
designed to remove Russia from the "critical path" of space station
development.  H.R. 4820, the "Save the International Space Station
Act", would cap space station costs and prevent NASA from sending
additional payments to Russia without Congressional approval, as well
as require NASA to develop a contingency plan if Russia cannot meet
its space station obligations.  The bill is unlikely to receive
serious consideration before Congress adjourns, but may serve as the
basis for similar legislation when the new Congress convenes in 1999.

Lunar Giveaway Planned:  New York-based Applied Space Resources (ASR),
the company planning the first commercial lunar sample return mission
announced this month that it will give nearly half of its planned
return payload to scientists at no charge, pending the results of a
"Lunar Challenge".  If 500,000 "Lunar Time Capsules" -- up to three
pages of text and graphics etched onto nickel disks flown on the lunar
spacecraft -- are purchased, the company will give away 5 kg (11 lbs.)
of lunar samples to science for free.  The company also said it will
give way 1 kg (2.2 lbs.) worth of experiment space on the spacecraft
to a worthwhile experiment that has not been able to fly to the Moon
yet.  The remaining 9 kg (19.8 lbs.) of experiment space will be sold
for $5 million per kilogram.  The company's Lunar Retriever mission,
planned for launch in August 2001, will land in the Mare Nectaris
region of the Moon and return 13 kg (28.6 lbs.) of samples from the
Moon at a total cost of $50 million.

Ask John Glenn: The National Space Society is providing members of the
general public with an opportunity to ask questions of once-and-future
astronaut John Glenn. Visitors to the NSS's "Ask an Astronaut" Web
site (http://www.nss.org/askastro) can submit their questions to Glenn
to be answered at a future date, and read questions he answered at a
previous appearance two years earlier.  Also planned for the launch is
a live Webcast and online chats.

	This has been the October 15, 1998, issue of SpaceViews Update.
SpaceViews Update is also availble 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

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